- ISBN: 9780226815657
- Published By: University of Chicago Press
- Published: December 2021
A critical reconsideration of the repeated use of the biblical letters of Paul.
The letters of Paul have been used to support and condone a host of evils over the span of more than two millennia: racism, slavery, imperialism, misogyny, and anti-Semitism, to name a few. Despite, or in some cases because of, this history, readers of Paul have felt compelled to reappropriate his letters to fit liberal or radical politics, seeking to set right the evils done in Paul’s name. Starting with the language of excrement, refuse, and waste in Paul’s letters, Profaning Paul looks at how Paul’s “shit” is recycled and reconfigured. It asks why readers, from liberal Christians to academic biblical scholars to political theorists and philosophers, feel compelled to make Paul into a hero, mining his words for wisdom. Following the lead of feminist, queer, and minoritized scholarship, Profaning Paul asks what would happen if we stopped recycling Paul’s writings. By profaning the status of his letters as sacred texts, we might open up new avenues for imagining political figurations to meet our current and coming political, economic, and ecological challenges.