• Matt O'Reilly

New RBL review of Paul and the Resurrected Body

Reviews are starting to come in for Paul and the Resurrected Body: Social Identity and Ethical Practice (SBL Press). In particular, Chris Porter's assessment of the work just published in the Review of Biblical Literature (though you may need SBL credentials to access it). The review rightly picks up the main thrusts of the book. First, future bodily resurrection is often considered primarily in light of its individual implications. I attempt to draw out the social dynamics in Paul's hope for resurrection. Second, theological analysis and social-scientific analysis are often taken separately and sometimes pit against one another. PRB represents an attempt to integrate the two.

I appreciate the way Chris also draws attention to a couple of works that carry potential to strengthen my work on Paul and our potential to understand temporal dynamics of identity formation. I leave you with a couple of excerpts.

...overall, this study is an excellent examination of the sociocognitive impact of eschatological futures for a social group. Throughout it wrestles well with the sociorhetorical content of the letters and the cognitive demands that they place on their audience. In addition, it builds a strong case for the consideration of the resurrection as a concrete possible future social identity that actively shapes members of social groups that anticipate such an eventual reality. The anticipation of an embodied resurrected future comes through clearly as a motivating factor for Paul and his rhetorical force for the epistolary audience. Indeed, as O’Reilly concludes, the “embodied life now anticipates and finds its fulfillment in the future resurrection of the body” (216).
There is much to recommend in this lucidly argued study, and it is a worthy investigation into the temporal and eschatological implications of social identity in the Pauline epistles. It is especially commended as an example of articulate engagement with social identity in biblical studies.

Grab your copy of Paul and the Resurrected Body over at Amazon.

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