Cross-pursposes in Paul? : violence of the cross, Galatians and human dignity

Punt, Jeremy (2009)

CITATION: Punt, J. 2009. Cross-pursposes in Paul? : violence of the cross, Galatians and human dignity. Scriptura, 102:446-462, doi:10.7833/102-0-606.

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The cross of Jesus is an important theme in Paul’s letters, identified by him as the focus and content of his message: Christ crucified (e.g. 1 Cor 1:23; 2:5). In Paul’s understanding the death of Jesus was the result of victimisation and violence (e.g. Gal 3:13), complete with its accompanying terror and ultimate destruction of human life and dignity. Moreover, and beyond his candid treatment of the cross, it became in Paul’s writings on the one hand the unmasking of imperial (and other) powers and terror, and on the other hand the subversion (disruption) of prevailing perceptions and structures – particularly in the simultaneous association of Jesus with cross and slavery. The emphasis on the cross with slavery as the backdrop is as suggestive of the implicit socio-political context of Pauline letters like Galatians, as the continued use of the symbols of cross and slavery in modern times require further consideration for their impact on the perception and construction of human dignity.

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