Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Within the last few decades, there has been a new surge of interest in Paul’s relationship to the Roman Empire. This interest has resulted in several postcolonial studies on Paul’s relationship with the Roman Empire. Some political interpreters of Paul argue that Paul rejected the Roman Empire in many ways and even sought to subvert it. This dissertation argues, through a rhetorical, sociohistorical, and theological examination of Paul’s undisputed letters, that Paul did not directly support or directly condemn the Roman Empire. His dealings with the empire are more nuanced than what others have claimed. Paul is relativizing the relationship between himself and the Roman Empire, insofar as he does not suggest its subversion but rather places the empire within his overall eschatological framework. Paul’s eschatology is heavily dependent on how he understands the world after the death and resurrection of Christ. For Paul, everything can fall into one of two categories. These things can either fall into the category ?????? (“the world”) or the category ????? ?????? (“the new creation”). This study argues that when Paul speaks of ??????, this “present evil age” (Gal 1:4b), it is a conviction that all things in the “world” will eventually pass away. Though Paul was writing in a society heavily influenced by the Roman Empire, I contend that the empire has remarkable little role in Paul’s eschatological soteriology.

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Creative Commons License
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