Participation and Personhood: Paul’s Anthropology in Conversation with Contemporary Thought

Date(s) - 02/26/2022
9:30 am - 11:00 am


Participation and Personhood: Paul’s Anthropology in Conversation with Contemporary Thought
Saturday, February 26, 9:30 am to 11:00 am (Central Time)

Over the past few decades, work in developmental psychology, social psychology, neuroscience, and philosophy of mind has nudged modern concepts of personhood away from self-determining individualism to a focus on the constitutive role of interpersonal connections in the constitution of the self. Human beings are participatory creatures, neither solely individual nor reducible to purely corporate models of personhood; they are selves, but always selves-in-relation to others. Similarly the apostle Paul sees persons as always “in” others, both human and supra-human, and “under” the power of others. Through lecture and discussion, we will explore this theme of personhood in relation to sin as an oppressive power, in Romans 7, and to the liberating Spirit of Christ in the community, in Romans 8. Along the way we will consider how Paul’s theology relates to contemporary issues in human suffering and flourishing.

Susan Eastman is associate research professor of New Testament at Duke Divinity School. Ordained in the Episcopal Church, she served parishes in New York City, Alaska, Oregon, and Pennsylvania prior to coming to Duke. Dr. Eastman teaches courses on the New Testament, the Bible in the church, Pauline anthropology, and preaching Paul’s letters. She has lectured and taught in a variety of academic and church settings, both in the U.S. and internationally. Her scholarly publications include Recovering Paul’s Mother Tongue: Language and Theology in Galatians (Eerdmans, 2006), Paul and the Person: Reframing Paul’s Anthropology (Eerdmans, 2017), and numerous articles and essays. She serves on the editorial board of the Journal for the Study of Paul and his Letters. Her current projects include the commentary on Romans for the new Interpretation Commentary Series, and a collection of essays on Paul’s theological anthropology.