CROSS-PURPOSES IN PAUL? VIOLENCE OF THE CROSS, GALATIANS, AND HUMAN DIGNITY

Jeremy Punt

Abstract


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.

Keywords


Human Dignity, Cross, Slavery, Symbols, Empire, Power

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7833/102-0-606

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ISSN 2305-445X (online); ISSN 0254-1807 (print)

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