This article examines the Acts of Thecla’s unflattering presentation of the character Paul, as part of the reception of Paul’s Corinthian letters into the second century. Informed by feminist and queer biblical interpretations of the Corinthian exchange, it shows how the Acts of Thecla picks up on tensions over authority with Paul’s teachings on baptism, eschatology, and sexual renunciation in its portrait of Paul. Engaging Jack Halberstam’s The Queer Art of Failure, the article suggests that the Acts of Thecla reads Paul’s letters this way in service of the social critique and queer antagonism that it holds up for its second and third century readers. Where Halberstam claims “queer failure” as resistance to capitalist profit, reproductive futurity, and neoliberal notions of success today, here Thecla’s story is read as a narrative of refusal in its own time. Paul’s muddled encounters with Thecla, steeped in the Corinthian exchange, it concludes, are central to this ancient tale about being, and improbably surviving, outside and at the edges of imperial, civic, and familial frames.
This article addresses a significant lacuna in Markan studies—and specifically in scholarship on Mark 5:1–13—by reading the exorcistic encounter between Jesus and Legion through the hermeneutic lens of Louis Althusser’s interpellation theory. The article shows how interpellation provides a compelling way to account for the dynamics of exorcism displayed in this passage, especially in regard to the power of proper names. That is, moving beyond a superficial ascription of Jesus’ exorcistic success to his ability to obtain Legion’s name, this article utilizes interpellation theory in order to show why this onomastic obtainment is such a game-changer and how the process of requesting another’s name effectively interpellates Legion, securing the spirit within an ideology of relative weakness vis-à-vis Jesus. Alongside this analysis of Mark 5:1–13, this article also discusses the comparative relevance of certain pgm spells (e.g., I.222–31, iv.2251–53, 2343–45, and viii.1–63) and the enduring role of interpellation in contemporary hierarchies.
The Third Isaianic discourse revolves around the theme of Jerusalem/Zion. Researchers have dwelt upon the theme from either a historical plane or an eschatological plane, however, its role as a counter-imperial motif has not been explored. In view of the imperil milieu of the prophetic discourse, this paper argues that Jerusalem is presented as a strategic trope to counter the imperial discourse. Jerusalem in the biblical discourse represents a theological as well as a national symbol. It also symbolizes the colonized self of the Yehud community reeling under the Persian empire. At the same time, Jerusalem and the temple display the narrow nationalistic agenda of the Jerusalem establishment. The prophetic discourse of Trito Isaiah carves out an alternative space, a hybrid space that not only breaks the imperial supremacy but also disrupts the nationalistic hegemony of the Jerusalem establishment. The prophetic discourse imagines an alternative world that undercuts imperial definitions of life. In view of the unity of the book, the paper also brings out that the counter-imperial texture of the theme of Jerusalem in Third Isaianic discourse can be located in the complex growth and the final shaping of the book of Isaiah.