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In: Social Memory Theory and Conceptions of Afterlife in Jewish and Christian Antiquity

While scholarly treatments of Paul rightly understand his cosmology and anthropology as interconnected, two disjunctive tendencies are seldom reconciled. On the one hand, there is a general trend toward viewing Paul’s cosmology through the lens of a Jewish apocalypticism that is dualistically configured; on the other, Paul’s anthropology is usually seen as essentially monistic. This paper redresses this dualism/monism incongruence. By locating Paul within an overlapping matrix of Jewish and Greek traditions of antiquity, we can see the apostle as working within a dualistic framework that is characterized by partitive interrelation rather than opposition. This argument is conceptualized and articulated with an eye toward notions of folk dualism, which cognitive scientists suggest is a natural by-product of human embodiment. Attention is specifically given to 1 Cor. 15:30–50, where Paul envisions a risen existence that is cosmologically and somatically fashioned vis-à-vis such integrative tension.


In: Biblical Interpretation
Why are conceptions of afterlife so diverse in both Jewish and Christian antiquity? This collection of essays offers explanations for this diversity through the lens of social memory theory. The contributors attempt to understand how and why received traditions about the afterlife needed to be altered, invented and even forgotten if they were to have relevance in the present. Select ancient texts conveying the hopes and fears of the afterlife are viewed as products of transmission processes that appropriated the past in conformity with identity constructs of each community. The range of literature in this collection spans from the earliest receptions of Israelite traditions within early Judaism to the Patristic/Rabbinic period.