Our Mother Saint Paul

Paul is the New Testament figure that many Christians love to hate. To gain a new hearing for the apostle, Beverly Roberts Gaventa, professor of New Testament at Princeton Theological Seminary, offers a new way to think about him: by means of his mothering imagery. In particular, she focuses on the provision of milk in 1 Corinthians 3:1-2, the nurse caring for her own children in 1 Thessalonians 2:7, and Paul in “the pain of childbirth” in Galatians 4:19. A mother, Gaventa points out, is an authority figure, but a very different one from a father or patriarch. By imaging himself as mother, Paul offers his readers an intriguingly different way to consider authority.

 

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