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Book: Philosophy and the End of Sacrifice

Chapter: 10. Sacrificial Subjectivity: Faith and Interiorization of Cultic Practice in the Pauline Letters

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.28081


Against the backdrop of anti-pagan Christian imperial policies during the 4th century, Hans Ruin draws attention to the core of the Christian canon: the letters of Paul. While taking its lead from Stroumsa’s overall interpretative scheme concerning the transformation and internalization of sacrifice during and after the time of Christ, as essentially a transformation within Jewish culture itself, the analysis differs when it comes to the specific role and meaning of the Pauline letters. These canonical documents for Christianity, notably Romans, Hebrews, and First Corinthians, are interpreted as decisive expressions of precisely this inner critical transformation of Jewish spiritual culture in the direction of an
internalized sacrifice. They also became the cornerstone for the emergence
of a new “sacrificial subjectivity.” The analysis critically engages with Hegel’s understanding of Christianity, and also revokes Foucualt’s and Hadot’s work on the ancient culture of care for the self. Finally it acknowledges the work of Derrida, thus building a bridge to the last section of the book.

Chapter Contributors

  • Hans Ruin ( - hansruin) 'Södertörn University'