Book: Critical Theory and Early Christianity
Chapter: 14. Paul Exposed: Reading Galatians with Judith Butler
This chapter offers an engagement of Judith Butler’s work in Bodies that Matter and, through a reading of Galatians, questions Pauline scholarship in two directions: (1) it proposes a way out of a binary reading of Paul, and (2) it affirms the necessity of a queer critique of readings of Paul. After introducing Butler’s work, it looks at the strategies that Paul uses to produce subject and abject spaces, with a focus on the role of the law in Paul’s rhetoric and the gender boundaries that are drawn by Paul’s rhetoric, particularly in terms of masculinity. The interaction with Butler highlights the fact that approaches which try to figure out whether Paul is progressive or rather conservative do not sufficiently consider the rhetorical and strategic dimensions of his letters.