Department of Religious Studies

Late Antiquity Workshop: "Peter's 'Hypocrisy' and Paul's: Two 'Hypocrites' at the Foundation of Christianity?"

Mon, September 12, 2011 | Union, Texas Governor's Room

5:00 PM

A lecture by Margaret Mitchell (University of Chicago)

In an infamous passage in his Letter to the Galatians (2:11-14), Paul called out Peter as a 'hypocrite.'  This passage, especially when read in light of Paul's own appeal to himself as 'all things to all people' in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23, was to cause deep trouble for later Christian interpreters, who sought to defend their movement against charges from outsiders that it had a cracked and unstable foundation in dual 'hypocrites.'  This lecture will introduce this 'pagan' critique and the cultural force it had, and the various solutions to the inherited dilemma from their scriptures that were offered by patristic authors (Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, Jerome and Augustine).  In light of this context, turn to a sustained analysis of an untranslated homily by John Chrysostom, hom. in Gal 2:11 (In faciem ei restiti), which addresses not just the hypocrisy of Peter and Paul, but also the sticky problem of the hypocrisy of the Christian who reads this text approvingly as Paul's "in your face" to Peter.  As we shall see, Chrysostom does this by engaging in a convoluted pretense of his own.

Margaret Mitchell is Professor of New Testament and Christian Literature at the University of Chicago. Her research and teaching span a range of topics in New Testament and early Christian writings, with particular focus on in their relationship to the wider Greco-Roman world and literary culture in which they were composed, as well as in the legacies of those texts as sacred scripture for Christian communities in later antiquity and beyond.

Dr. Mitchell is the author of Paul and the Rhetoric of ReconciliationThe Heavenly Trumpet: John Chrysostom and the Art of Pauline Interpretation, and (with Rowan Greer) of The "Belly-Myther" of Endor: Interpretations of 1 Kingdoms 28 in the Early Church. She is also editor (with Frances M. Young) of The Cambridge History of Christianity, Volume 1 (Origins to Constantine). Recent articles include "Origen, Celsus and Lucian on the 'Dénouement of the Drama' of the Gospels," "Looking for Abercius: Reimagining Contexts of Interpretation of the 'Earliest Christian Inscription,'" and "Le style, c'est l'homme: Aesthetics and Apologetics in the Stylistic Analysis of the New Testament."

Sponsored by: the Department of Religious Studies, the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, and the Department of Art History

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