Rhetoric, Gender, Weakness, and Shame
: Paul’s somatic self-presentation in the Corinthian correspondence

  • Christiansen Daniel L

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy (awarded by OU/Aberdeen)


The apostle Paul’s presentation of his own physical body within the Corinthian
correspondence functions as a gender-nuanced argument for authoritative leadership that mirrors the humiliated and shameful glory of the crucified Christ. Paul is committed to exercising his authority only in keeping with weakness, lack of rhetorical power, and feminized shame. He boasts that his own servile and feminizing sufferings are patterned after those of Christ. Even the apostle’s apparently glorious experiences are accompanied by the infliction of suffering and the removal of an ability or right to speak. Lastly, his Sinai account demonstrates that even Paul’s boast of open speech and self-disclosure is implicated in a feminizing act of unveiling his own shame and weakness. Even as he argues for his superiority to Moses on the basis
of what at first glance appears to be a masculine apostolic boldness, the apostle’s status is called into question. For his boldness and openness of self-presentation habitually reveal Paul to be shamefully weak and socially feminized. Paul’s willing self-humiliation is predicated upon an insistence that in his body he will mirror the socially-gendered shame and weakness of the glorious and powerful crucified Christ.
Date of Award4 Nov 2015
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Edinburgh
SupervisorJason Maston (Supervisor), Michael Bird (Supervisor) & David Wenham (Supervisor)

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