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The Real Paul

Recovering his Radical Challenge

March 9–10, 2018

Salt Lake City, Utah

Paul dominates early Christianity. He is the credited author of half the New Testament and a main character in the book of Acts. But many writings attributed to Paul did not come from his pen. Who then was the real Paul? Was he the great convert to Christianity, the first anti-feminist, the one who found the Torah too great a burden? All of these portraits hide Paul from our vision. This seminar is about finding the real Paul for today.

Photo of Bernard Brandon Scott

Bernard Brandon Scott (Ph.D., Vanderbilt University) is the Darbeth Distinguished Professor Emeritus of New Testament at the Phillips Theological Seminary in Tulsa, Oklahoma. A charter member of the Jesus Seminar, he is the author of several books including The Real Paul (2015) and The Trouble with Resurrection (2010).

Photo of Perry Kea

Perry Kea (Ph.D., University of Virginia) is Associate Professor of biblical studies at the University of Indianapolis, Indiana. He has been a Fellow of the Jesus Seminar since 1987, in the course of which he has contributed several papers including "New Testament Literary Genres," "Listening for Luke's Voice," among others.


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Program Details

The Historical Paul

Brandon Scott and Perry Kea

A slow rumbling has been building up among New Testament scholars. A new Paul is beginning to emerge–one who differs from the Paul of Augustine and Luther, who is no friend of traditional orthodoxy, who may prove an even more radical challenge to church and society than did the historical Jesus. Who is this historical Paul?

Friday 7:30–9 pm

Paul and Judaism

Brandon Scott

Like the real Jesus, the real Paul was not a Christian. The real Paul experienced a call, not a conversion. He spoke of Jesus as an expression of God›s faithfulness. He related the faithfulness of Jesus to that of Abraham, and he thought this concerned the nations. To get Paul right, we need to hear him within the context of first-century Judaism and in light of his vision concerning the nations.

Saturday 9:30–10:30 am

Life in the Anointed

Perry Kea

The central concern for Paul is not faith in Jesus but the faithfulness of Jesus. The main way for community members to live faithfully is to live in the body of God’s Annointed. This is not an emphasis on individualism. Paul stresses practices and relationships where the “foolishness” of God challenges the normal hierarchies of power.

Saturday 11 am–noon

Paul and the Empire: Then and Now

Perry Kea and Brandon Scott

Paul lived in the Roman Empire. He knew that the nations Rome conquered were depicted as weak and shamed. For Paul, these very images relate the nations to God›s Annointed, who was also weak and shamed. Living in an Empire then, like now, involved ways of finding solidarity and of expressing resistance to power.

Saturday 1:30–2:30 pm

Question & Answer

Brandon Scott & Perry Kea

Saturday, 3–4 pm


Utahns for Religious Scholarship

Local Contact and Information

All events at:

Rowland Hall
843 Lincoln Street
Salt Lake City, UT 84102

For local information, contact:

Rev. Charles Robinson


All Sessions

  • Individual Rate $75
  • Pre-registration Rate (by Feb 23) $60
  • Additional Family Members $50

Single Sessions

  • Friday Evening Lecture $20
  • Saturday Morning Workshop $30
  • Saturday Afternoon Workshop $30

Refunds are available until two weeks before the event if requested in writing, minus a $10 administrative fee. No refunds will be given after that date.


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