What is the African American biblical interpreter to do with the
letters of the Apostle Paul? New Testament scholar Dr. Lisa Bowens takes
aim at this question in her new book, African American Readings of Paul: Reception, Resistance, and Transformation.
In this interview, Sushama Austin-Connor talks with Dr. Bowens about
the inspiration behind this work, the “hidden figures” of African
American hermeneutics, interpretations of Paul that resist White
supremacy and racism, and more.
associate professor of New Testament at Princeton Theological Seminary,
earned a BS (cum laude), MSBE, and MLIS from the University of North
Carolina at Greensboro, and an MTS and ThM from Duke Divinity School.
She received her PhD from Princeton Theological Seminary. Her recently
published book, African American Readings of Paul: Reception, Resistance, and Transformation,
(Eerdmans) is the first book devoted solely to investigating a
historical trajectory of how African Americans have understood Paul and
utilized his work to resist and protest injustice and racism in their
own writings from the 1700s to the mid-twentieth century. Her previous
book, An Apostle in Battle: Paul and Spiritual Warfare in 2 Corinthians 12:1-10
(Mohr Siebeck), is a revision of her dissertation and examines Paul’s
ascent to the third heaven through a cosmic/apocalyptic lens. It traces
martial imagery in the letter and explores how this imagery facilitates
understanding Paul’s journey as an example of spiritual warfare.