Trinity Explores

Apostle Paul: Oppressor or Liberator?


You are invited to Trinity Presbyterian Church’s Trinity Explores with Dr. Luke Timothy Johnson, a free lecture series about the Apostle Paul.  


The Apostle Paul has been celebrated as the heart of the New Testament and of Christian theology and has been excoriated as the evil genius whose words have oppressed Jews, women, fighters for social justice, and those who engage in same-sex love. He is as much hated as loved. In fact, Karen Armstrong calls him the Apostle "we love to hate." These two presentations pose the question whether Paul is best understood as a negative or positive figure, as one who oppresses or one who liberates, and why.


Dr. Luke Timothy Johnson is Candler School of Theology’s Robert W. Woodruff Professor Emeritus, Emory’s most distinguished endowed chair. A noted scholar and an award-winning teacher, Johnson taught at Yale Divinity School and Indiana University prior to arriving at Candler in 1992. His research concerns the literary, moral and religious dimensions of the New Testament, including the Jewish and Greco-Roman contexts of early Christianity (particularly moral discourse), Luke-Acts, the Pastoral Letters, and the Letter of James.


A prolific author, Johnson has penned 31 books, more than 70 scholarly articles, 100 popular articles and nearly 200 book reviews. His 1986 book, The Writings of the New Testament: An Interpretation, now in its third edition, is widely used as a textbook in seminaries and departments of religion throughout the world. A decade later, Johnson made national headlines with The Real Jesus: The Misguided Quest for the Historical Jesus and the Truth of the Traditional Gospels (HarperOne, 1996), the first book to systematically challenge the Jesus Seminar’s controversial claims, among them that Jesus said only 18 percent of what the Gospels attribute to him.


In 2011, Johnson won the prestigious Louisville Grawemeyer Award in Religion, designated for highly significant contributions to religious and spiritual understanding, for his book Among the Gentiles: Greco-Roman Religion and Christianity (Yale Univ. Press, 2009), which proposes a new framework for analyzing early Christianity in its religious, social and historical contexts. He received the Catholic Press Association’s 2012 Catholic Book Award in Scripture for his book Prophetic Jesus, Prophetic Church (Eerdmans, 2011), which reveals the vision of Jesus and the church in Luke and Acts.A former Benedictine monk, Johnson is a highly sought-after lecturer and has made more than 175 academic presentations. He is also a member of several editorial and advisory boards and a senior fellow at Emory University's Center for the Study of Law and Religion.


Childcare is provided for infants – 5th graders in Room A134, between the Play Place and Kitchen; reservations are not required. Prior to Trinity Explores, supper is available in Williams Hall from 4:45 to 6:30 pm. Cost is $8 per adult, $5 per child.

Questions? Contact Sarah Wikle, swikle@trinityatlanta.org.