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Paul's Summons to Messianic LifePolitical Theology and the Coming Awakening$
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L. Welborn

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780231171311

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231171311.001.0001

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Awakening (C)

Awakening (C)

Chapter:
(p.23) 3 Awakening (C)
Source:
Paul's Summons to Messianic Life
Author(s):

L. L. Welborn

Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:10.7312/columbia/9780231171311.003.0003

This chapter examines the process that Paul images as “awakening” by excavating the antecedent stage of consciousness that his description invokes: namely, sleep (hupnos). While moral lethargy and even corruption and depravity are often represented as sleep in ancient literature, there is a palpable density and gloominess about such images in the literature of the first century c.e.. The chapter turns to Seneca's Hercules Furens, where he images the “sleep” of his contemporaries as the “languid brother of hardhearted Death,” from whom fearful humans “gain knowledge of the long night” that is to come. It suggests that when Seneca and Paul's allusions to sleep are correlated with evidence provided by archaeology, a picture emerges of the violent and dehumanizing forces by which sovereign power was constituted and reconstituted in the early Empire. From these forces, flight into unconsciousness was the natural response.

Keywords:   Paul, awakening, consciousness, sleep, Seneca, Hercules Furens, unconsciousness

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