Pauline conversion and the resurrection narrative
Atkinson, Amanda Catherine
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The purpose of this thesis is twofold: 1) To explore various psychological models of conversion; and 2) To establish how Paul’s experience of the resurrected Jesus relates to these conversion models. The issue of conversion is not a straightforward issue, but one with diverse schools of theory and methodology. There appear to be seven primary topics of dispute among scholars of conversion: definition, pathology, individual type, age, free will, science v. religion, and methodology. After briefly defining each of these subtopics of conversion, I take a closer look at the self-reported conversion of Paul – specifically, how Paul presents his own pre-conversion conscience in Galatians 1:11-17 and Philippians 3:2-11 – to show how his break with the Jewish community was in fact the product of many years of unpacking experiences in the development of a complex system of beliefs. Finally, I will address the psychoanalytic allegation of conversion as pathology and how Jung in particular can offer a more positive and useful take on Paul’s experience of the resurrected Jesus.