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Bodies on the Verge: Queering Pauline Epistles
Joseph A. Marchal, editor
SemeiaSt 93
Publication Date
May 2019



A collection that resets the terms of interpreting the Pauline letters

Interpretation of Paul’s letters often proves troubling, since people frequently cite them when debating controversial matters of gender and sexuality. Rather than focusing on the more common defensive responses to those expected prooftexts that supposedly address homosexuality, the essays in this collection reflect the range, rigor, vitality, and creativity of other interpretive options influenced by queer studies. Thus key concepts and practices for understanding these letters in terms of history, theology, empire, gender, race, and ethnicity, among others, are rethought through queer interventions within both ancient settings and more recent history and literature.


  • New options for how to interpret and use Paul’s letters, particularly in light of their use in debates about sexuality and gender
  • Developing approaches in queer studies that help with understanding and using Pauline letters and interpretations differently
  • Key reflections on the two “clobber passages” (Rom 1:26-27 and 1 Cor 6:9) that demonstrate the relevance of a far wider range of texts throughout the Pauline corpus

Joseph A. Marchal is Associate Professor of Religious Studies (and affiliate faculty in Women’s and Gender Studies) at Ball State University. He is the author of Philippians: Historical Problems, Hierarchical Visions, Hysterical Anxieties (2014) and the editor of The People beside Paul: The Philippian Assembly and History from Below (2015).

Download volume front matter, including table of contents and introduction.

Download a printable publication sheet that you can put in your files or give to your librarian or bookstore.

Praise for Bodies on the Verge

The collection is never dull, the essays consistently push the reader in unexpected directions, and the scholarship produced herein is of high quality. This combination of quality and novelty cannot be overstated; every single main chapter will prompt readers to consider something about the biblical text that they had not before. All those interested in queer readings of the Bible should immediately purchase this book or request their library do so.

Christopher B. Zeichmann, Review of Biblical Literature