The Neurobiology of the Apostle's Life and Thought
Colleen Shantz addresses the role of religious experience in Paul's life and letters, demonstrating its importance in Christian origins.
While many readers of Paul's letters recognize how important his experience was to his life and thought, Biblical scholars have not generally addressed this topic head-on. Colleen Shantz argues that they have been held back both by a bias against religious ecstasy and by the limits of the Biblical texts: How do you responsibly access someone else's experience, particularly experience as unusual and debated as religious ecstasy? And how do you account responsibly for the role of experience in that person's thought? Paul in Ecstasy pursues these questions through a variety of disciplines - most notably neuroscience. This study provides cogent explanations for bewildering passages in Paul's letters, outlines a much greater influence of such experience in Paul's life and letters, and points to its importance in Christian origins.
Introduction; 1. What ecstasy?: an assessment of the misregard; 2. Paul's brain: the cognitive neurology of ecstasy; 3. Paul's voice: parsing Paul's ecstatic discourse; 4. Paul's practice: discerning ecstasies in practice; 5. The whole Paul: a short course in (non-deterministic) complexity.