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Journal of the Bible and its Reception

Managing Editor: Kraemer, David / Marsengill, Katherine

Ed. by Black, Fiona C. / Oekland, Jorunn / MacDonald, Nathan / Ocker, Christopher

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Destabilizing Masculinity: Paul in the Book of Acts and Beyond

Brittany E. Wilson
Published Online: 2015-11-06 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jbr-2015-0013


In the book of Acts, Luke adapts masculinity according to different narrative contexts, and in the process, ultimately ends up destabilizing masculine norms. To demonstrate Luke’s depiction of an adaptable, yet destabilizing, masculinity, this article focuses on two key episodes involving Paul: (1) Paul’s conversion as recounted in Acts 9, 22, and 26, and (2) Paul’s transition from “Saul” to “Paul” in Acts 13 and its early reception history. In this brief foray into Acts and beyond, we shall see that, according to Luke, being a “man” of God involves reneging self-control and serving a persecuted “Lord”.

Keywords: masculinity; Acts; Paul; Saul; conversion; call; names; apologetic; Judith Butler; social-constructionist


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About the article

Corresponding author: Brittany E. Wilson, Assistant Professor of New Testament, Duke University Divinity School, Durham, NC 27708, USA, e-mail:

Published Online: 2015-11-06

Published in Print: 2015-11-01

Citation Information: Journal of the Bible and its Reception, Volume 2, Issue 2, Pages 241–261, ISSN (Online) 2329-4434, ISSN (Print) 2329-440X, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jbr-2015-0013.

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