What is it about Paul's letters that women find so uninviting? Is it that they have been chauvinistically interpreted by a patriarchal tradition? Or is the person whose literary identity stands behind them really a misogynist? What is it about the texts that conveys these often subtle but strongly sensed disincentives to women? Do women who read the Pauline texts have to choose between reading them as scripture and reading them as women? Sandra Hack Polaski introduces readers to the letters and world of Paul, encouraging a critical appreciation of Paul and his writings that doesn't require a choice between commitment to the scriptures or integrity as a modern feminist.
In conversation with the leading interpreters of Paul and considering possible responses to Paul- conformist, resistant, rejectionist, and transformational-Polaski forges her own theory of how to interpret Paul. She reads, emphasizes, and reinterprets overlooked, neglected, misintegrated, or differently interpreted Pauline texts, making visible the invisible or obscured women in Paul and challenging the accepted readings. Polaski uncovers both the ideologies behind the text and the ideologies the text seeks to suppress. She traces the trajectories toward which the texts point even if Paul did not fully follow the trajectories to their logical end. Such a program leads Polaski to find God's New Creation as the operative center of Pauline thought and thus the focal point for each of the trajectories rising from Paul's thought.