In the last ten years or so, there has been a growing interest both in liberation readings of Paul within the biblical studies and theological guilds and in secular reappropriations of Paul by radical philosophers. Hence, I think that the time is perhaps ripe for a new presentation of the works of Paul: a volume that includes only the undisputed Pauline corpus, in a fresh translation carried out by biblical scholars of a liberation bent.
The volume would first of all need to downplay that traditional trappings of biblical texts: for instance, the chapter and verse breaks could be banished to the margins or even excluded altogether. It should obviously include introductions to each letter and an appropriate level of annotations, along with a general introduction laying out the overall mission and self-understanding of Paul. Ideally these would all proceed as though the “traditional” reading of Paul simply did not exist, though that may be difficult to pull off in practice — at the very least, the apparatus should avoid getting bogged down in “disproving” previous readings.
Naturally, this collection would wind up being pretty slim, so there might also be room for “background” texts from both Roman and Jewish sources, or at least comprehensive essays summarizing those sources. In this way, the volume would provide a ready-made framework for a course on “Paul and Politics” or something of the sort, increasing its usefulness and impact.
If successful, this edition of Paul’s works could pave the way for similar editions of other New Testament writings. For instance, the next volume could be a “political” presentation of Revelation, introduced and annotated along the lines of Elizabeth Schussler-Fiorenza’s commentaries thereon.
All of them, I think, should be unabashedly agenda-driven, with no attempt to give a “balanced” presentation of the scholarly field — traditional views are easy enough to come by, whereas it’s very difficult to get a fully-articulated liberation reading of the New Testament without delving into some pretty heavy scholarship. The ability to simply read selected New Testament documents from a liberation perspective would be a major advance.
What do readers think?