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Durham University

Department of Theology and Religion

Profiles

Dr Logan Williams

PhD Student & Teaching Assistant in the Department of Theology and Religion

Contact Dr Logan Williams (email at logan.a.williams@durham.ac.uk)

Current Research

My current research project, provisionally entitled Paul and the Poetics of Eros, explores Paul's letters in the context of Greek conceptions of eros—both the god and the emotion—in mythology, material culture, and philosophical discourseWhile earlier scholarship on Paul took Plato's dialogues as representative of all Greco-Roman views on eros, it is important to recognise not only that different definitions and conceptions of eros proliferated throughout the Greek literature but also that hellenized Jews responded in variegated ways to these ideas. My project situates Paul’s speech about divine and human love in the context of these debates. In particular, I highlight the connection between eros and visuality: in many Greek works, seeing the beauty of another brings one to experience eros; so also, I suggest, the visual demonstration of God’s love in Jesus is a performative act of beauty (χάρις) which brings those who see it to love God.

I have also been conducting preliminary research for a future monograph on priestly garments in the Hebrew bible, Second Temple Jewish literature, and Rabbinic literature.

Thesis

In my doctoral thesis, entitled Love, Self Gift, and the Incarnation: Christology and Ethics in Galatians in the Context of Pauline Theology and Greco-Roman Philosophy, I argued against the notion that Paul's configuration of prosocial behaviour (love) starkly deviated from the Greco-Roman philosophical/ethical tradition. Whereas it is often asserted that Paul's 'selfless' or 'self-sacrificial' love-ethic ('Agape') subverts the essentially 'self-interested' Greco-Roman ethicists ('Eros'), I contended that neither Paul nor these philosophers can be properly interpreted within the modern dichotomy between altruism and egoism. After providing a fresh reading of four key philosophers (Plato, Aristotle, Seneca, and Cicero), I used Galatians as a test case to explore Paul's christology and ethics as idealising not self-sacrifice but rather shared selfhood. On the basis of his incarnational christology, Paul encourages believers not to deny self-interest but rather to avoid setting the self in competition with others; his ideal for loving relationships is that the interests of the community would become essentially shared.

Research Interests

  • Letters of Paul
  • Eros in Greco-Roman Literature
  • Visual Studies
  • Priesthood (and Priestly Garments) in Ancient Judaism
  • Jewish Apocalyptic Literature

Publications

Edited book

  • Meron Gebreananaye, Logan Williams & Francis Watson (Forthcoming). Beyond Canon: Early Christianity and the Ethiopic Textual Tradition. Library of New Testament Studies. T&T Clark.

Chapter in book

  • Logan Williams (Accepted). 'Debating Daniel's Dream: The Synoptics and the Similitudes of Enoch on the Son of Man'. In Beyond Canon: Early Christianity and the Ethiopic Textual Tradition. T&T Clark.
  • Logan Williams (2019). 'Giving the Self through Death: A Crucified Christ as Gift in Galatians'. In Suffering and the Christian Life. Davies, Rachel & Kilby, Karen Bloomsbury T&T Clark. 23–32.

Journal Article

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