Home » Academic Programs » Theses and Dissertations » Diogo Roger D’Souza, S.F.X. (India)
Paul's Conversion Experience and His Post-Conversion View of and Relationship with Judaism

Diogo Roger D’Souza, S.F.X. (India)

Licentiate in Sacred Theology (STL) with concentration in Biblical Theology
Fr. Renato Repole, S.J., S.T.D. (Adviser)

Abstract:

Paul’s encounter with the risen Christ was a crucial event in his life and in the life of the early Church. His introduction to the Jesus movement and his apostolic mission to the gentiles triggered by this divine-human encounter, gave an added impetus to the growth of the Jesus movement. It is not uncommon to speak of this life-altering moment as the moment of Paul’s conversion. The appropriateness of the term conversion, however, has been a subject of theological considerations, and a definitive stand concerning the converted Paul’s religious orientation is problematic. There are two possible alternatives with respect to Paul’s conversion and its outcome. One, that Paul abandoned Judaism to pursue Christianity as his new religion, and the other, that he understood Christianity to be “a logical continuation and completion of Judaism.” This academic work while endorsing the latter alternative seeks to define Paul’s conversion and the nature of his relationship with Judaism in light of his conversion.

The problem lies in the question: What change did Paul undergo in his conversion? Did he change his religion? Or can it be called an intra-Judaism change in ideology? If the converted Paul remained a Jew, what do we make of his Torah critic and how do we reconcile Judaism’s emphasis on God’s election of a particular people with the converted Paul’s universal gentile mission? Would it not be proper to say that Paul discarded the narrow and exclusivist outlook of Judaism to embrace universal Judaism, devoid of differentiation?

To attain its objective, this thesis has employed the exegetical and the expository approaches. The exegetical study will include contextual, syntactical and semantical analysis of the Pauline (Gal. 1:12, 15-16a; Phil. 3:4b-11; 1 Cor. 9:1; 15:8-10; 2 Cor. 4:6) as well as the Lukan texts (Acts 9:1-19a; 22:1-21; 26:2-29) which recount the seminal event, Paul’s encounter with Christ. The central claim of the thesis is its definition of Paul’s conversion as a ‘conversion to Christ.’ The thesis then presents a converted Paul who is still rooted in the Jewish religion and whose new life ‘in Christ’ is shaped by his Jewish past. As a faithful Jew who has discovered life ‘in Christ,’ Paul undertakes the mission to show how the God of Israel offers the non-Jews a place in the much awaited future promised to Abraham’s descendants, through Jesus Christ.

Final Defense:

April 10, 2023, Monday, 2:00 p.m, at DLC 201, 2/F Dela Costa Bldg., LST

Board of Examiners:

  1. Fr. Herbert Schneider, S.J., S.T.D. (Second Reader/Principal Examiner)
  2. Fr. Renato Repole, S.J., S.T.D. (Adviser)
  3. Sr. Bernardita Dianzon, F.S.P., S.T.D., Ph.D.

Proposal Defense:

10 May 2022, Tuesday, 2:00-4:30pm, Online via Zoom (hosted by Mr. Juvel Borrel)

Board of Examiners:
1. Fr. Renato Repole, S.J., S.T.D. (Adviser)
2. Sr. Bernardita Dianzon, F.S.P., S.T.D., Ph.D.
3. Fr. Herbert Schneider, S.J., S.T.D.

Home » Academic Programs » Theses and Dissertations » Diogo Roger D’Souza, S.F.X. (India)
Loyola School of Theology