August 19, 2021


Reading Paul in Prison: A Book Launch and Colloquium

Ryan Schellenberg’s book ‘Abject Joy: Paul, Prison, and the Art of Making Do’ will be the subject of an online conversation

Methodist Theological School in Ohio Associate Professor of New Testament Ryan Schellenberg will participate in an online conversation, “Reading Paul in Prison: A Book Launch and Colloquium,” at 7 p.m. Eastern time Sept. 28. The colloquium marks the publication of Schellenberg’s book Abject Joy: Paul, Prison, and the Art of Making Do, published by Oxford University Press.

He will be joined in a discussion of Paul’s letter to the Philippians by three scholars and theologians with extensive experience working alongside incarcerated persons. The group will discuss what prison tells us about Philippians and also what Philippians has to say about prison.

The event will be presented free of charge by the Theological Commons at MTSO. Advance Zoom registration is required and available here.

Here is a printable letter-size PDF poster for the event.

Schellenberg will begin “Reading Paul in Prison” with an overview of Abject Joy before inviting responses from his colleagues:

Douglas Campbell is a professor of New Testament and director of the prison program at Duke Divinity School. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Toronto. He has studied Paul intensively for 36 years and describes himself as very excited about what he takes Paul to be saying, and very frustrated about his widespread misrepresentation.

Willie Dwayne Francois III is assistant professor of liberation theology at New York Theological Seminary, where he also serves as director of the Master of Professional Studies Program at Sing Sing Correctional Facility. He holds a Doctor of Ministry degree from Candler School of Theology and currently serves as senior pastor at Mount Zion Baptist Church in Pleasantville, New Jersey.

Sarah Jobe is a prison chaplain through Interfaith Prison Ministry for Women and a prison educator through Duke Divinity School. She writes, teaches and ministers at the intersection of Bible, theology and the realities of mass incarceration. Her work can be found in Sojourners, Christian Century, Religions and Journal of Reformed Theology. She is a Th.D. candidate in practical theology and Hebrew Bible at Duke Divinity.

An MTSO faculty member since 2015, Schellenberg earned his Ph.D. from the University of St. Michael’s College in the University of Toronto, his Master of Arts in New Testament at Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary, and his BA at Canadian Mennonite University. His research seeks to ground reconstructions of early Christ groups in lived human experience by placing the ancient evidence in dialogue with contemporary ethnography.

Schellenberg's previous book, Rethinking Paul's Rhetorical Education, was awarded the 2015 F.W. Beare Award for an outstanding book in New Testament and Christian Origins by the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies.

Methodist Theological School in Ohio provides theological education and leadership in pursuit of a just, sustainable and generative world. In addition to the Master of Divinity degree, the school offers master’s degrees in counseling, practical theology, social justice and theological studies, along with a Doctor of Ministry degree.


Danny Russell, communications director, 740-362-3322