What did Paul mean by identifying himself as 'apostle to the nations' ? Davina C. Lopez finds the surprising answer in the way the Roman Empire depicted the relationship between conquering and conquered peoples in myths, inscriptions, and especially in the visual repertoire of statues and reliefs found in every Roman city. While Roman power was represented as aggressive and masculine, conquered peoples were systematically represented by images of helpless women.
Lopez uses this key to unlock the themes of Paul's apostleship in a gender-critical 're-imagination' of his mission. Tracing themes of conquest and domination throughout sources contemporary with Paul, Lopez shows that Paul's language of the nations would have been heard by his contemporaries as confronting the Roman ideology of power and expressing solidarity with defeated peoples. Apostle to the Conquered reveals the subversive heart of Paul's theology, reframing his 'conversion' in terms of 'consciousness', and his exhortations as a politics of the new creation.