FULLER dialogues: Sin, Spirituality, and the Self

How did the people of Ancient Israel move from believing they were moral agents capable of sinful acts––for which they could atone with sacrifices and other practices––to viewing themselves as corrupt from their origins, offensive to God in their very being? Carol A. Newsom, Charles Howard Candler Professor of Old Testament at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology, explores the reasons for this shift in their understanding of the self, as well as the resulting inner turmoil, and eventually, the spiritual ecstasy that became attainable because of it. Dr. Newsom delivered these lectures for the annual Payton Lectures in Spring 2019.

“The fundamental problem is not just sin, it’s sinful condition.”

+ Carol A. Newsom on locating sin not only in human action but in the human self.


+ Carol A. Newsom speaks about the shifting understanding of sinfulness and moral agency during Israel’s Second Temple period.

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Carol Newsom Response Panel Payton

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“We become different selves than we would be if we were equipped by different cultural resources.”

+ Carol A. Newsom explores how cultural practices and resources shape a society’s concepts of self, focusing particularly on the function of introspection in the Second Temple period.

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