All Citizens of Christ: A Cosmopolitan Reading of Unity and Diversity in Paul’s Letters

Jee Hei Park, Fordham University


This dissertation construes Paul’s language of citizenship and unity in Philippians, 1 Corinthians, Galatians, and Romans in tandem with Greco-Roman cosmopolitanism, particularly put forward by Diogenes of Sinope, Philo of Alexandria, Plutarch, Epictetus, and Marcus Aurelius. By locating Paul’s notion of unity in the cosmopolitan discourses that concern how to attend to “the other,” I argue that Paul put forward a heterogeneous unity in which human differences are equally respected and embraced. For Paul, Christ believers, whose true citizenship is in heaven, become united on the grounds of common experience and practice (such as baptism and hospitality), and not by the nullification of their ethnic and social identities. The new identity engendered by heavenly citizenship is connectional as it relates one to fellow believers, and progressive as it moves such connection onward and outward from the ekklēsia. Loving fellow believers and extending love to “the other” is a way of living required of citizens of heaven. Such a dynamic of unity and human diversity was integral for the mission of Paul who proclaimed his evangelion on the inclusion of gentiles into true Israel.

Subject Area

Biblical studies|Ancient history|Classical Studies

Recommended Citation

Park, Jee Hei, "All Citizens of Christ: A Cosmopolitan Reading of Unity and Diversity in Paul’s Letters" (2019). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI22616809.