What is the relationship between the presence and absence of Christ in Paul's letters? For Paul, these two aspects of his relationship with Christ can be expressed simultaneously. That is, the Christ in whom Paul dwells (for example, Phil 1:1) is the Christ whom Paul longs to depart in order to be with (Phil 1:23). This essay argues that for Paul the absence of Christ is a function of his ongoing humanity and possession of a body that is both localizable and distinct and distinguishable from believers. The essay proceeds by (1) overviewing the seeming tension between the presence and absence of Christ in Paul's letters, (2) examining more carefully the motif of the absence of Christ, (3) examining two texts where Paul portrays the body of the exalted Christ as both human and discrete from believers. Finally, (4) I examine two more texts where Paul specifically expresses the absence of Christ in bodily terms.

The text of this article is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.