Embracing and contesting tradition and identity

Drawing on Paul for framing “Anabaptism at 500”


  • Gordon Zerbe Canadian Mennonite University


Paul, Anabaptism, 500 years, tradition, identity


The entire Bible is arguably a complex expression of the constant process of constructing, interpreting, transmitting, promoting, and reworking received tradition, as it intersects with changing ecological, material, political, demographic, and cultural conditions. At some critical moments, the normally incremental process explodes into dramatic and disruptive transformations. Paul (also known in Scripture as Saul) embodies and represents one of these massive transformations. As a figure, Paul is himself also “traditioned” (transmitted to and received by us) in more than one version.

Author Biography

Gordon Zerbe, Canadian Mennonite University

Gordon Zerbe is professor emeritus and senior scholar in biblical and theological studies at Canadian Mennonite University. From January to June 2024, he is a visiting professor at Duta Wacana Christian University in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. He is author of Philippians in the Believers Church Bible Commentary series, among other works.