Marko Pavlič

Date of Award


Document Type



Santa Clara : Santa Clara University, 2023.

Degree Name

Licentiate in Sacred Theology (STL)


Jean-François Racine


2 Corinthians is considered one of the most personal among Paul’s undisputed letters. In a reconciling tone, Paul shares with the Corinthian churches his apostolic endeavors for the sake of the Gospel, offering hints of his sufferings and resilience. This research aims to read Paul’s sufferings in 2 Corinthians through the lens of trauma studies, particularly the concept of resilience. The paper uses an interdisciplinary approach by applying trauma theory as a hermeneutic to identify the ground and source of Paul’s ability to be resilient. The internal and external resources of Paul’s resilience are embedded in his relationship with Christ (prophetic call) and his community (coworkers).

As a result, the catalogs of hardships in 2 Cor 4:8-9, 6:4-10, 11:23-12:10., function as a memoir of Paul’s resilience. The hardship catalogs prove Paul’s paradoxical resilience based not on his but God’s power. Moreover, the catalogs appear also as a sort of trauma narrative. Paul’s truth-telling of his suffering and weakness aims to defend his authentic apostleship in Corinth. However, by bouncing back, Paul does not depict himself as a Stoic sage but rather as a resilient apostle of Jesus Christ who boasts of weakness, entirely relying on God’s power. Finally, the paper argues that using the concept of resilience is a powerful way for people who are experiencing trauma and suffering to be inspired by the figure of the apostle Paul in finding their voice and resources - the “why” that allows you to bear any “how” – as Nietzsche once put it.

Available for download on Saturday, February 10, 2024