St. Olaf College | News

Religion professor’s one-man play highlighted in Star Tribune

Apostle on the Edge
Associate Professor of Religion James Hanson ’83 portrays the apostle Paul in a performance of his one-man play.

As part of this year’s Minnesota Fringe Festival, St. Olaf College Associate Professor of Religion James Hanson ’83 is bringing the apostle Paul to life with what the Star Tribune calls “a welcome passion that makes this a good piece of theater.”

Hanson’s one-man play, Apostle on the Edge, illustrates the call, mission, and personal anguish that characterize one of Christianity’s most admired and controversial figures.

“Through a wrinkle in time, the apostle Paul comes to us on his last day of life to set the record straight: He is not anti-woman, anti-gay or anti-Semitic. He can’t understand how letters intended for early congregations became part of holy scripture, and he laments how his words have been used for centuries of anti-Semitism. He was, after all, a Jew himself,” notes the Star Tribune’s review of the play.

The paper’s theater critic adds that Hanson “portrays the apostle as a stammering, frenzied man (drawing evidence from Paul’s own writing) desperate to redeem his reputation.”

Hanson has devoted significant time to studying the apostle Paul, teaching courses about the apostle’s life and theology and leading several Interim trips to Greece and Turkey to visit the landmarks of Paul’s mission.

He first performed Apostle on the Edge in the fall of 2013. His last Minnesota Fringe Festival performance will be this Saturday, August 8, at the Ritz Theater.