Saint Paul as the enactment of Biesta’s Pedagogy of the Event: What are the implications for contemporary educators?

Year: 2018

Author: Victory, Michael

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Paul of Tarsus, (Saint Paul), experienced a life changing event (Badiou 2003) while journeying on the road to Damascus circa 33 CE. This event introduced a new ontological belief into the world, resurrection, which Paul translated into a new way of living in the material world. Paul travelled extensively forming communities, ekklēsia, who adopted this new way of living. These became communities of emancipation where people interacted as equals in a commitment to agapē relationships. People were emancipated from the rigid social, economic, legal and religious hierarchies that structured their existing lives.
Badiou’s exposition of the resurrection event provides the philosophical foundation for a materialist narrative of Paul’s life. In this new narrative that employs the three dimensional narrative inquiry model (Clandinin & Connelly 2000), Paul is constructed as an educator. In this new narrative the ekklēsia are communities in which teaching and learning are constitutive of the group and Paul engaged in teaching practices. The teaching practices he applied and the structures (Giddens 1984) he created were implemented with intent and purpose and can be rightly described as a pedagogy. Drawing on Badiou and Mead (2002) this paper argues that the event experienced by Paul is not limited by historical time but has relevance for contemporary educators. Paul is posited as the enactment of what Biesta has theorised as a pedagogy of the event (2013).
The philosophical foundation for the paper is the education theory of Dewey and those that he has influenced, especially Biesta. The paper argues for education as an encounter that promotes emancipation, freedom and an increase in agency for the student and teacher. The purpose is to bring about change in the structures and systems of society to enhance social cooperation. This is a teological or forward-looking conception of education that was foreshadowed in the actions of Paul, 2000 years ago.
The paper utilises Biesta’s pedagogy of the event and offers Paul as an enactment of what he has theorised. The paper contends that a pedagogy of the event offers students the possibility of transforming their sense of self where the teacher creates a place and relationships in which event is fostered and recognised. The paper concludes with a concise explanation of a pedagogy of the event that challenges the outcomes based approach that is dominating formal education.  The paper invites action research by practitioners on implementing a pedagogy of the event.