Monthly Archives: June 2008

Two new Galatians releases for Logos

Today Logos put the Augsburg Commentary on the New Testament on prepublication. This includes the Galatians commentary of Edgar Krentz. This is quite a short commentary, combined as it is with commentaries on three other biblical books written by two other authors.

Edgar Krentz, Galatians in Galatians; Philippians, Philemon; 1 Thessalonians. Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 1985.

Logos also released a collection of SIL exegetical summaries which includes a volume on Galatians by Robert Stutzman. This is an interesting series which presents exegetical summaries taken from numerous commentaries. It provides a way to gain a quick overview of how various commentaries have concluded their exegetical work. This looks like a very valuable resource for those who own a lot of commentaries in Logos because they can look up the passage in SIL and then open up their commentaries for more detailed information.

Robert Stutzman, Exegetical Summary of Galatians. Exegetical Summaries; 22. Dallas: SIL International, 2006.

SBL 2008

As you are probably aware the annual SBL meeting is in Boston this year from November 21-25. The preliminary program book has been posted and there are several sessions involving Galatians.

Without further adieu here is a list of sessions:

  • SBL22-64 Intertextuality in the New Testament Consultation

1:00 PM to 2:30 PM
Theme: Exploring the Pauline Letters
James Carlson, Fuller Theological Seminary
The Juxtaposition of Deuteronomy 27:26 and Leviticus 18:5 in Galatians 3:10–13 (25 min)
Discussion (5 min)

  • SBL23-11 Biblical Law

Joint Session With: Biblical Law, Rhetoric and the New Testament
9:00 AM to 11:30 AM
Theme: The Rhetorical Use of Biblical Law in the New Testament and Related Early Christian Texts
E. P. Sanders, Duke University
Was Paul a Prooftexter? The Case of Galatians 3 (35 min)
Discussion (25 min)

  • SBL23-35 Pauline Epistles

9:00 AM to 11:30 AM
Martinus C. de Boer, Vrije Universiteit-Amsterdam
Pistis in Galatians (25 min)
Discussion (10 min)

De Boer’s Galatians commentary will be published on September 30 in the New Testament Library series and should be a big seller at the conference. I expect this to be an interesting session and for him to be a busy man

  • SBL23-44 Violence and Representations of Violence among Jews and Christians

9:00 AM to 11:30 AM
Brigitte Kahl, Union Theological Seminary
“Dying Gauls” and Christ Crucified: Reimagining the Galatian Hermeneutics of Self and Other (20 min)

Kahl has written a number of articles exploring Galatians in relation to feminist studies. This article seems to be a departure from that and will explore the portrayal of Gauls in Roman times and the relationship to Christ Crucified.

  • SBL23-137 Performance Criticism of Biblical and Other Ancient Texts Consultation

4:00 PM to 6:30 PM
Theme: Provoking Audience Action and Reaction
Bernhard Oestreich, Theologische Hochschule Friedensau
Oral Performance before a Split Audience: Letter Reading in Rome, Galatia, and Corinth (25 min)

  • SBL23-149 Use, Influence, and Impact of the Bible

Theme: The Use and Impact of Galatians: Reflections on Recent Research

Judith Kovacs, University of Virginia, Presiding
Judith Kovacs, University of Virginia, Panelist (10 min)
Tobias Nicklas, University of Regensburg, Panelist (20 min)
John Riches, University of Glasgow, Respondent (15 min)
Discussion (15 min)
Break (10 min)
Margaret Mitchell, University of Chicago, Panelist (20 min)
Martin Meiser, Universitaet des Saarlandes, Respondent (15 min)
Joseph Verheyden, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Panelist (10 min)
Discussion (35 min)

Unfortunately there is no abstract for this session but it will no doubt be interesting. John Riches’ commentary on Galatians in the Blackwell Bible Commentaries series was released this year: Galatians Through the Centuries ($99.95!). I’m sure it will be half off at the book booth but that still seems pricey.

  • SBL24-121 History of Interpretation

4:00 PM to 6:30 PM
Theme: Abrosiaster: The Great Anonymous of Latin Exegesis
Stephen A. Cooper, Franklin and Marshall College
“The Savior’s Cross Is the Jews’ Sin and a Curse upon Them”: Ambrosiaster on Galatians 3:13 (20 min)
Discussion (30 min)

Cooper will be examining Ambrosiaster’s anti-Jewish remarks linked to Galatians 3:13 such as the one in his title.

  • SBL 25-12 Feminist Hermeneutics of the Bible

9:00 AM to 11:30 AM
Theme: Showing Impact and Uses of Feminist Methodologies
Abigail April Redman, Vanderbilt University
The Allegory of Exclusion: The Shadow of Hagar on Paul’s Universal Message (? min)
Discussion (? min)

Redman asks how Paul can tell the allegory of the Gentile, female, slave Hagar when he has just made the statement that there is neither Jew nor Greek, male nor female, slave nor free (3:28). I will be interested to see how she fits this into the overall message of Galatians.

  • SBL 25-28 Use of Cognitive Linguistics in Biblical Interpretation

9:00 AM to 11:30 AM
Theme: Cognitive Takes on Contended Texts
Jesper Tang Nielsen, Copenhagen University
The Cognitive Structures of the Concept of Atonement (30 min)

Nielsen looks at the pre-Pauline traditions associated with Galatians 1:4.

For an abstract of each session visit the SBL website or wait for the program book to arrive in your mailbox.

Reformation Perspectives on Galatians 2:16

A recent article by Stephen Chester sheds some interesting light on the New Perspective on Paul in relation to the “New Perspective” that was implemented by the Reformers.

Stephen Chester, “When the Old Was New: Reformation Perspectives on Galatians 2:16.” Expository Times. 119:7 (2008): 320-329.

In this article Chester looks at three facets of the new perspective on Paul and interacts with them in relation to the Reformers view of Galatians 2:16. These three facets are Paul’s view on rejecting the “works of the law,” the use of the verb “to justify” relation to the question of Gentile/Jew inclusion in the people of God, and the translation of pistis Christou as the “faith in Christ” or the “faithfulness of Christ.”

He begins his endeavour, not with the Reformers, but with Erasmus, whose Paraphrase on Galatians was published in 1519. He shows how Erasmus broke with the traditional pattern regarding Galatians and paved the way for what followed. Much of what the Reformers wrote relates to whether or not “works of the law” includes just the ceremonies of the Roman church or the Law of Moses. He concludes that “Along with all other early Protestant interpreters he [Peter Martyr Vermigli] is convinced that Paul intends universal antitheses between the entire law and faith, not restricted ones between ceremonies and faith” (325).

Furthermore, although with regard to salvation by faith they differ, “In one respect, however, all are agreed, which is that 2:16 demonstrates that justification is by faith alone” (325). This opposes the Roman position which was that there is some merit attained through good works in response to divine grace. By the time of William Perkins (second half of the 16th Century) a Christian doing “works” is seen as an obligation in response to God’s grace. Chester labels this “a significant development” (327).

With regard to the last contemporary concern over whether the genitive should be translated as Christ’s faithfulness or our faith in Christ the Reformers and their Catholic opponents both accept that Paul meant our faith in Christ. Chester suggests due to their position that faith itself is a gift from God they felt no need to be cautious about the possibility that our role in placing our faith in Christ would be seen in opposition to God’s faithful actions.

The article is worth reading because as Chester says at the end, “The Reformers reach similar theological destinations to those sought by recent interpreters but travel by different routes” (329). Seeing the roots they took and their relationship to the Roman view can inform us today about the relationship our exegetical decisions have with contemporary events and scholarship.

One note regarding page 327, I would suggest the word “as” needs to be added: “Yet the other side of this exchange, so vital to Luther, of the believer’s receipt of Christ’s righteousness, is simply passed over [as] if it is not recognized in Galatians 2:20.” When I cut and paste the sentence there is an extra space between ‘if’ and ‘it’ so I’m not sure what happened in the editing.

Walter de Gruyter online

I discovered tonight that Walter de Gruyter is digitising their books and journals and making them available online. There are calling it the de Gruyter Reference Global. I was able to download a couple of Galatians articles that I didn’t have in pdf yet. So far they only seem to have the more recent issues up. I look forward to being able to download some of the older ZNW articles on Galatians.

Robert L. Brawley, “Contextuality, Intertextuality, and the Hendiadic Relationship of Promise and Law in Galatians.” Zeitschrift für die Neutestamentliche Wissenschaft und die Kunde der älteren Kirche. 93:1/2 (2002): 99-119.

Joel Willitts, “Isa 54,1 in Gal 4,24b–27: Reading Genesis in Light of Isaiah.” Zeitschrift für die Neutestamentliche Wissenschaft und die Kunde der älteren Kirche. 96:3/4 (2005): 188-210.

and a not directly related, but interesting examination of Simon Gathercoles’ work by Bruce Longenecker:

Bruce W. Longenecker, “On Critiquing the ‘New Perspective’ on Paul: A Case Study.” Zeitschrift für die Neutestamentliche Wissenschaft und Kunde der Älteren Kirche. 96:3-4 (2005): 263–27.

Diagramming Galatians for Logos

Last month the Logos blog provided a set of six sentence diagrams for Galatians done by Terry Cook. If you use Logos they are well worth downloading and having a look at. Cook spent a lot of time on this and includes grammatical notes from some major grammars. Jump over the link and download the zip file.

Cook followed the divisions of NA27 rather than chapter breaks:

Galatians 1
Galatians 2
Galatians 3:1-4:7
Galatians 4:8-5:1
Galatians 5:2-26
Galatians 6

If you have trouble installing them read the blog comments for some additional instruction.

St. Paul and Justification

Today Logos Bible Software posted a book on Galatians in their community pricing section.

Frederick Brooke Westcott, St. Paul and Justification: Being an Exposition of the Teaching in the Epistles to Rome and Galatia. Macmillan, 1913.

Community pricing is a neat concept because the more people who request a book, the lower the price. In fact I bet if every Christian in the world ordered it Logos would have to pay us to take it off their hands! Run over and request a copy so I can get it for $2.

Galatians and the Problem of Self Justification

Last month there was a conference on Galatians and the Problem of Justification at Desert Springs Church for their annual Clarus lecture. From May 2-4 Donald Carson and Michael Horton lectured on various topics related to this theme. For those of us who couldn’t get to Albuquerque, New Mexico they have provided the lectures online in MP3. Each scholar presented one lecture specifically related to Galatians:

Donald A. Carson, “An Apostolic Disputation and Justification: Galatians 2:11-21.”
Michael S. Horton, “Two Mothers, Two Mountains: Galatians 4:21-31.”

Be sure to visit their website for the panel discussions and other lectures on Romans 4; 3:21-6; Matthew 27:27-51.

Craig Keener on Galatians 4:15

Craig S. Keener, “Three Notes on Figurative Language: Inverted Guilt in Acts 7.55-60, Paul’s Figurative Vote in Acts 26.10, Figurative Eyes in Galatians 4.15.” Journal of Greco-Roman Christianity and Judaism. 5 (2008): 42-50.

I see that previous years of JGRChJ have been published by Sheffield Phoenix Press and are no longer available online so get it while you can!

In this article Keener provides short notes on these three passages (Acts 7:55-60; 26:20; Gal 4:15) in light of the tendency of rhetoricians to turn their accusers accusations against them. Galatians 4:15 states “What has happened to your sense of blessedness? I testify that if it were possible, you would have removed your eyes and given them to me.” Some scholars have argued from this (and “what large letters I write”; 6:11) that Paul had bad eyesight. Keener here argues that he is actually using a figure of speech. It is not meant as a literal reaction to meet his need but a hyperbolic expression meant to convey their devotion to him. Keener provides a number of parallels from Greek literature and one from Sifre Deutoronomy 131.1.4.

The note on Galatians is fairly short and stands or falls on the context of 4:13-15. Many scholars have seen v15 in relation to his reason for traveling to Galatia. Hence Keener says:

Because Paul has just remarked that a physical infirmity provided the occasion for that visit (Gal. 4.13-14), it might seem natural to infer that Paul’s ailment involved his eyes. But the offer of their eyes would express their sentiment whether or not related to the occasion for his visit, and it is questionable why an eye ailment would have provided the primary occasion for his preaching to them.

Keener’s conclusion thus stands on his approach to this question. He weighs the probabilities and concludes. “Paul is probably merely employing a familiar hyperbolic figure for an expression of sacrificial devotion.” As mentioned he provides some contemporary support, although Catullus (84-54 BC) and Petronius (27-60 AD) are Latin poets. On the whole, his conclusion is based more on speculation than hard fact and need not be seen as conclusive. Keener could be right but more evidence, specifically evidence regarding the use of plucking out one’s eyes as a gesture of devotion, needs to be gathered.

In the beginning

there was Paul. I wonder what Paul would write in his blog? I have been thinking of doing a Galatians blog for some time now. I finally decided that if I don’t start now I will miss too much good stuff so we are underway. I have been studying Galatians for ten years now, having studied it under Tony Cummins, Gordon Fee, and Sven Soderlund. This blog will contain mention of new journal articles and books on Galatians as they are produced and link to other Galatians posts around the Internet. Check back often as Galatians research seems to be never ending and it’s good exercise – as they say much study wearies the body (Ecc 12:12) and God knows most of us need more exercise! Yes he does!!