Monthly Archives: March 2010

John K. Goodrich on Paul’s metaphor in Gal 4:1-2

John K. Goodrich, “Guardians, not Taskmasters: The Cultural Resonances of Paul’s Metaphor in Galatians 4.1-2.” Journal for the Study of the New Testament. 32:3 (2010): 251-284.

In this article Goodrich seeks to show that Paul is not referring to the Exodus motif in the use of this metaphor. He defends the traditional position that this is to be read against the backdrop of Graeco-Roman guardianship laws. The full abstract, and article if you have access, is available here.

Warfield on the date of Galatians

Rob Bradshaw announced today that he has put the table of contents for JBL online and has made available a number of pre 1915 articles and will add about 20 post 1915 articles. Among those articles already posted is one by B.B. Warfield on the date of Galatians:

Benjamin Breckinridge Warfield, “The Date of the Epistle to the Galatians, and Certain Passages in the First Epistle to the Corinthians.” Journal of the Society of Biblical Literature and Exegesis. 4:1-2 (1884): 50-64.

Thanks Rob and let’s just say I hope to see some more Galatians articles available soon. Hint, hint!

Michael Whitenton on Πίστις Χριστοῦ again

Today Michael announced the availability of his article on πίστις Χριστοῦ in the apostolic fathers. Thanks for making that available Michael! Without giving away any of his argument he concludes:

“This evidence does not end the long-standing debate over the meaning of the πίστις Χριστοῦ passages in Paul; yet, I believe it does go a long way to assuage the deafening silence that has been used to drown out a subjective construal.”

I’m not sure how he quantifies “deafening silence” as my bibliography of this topic includes dozens of articles supporting the subjective understanding but perhaps he means within his context.

Michael R. Whitenton, “After ΠΙΣΤΙΣ ΧΡΙΣΤΟΥ: Neglected Evidence from the Apostolic Fathers.” Journal of Theological Studies. ?:? (2010): ?-?.

This article follows on the heals of another article on this subject co-written with Michael Bird:
Michael F. Bird and Michael R. Whitenton. “The Faithfulness of Jesus Christ in Hippolytus’s De Christo et Antichristo: Overlooked Patristic Evidence in the Πίστις Χριστοῦ Debate.” New Testament Studies. 55:4 (2009): 552-562.

UPDATE March 17, 2010. Loren Rosson III posted a lengthy interaction with Whitenton’s article today.

Galatians 3:10 explained in context

Matthew P. Larsen is asking for an explanation of Galatians 3:10 in light of the “old” and “new” perspectives on Paul. He asks three specific questions:

(1) How does the sentence Ὅσοι γὰρ ἐξ ἔργων νόμου εἰσίν, ὑπὸ κατάραν εἰσίν explain (γὰρ) Paul’s claim in Gal 3.6–9?
(2) In what sense does the citation γέγραπται γὰρ ὅτι ἐπικατάρατος πᾶς ὃς οὐκ ἐμμένει πᾶσιν τοῖς γεγραμμένοις ἐν τῷ βιβλίῳ τοῦ νόμου τοῦ ποιῆσαι αὐτά explain Paul’s claim that those out of the works of the law are under a curse?
(3) What mindset or activity was Paul primarily combating in Galatia in this verse?

So far James McGrath has responded. Here are my thoughts on these verses without referring to new and old categories.

1. Paul’s claim in 3:6-9 is that Abraham was saved by believing God, not by following any particular rules (Law). Those who want to be like Abraham need to live according to faith, not law. God’s proclamation to Abraham saw the Gentiles being justified by faith, not Law. If you (Galatians) want to be blessed like Abraham (and who doesn’t want that?) you had better rely on the same method he did – faith. He then makes the point in 3:10f and following that the Law brings not justification or blessing but curse and death.

2. He quotes Deut 27:26 to back up this statement. It has been debated how Deuteronomy relates to his point but it is obvious that Paul believed it supports his contention. His point is that the Law is designed to show who is cursed, not who is righteous. This statement in Deut concludes a section of sins with the statement “Cursed is anyone who does not uphold the words of this law by carrying them out.” It says nothing about “Blessed and righteous is the person who does uphold the words of this law.” This is made clearer with 3:19. Paul then contrasts this curse with a positive statement about being righteous, Hab 2:4 which states that the righteous shall live by faith (Gal 3:11).

3. Paul was combating the advocacy that Gentiles obey the Law in order to live righteously. The reason the agitators were so successful is that people naturally desire rules to live by. It is like in Lk 10:29 when the “lawyer” sought to justify himself by demonstrating that he had fulfilled the law’s requirement to love God and neighbour. Jesus soundly rebuked him with the parable of the good Samaritan. Paul is rejecting a similar attitude in Galatia. Justification comes by faith and results in walking in the Spirit and exhibiting the fruit of the Spirit, living by the Law results in slavery to rules that only reveal human sinfulness and ultimately lead to avoiding the appearance of evil such as listed in 5:19ff but does not change a heart of sin.

I know I have given a much longer answer than Dr. McGrath but I hope you find it concise enough and helpful.

James Kelhoffer’s article available online

In the better late than never category, I received an email today informing me that James Kelhoffer had left a response on another blog to a request for his article. Obviously the WordPress “Notify me of new posts via email” system needs a little speed boost as he left his reply on Feb 15. Without further ado:

James A. Kelhoffer, “Suffering as Defense of Paul’s Apostolic Authority in Galatians and 2 Corinthians 11.” Svensk exegetisk årsbok. 74 (2009): 127-143.

is available from his website. He would appreciate any interaction or feedback you might have.

Michael Wolter on Galatians 4:21-31 and Romans 9-11

Just out is an article on Galatians 4 and Romans 9-11. Much has been written about Paul’s use of the analogy/allegory between Hagar/son of slavery and Jerusalem above/son of freedom. It will be interesting to see what Wolter has to say.

Michael Wolter, “Das Israelproblem nach Gal 4,21-31 und Röm 9-11.” Zeitschrift für Theologie und Kirche. 107:1 (2010): 1-30.


Scot McKnight on legalism and Galatians

Scot McKnight began a series today on “Liberation from Legalism” detailing “how Galatians [explains] that we are liberated from ‘legalism.'”

McKnight is the author of the Galatians volume in the NIVAC series.