Monthly Archives: April 2010

Steve Runge asks what is being contrasted in Galatians 2:11-14

My title pretty much sums up the story. He looks at the structure of these verses in light of the problem in Galatia. In light of what has been discussed lately with regard to James and the circumcision party I note this statement “Note also that the James Gang are recharacterized as ‘the circumcision,’ further confirming that the Jew/Gentile distinction is the crux of the matter.”

We finally come to ἀλλά in v. 14, which Levinsohn, Brannan and I understand to introduce something the [sic] corrects or replaces some proposition from the preceding context. The question is, what is it? From my view, the proposition that is corrected is v. 12, essentially hanging out with the Gentiles, then deciding it was wrong when distinguished guests arrived. One could argue that v. 13 should be included in the “proposition to be corrected,” but I view it as being an ancillary result of the core issue with Peter. Had he not withdrawn, there is a good chance the others (EVEN Barnabas!) would not have withdrawn either.

Brannan is Ric Brannan, also of Logos Bible Software, who has written extensively on the use of ἀλλά. Head on over for the rest of the post.

Debbie Dunn on Pleasing God or Pleasing People

Biblica has posted its latest issue and it includes an article on Galatians. I see that they have changed their presentation to graphics which preserves the formatting but prevents searching. I’m kind of surprised that they don’t just give us pdf files but I suppose they are trying to prevent them from being widely distributed.

Debbie Hunn, “Pleasing God or Pleasing People? Defending the Gospel in Galatians 1–2.” Biblica. 91:1 (2010): 24-49.

More BibSac articles online

Rob Bradshaw has now posted BibSac volumes 11-20 and included is:

Haratio Balch Hackett, “Remarks on Renderings of the Common Version (In the Epistle to the Galatians).” Bibliotheca Sacra 19:73 (1862): 211-225.

You might also find this article on Paul interesting:

George P. Fisher, “The Apostle Paul, a Witness for the Resurrection of Jesus,” Bibliotheca Sacra. 17:67 (1860): 620-634.

“Vain” in Galatians 2:21

Peter Spitaler, of Villanova University, will present at the SBL International meeting in July on, “‘Biblical Greek’ in Galatians 2:21? The Dubious Case of δωρεάν.” You can read the abstract over on the SBL website.

HT and HT

Van Voorst on the lack of a Thanksgiving in Galatians

The latest issue of JBL has the following article:

Robert E. Van Voorst, “Why Is There No Thanksgiving Period in Galatians? An Assessment of an Exegetical Commonplace.” Journal of Biblical Literature. 129:1 (2010): 153-172.

Galatians 3:7, discourse considerations and text-critical judgments

Steve Runge of Logos Bible Software uses Galatians 3:7 as an example to show “how discourse considerations can inform text-critical judgments.”

The two options available to textual critics are:
NA27: γινώσκετε ἄρα ὅτι οἱ ἐκ πίστεως, οὗτοι υἱοί εἰσιν Ἀβραάμ.
Alternate: γινώσκετε ἄρα ὅτι οἱ ἐκ πίστεως, οὗτοι εἰσιν υἱοί Ἀβραάμ.

I’ll let you surf over to read his reasoning but here is his conclusion:

If anything, it provides more support for the NA27 reading since it is the dis-preferred reading, the one more likely to have been corrected by a later hand (as appears to be the case from Sinaiticus). However it illustrates what is at stake in such decisions. It is not just a matter of one little word inconsequentially being swapped with another. Such changes can radically alter our understanding of where Paul was pounding the pulpit.

Stephen Carlson has also weighed in on the issue.

RBL review of Michael Bachmann’s Anti-Judaism in Galatians?

Review of Biblical Literature has posted Kevin McCruden’s review of

Michael Bachmann, Anti-Judaism in Galatians?: Exegetical Studies on a Polemical Letter and on Paul’s Theology. Translated by Robert Brawley. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2008 pp. xiii + 234. $45.00. 0802862918, 9780802862914.

BibSac online

Bibliotheca Sacra vols 1 – 10 (1844 – 1853) have been posted online. There is one article available on Galatians so far:

Haratio Balch Hackett, “Analysis of the Argument in the Epistle to the Galatians.” Bibliotheca Sacra and Theological Review. 5:17 (1848): 97-102.

Also possibly of interest:

E. P. Barrows, “The Alleged Disagreement Between Paul and James.” Bibliotheca Sacra and Theological Review. 9:36 (1852): 761-782.

Much more on Galatians 2 and the agitators

As previously mentioned, Richard Fellows has written an interesting piece on Paul’s relationship to the Jerusalem leadership in which he argues that both sides supported Gentiles not having to be circumcised but this was misunderstood by the Galatian church. He has posted again in response to my desire to know how this would work considering that the agitators were “sent from James” who was a Jerusalem pillar. In this response he relies partly on Stephen Carlson’s argument that the textual variant at 2:12 should be read as “he came” rather than “they came” which Fellows argues “makes it probable that the men from James had arrived in Antioch before Paul’s visit to Jerusalem.” Loren Rosson III also wrote on this issue at that time although he arrives at a different conclusion.

Also read the current response of Rosson and Fellows recommends the summary of his argument by Steve of Undeception. I also see that Stephen Carlson has a post asking for input on the meaning of 2:11.

I think that’s enough reading for one day :). Enjoy!

Richard Fellows on the background of Galatians

Last Thursday Richard Fellows posted about the claims of the Galatian agitators. Contrary to popular belief they were not sent from James but were in opposition to the Jerusalem position, which was the same as Paul’s. He states his thesis up front:

“I will argue here that the agitators had been saying to the Galatians,

“‘You should be circumcised because scripture requires it. Paul knows this, but he taught you the opposite because he was a loyal envoy of the Jerusalem church leaders (who oppose circumcision).'”

He makes three points in his article:

a) Both Paul and the Jerusalem church leaders believed that Gentiles should not be circumcised.
b) The agitators (understandably) believed that Paul believed that Gentiles should be circumcised, and that he had spoken against circumcision only out of loyalty to the Jerusalem church leaders. The agitators therefore thought that Paul was on their side.
c) Paul’s authority was not seriously under attack in Galatia. Paul had been misunderstood, not maligned.

Fellows reasons well and takes into account some of the data and suggests points where his theory is better than the traditional one. However, he fails to adequately explain Gal 2:11ff, particularly the reason why Peter pulled back from fellowship with Gentiles: “For before certain people came from James, [Peter] used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group.” If James and Peter do not represent Jerusalem then I don’t know who does because as Paul mentions, they along with John are the esteemed pillars (2:9). It also reduces the problem to one of circumcision but although this was the most visible sign of the issue it was only peripheral to the central matter, which is a separation of the people of God based on both physicality and practice (circumcision, days, 3:28). Is Fellows suggesting that they mistakenly thought Paul was merely representing Jerusalem on all of these issues? What gospel had he preached on his previous visit? Why had he opposed Peter to his face (indicative of opposing the Jerusalem leadership)? In order for Fellows’ argument to work the Galatians have to be woefully misinformed about the gospel Paul preached to them and out of the loop concerning what is happening in Jerusalem. Neither seems probable, especially since he can appeal to what they formerly knew/agreed with.

Fellows provides us with something to think about but so far he has me asking more questions than what he was answered. It is a work in progress so we’ll have to wait for the next installment.

P.S. If Richard or any other readers think I have misread and/or misrepresented his position please let me know.

UPDATE, April 9, 2010 Richard has posted twice more, addressing my primary question and adding more information about Paul’s dilemma in writing Galatians.