Another review of Galatians Re-Imagined

Bookreviews.org has added a second review of Galatians Re-Imagined, this time by Eric Noffke. This book will also apparently be available for Logos Bible Software next month.

Brigitte Kahl, Galatians Re-Imagined: Reading With the Eyes of the Vanquished. (Paul in Critical Contexts) Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2009. 0800638646, 9780800638641.

One response to “Another review of Galatians Re-Imagined

  1. APOSTLE PAUL, RE-IMAGINED One Reader’s responses to GALATIANS RE-IMAGINED: READING WITH THE EYES OF THE VANQUISHED (Fortress 2010) by Brigitte Kahl

    RESPONSE NUMBER THIRTY-ONE TO Galatians Re-imagined: Reading with the Eyes of the Vanquished (Fortress 2010) by Brigitte Kahl

    (See: http://rbc-in-md6.blogspot.com/ )

    [. . . ]

    Sprinkled through Chapter Five, are citations to Biblical texts, put forward to bolster Professor Kahl’s argument that representatives of Diaspora Jews insisted to Paul’s messianic converts they they must accept circumcision.

    The circumcision requirement was the predicate, Kahl argues, to the risk posed by men perceived as deceptively benefitting from the Roman-Jewish accommodation, whereby the emperor was prayed for in the Jerusalem temple and the Jewish Diaspora was permitted to follow its own observances, exempt from participation in public emperor worship.

    Kahl offers several New Testament texts in support of these views.

    One citation is to chapters 13 and 14 of Acts, which are offered to the reader in their totality (note 63, page 355) as independent evidence of the situation Kahl has described, i.e., (p. 224) “portions of the Jewish population in Asia Minor negotiated rather successfully the compromise between Jewish otherness and civic and imperial integration, which brought them in some cases closer to the civic and imperial establishment in the cities.”

    [. . .]

    In these chapters, Jewish figures are portrayed as hospitable to Paul and his colleagues (13:5, 15, 42, 14:1) but also as inhospitable (13:45, 50, 14:2, 19). Similarly, local representatives of Roman occupation and official religions are likewise both hospitable (13:6-7, 12) and hostile (13:50), sometimes in apparent collusion with Jews, in demonstrating hostility to Paul (13:50, 14:5), but then again, sometimes joining with Jews in praise of Paul (13:44, 14:7, 13, 18).

    An allusion to Luke-Acts, especially if the subject under discussion is insistance by some that others accept circumcision, should include mention of Act 15:1, where it is stated that those Jews in the Diaspora, who are portrayed as arguing forcefully that Gentile messianists must be circumcised were “some men came down from Judea.”

    This reference ought not be overlooked.

    The fact that it is overlooked here serves to remind that the description of a course of events, teased out of Biblical texts, must remain cogent in the context of other relevant texts.

    [. . .]

    Mention of a text in Luke-Acts, it seems to me, requires placing a given citation in the context of Luke’s role as a writer. Does Luke, in this instance, give grounds for concluding that the Lucan statement(s) cited can be taken as a reference to actual events?

    Much of the work done on Luke-Acts in the past half-century or so has demonstrated that the writer of Acts, sequel to Luke, was interested in developing a chronology that was friendly to a Gentile mission as an already established fact.

    Acts reveals a greater freedom to pursue this objective, than is apparent in the earlier work, Luke, in the writing of which, Luke was constrained both by the existence of a prescribed “gospel” form and by the subject matter of the earlier work, the career and the mission of Jesus.

    Citations to Acts 13 and 14 need to be given with their context within Luke’s theological objectives as demonstrated elsewhere in Acts. A casual reference to these two chapters falls short, by not addressing Luke’s redactional role. This failing is compounded by the fact (see above) that these chapters present a quite varied picture of the interaction between Paul, Diaspora Jews, and local authorities.

    Further, any citation to Luke where the Apostle Paul is concerned, has to content with the (to me) well established conclusion that the writer of Luke-Acts, though an admirer of Paul, did not understand Paul and placed words in his mouth, which are quite foreign to Paul’s actual thoughts, expressed in the letters. If Luke felt free to compose speeches for Paul, did Luke also freely manipulate the context of those speeches?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s