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Galatians Report Outline

Galatians Report Outline

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Published by Eugene

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Published by: Eugene on Feb 12, 2012
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On the Letter to the Galatians
 The Author:St. Paul Himself (1:1) supported by the fact that when compared to other letters, this letter isunmistakably of Paul’s style. But there is always room for doubt. In the postscript (6:11) thereseems to be an amanuensis (expert scribe/secretary). But the fact that he has a secretary issomething that is not uncommon during Paul’s time and therefore gives weak claim that Paulotherwise wrote the letter.Date when this was written:Before deciphering the date, we can see in the introduction several events that happenedbefore Paul writing the letter, namely: Crucifixion, Paul’s Pre-Christian Period, Paul’s call, fromArabia to Damascus, to Jerusalem after ‘three years’, journey to Syria and Cilicia, journey to Jerusalem after ’14 years’, the Conflict at Antioch, collection of the poor in Jerusalem,founding of the Galatian Churches and the invasion by opponents. Arguably, the said eventsare rather ambiguous. Basing the date from approximations and drawing from the last event,the most likely date would fall into the beginning of the middle period of his mission. Withthis, we can safely guess that the date the letter was written is between 50 to 55 AD. To whom the letter was addressed to:What Paul refers to as the Galatians were the inhabitants of the central plateau in Asia Minor. The Galatians were from the Celtic tribes who in 279BC pushed into the Balkans, Thrace, Thessaly and Macedonia. After settling there, they were hired as mercenaries to raid otherlands, to their advantage that they could grab lands of their own. When the Romans came,they helped the latter in conquering Asia Minor. With this they became Hellenized thenRomanized. With this Paul seems to be addressing the letter either to the Celt’s descendantsor to the Romanized ones, but since the letter’s composition seems to be well-made, heseems to have started the church or the leaders of it are aristocrats in the said area, since theletter was laden with terms relating to the law and freedom. Based on Paul’s encounter withthem, they have been liberated from their old polytheistic faith to a monotheistic one. For thearistocrats, this meant a freedom and a distinction from the ‘barbarians’. With this theirmorale boosted. This freedom the Galatians experienced is more importantly a religious andspiritual freedom, where they are free in Christ.Literary composition and function The letter can be classified as an ‘apologetic letter’. This genre can be seen as anamalgamation of both biographical and apologetic discourse, coming from Greek sources(Plato’s Pseudo-biographical account of Socrates’ Life and of other sources). Such a claim canbe based on the literary analysis of the composition of the letter. The body of the letter can beeasily separated from the epistolary brackets it has, making the brackets appear easilyrecognizable and separable. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that the brackets are notcoherent to the body, as seen in the conclusion (6:11-18), which can be labelled as theconclusion of the body, a part in a rhetorical speech.After some analysis, the function differs when this is seen as a letter compared to its functionbeing a letter to the Galatians. As a letter, basically, it is used as a means for communicationthat wishes to give a say about something, more specifically, as an apologetic letter, it carriesa certain message about an ongoing dispute. It is important to also see here the process thepropositions were formed, and future plans with regard to the argument. The addressed andthe sender are the primary communicators in the letter function, as it flows out toward theopponents, the cause of which the letter was made. Given the situation of a defender-defended vs. opponent, it seems to arise that Paul is the defender, the Galatians are defendedand the opponents as themselves. Since in a defense, it is important that there should berhetorical factors and oral modulations, Paul acknowledges the disadvantages of losing thesein writing a letter. In relation to this, we now come to the second function: the letter as aletter to the Galatians. In order to make up to the advantages of an oral defense he cut off, heput something supernatural in the letter to compensate for: a blessing for those who are loyalto the Pauline Gospel and a curse for those who do not. With this, even if one simply reads,Paul assures himself of the following and retention of those who follow the Gospel. Thisreveals something about grace in a basic level, the intervention of the Divine. With the Divine
 
function of the letter, it makes a ‘valid’ claim, in virtue of Paul being a spokesperson forChrist, for it to become a part of Scripture.What is the argument about? The legitimacy of the Galatians as being recipients of the Gospel (place here incident of theSyrophoenician woman in the Gospel) and of the legitimacy of Paul’s validity and viability of his teaching of the Gospel (recall Pre-Apostolic Paul/ Saul). This epistle can be seen as Paul’sfirst radical defense of his legitimacy as a preacher and his preaching of the ‘Gospel of uncircumcision’.Central Themes:Grace: As an overarching theme in Pauline letters, he emphasizes this in the letter in form of the entitlement the Galatians have to receive the Spirit. It reiterates that the Galatians,through their willingness to receive the Gospel and be converted, are eligible to receive invirtue of their volition.Freedom: This is the central theme of the letter in itself. Their freedom occurs in two levels.First, a theological freedom taught by the gospel, a freedom from sin through one’s willingeffort to change for the good and in believing in Christ. But the second level is moremundane, that by receiving a new life in Christ, they have become free from this ‘evil world’,free from its old customs, leaving the old Jew-Gentile distinction, making them a ‘newgenesis’. This freedom, can be seen as starting from the interior moving out to the exteriorand affecting their lives as a whole. In contrast to this, Pauls’ opponents provided a differentmean to attain freedom—Torah and circumcision. This is what Paul defends from the Spirit’srenewal in the Galatians. Coming from an argument of ‘origin’, Paul asserts the dependenceof the Torah on the spirit that inspired them to make the Torah. He even admits that theconversion of the Galatians could have not happened, but he uses this claim of illegitimacy tobe the trademark of Christianity, that God works even in the illegitimate.Here in this theme of freedom, we got our text: Gal 4: 21-31. The text: Analysis and Exegesis( Hans Dieter Betz,
Galatians: A commentary on Paul’s Letter to theChurches in Galatia
, Philadelphia: Fortress, 1979. 239-252):He uses the allegory of the two wives and their respective children as a Scriptural proof forthis legitimacy the Galatians are entitled to. This allegory is both an allegory and a typology(using historical figures eisegetically for the benefit of Christianity, or in safer terms, eventsare explained as parts/ messages in salvation history). As an allegory, it takes the surfacemeaning that reveals a deeper spiritual truth.Seeing this allegory, one can’t help but ask: Why does Paul place this allegory in the end of his defense of the Galatians? Or, having been placed in the end of his defense, what can theallegory and its placing contribute to the overall impact of the letter? With regard to thesecond question, seeing it in the context of the Letter as a defense, Paul seems to use theallegory as a last resort/ trump card for the argument of his legitimacy and the Galatians’legitimacy. But as some rhetoricians claim, an argument form example from an allegoryseems to be rather weak. But other rhetoricians claim that direct argumentation is weakerthan allusion, as the latter adds an enigmatic effect. In light of this, the allegory being a trumpcard is asserted.As for an exegesis, we begin from the address that Paul gets this allegory fromScripture, getting authority form it. But intentionally, he blurs out some details (Gn. 25:1-6)and emphasizes on the contrast between Isaac and Ishmael. With this he continues thecontrast to their mothers. This fits well the interpretation; having said supra that the Torahand worldly elements are forms of ‘slavery’ and that freedom is a freedom in Christ (2:4, 3:26-28).Paul takes the allegory a step further into the manner in which the sons were born. Heemphasizes that Ishmael’s birth is out of natural reasons and puts this against Isaac’s.CriterionIshmaelIsaacMotherHagarSarahMothers statusSlaveLegitimate wife

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