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CULMINATION OF PAUL'S ARGUMENT TO THE GALATIANS: GAL. 5.1-6:17 Frank J.

Matera
Saint John's Seminary Brighton, MA 02135, USA

In recent years a number of significant articles and commentaries1 have focused upon Paul's letter to the Galatians. While many studies have dealt with the autobiographical material2 of chs. 1-2 and Paul's intricate arguments concerning the law3 in chs. 3-4, few have been concerned with the material in thefinalchapters of this letter, 5-6.4 Furthermore, when the section is discussed, exegetes often fix their attention upon individual texts such as S.14 ('For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself" ') or 6.2 ('Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ').5 In my view, one of the reasons that Galatians 5-6 has played such a minor role in the recent discussion of the letter has to do with the assumptionsometimes hidden, at other times overtthat Paul's theological arguments are confined to chs. 1-4 while the material of 6 5-6 is primarily ethical and exhortative. Thus, although these chapters may be important for Christian life, they are not perceived as essential to Paul's fundamental argument supposedly made in 1.14.32 or 1.1-5.12. This assumption, however, encounters a major difficulty, since it is precisely in chs. 5-6 that Paul explicitly takes up the question of circumcision for thefirsttime (5.1-12; 6.11-17). Although the issue is presupposed earlier in the letter, and Paul refers to the circumcision of Titus in 2.3-5, it is not until chs. 5-6 that he actually warns the Galatians of the dangers involved if they accept circumcision. The thesis of this essay is simple. Gal. 5.1-6.17 forms the culmination of Paul's argument to the Galatians, the point he has intended to make

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from the beginning of the letter the Galatians must not submit to circumcision.7 Thus, although these chapters contain a great deal of moral exhortation, they should not be viewed exclusively as paraenesis. They are the climax of Paul's deliberative argument aimed at persuading the Galatians not to be circumcised. If this thesis is correct, Paul employs the paraenesis of these chapters to support his argument and bring it to its culmination. Not only is circumcision a danger to the Gentile Christians of Galatia, but those who accept it cannot be led by the Spirit (5.18). Consequently they will not produce thefruitof the Spirit (5.22). ' Problems Posed by Gal 5-6 Two problems have emerged time after time in the study of Gal. 5-6: the starting point for Paul's moral exhortation and the function of the chapters within the total letter. If these chapters contain paraenetic material, where does the paraenesis begin? In an article dealing expressly with this question, Otto Merk8 notes that exegetes have suggested at least six different beginnings for the paraenesis of Galatians (4.12; 4.21; 5.1; 5.2; 5.7; 5.13). Some propose 4.12 ('Brethren, I beseech you, become as I am,forI also have become as you are') because it contains thefirstin a series of imperatives and a summons to imitate Paul's ethical behavior. Others favor 4.21, the beginning of the Hagar/Sarah allegory, with its emphasis uponfreedom.Many point to 5.1 ('ForfreedomChrist has set usfree;stand fast therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery') because of its imperative and the particle . But others contend that 5.1 is either a transition verse or the conclusion of the Hagar/Sarah allegory; thus they see the beginning of the section in the stern warning of 5.2 ("Now I, Paul, say to you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you'). Wilhelm Ltgert9 argued that Paul wasfightingtwo groups of opponents at Galatia (Judaizers and libertines) and saw the beginning of the paraenetic section at 5.7 ('You were running well; who hindered youfromobeying the truth?'). Finally, a great many commentators advocate 5.13 since the Apostle there makes such a stern warning against libertinism ("For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not use yourfreedomas an opportunity for the flesh, but through love be servants of one another'). Merk argues that all of the proposed starting points, except 5.13, belong to the earlier part of Paul's theological argument begun at 3.1.

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Consequently, by a process of elimination, he concludes that 5.13 is the beginning of the paraenesis. Merk's analysis is helpful for understanding the problem, but it seems to rest upon the presumption that the final chapters of Galatians form a paraenetic section distina from Paul's earlier theological argument. At no point does he consider whether the material following 5.13 might also be part of Paul's theological argument I suggest that the search for a starting point of a purely paraenetic section is ill-advised, as the variety of scholarly opinion suggests. I am not asserting that there is no moral exhortation in these chapters. As I will argue below, Paul employs the paraenetic material of this section in his argument to persuade the Galatians not to accept circumcision. But I am cautioning against viewing any section of these chapters as purely paraenetic in nature. If the starting point of the alleged hortatory section has proven difficult to determine, the function of these chapters within the total letter is no less problematic. J.H. Ropes understood the difficulty when he wrote: Extensive ethical instruction is introduced (5.13-6.10) which, if merely pastoral, is hardly in place in this letter and distinctly weakens Paul's main contention in behalf offreedom,while, if it is a rebuttal directed against the judaizers' misrepresentations, it is strangely devoid of any indication whatever of its purpose.10 Why does Paul introduce moral exhortation into a letter intended to defend the freedom of the Galatians from the yoke of the Law? If we suppose that Paul was arguing against Judaizers, would not such material play into their hands? That is, in prescribing rules and regulations, is Paul not conceding that there is no moral life apart from the Law? Commentators have generally taken one of two tacks in order to solve this problem. Earlier in this century, Ltgert and Ropes proposed that Paul was fighting on two fronts at Galatia. On the one hand, he had to deal with agitators who were pressing the Galatians to accept circumcision and the Mosaic Law, while on the other hand, he had to contend with a faction of Spirit-filled libertines who outdid Paul in their total rejection of the Law. According to this view, the paraenetic material is directed against this libertine wing within the
community.

Though intriguing, the solution of Ltgert and Ropes has not received wide acceptance since there is little solid evidence from the

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letter that Paul was dealing with two groups. Furthermore, it is incomprehensible that Paul would argue against Spirit-filled libertines by telling them that if they walk by the Spirit they will not gratify the desires of the flesh (5.16). The warning of 5.13 ("For you were called tofreedom,brethren; only do not use yourfreedomas an opportunity for theflesh,but through love be servants of one another') is directed at those who have not yet tasted the flli benefit offreedom,rather than at Spirit-filled libertines. Most commentators, therefore, take the line that Paul introduces moral exhortation at this point to warn the Galatians against abusing theirfreedomor to show them thatfreedomfromthe Law does not necessarily lead to libertinism.11 While this approach makes better sense of the text, it continues to separate chs. 5-6 from what is perceived to be Paul's theological argument developed earlier. Thus chs. 5-6 are not seen as integral to Paul's argument. By contrast I will argue that the chapters are not only integral to Paul's argument, but are its culmination. The Argument of Chapters 5-6 A reading of Galatians might suggest to some that with the allegory of Hagar and Sarah (4.21-31), Paul has completed his theological argumentation.12 Through a series of arguments he has shown the necessity of faith rather than works of the Law (3.1-14). He has explained the relationship of the law to the promises made to Abraham (3.15-29). He has related the Law to the period of humanity's infancy (4.1-11). He has appealed to the friendship of the Galatians (4.12-20) and reminded them that they belong to a line of freedom symbolized by Isaac (4.21-31). In sum, Paul has identified observance of the Law with slavery and the period of humanity's infancy and opposed it to the promise made to Abraham. It might well seem that Paid has made his theological point. Despite this impressive line of argumentation, Paul has not yet dealt with the question of circumcision, nor has he explained the new life of the Christian apart from the Law, without the benefit of circumcision. To be sure the circumcision question has been in the background (2.3-5), but Paul has not explicitly stated that the Galatians must refuse curcumcision. The reason is clear. Before Paul can raise the question of circumcision, he must show the Galatians that they are no longer under the Law, that the Law belongs to the period of their infancy (4.1-11). Only after he has dealt with the Law

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can he concern himself with the most dramatic expression of the Law's observance, the outward mark of circumcision. Several commentators have recognized this point and have concluded that 5.1-11 is the climax of Paul's argument rather than the beginning of the paraenetic section. However, in my view they have not always seen the intimate connection between 5.1-11 and what follows. The remaining material is not merely paraenesis detached from theological argumentation. It is an expansion and development of Paul's theological argument To appreciate this point it is helpful to note that the material most commonly referred to as paraenesis (5.13-6.10) is situated between two sections in which Paul provides the Galatians with reasons why they should not accept circumcision (5.1-12 and 6.1-17), thereby enclosing the paraenetic material between two forceful arguments against accepting circumcision.13 5.1-12 5.13-6.10 6.11-17 reasons for not accepting circumcision paraenetic material reasons for not accepting circumcision

Furthermore, several literary parallels between 5.1-12 and 6.11-17 suggest that this bracket effect is not accidental.14 5.3 6.13a 5.6 6.15 I testify again to every man who receives circumcision () that he is bound to keep the whole law ( ). For even those who receive circumcision (oi ) do not themselves keep the law ( ). For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision ( ) is of any avail, but faith working through love. For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncir cumcision ( ), but a new creation. But if I, brethren, still preach circumcision (), why am I still persecuted ()? In that case the stumbling block of the cross ( ) has been removed. It is those who want to make a good showing in thefleshthat would compel you to be circumcised (), and only in order that they may not be persecutedforthe cross of Christ ( ).

5.11

6.12

Given the similarities between 5.1-12 and 6.11-17, the following

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questions may be raised. What is the relationship of the intervening paraenetic material to these arguments against circumcision? Does this material support the line of argumentation? If so, perhaps the entire section, 5.1-6.17, should be viewed as the culmination of Paul's argument that the Galatians must not be circumcised. At this point an examination of the text is necessary. The Text 1. First Warning against Circumcision (5.1-12) In 5.1-12 Paul explicitly argues against circumcision for the first time. How significant this is may be seen by recalling the argument of 3.6-18. Although Paul employs the example of Abraham to show the Galatians that they are justified apart from the Law, he does not refer to Abraham's uncircumcised condition to bolster his position as he does in Rom. 4.9-12. In Galatians Paul reserves his comments about circumcision for his concluding section. Paul's logic in the section is almost syllogistic in character. Verses 2-6 contain a number of inchoate arguments which might be developed as follows. v. 2 Christ is of no advantage to believers who turn to circumcision. You are seeking circumcision. Therefore, Christ will be of no advantage to you. The circumcised must keep the whole Law. You seek circumcision. Therefore, you must keep the whole Law. Those who wait for the hope of righteousness depend upon faith. You are putting your hope in circumcision and the Law. Therefore, you have fallen from grace, you are severed from Christ because you wish to be saved by the Law.

v. 3 w. 4-6

In verses 7-12 Paul tries to dissuade the Galatians from circumcision by reminding them of their original calling (5.8), by threatening the agitators) (5.10,12), and by pointing to the example of his own life (5.11). It was God who called the Galatians (1.6), but now they are in danger of falling from the one who called them (5.8) by accepting circumcision. Nonetheless Paul remains confident that they will be persuaded by his arguments (5.10). As for the agitator, he will bear the judgment (5.10). Finally, Paul responds to those who say that he is still preaching circumcision. The preaching of the

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cross, apart from circumcision, brings persecution. But Paul is persecuted. Therefore, he is not preaching curcumcision, and there is no need for the Galatians to seek it. Although much of the argumentation in 5.1-12 is not fully developed, Paul's line of thought isrigorouslylogical If circumcision could have saved the Galatians, there would have been no need for Christ (cf. 2.21; 3.21). By seeking circumcision, the Galatians threaten to sever themselves from the salvation offered in Christ (5.2,4). 2. The Paraenesis (5.13-6.10) The question now arises: What relationship is there between Paul's arguments against circumcision (5.1-12) and the paraenetic material of this section? In what way, if any, does this section develop Paul's argument? For many commentators this material seems detached from, or loosely connected with, its context. Joof Smit has even argued that Gal. 5.13-6.10 was not originally part of the letter, but is a later addition.15 In my view, Paul's warning in 5.13 that the Galatians should not allow their freedom to provide afootholdfor the flesh ( ) has unduly controlled the understanding of this section for commentators, as if Paul were withdrawing thefreedomhe granted earlier. To be sure, Paul has specific conduct in mind when he addresses the Galatians (5.15,26; 6.1). These warnings are not merely general guidelines. But the point of the paraenesis is more than a simple call to ethical conduct; it is Paul's attempt to show the Galatians that life according to the Spirit results both infreedomand a good moral life. Freeedom from the Law need not issue in license, and a lack of circumcision does not mean an inability to fulfill the Law.16 To the contrary, Paul argues that the only way in which the Gentile converts of Galatia can produce thefruitof the Spirit is by walking according to the Spirit The text may be divided in two parts: 5.13-24 and 5.25-6.10. a. 5.13-24. In 5.14 Paul tells the Galatians that the whole Law is fulfilled in one word. Paul's choice of expression, vi , stands in contrast to the warning of 5.3 that those who accept circumcision must do the whole law, .17 Clearly, Paul is developing die argument against circumcision mounted in 5.1-12. There he said that the circumcised Galatians will be responsible to d all of the prescriptions

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of the Law ( ). Here he says that uncircumcised Galatians, living by the Spirit, fulfill the Law in its totality ( ) through the love commandment (5.14), what Paul calls in 5.6, "faith working through love'. In w. 16-24, Paul sets out two paths which the Galatians can walk: the way of theflesh() and the way of the Spirit (). In v. 18, he chaws a bold contrast between being led by the Spirit and being under the Law ( ) which suggests that being under the Law is also living according to theflesh.The important point is that one cannot be both led by the Spirit and under the Law. One must choose. If the Galatians choose circumcision, they will fall under the Law (5.3); they will not be able to produce thefruitof the Spirit. But if they are led by the Spirit, they will produce the Spirit's fruit, against which there is no law (5.23). By way of summary, in w. 13-24 Paul's references to fulfilling the whole Law (5.14), the opposition between being under the Law and being led by the Spirit (5.18), and the statement that there is no law against thefruitof the Spirit (5.23) serve to sustain Paul's argument in 5.1-12 that circumcision is of no avail. If the Galatians are circumcised, they must carry out all the prescriptions of the Law. Being under the Law, they are not led by the Spirit and cannot bear thefruitof the Spirit. b. 5.25-6.10. Thisfinalsection is more specific than the first Paul offers precise instructions to guide the Galatians in their community affairs. These exhortations, however, should not be detached from the wider context of Paul's argument. As in the first part of the paraenesis, Paul continues to make his argument against circum cision. In 5.25 Paul returns to his theme of walking by the Spirit (5.16) and being led by the Spirit (5.18). If the Galatians want to Uve by the Spirit, they should follow the Spirit's lead ( ). In 6.1 he addresses the Galatians as o ('you who are spiritual'). It is evident that the conduct described in the following verses is not ordinary ethical conduct but behavior which characterizes those led by the Spirit: the uncircumcised who believe in Christ. In 6.2 Paul returns to his earlier theme of fulfilling the Law (see 5.14; contrast 5.3). If one who is led by the Spirit bears the burdens of a fellow Christian, such a one fulfills the law of Christ ( ). Whatever the specific meaning of the phrase, 'the law of Christ',18 the important word for our purposes is

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'fiilfill*. In contrast to the circumcised, who must carry out all the prescriptions of the Law, the uncircumcised believer isfreeto fulfill Christ's law by bearing another's burden. In w. 7-10 Paul, draws a contrast between sowing to the flesh, which leads to corruption, and sowing to the Spirit, which leads to eternal life (6.8). In light of the wider context, sowing to the flesh seems to imply trust in the rite of circumcision.19 If the Galatians, having believed in Christ, now turn to circumcision, they will reap a harvest of corruption. By way of summary, 5.25-6.10 also functions as a support for Paul's argument in 5.1-12 against circumcision. If the Galatians follow the lead of the Spirit, they will support each other's burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ But this is only possible if they refuse to sow to theflesh,that is, place their trust in circumcision and the observance of the Law. 3. A Second Warning against Circumcision (6.11-17) 6.11-17 returns to the question of circumcision. Paul begins by analysing the motives of the agitators. They areforcingthe Galatians to be circumcised in order to avoid the persecution which results from preaching the cross, a message which makes circumcision superfluous. By contrast, according to 5.11 Paul is being persecuted precisely because he no longer preaches circumcision. He refuses to nullify the scandal of the cross.20 In 6.13 Paul points out that even those who are circumcised do not keep the Law.21 Earlier, of course, he warned the Galatians that if they accepted circumcision they would be responsible for carrying out all the prescriptions of the Law (5.3). The argument of 6.12-13 is easily summarized. The agitators operate from hypocritical moti vation, therefore do not follow them. Furthermore, even if the Galatians are circumcised, they will not be able to keep the Law. So why undertake the burden? In w. 14-16 Paul contrasts himself with the agitators and lays down a fundamental principle. While the agitators want to make a good showing in the flesh (6.12), Paul's concern is to boast in the cross (6.14). The decisive point is no longer circumcision, or the lack of it, but a new creation (6.15). Those who walk by this rule ( ) are the Israel of God. Paul's dictum that neither circumcision nor the lack of it counts for anything, but being created anew in Christ, recalls his earlier statement in 5.6, Tor in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is of any avail, but faith

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working through love'. Furthemore, his blessing upon all who walk () by this rule echoes 5.25 (*If we Uve by the Spirit, let us also walk [] by the Spirit'). This parallelism suggests that the rule () which Paul has in mind is walking with the Spirit and refusing to depend upon circumcision. Paul's final argument may be summarized asfollows.Become as I am. My only boast is in the cross of Christ. Do not worry about circumcision. Walk according to the Spirit, and you will be a new creation. The relationship of this material (6.11-17) with Paul's earlier argument against circumcision (5.1-12) suggests that the last section is intended to recall the first and provide a final and definitive argument against circumcision. Furthermore, these two sections serve as brackets for the paraenetic material and so draw that material into the argument against circumcision. Conclusion This essay has argued that chs. 5 and 6, and the paraenetic material within them, are not a mere appendix to Paul's theological argument but the culmination of it. Having discussed the roles of the promise to Abraham and of the Law in chs. 3-4, the Apostle comes in chs. 5-6 to the point toward which he has been aiming: the Galatians must not accept circumcision. These chapters, and the paraenetic material they contain, are integral to Paul's argument. They prove that one can Uve an honorable moral life apart from circumcision and the Law, and they mount a powerful argument to persuade the Galatians not to accept circumcision. Indeed, for the Galatians, walking by the Spirit, apart from the Law and circumcision, has become the only way to lead such a life.
NOTES 1. CK. Barrett, Freedom & Obligation: A Study of the Epistle to the Galatians (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1985); Hans Dieter Betz, Galatians: A Commentary on Paul's Letter to the Churches in Galatia.) Philadelphia: Fortress, 1979); F.F. Bruce, The Epistle to the Galatians: A Commentary on the Greek Text (NICNT; Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 1982); C.B. Cousar, Galatians (Interpretation; Atlanta: John Knox, 1982); G. Ebeling, The Truth of the Gospel: An Exposition of Galatians (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1985); F. Mussner, Der Galaterbrief (HTKNT 9; Freiburg: Herder, 1974). 2. J.D.G. Dunn, The Relationship between Paul and Jerusalem according

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to Galatians 1 and 2', NTS 28 (1982), pp. 461-78; and The Incident at Antioch (Gal 2.11-18)', JSNT18 (1983), pp. 3-57. 3. T.L Donaldson, The "Curse of the Law" and the Inclusion of the Gentiles: Galatians 3.13-14', NTS 32 (1986), pp. 94-112; J.D.G. Dunn, 'Works of die Law and the Curse of the Law (Galatians 3.10-14)', NTS 31 (1985), pp. 523-42; H. Hbner, Law in Paul's Thought (Studies of the New Testament and its World; Edinburgh: T. & T., Clark, 1984); E. Larsson, 'Paul: Law and Salvation', NTS 31 (1985), pp. 425-36; J.L Martyn, LawObservant Mission to Gentiles: The Background of Galatians', SJT 38 (1985), pp. 307-24; H. Risnen, 'Galatians 2.16 and Paul's Break with Judaism', NTS 31 (1985), pp. 543-53; Risnen, Paul and the Law (WUNT 29; Tubingen: Mohr, 1983); E.P. Sanders, Paul, the Law, and the Jewish People (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1983); R.Yates, 'Saint Paul and the Law in Galatians', ITQ 51 (1985), pp. 105-24. 4. An exception is the recent article by Joop Smit, 'Redactie in de brief aan de galaten: Retorische analyse van Gal. 4.12-6.18', TvT 26 (1986), pp. 113-44. 5. For example, K. Kertelge, 'Gesetz und Freiheit im Galaterbrief, NTS 30 (1984), pp.382-94; J.G. Strelan, 'Burden-Bearing and the Law of Christ: A Re-Examination of Galatians 6.2', JBL 94 (1975), pp. 266-76. 6. Many commentators warn that it is difficult to separate paraenesis from doctrine in Galatians. Barrett {Freedom and Obligation^ p. 3) writes, 'chapters 5 and 6 are theological through and through and their ethical teaching is closely related to the situation in Galatia'. likewise, Cousar (Galatiansy p. 122) says, 'One must be careful on the basis of this feature of the section not to draw too precise a line between theology and ethics, doctrine and exhortation For Paul theology and ethics are bound up with each other in such a way that makes a sharp cleavage impossible'. Victor Paul Furnish (Theology and Ethics in Paul [Nashville: Abingdon, 1968], p. 69) warns that 'the Pauline letters cannot be neatly divided into doctrinal and ethical sections at all'. Nonetheless, commentators continue totitlethis section 'Ethics and Obligation' (Barrett), 'Exhortation' (Ebeling), etc., thereby giving the impression that the strictly theological argument has been concluded. 7. MJ. Lagrange (Saint Paul: pure aux Galates [tudes Bibliques; Paris: Gabalda, 1942], p. 144) recognized this point when he wrote, 'Car cette exhortation est encore un argument pour le thme principal'. A. Feuillet ('Structure de la section doctrinale de pitre aux Galates [iii.lvi.10]', Rev Thorn 82 [1982], pp. 5-39) outlines Galatians in terms of salvation history and understands the final section (4.21-6.10) as part of Paul's total argument rather than as paraenesis. G.A. Kennedy (New Testament Interpretation Through Rhetorical Criticism [Chapel Hill: Univeristy of North Carolina Press, 1984], p. 146) writes, 'What Paul is leading to in chapters 1-4 is the exhortation of chapters 5-6. That is the point of the letter'.

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8. 'Der Beginn der Parnese im Galaterbrief, ZNW 60 (1969), pp. 83104. 9. Gesetz und Geist: Eine Untersuchung zur Vorgeschichte des Galaterbriefes (BFCT 226; Gtersloh, 1919). 10. J.H. Ropes, The Singular Problem of the Epistle to the Galatians (HTS 14; Cambridge, Mass., 1929), p. 24. 11. The remark of F. Mussner (Der Galaterbrief, p. 364) is representative. 'Die pin. Lehre der Rechtfertigung aus dem Glauben an den Christus passus und die damit verbundene Lehre von der Freiheit des Christen von den bisherigen Heilswegen der Menschheit ist der Gefahr des Missverstndnisses ausgesetzt.... Aus all dem knnte ein falscher Schluss gezogen werden: Christus ist fr dich gestorben, du brauchst nur fest dein glubiges Vertrauen auf ihn zu setzen, im brigen kannst du tun und lassen, was du willst'. 12. This is the position of H.D. Betz (The Literary Composition and Function of Paul's Letter to the Galatians', NTS 21 [1975], pp. 353-79) who views Galatians as an apologetic letter. He sees 3.1-4.31 as the Probatio and 5.1-6.10 as the Exhort alio. While Betz has made a major contribution to the rhetorical analysis of the letter, he seems to have erred in his choice ofgenre. Paul is employing deliberative, not juridical, rhetoric in Galatians. See the important comments of Kennedy in New Testament Interpretation through Rhetorical Criticism, pp. 144-52, and the review of Betz's commentary by Wayne Meeks in JBL 100 (1981), pp. 304-307. 13. Several authors believe that this section of the letter manifests a chiastic structure: J. Bligh, Galatians in Greek (Detroit, 1966), pp. 50-55 and Galatians: A Discussion of St. Paul's Epistle (London: St. Paul, 1969), pp. 411-13; P. Ellis, Seven Pauline Letters (Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 1982), pp. 175-76. 14. There are also similarities between 5.2a and 6.11 (personal intervention by Paul); 5.4 and 6.14 (contrast between Paul and the Galatians); 5.7 and 6.12a (reference to the agitators). 15. 'Redactie inde brief aangalaten'. 16. One of the allegorical considerations that Philo advances for circumcision in De Specialibus Legibus is that it combats sensuality. He writes, To these I would add that I consider circumcision to be a symbol of two things most necessary to our well-being. One is the excision of pleasures which bewitch the mind. For since among the love-lures of pleasure the palm is held by the mating of man and woman, the legislators thought good to dock the organ which ministers to such intercourse, this making circumcision the figure of the excision of excessive and superfluous pleasure, not only of one pleasure but of all the other pleasures signified by one, and that the most imperious' (1.9). If the Galatians believed that circumcision had the power to curb sensuality, their desire for it is understandable. 17. For a discussion of this point see Hbner (Law in Paul's Thought,

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pp. 36-42) who sees a distinction between and ; and Risnen (Paul and the Law, pp. 113-19). 18. W.D. Davies (Paul and Rabbinic Judaism: Some Rabbinic Elements in Pauline Theology [4th edn; Philadelphia: Fortress, 1980], pp. 144-45) interprets 'the law of Christ' in terms of the words ofJesus. He writes, The recognition, however, that Paul regarded the words of his Lord as lessens the gulf between him and the other teachers of the Church in the second century, and makes the development of Christian thought more reasonably credible' (p. 145). Strelan ('Burden-Bearing and the Law of Christ', p. 276) holds a similar, but more specific view. The "law of Christ" is the dominical saying quoted, paraphrased, or alluded to in various forms in 1 Cor. 9.14; Matt. 10.10; Luke 10.7; 1 Tim 5.18; Did. 132, and probably 6.6'. However, Risnen (Paul and the Law, p. 82) writes, The conclusion is that the talk of the "law of Christ" refers simply to the way of life characteristic of the church of Christ'. 19. So Betz, Galatians, p. 308. 20. On the question of why Paul was persecuted for not preaching circumcision to his converts, see Robert Jewett, The Agitators and the Galatian Congregation', NTS 17 (1971), pp. 198-212. 21. Whether Paul is referring to the agitators or to those who are receiving circumcision, as Johannes Munck maintained (The Judaizing Gentile Christians', in Paul and the Salvation of Mankind [Atlanta: John Knox, 1977], pp. 87-134), the point remains the same: circumcision cannot guarantee the fulfillment of the Law and the circumcised, whoever they may be, do not fulfill the Law.

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