This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
Paul Himself (1:1) supported by the fact that when compared to other letters, this letter is unmistakably of Paul’s style. But there is always room for doubt. In the postscript (6:11) there seems to be an amanuensis (expert scribe/secretary). But the fact that he has a secretary is something that is not uncommon during Paul’s time and therefore gives weak claim that Paul otherwise wrote the letter. Date when this was written: Before deciphering the date, we can see in the introduction several events that happened before Paul writing the letter, namely: Crucifixion, Paul’s Pre-Christian Period, Paul’s call, from Arabia 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 events are 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. With this, 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 other lands, 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 then Romanized. With this Paul seems to be addressing the letter either to the Celt’s descendants or to the Romanized ones, but since the letter’s composition seems to be well-made, he seems to have started the church or the leaders of it are aristocrats in the said area, since the letter was laden with terms relating to the law and freedom. Based on Paul’s encounter with them, they have been liberated from their old polytheistic faith to a monotheistic one. For the aristocrats, this meant a freedom and a distinction from the ‘barbarians’. With this their morale boosted. This freedom the Galatians experienced is more importantly a religious and spiritual 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 an amalgamation 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 can be based on the literary analysis of the composition of the letter. The body of the letter can be easily separated from the epistolary brackets it has, making the brackets appear easily recognizable and separable. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that the brackets are not coherent to the body, as seen in the conclusion (6:11-18), which can be labelled as the conclusion 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 function being a letter to the Galatians. As a letter, basically, it is used as a means for communication that wishes to give a say about something, more specifically, as an apologetic letter, it carries a certain message about an ongoing dispute. It is important to also see here the process the propositions were formed, and future plans with regard to the argument. The addressed and the sender are the primary communicators in the letter function, as it flows out toward the opponents, the cause of which the letter was made. Given the situation of a defenderdefended vs. opponent, it seems to arise that Paul is the defender, the Galatians are defended and the opponents as themselves. Since in a defense, it is important that there should be rhetorical factors and oral modulations, Paul acknowledges the disadvantages of losing these in writing a letter. In relation to this, we now come to the second function: the letter as a letter to the Galatians. In order to make up to the advantages of an oral defense he cut off, he put something supernatural in the letter to compensate for: a blessing for those who are loyal to 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. This reveals 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 for Christ, 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 the Syrophoenician 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’s first 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 in virtue 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 willing effort to change for the good and in believing in Christ. But the second level is more mundane, 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 ‘new genesis’. This freedom, can be seen as starting from the interior moving out to the exterior and affecting their lives as a whole. In contrast to this, Pauls’ opponents provided a different mean to attain freedom—Torah and circumcision. This is what Paul defends from the Spirit’s renewal in the Galatians. Coming from an argument of ‘origin’, Paul asserts the dependence of the Torah on the spirit that inspired them to make the Torah. He even admits that the conversion of the Galatians could have not happened, but he uses this claim of illegitimacy to be 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 the Churches in Galatia, Philadelphia: Fortress, 1979. 239-252): He uses the allegory of the two wives and their respective children as a Scriptural proof for this 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, events are explained as parts/ messages in salvation history). As an allegory, it takes the surface meaning 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 the allegory and its placing contribute to the overall impact of the letter? With regard to the second question, seeing it in the context of the Letter as a defense, Paul seems to use the allegory 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 allegory seems to be rather weak. But other rhetoricians claim that direct argumentation is weaker than allusion, as the latter adds an enigmatic effect. In light of this, the allegory being a trump card is asserted. As for an exegesis, we begin from the address that Paul gets this allegory from Scripture, 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 the contrast to their mothers. This fits well the interpretation; having said supra that the Torah and worldly elements are forms of ‘slavery’ and that freedom is a freedom in Christ (2:4, 3:2628). Paul takes the allegory a step further into the manner in which the sons were born. He emphasizes that Ishmael’s birth is out of natural reasons and puts this against Isaac’s. Criterion Ishmael Isaac Mother Hagar Sarah Mother’s status Slave Legitimate wife
Manner of birth Covenant represented
Natural means and of promise New (Christ) (Jerusalem there) According to the flesh According to the Spirit Judaism Christianity Paul emphasizes on the deeper meaning represented by the mothers, i.e. the covenants. With a new world order, Paul seems to see little use of the old one. He points out that the children of Hagar are the slave children under the Law. To link this, Paul claims: “now Hagar is mount Sinai in Arabia”. This is a rather novel claim and this implies that Paul may have some knowledge of Arabic (He’s not pointing that Hagar/Mount Sinai that can be found in Arabia). Paul thought of the Arabic word hadjar, a pointer referring to the mountains in the Sinai area. This is continued that it “also represents present-day (Paul’s time) Jerusalem”. With this said, Paul contrasts Christianity against Judaism. Now, going to ‘Jerusalem there’, Paul tells of the good news of a new beginning, as done by Christ, the crucified one. But this is not the thing he says, as some exegetes claim, but he tells the dualism between freedom and slavery, of un-limitation and finitude, of the spirit and flesh, of rebirth and death, and of renewal. Back to the “Jerusalem there”, Paul adds that it is free and it is “our mother”. Maybe this shall be better understood by going back to Sarah. She was barren until YH promised her a child. Inserting Is54:1 as a supplement, then looking at Isaac, it seems that Paul is telling that after the period of barrenness, there will be a promised time of rebuilding entitled by YH, thus divinely ordained. Having said this, Paul says: Sarah=Jerusalem there=Christianity. With this, Paul asserts that the Christian-Gentiles of Galatia are heirs of promise. To back this up, there are some extra-canonical works that tell the Ishmael taunted Isaac, even at the point of intending to kill him. This is parallel to the Jewish criticism against the Christians. Another thing that supports this is when Abraham banishes Hagar and Ishmael to the wilderness (Gn21:10). Paul subtly says here that the Jews are excluded from the Jerusalem there due to their humiliating, that they do not possess the divine mandate.
Of natural means Old (Sinai) (Jerusalem here)
Our Exegesis: BG on Mk story about Jesus’ brothers and sisters are those who obey the word of God, Dacanay, S.J. Style, emphasizing that Christianity is a grace that is received by a free choice and that anyone willing to receive God is able to. Does this exclude the Jews? No, (insert Nostra Ætate), but as said above, it is up to their choice.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue listening from where you left off, or restart the preview.