Title

The Existence of the Covenant before and after Christ in Galatians 3.15-18: A Conversation with James D.G. Dunn and J. Louis Martyn

Document Type

Thesis

Publication Date

1998

Advisor

Vincent Smiles

Abstract

This study looks at Galatians 3. 15-18 by entering the scholarly conversation of J. Louis Martyn and James Dunn: 1) evaluating their claims on the issue of 'continuity' and 'discontinuity' as it is adjudicated in Galatians, 2) allowing questions to emerge from this analysis, and 3) letting the sounding of this dialogue bring forth a new exegetical voice to speak about the original text. It asks the questions: How does Paul already find continuity between the past and present constructions of the covenantal community, in the face of the opponents' belief that they must enforce a continuity that is presently being sacrificed? And, is Paul really claiming that the people of God in Christ is a creation ex nihilo, having no relationship to the people of God we find in Israel's scriptures? To answer these questions one must read Paul through his understanding of the promise/faith dynamic initiated in God's relationship to Abraham. One must read through Paul's fastening of Christ in the past, present, and future as one who hears the promises with Abraham, as one who is bound up in the destiny of the already formed people of God, and as one who is also the instrument of that destiny's present fulfillment.

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