The Gospel and the Law in Galatia: Paul's Response to Jewish-Christian Separatism and the Threat of Galatian Apostasy
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Among Paul's letters, Galatians is outstanding for the depths of its emotion, for its unrelenting attack on the law of Israel (while appealing to that law as the sacred witness of the Gospel's truth) and for the historical information it provides about Paul's conversion, his opponents and his relationship with the "pillar" apostles. It offers a penetrating view into some of early Christianity's important personalities and difficult controversies. In The Gospel and the Law in Galatia, Vincent Smiles delves into the Galatian situation to understand it from Paul's perspective. Why was he being attacked? Why were the Galatians being persuaded by his opponents? What part, if any, did the leading apostles have in the controversy? And, above all, how could Paul persuade the Galatians that they were not bound by the dictates of Jewish law? Smiles examines these questions by detailed analysis of the text of the letter. After an initial chapter introducing the method and debate with some modern scholarship, chapter two examines Paul's response to the attack on his apostolate. Chapter three tackles the issue of "the other gospel" which Paul combatted in Galatia and which had also made its presence felt in Jerusalem and Antioch. Chapter four is a detailed examination of Galatians 2:15-21 in light of recent scholarship. The final chapter summarizes the major insights of the study and applies them in a comparison of Galatians with Romans. The Gospel and the Law in Galatia is for a scholarly as well as a professional audience and for those with an interest in the earliest history of the Church. Most of the finer points of scholarly debate are confined to the footnotes; the major line of argument can be followed in the text without recourse to the notes. Chapters are "Introduction," "Paul's Defense of His Apostolate," "The Gospel Versus the Other Gospel in Galatia, Jerusalem and Antioch," "Paul's Response to Jewish Christian Separatism and the Threat of Galatian Apostasy," and "Summation and Further Issues." Students and scholars alike will find much to discover by revisiting the epistle under tutelage. Stephen Westerholm Chair Department of Religious Studies McMaster University" Dr. Smiles combines an expository style of unusual clarity and elegance with penetrating exegetical insight into the circumstance and argument of the Galatian letter. . . . His work will be a beacon for future Pauline and Galatians scholarship." Richard J. Dillon, S.S.D. Ordinary Professor of Theology Fordham University
Biblical Studies | Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion
Smiles, Vincent. The Gospel and the Law in Galatia: Paul's Response to Jewish-Christian Separatism and the Threat to Galatian Apostasy. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1998.