Mark Goodacre's academic blog. Professor of New Testament and Christian Origins at Duke University, in the Religious Studies Department. Visit my homepage, follow me on twitter, or contact me by email.
Thanks, Mark. There are strong parallels between 6:11-17 and 5:2-11.In 5:2 (I, Paul, am telling you) parallels 6:11 (See what large letters I make when I am writing in my own hand).5:3 (I testify to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obliged to obey the entire law) parallels 6:13 (Even the circumcised do not themselves obey the whole law)5:6 (neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything) parallels 6:15 (For neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is anything).5:11 (why am I still being persecuted if I am still preaching circumcision?) parallels 6:17 (From now on let no one make trouble for me; for I carry the marks of Jesus branded on my body".In view of these parallels, 6:11 surely has the same function as 5:2. The rumor in Galatia was that Paul really believed in circumcision (and that he preached Gentile liberty to please the Judean church leaders). To counter this rumor Paul must make strong, unambiguous statements in support of Gentile liberty (5:2-3 and 6:12-15) and he must preface his statements with words to the effect of "this really is me talking to you" (5:2 and 6:11). Paul must insist that the views expressed are HIS, lest his readers continue to believe that he is a pleaser of men who just trots out a party line that he does not himself believe.Notice also how in 6:17, as in 5:11, Paul appeals to his persecution to demonstrate his sincerity. Paul insist that his wounds demonstrate his commitment to Gentile liberty.
Many thanks, Richard. Excellent points here.
Mark, I have just posted a short web page that uses color-coded text to show that Paul presents the same arguments in the same order in 1:1-10, 5:2-11, and 6:11-17. These passages should therefore be interpreted in light of each other. I argue that they reveal the background to the letter. Here is the URL:http://members.shaw.ca/rfellows/Site/T-T_Galatians_background.html
Thanks, Richard. That's helpful.
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