Galatians

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Note:
You may wish to read Chiastic Structuring: An Introduction first.
Contents:
1. The Chiastic Structuring of Galatians
2. The occurrences of ‘Lord’, ‘Jesus’ and ‘Christ’ in Paul’s letters with reference to those addressed in Galatians.
3. Paul’s opponents: Gentile syncretists
4. Galatians and its Pentecost setting.

1. The Chiastic Structuring of Galatians

Below is a schematic diagram of the overall, three secondary, and nine tertiary chiasms of Galatians as detected by John Bligh, Galatians in Greek (University of Detroit Press, 1966). See also his later book, Galatians: A Discussion of St Paul’s Epistle (London: St Paul Publications, 1969).

Diagram of primary, secondary and tertiary chiasms of Galatians
1 2 3 4 5 6

E

Overall Chiasm
   
1.1-4.4 x 4.5-6.18
        Centre: 4.1-10 (see Tertiary Chiasm No. 5 below)

Summary of Overall Chiasm on basis of the Tertiary Chiasms:

A 1. 1.1-1.12 The Prologue
 B  2.  1.11-2.10  Paul's Two Ways: before and after conversion
  C   3.   2.11-3.4   Justification by faith
   D    4.    3.5-3.29     Arguments from Scripture (Promise to Abraham)
    E     5.     4.1-10      Redemption by Christ
   D'    6.    4.11-4.30    Arguments from Scripture (Sarah and Hagar)
  C'   7.   5.1-5.13   Justification by faith
 B'  8.  5.11-6.11  The Way of Flesh and the Way of the Spirit
A' 9. 6.12-18 Epilogue

Secondary Chiasms

S1. 1.1-1.20a x 1.20b-3.4
Centre: 1.20 (See Tertiary Chiasm No. 2 (below)
S2. 3.5-4.5 x 4.5-4.31   Who are heirs of Abraham: obeyers of Law or believers in Christ?
Centre: 4.1-10 (See Tertiary Chiasm No. 5 below)
S3. 5.1-5.21b x 5.21c-6.18
Centre: 5.21bc (See Tertiary Chiasm No. 8 below)

Tertiary Chiasms

T1. 1.1-1.4c x 1.5-1.12
Centre: 4c: our God and Father x 5: to whom be the glory [Doxology]
T2. 1.6-1.20a x 1.20b-2.101.6-1.20a x 1.20b-2.10
Centre: 20a: Now touching the things which I wrote unto you x 20b: behold! Before God I lie not [a sworn oath]
T3. 2.11-2.16b x 2.16c- 3.4
Centre: 16a: But knowing that a man is not justified on-the-basis-of (ἐκ) works of law 
16b: but only through faith of Christ Jesus,
16c: and we believed in  (εἰς) Christ Jesus
16d: in order that we might be justified on-the-basis-of (ἐκ) faith of Christ Jesus and not on-the-basis-of (ἐκ) works of law
T4.  3.5-18c x 3.18d-29
A 3.5-9 Those who believe are sons of Abraham
 B  3.10-12   The Law does not justify
  C   3.13-14     Christ redeemed us from the Law
   D    3.15-17       The Promise was not invalidated by the Law
    E     3.18a         For if on-the-basis-of (ἐκ) Law
     F      3.18b           is the inheritance,
      G       3.18c             it is not on-the-basis-of (ἐκ) Promise.
      G'       3.18d             But to Abraham through a Promise
     F'      3.18e           God has freely-granted it.
    E '     3.18f         What therefore is the Law?
   D'    3.19-21       The Law was not opposed to the promise/Covenant.
  C'   3.22     The promised gift is for those redeemed by Christ.
 B'  3.23-25   The Law kept us in custody.
A' 3.26-29 Those who believe in Christ are sons of Abraham.
T5. 4.1-4 x 4.5-10  (The centre of the letter)
A. 4.1a An orphaned heir is like a slave,
 B.  4.1b   when in fact he is master of the property—
  C.   4.2       he is subject to guardians and stewards.
   D.    4. 3        So with us: we were enslaved by the elemental-spirits of the cosmos,
    E.     4.4a            till God sent forth his Son
     F      4.4b            who was born of a woman,
      G       4.4c              and became obedient to the Law
      G'       4.5a              to redeem those under the Law
     F'       4.5b            and to give us the status of sons.
    E'      4.6          Then God sent forth the Spirit of his Son into our hearts.
   D'    4.7         So we are slaves no longer, but sons and heirs.
  C'   4.8     Formerly we were enslaved to beings who are not gods,
 B'  4.9a    Now, when you know God, and even more are known by God,
A' 4.9b-10 will you return to the condition of slaves?
T6.  4.11-19 x 4.20-31  (Paul in Sarah-type birth-pangs, begetting ‘Isaacs’.)
Centre: 19a My children, I am in travail with you again,
19b until Christ is formed in you.
20a I wish I could visit you now and adapt my tone to you,
20b for I am perplexed about you.
T7. 5.1-7b x 5.8-13
Centre: 7b Who hindered you
7c from obeying/being-persuaded-by ( πείθεσθαι) the truth?

8a The persuasion (ἡ πεισμονὴ)

8b is not from the one who is calling you.

T8. 5.13b-21b x 5.21c-6.2 (Love = fulfilment of Law = Law of Christ)
Centre: 19-21a Works of the flesh

21b of which I forewarned you even as I forewarned you that those who do such things

21c shall not inherit the kingdom of God

22-13a Fruit of the Spirit

T9.  5.22-6.8a x 6.8b-18

Centre: 8a Because he that sows unto his own flesh shall on-the-basis-of (ἐκ) the flesh reap corruption,

8b but he that sows unto the Spirit shall on-the-basis-of (ἐκ) the Spirit shall reap life eternal.

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2. Occurrences of ‘Lord’, ‘Jesus’, and ‘Christ’ in various combinations or alone

Note: See Pauline Authorship for reasons for limiting the letters in the following table.

 

Rom 1-15 & 16.25-27

Rom 16.1-23

1 Cor

2 Cor 1.23-6.13 & 7.2-16

2 Cor 8-9

2 Cor 10.1-13.10

Gal

Phlmn

Jesus [alone]

2

 

1

7

       

Christ [alone]

28

5

43

18

2

15

21

3

Jesus Christ

8

 

3

   

1

5

 

Christ Jesus

11

1

6

     

9

3

Christ Jesus (our) Lord

2

 

1

1

       

(our) Lord Jesus Christ

6

 

8

 

1

 

3

2

Lord (ref. to Jesus)

8

7

42

3

3

3 +1 OT*

3

2

Lord (re God)

 

Total:

3

8 OT*

11

3

5 OT*

8

Lord (not God or Jesus)

1

 

1

         

Lord (re Jesus & Spirit)#

     

5

       

Lord Jesus

2

1

5

   

4

 

1

Jesus Lord

1

 

1

         

Lord Christ

 

1

           

Jesus Christ (our) Lord

3

 

1

         

Total Nos
Jesus

Lord

Christ

 

35

22

58

 

2

9

7

 

26

58

62

 

8

9

19

 

1

4

3

 

5

8

16

 

17

6

38

 

6

3

8

Frequency per 1000 words of text
Jesus
Lord
Christ

 

5.2
3.3
8.6

 

5.5
24.9
19.4

 

3.8
8.5
9.1

 

3.6
4.1
8.6

 

1.4
5.8
4.3

 

3.6
5.7
11.4

 

7.5
2.6
16.7

 

17.9
9.0
23.9

Total words in text

6734

361

6811

2209

694

1406

2269

335

Ratio of ‘Christ’ to ‘Lord’

2.6

0.8

1.1

2.1

0.8

2.0

6.3

2.7

* - It is not always clear to whom Paul intends ‘Lord’ to apply in OT quotes.

# - Similarly, it is not always clear whether ‘Lord’ means Jesus or the Spirit, but since the content of the Spirit (i.e., God’s powerful presence) is Jesus the Christ, the ambiguity may be because the raised Lord (Jesus) is the Spirit (1 Cor 15.45).

The very high ratio of ‘Christ’ to ‘Lord’ in Galatians, which is unique to this letter, strongly suggests that the original form of Galatians was intended for a Jewish Christian audience rather than a Gentile Christian one, but as the letter stands, it is addressed largely to Gentile Christians. (See 4.8: "But at that time, not knowing God, you were slaves to beings that were not gods".) Thus either the (oral) suggestion of Gilbert Sinden, SSM, that it was Paul’s intended defence at the ‘Jerusalem Council’ or John Bligh’s suggestion that it was, in the main, Paul’s defence against Peter at Antioch (Gal 2.11) gain plausibility.

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3. Paul’s opponents: Gentile Syncretists

An older view of scholars was that Paul’s Galatian opponents were Jewish Christians who made trouble by insisting that gentiles be circumcised, obey the food laws, etc. This is highly unlikely.

The Galatian errorists are very similar to those later combatted (by a disciple of Paul) at Colossae, for their erroneous teaching includes in each case:

(1) elemental spirits Gal 4.3, 8, 9 Col 2.20, 15, 8
(2) calendrical observances Gal 4.20 Col 2.16
(3) the practice of circumcision  Gal 6.12-13; 5.2-3  Col 2.11-12
(4) claims of visions or revelations Gal 1.8, 12, 16; 2.2  Col l.26-2.3
(5) promises of knowledge or wisdom Gal 4.9 Col 1.26-2.3
(6) libertine tendencies Gal 5.13ff. Col 3.5ff.

Thus the errorists in both cases are Gentile syncretists.

If they are Gentiles, then why does Paul use such a Jewish-type or argumentation against them in Galatia (e.g., the "seed as of one" [3.15ff.] or "Sarah and Hagar" [4.21ff.]? It may be in part because it was what he had at hand (see previous section). But also apparently he was not sure just who the opponents were, since he refers to them only vaguely (1.7: "some who trouble you"; 3.1: "who has bewitched you?"; 5.10: "he who is troubling you will bear his judgement, who ever he is.").

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2. Galatians and its Pentecost setting

An Overview of Some Connections

Thus Bligh's three high points (1.20; 4.1-10 and 5.21b, the centres of the secondary chiasms) are vindicated by the scriptures and themes of Pentecost and Sivan as being the truly important points of the letter.  This is true of most of the structurally central passages.

Note: You may wish to refer to the materials on Jewish festivals and synagogue lectionary in relation to the following materials.  (The following work was begun in 1970, continued in 1973 and further modified in 1979.)

H. St J. Thackeray, The Septuagint and Jewish Worship (1921), p. 63: At each festival the destiny of the succeeding season was fixed. At Passover judgement was passed on the wheat-harvest, at Pentecost on the fruit trees, at Tabernacles on the water." (Babylonian Talmud, Rosh hash., i.2)

καρπός, ‘fruit’, of the Spirit: Gal 5.22.
θερίζειν, ‘to harvest’: Gal 6.7, 8 (bis), 9. [7x Paul: 1x 1 Cor, 2x 2 Cor]
πτωχός, ‘poor’: Gal 2.20 (// Lev 23.22: providing for the poor at Pentecost; Deut 16.10, 11: providing for the poor), Gal 4.9 (weak and poor στοιχεῖα, i.e., elemental spirits of the cosmos).

Haptharah for Shabuoth (Pentecost): Jeremiah 34.1-10, concerning διαθκη, ‘covenant’,
and
λευθερ α, ‘freedom’, including putting into bondage again (cf. Gal 4.8-9).

ἐλεύθερος, 'free', in Paul: Gal 3.28; 4.22, 23, 26, 30, 31;
1 Cor 7.21, 22, 39; 9.1, 19; 12.13;
Rom 6.20; 7.3;
(Eph 6.8; Col 3.11)
διαθήκη, ‘covenant’ in Paul: Gal 3.15, 17; 4.24;
Rom 9.4; 11.27;
1 Cor 11.25;

2 Cor 3.6, 14;

(Eph 2.12).

Note that in the 46 Sabbaths-per-year Palestinian Triennial Lectionary scheme, the ‘seed of promise’ chapters, Gen 12-17 (cf. Gal 3.6-29), fall to the first Sabbath in Sivan (first year, Nisan cycle), while the expulsion of Hagar and Ishmael, Gen 21 (cf. Gal 4.21-31), falls to the last Sabbath of Sivan (or possibly the first Sabbath of the next month, Tammuz; first year, Nisan cycle). Thus the two main extended scriptural arguments of Galatians are associated with Pentecost (6 Sivan).

Galatians, Pentecost seasonal readings and the Septuagint

(Note: Sivan 2 (2) means a reading on the second Sabbath of Sivan in the second year
of the Nisan cycle; H means haptharah, i.e prophetic reading, for Torah seder.)

1.15 Isa 49.1, 6 [Isa 48.10-49.3: H to Exod 22.24 (25 EV) on Sivan 2 (2).]
Gal 1.15: με ἐκ κοιλίας μητρός ... καλέσας, ‘from my mother’s womb … called’

Isa 49.1: ἐκ κοιλίας μητρός μου ἐκάλεσε, ‘from my mother’s womb he called’

Gal 1.15: καλέσας ... ἵνα εὐαγγελίζωμαι αὐτὸν ἐν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν, ‘called … to proclaim him among the Gentiles’
Isa 49.6: ἰδοὺ δέδωκά σε ... εἰς φῶς ἐθνῶν, ‘Behold, I have set thee … for a light of the Gentiles’
1.20  (centre of first secondary chiasm): ‘Behold, before God I lie not!’
Exod 20.7 (Pentecost): ‘Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain.’
2.9  στῦλοι, ‘pillars’
Lev 26.30 (read before Pentecost): ‘I will render your pillars (LXX: στήλας) desolate.’
2.10 τῶν πτωχῶν, ‘poor’ – see above. Lev 23.22 (Pentecost), Deut 16.10, 11 (Pentecost)
2.11 ἀντέστην, ‘to withstand’
Lev 26.37-39 (read before Pentecost)
v. 37: ‘withstand (ἀντιστῆναι) your enemies’

v. 38: ‘in land of Gentiles’ (= Antioch in Gal 2.11)

v. 39: ‘because of their sins (διὰ τὰς ἁματίας αὐτῶν)’ (= Cephas’ withdrawal)
2.12 ὑπέστελλεν, ‘to give way’
Exod 23.21 [Sivan 2 (2)]: ὑποστείληται, ‘to give way’
ἀφώριζεν ἑαυτόν, 'separated himself'
Exod 19. 23 [Pentecost] – separating from Mount Sinai: ἀφόρισαι τὸ ὄρος
3.5 ἐξ ἔργων νόμου ἢ ἀκοῆς πίστεως;, ‘from works of law or from hearing of faith?’

Exod 23.22 (bis) [Sivan 2 (2)]: ἀκοῇ ἀκούσητε, ‘Hear with hearing!’ regarding commands, covenant, promises

Exod 19.5 [Iyyar 4 (2)] – Ditto (i.e., Paul is putting Exod 23 up against Gen 15.6 [Sivan 1 (1)], which he quotes in Gal 3.6)
3.6 Quotes Gen 15.6 [Sivan 1 (1)]
3.10, 13 (bis) κατάρα, ‘a curse’ (the only occurrences in Paul)
Num 23.25 [Sivan 4 (3)]: Balak to Balaam: οὔτε κατάραις καταράσῃ μοι, ‘Neither curse a curse for me...’
3.10 ἐπικατάρατος, ‘cursed’ in Deut 27.26, which is quoted here.
Num 22.17; 23.7 [Sivan 4 (3)]: ἐπικατάρασαι, ‘to curse’
3.15, 17 διαθήκην, ‘covenant’

Jer 34.10 ff. [H for Pentecost] (LXX: 41.10 ff.)

3.16 τῷ σπέρματί σου, ‘to thy seed’
Gen 12.7 [Sivan 1 (1)]: τῷ σπέρματί σου (same phrase in Gen 13.15; 17.7; 22.18; 24.7)
3.19-21 (Concerning giving of the Law through a mediator: angels)
Exod 19.16-18 [Iyyar 4 (2)] – Yahweh calls Moses to Mount Sinai and speaks to him.

(elemental spirits)/ (angels): "The reason why St Paul describes the angels of the law as  may be that in the midrashic tradition they originate from the thunder and lightning, fire and smoke of Exod 19: 16-18," John Bligh, Galatians (St Paul Publications, London, 1969), p. 338.

4.1, 3-4  Bligh, Galatians, p. 339: 
"In his treatise, Who is the heir?, 2993-299 (Loeb edition, IV). Philo gives a midrash on Gen 15:16: ‘In the fourth generation they shall come back hither.’ He explains the four generations as the four periods of seven years in which a man grows from infancy to maturity. From one to seven is the period of innocence, from seven to fourteen the period of sin, from fourteen to twenty-one the period of correction [by study of the Law - cf. Bligh, p. 215], and from twenty-one to twenty-eight the period of growth to maturity."
Philo Jewish idea of 4 sons* Gal 4.1 4.3-4
1-7 Innocence 1) Too simple to ask heir
7-14 Sin 3) Scoffer  child  children
14-21 Correction  2) Tam (son of simple piety) slave  bondage; Son under Law
21-28 Growth to maturity 4) Wise son lord of all that we might be freed sons and heirs through God

*Jewish notion of the four types of sons: see D. Daube, The New Testament and Rabbinic Judaism, for the relating of this to the Passover Haggadah. They also relate to Mark 12.13-37, noting vv. 14, 19, 28 and 34b. Mishnah Aboth 5.12, 14, 15 notes four types of hearers, etc.; cf. Mark 4.4-8. Paul appears to use these four types (which are associated with the observance of Passover) in the Passover-structured 1 Corinthians: son too simple to ask (so one must tell him) 1 Cor 10.1-5; the tam (whom one answers simply), 10.6-11; the scoffing son, 10.12-14; the wise son,  10.15-22

4.1 Lord of all
Gen 17 [Sivan 1 (1)] – regarding promise to Isaac
Associated with Ps 110 – as in Bereshith Rabbah (Genesis Rabbah)
4.9 Fullness of time God sent forth his own son
Gen 22? Isaac motif, perhaps, parallel to promise of Isaac in Gen 17

(I.e., as Abraham gave his son Gen 22, so God gives his)

4.8-9 Not knowing God formerly – now turning back to no-gods.
Gen 12.5? [Sivan 1 (1)] – in a Pentecost tradition that Abraham was a proselyte and a maker of proselytes (taking Gen 12.5: ‘and all the souls he had begotten in Haran’ as proselytes he had made).
4.9 πτωχὰ [στοιχεῖα], ‘poor’ – see beginning of this section.
4.11, 19, 30b New birth – cf. 6.15: what matters is , ‘new creation’
Gen 21.1 ff. [Tammuz 1 (1)] – this was also the reading for Rosh haShanah (New Year, 1st Tishri) according to the Tosephta, and has a ‘new birth’ theme (cf. Gen 21.10 cited in Gal 4.30b).
4.11-20 Paul’s ‘I’ section: Paul as ‘mother’ (// Sarah) of ‘new creation’ (// Isaac) is appropriate here (cf. 4.19: ‘My children, I am in birth-pangs with you again’)
4.22 Abraham had two sons; one by the handmaid and one by the freewoman:

Gen 16.5 [Sivan 1 (1)]: Sarah: ‘… my handmaid … conceived …’
4.23 one born by freewoman is through promise
Gen 17-16-19 [Sivan 1 (1)]: Sarah to bear Isaac

Cf. Gen 18.10 [Sivan 2 (1)]; Gen 21.1-2 (Tammuz 1 (1)]

4.29 Gen 21.9 [Tammuz 1 (1)]: Jewish tradition of interpretation of Gen 21.9 in which Sarah saw Ishmael mocking Isaac, i.e. // Gal 3.29: ‘he born after flesh persecuted him born after Spirit’.
4.30 Citing Gen 21.10 [Tammuz 1 (1)]
6.12 ‘I bear branded on my body the marks of Jesus’

Isa 44.5 (H to Gen 16.1 [Sivan 1 (1)]): ‘Another shall write on his hand, "unto the LORD".’ (RV margin)

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