The Gospel and the Law in Galatia
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...
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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 an exciting and penetrating view into some of early Christianity's most important personalities and most 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.
Smiles is assistant professor of theology at the College of St. Benedict (St. Joseph) and St. John's University (Collegeville) in central Minnesota.