Category Archives: New Testament

Timeline of Galatians from St. Irenaeus to St. Jerome

Saint Augustine of Hippo, a seminal thinker on...
Saint Augustine of Hippo, a seminal thinker on the concept of just war (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sorry for this, but I want to put it out there for a few reasons.

  1. It helps me in working through this dissertation thing so I don’t have to keep notes scattered around
  2. I’m asking for your help in finding anyone I have missed.

I am writing a section on Galatians in patristic thought, limiting it it c. St. Augustine (don’t worry, the “Sts” are dropped in the official document) because St. Augustine is the one I blame for changing a few things which leads us away from being able to read  better St. Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians.

Three early Christian apologists, one of them a saint, used Galatians but did not write a commentary:

  • St. Irenaeus (130–202, Lyons (modern France)) used it against Marcion while shedding light on budding theological developments, such as Mariology and atonement.
  • Tertullian (160–220, Carthage, northwestern Africa) uses it heavily against Marcion mainly because Marcion saw Galatians as the premier charter for his Christianity. I think Tertullian’s skills as a debater are masterful, and indeed he was a wonderful master debater as he allows Marcion is almost right in some of his interpretation but reminds the gnostic fellow St. Paul was among the Apostles and never separated, so to force a separation between them or between them and Abraham is to read it wrongly.
  • Clement of Alexandria (150–215, from Alexandria (Egypt)) uses Galatians only briefly to chide Marcion, but includes Valentinus as well. Clement, a wonder mind, uses Galatians to construct ethical behavior, argue that sex is allowable, and to place Greco-Roman philosophy on par with the Law of Moses, which is to say, they both led to Christ, who is the summation of both right philosophy and the Law.

You will note these three, while existing in three different geographical areas, all wrote concurrently.

Origen (182–254) is the first to write a commentary, but it is lost.

There are four commentaries, two by Church Fathers, one unknown, and one by a new convert, likewise coming to be around the same time.

  • St. Jerome (347–420) composes one (I haven’t read it yet, but early research says he preserves a lot of Origen’s commentary in his own).
  • St. Augustine (354–430)
  • Gaius Marius Victorinus, late 4th century. He converted c355, carrying with him his neoplatonic roots, something we see during this time.
  • Ambrosiaster (c.366–384). No one knows who wrote it, with it originally attributed to St. Ambrose.

I’ll post the unedited section later, when I am finished summarizing the commentaries.

Good Stuff from St. Irenaeus on St. Paul (inspiration, rhetoric)

Irenaeus compiled a list of apostolic successi...
Irenaeus compiled a list of apostolic succession, including the immediate successors of Peter and Paul” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Holy cow. I love this sort of stuff.

St. Irenaeus is fighting off Marcion and attempting to explain some things about St. Paul’s writing. Here, he cites Galatians 3.19. The Iion from Lyons writes,

From many other instances also, we may discover that the apostle frequently uses a transposed order in his sentences, due to the rapidity of his discourses, and the impetus of the Spirit which is in him. An example occurs in the [Epistle] to the Galatians, where he expresses himself as follows: “Wherefore then the law of works? It was added, until the seed should come to whom the promise was made; [and it was] ordained by angels in the hand of a Mediator.” For the order of the words runs thus: “Wherefore then the law of works? Ordained by angels in the hand of a Mediator, it was added until the seed should come to whom the promise was made,”—man thus asking the question, and the Spirit making answer. (Adv. Haer. 3.7.2)

I see a few things:

  • St. Paul writes haphazardly “due to the rapidity of his discourses, and the impetus of the Spirit.”

Notice the collision of human and divine. After St. Irenaeus notes why St. Paul is writing in such a way — and why it is often confusing, the word order is messed up, etc… — he offers a correction. 

Second,

    • St. Irenaeus sees a dialogue in Galatians.

Some of us have noted that this seems to be St. Paul’s style in various other books, notably Romans. This would be a very small snippet of this, but St. Irenaeus noticed it and that is a big [Joe Biden] deal.

 

The Hardened individual

The Church has frequently ignored that Paul considered the heart to be ametanoetos, incapable of repentance: therefore the Church often zealously requires the individual to repent.But because the heart is ametanoetos, Paul was an evangelist, rather than a preacher of repentance. Hence he was able to bring the individual into relationship with Jesus and thereby implanted in his heart that which is new, which broke apart the old thought constructs and resisted the old pattern of volition

Adolf Schlatter: Romans, The Righteousness of God.

Schlatter talks about the difference between the prophet, and the evangelist. The evangelist is the one who lives with, and serves the community. He does NOT preach at them. That is the job of the prophet, the prophet who has been properly educated in the scriptures, and who is called to bring the things of God to the understanding of the people ONCE they have been evanglised and decided they need to know more.

That is to say, the evangelist brings people in touch with the loving heart of God, through Christ, where the prophet brings revelation and understanding to those who have begun to be made new.

Adolf had this right nearly 100 years ago, and yet nearly all the Church STILL think that they need to stand on the street corner and insult the intelligence of people is the way to convert them. It wasnt the right way in the first century, and it sure isnt now.

Paul’s sense of Scripture and Adam’s fall

English: Allegory of Poles
English: Allegory of Poles (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is going to be short, but one of the questions we should ask ourselves as interpreters of Paul is how did he read Scripture?

I believe Paul looked past Scripture and attempted to decipher it through the lens of Christ. Meaning, he wasn’t always the “historicist” (or literalist) we want to make him out to be. Let me give you two examples.

The first is rather small:

Do I say this on human authority? Does not the law say the same?  For it is written in the law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it is treading out the grain.” Is it for oxen that God is concerned?  Does he not speak entirely for our sake? It was written for our sake, because the plowman should plow in hope and the thresher thresh in hope of a share in the crop. (1 Co. 9.8–10)

The “biggest” use of Paul’s “other reading” is found in Galatians 4.24–26:

Now this is an allegory: these women are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery; she is Hagar. Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia; she corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children.  But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother.

Paul sees something in this story that he is able to bring out in order to help his readers understand the Gospel. It may simply be Paul sees in the Genesis passage what he says he sees in the Deuteronomic passage — something written for us, for the new age under Christ.

So, then, why would we think Paul is intent on seeing the Genesis story as an historical event rather than a literary event (dare we say myth)? In Romans 5, the story of Adam’s great sin is used not so much as a way to tell us who evil and depraved we are (thanks, Jean) but to tell us how great the grace of Christ is. Jesus is not seen as the “Second Adam” but as one greater than Adam.

Now, to be sure, Paul uses this metaphor in 1 Cor 15.44–49 and in 2 Cor 3.13–18; however, there is a deeper exegesis required than that which is usually given.1

So, how do we understand Paul and his use of allegory? Does he see some of the Torah as allegory or does he use allegory to shape the Torah under the lens of Christ? Regardless, Paul does not necessarily require a historical event or historical meaning (hence the, “this was written for us!”) in order to understand the stories of his people as continuing and being made alive under the lens of his fellow Jew, Jesus.

 

  1. I haven’t read this, but wanted to keep it for later.

Exploring the NA28 in @AccordanceBible

NA28 on Accordance

Behold, the NA28 is in the Original Languages package from Accordance Bible software!

As many of you know, the NA28 is the latest in the line for a critical edition of the Greek New Testament and is often used by scholars in deciding such things as textual variants and “what the original text” looked like.

Because I am working with Galatians and its original intent, I try to spend time in the Greek, rather than the usual translations. It reminds me that a translation is itself not the text, but simply a succinct commentary on the original text. However, as I am not a Greek scholar, I still need help from time to time in reading the Greek text. Accordance provides a real easy way to do this.

As I have noted before, my Mac runs Accordance like a dream. Indeed, Accordance beats nearly every program I have in operation speed, agility, and resource management. Those are big words for “It fits like a glove” with Mac. When I am reading GrGalatians, the words pop up immediately, without any lag time. Immediately below are pictures from my Macbook, followed by pictures from the iPad.

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I hope my NA28 and behold, Matthew.
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NA28, Galatians
Screen Shot 2015-01-21 at 9.41.45 AM
NA28, Galatians… with the Greek highlighted. Notice the bottom with the definition.

Admittedly, I have used Accordance more on iPad than I have in real life (i.e., my Macbook). I almost prefer it, actually.

One of the things I wish to highlight here is the learning curve. I almost refuse to read the directions because I want to see what it is like to dive in. It took me all of 2 minutes to figure how to install the NA28 on my iPad. Go to library, installed purchases, select the new module, hit the arrow and you are done. Because the app is stripped down, the learning curve is small. I don’t mean stripped down as in useless, but stripped down as in minimalism so as to make room for more usefulness.

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NA28, Galatians – iPad
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Say, what is that word? Let me highlight it in the NA28
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Wait.. I can search it by different means… from WITHIN the Accordance Bible software app?
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I can search… I can search for it my Lemma in the Accordance Bible software app.

In all honesty, the NA28 (or other Greek modules, I assume) in the Accordance Bible app is my favorite way to read it.

Back the desktop version, for a minute. The original language features includes speaking, parsing, a word chart, and a diagram. Screenshots are below:

diagram
NA28, Accordance “Galatians 3.10, diagram”
parsing
NA28, Accordance “Galatians 3.10, parsing”
speaking
NA28, Accordance “Galatians 3.10, speaking.” Admittedly, the voice is not as smooth as Siri, but if you are looking for a way to pronounce a word, it will suffice.
Word chart
NA28, Accordance “Galatians 3.10, word chart”

 

Overall, reading the Original Languages are easy in Accordance and should benefit students and scholars of these marvelous tongues.