The Galatians Debate

Contemporary Issues in Rhetorical and Historical Interpretation

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"Nanos has provided the student of Paul's letter to the Galatians with a valuable resource; the articles that he has collected represent a significant contribution to the study of the letter. His volume could serve as a handbook for contemporary research into the letter to the Galatians."--Bulletin for Biblical Research

Students and scholars reading the secondary literature on Galatians must often negotiate specialized language and complex lines of argument. In addition to the theological jargon that traditionally characterizes discussion of Galatians, one now encounters a significant amount of rhetorical and sociohistorical terminology, and the reader's familiarity with this specialized language is increasingly assumed.

This volume is designed to facilitate familiarity with the contemporary issues central to the interpretation of Galatians and to present examples of the prevailing points of view as well as some recent challenges to them. The essays included explore the rhetorical and epistolary approaches to examining Galatians, comprise a comprehensive introduction to significant research in the field, and represent some of the best work available. Mark Nanos offers an introduction and glossary of terms to help students begin their study and a comprehensive volume bibliography and modern author and ancient sources indexes for those who are continuing on to further study.


The Author

  1. Mark D. Nanos

    Mark D. Nanos

    Mark D. Nanos (PhD, University of St. Andrews) is the author of The Mystery of Romans: The Jewish Context of Paul's Letter, which won the National Jewish Book Award for Jewish-Christian Relations. He also wrote The Irony of Galatians: Paul's Letter...

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Reviews

"The strong theology and the important autobiographical dates contained in Paul's Letter to the Galatians have made it a focal point in Pauline scholarship. This prompted editor Nanos to collect some key essays on some of the central issues in Galatians as a kind of handbook for students of Paul. The essays--all of them by noted scholars--are grouped under three headings: the rhetorical style and structure of the letter; the autobiographical materials in chapters 1-2 of the letter; and the situation or context that prompted the writing of the letter. The editor provides a thorough introduction that situates each essay in the present context of Pauline studies."--The Bible Today

"Readers of the twenty-three essays get a good sense of the contours of recent debates surrounding Galatians. Nanos provides a helpful glossary, bibliography, and indexes of modern authors and ancient sources. The book is an excellent reference work and would make a good textbook for an advanced degree course on Galatians."--Religious Studies Review

"The value of this volume lies in the fact that we are given an insight into the sheer variety of interpretations and reading of Galatians, a feel for the different methodological approaches that now characterize Pauline studies, and a flavor of some classic studies and some of the most up to date work on the letter. As a set they reinforce the notion that Paul, despite his passionate outbursts, has constructed in Galatians a carefully structured and powerfully persuasive argument, which, while not always convincing, nonetheless continues to have rhetorical force beyond the boundaries of the original Galatians situation. . . . While the approaches taken in these essays are rhetorical or historical, it is impossible to avoid the key theological issues that lie at the heart of the letter: of freedom, faith, promise, inclusion, obedience, and authority. Pauline scholars will enjoy having all this in one place. Students will find this a helpful volume in their studies. Ministers and preachers may be a little more reluctant to purchase a book that is so obviously 'scholarly' in focus, and which contains essays, which are often highly specialized. This would be a shame. Sometimes it is good to go beyond the commentaries and read what the commentators have read themselves. The fact that readers of Galatians can now do this without rooting around in the journals and Festschriften where these essays were originally published makes this a worthwhile buy."--Regent's Reviews

"Significant for understanding the current state of scholarship. . . . A useful glossary and a fifty-page bibliography help to enhance the value of this volume. . . . Any reader who wants to become familiar with the current debate within the rhetorical features of the letter, the significance of Galatians 1 and 2, and the problems involved in identifying the situation Paul was addressing, could hardly do better than to study the essays included here. The editor is to be congratulated for his careful work."--Westminster Theological Journal

"During the last three decades, Pauline scholarship focused on Galatians. Scholars discussed the rhetorical and epistolary genre, tried to come to grips with the autobiographical passages, and spilled much ink on what came to be called 'the Galatians situation,' i.e. the identification of Paul's opponents and how their agenda shaped Paul's response. The editor reprints 23 contributions to the debate, mainly from specialized journals and scattered through a number of collective volumes. Nanos, himself the author of two valuable papers included here, contributes a long introduction that summarizes the Galatians debate. All future researchers will enjoy using this well-produced volume, which is complete with bibliography and indexes."--International Review of Biblical Studies

"For the reader prepared to sift material from disparate angles and competing paradigms, this well-structured volume presents an efficient entrée to the critical study of Galatians."--Reformed Theological Review

"By force of editorial can-do, Nanos has here constructed a coherent, though by no means consensual, debate that was likely known hitherto only in part and surely only to the most assiduously attentive specialists. Add to the collection Nanos' incisive introduction, a glossary of technical rhetorical terms, a massive bibliography, a set of thoughtful indexes, and the promise that the volume would help facilitate familiarity with the contemporary issues central to the interpretation of Galatians--indeed, issues central to the study of the Pauline letters generally--is superbly fulfilled, both intellectually and pedagogically."--Catholic Biblical Quarterly

"[A] handsome volume. . . . The editor has conveniently gathered together twenty-three essays on various aspects of the academic study of Galatians. . . . These essays are not easy reading, but those who need to refer [to] them will be grateful to the industry of the editor in producing this volume."--Themelios

"Nanos has provided the student of Paul's letter to the Galatians with a valuable resource; the articles that he has collected represent a significant contribution to the study of the letter. His volume could serve as a handbook for contemporary research into the letter to the Galatians."--Bulletin for Biblical Research

"I can think of no other volume that could provide a better tour-de-force of the recent scholarly debate, especially regarding the literary aspects, the socio-historical and religious backgrounds, of what will continue to be a much loved and studied epistle."--Midwestern Journal of Theology