ANTH 3020 Chapter Notes -List Of Civilisations In The Culture Series
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AP/HUMA 2830 Founders of Christianity 11/8/2013
Galatians: Paul, the Judean Law, and “Judaizers”
Questions about the Galatians:
1. Who were Paul’s opponents?
•newcomers who had arrived in Galatia and who were preaching a gospel which did
not agree with Paul’s gospel (Ehrman, 356)
•these opponents preached about circumcision and how the male Gentiles had to be
circumcised in order to be be fully right with God
•in summation, these newcomers, according to Paul’s description, were postulating that
a person had to preform the works prescribed to all people by the Jewish Law in order
to obtain salvation; this contrasts greatly with Paul’s gospel
•Paul’s opponents may have preached their gospel as being truer than his, considering
that the Jewish Bible portrays circumcision as the sign on the covenant - wouldn’t
anyone wanting to be part of this covenant have to be circumcised first? (Ehrman,
2. Who is listening to these opponents?
•the gentile Galatians who had already been converted to Christianity previously, by
•the entire letter to the Galatians revolves around Paul admonishing the Galatians for
possibly believing what these newcomers had to say, in particular about circumcision
3. What is happening among the Galatian followers of Jesus?
•it seems that many of the Galatians are being influenced by the preachings of these
newcomers (Paul’s opponents) and are being circumcised
•they may also be giving in to matters of the “flesh,” which Paul entreaties them not to
- “Live by the Spirit,I say, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. For what the
flesh desires is opposed to the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent
you from doing what you want” (Galatians 5:16-21)
•Paul warns the Galatians, as he did before, that those who give in to the desires of the
flesh will not inherit the kingdom of God - so are the Galatians doing more than just
4. What are Paul’s views on “works of law” (circumcision)/ Law of the Torah?
•Paul is vehemently against circumcision, as well, it seems, as other aspects of the
Law which require the Galatians to turn away from the gospel he has been preaching
•Paul saw the act of circumcision as being completely against his own gospel - those
who chose to become circumcised had totally misunderstood his gospel, and therefore
could not have comprehended it (Ehrman, 354)
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