Freedom Through The Death of Jesus Christ In Galatians: A Nonviolence Reading

Chapter IV

Freedom, the Death of Jesus Christ and the Law


 A. Freedom and the Death of Jesus Christ 

In Galatians Paul links freedom and the death of Jesus Christ (Gal. 1.4, 2.4, 3.13, 4.5, 5.1). He uses three terms, exaireō, eleutheria/eleutheroō and exagorazō, to express the freedom that has been achieved through the Christ event. The importance of freedom through the Christ event, for Paul, is evident by the prescript of this letter. The prescript of Galatians is unique compared to Paul’s other undisputed letters. In the latter it ends with greetings, whereas in Galatians it is extended by an addition of statement on the significance of the death of Jesus Christ (Gal. 1.4-5). In Gal. 1.4a Paul quotes an early Church confession: “(Jesus Christ) gave himself for our sins,” (cf. I Cor 15.3). This is confirmed by the use of plural form of “sin” rather than Paul’s customary usage of singular form. Plural form of sin in Paul’s undisputed letters is found either in the quotation of the early church confession (I Cor. 15.3, Gal. 1.4) or in the wider context of the quotation (I Cor. 15.17). Paul never becomes preoccupied with this or that deed as violation of a commandment. He, rather, focuses on sin as intrusion into God’s world, a ruthless power that exercises dominion over people and enslaves them (Gal. 3.22 cf. Rom 5:20; 6:6, 20; 7:14). For Paul, sin is preeminently a power of the present age.

Most probably Galatian believers are aware of the early church confession and that is why Paul has used it in Galatians 1.4a. However, the purpose clause (hopōs) provides Paul’s interpretation of this confession: “to set us free from the present evil age” (Gal. 1.4b). The root problem lies not in our sins, but in the present evil age. Because the present evil age has strength to enslave all. That is why the salvific verb is not “forgive”[1] but exaireō. The verb exaireō is used only in Galatians. This verb is employed frequently in LXX in the sense of “rescue, deliver from”, particularly as an act of deliverance from enemies and troubles (“rescue from the hand of”). In Galatians it corresponds to another verb exagorazō, which Paul uses at key points to express the significance of Jesus’ death (Gal. 3.13, 4.5). Thus, the death of Jesus Christ is understood to have effected freedom. Note that the salvific verbs are in aorist tense. That means, the freedom effected by the Christ event has already taken place, rather than merely a future one. Paul says that this freedom is from the present evil age.

The usage of the unique eschatological expression “the present evil age” in Galatians gives an eschatological frame of reference. For Paul, the present age is understood as a cosmic realm characterized by enslavement. This is made clear by Paul’s use of the verb exaireō. The reference to the present age reflects his assumption of eschatological dualism. From the writings and traditions of Paul’s time, it is evident that a concept of two ages was prevalent. Though Paul speaks about the present age (I Cor. 1.2, 2.6, 3.18; II Cor. 4.4), he never speaks literally of the age to come. However, in Paul’s letters the opposite of the present age is the new creation (II Cor. 5.17; Gal. 6.15). The distinctive conclusion of the letter to the Galatians makes clear how central for Paul’s argument is the death of Christ as a decisive event in ushering the new creation. For Paul, the turn of ages has been realized in the Christ event. It is no longer solely a future event. Freedom from the present evil age into the new creation has been achieved by the death of Jesus Christ. It is interesting to see that the letter opens with a statement on the significance of the death of Jesus Christ in effecting freedom from the present evil age and closes with a statement on the significance of the death of Jesus Christ in effecting freedom into the new creation. In the main body of the letter Paul argues about the nature and significance of the death of Jesus Christ, the powers of the present evil age, and the nature of the freedom achieved through the Christ event.

B. The Death of Jesus Christ and the Scapegoat

The death of Jesus Christ plays a crucial role in Galatians (Gal. 1.4, 2.20, 21, 3.1, 13, 6.14). Paul deals with the issue of the significance of the death of Jesus Christ not as an issue in and of itself, because it never arose as a contested matter in Pauline communities. For Paul it is an essential part of the gospel of freedom he preached. Thus, the significance of Jesus’ death becomes an important issue in his polemical argument against those who preached a gospel contrary to his.

In Galatians the significance of the death of Jesus appears in two forms. The first is the huper formula (Gal. 1.4, 2.20, 3.13) and the second depicts God “sending” God’s son “in order to redeem those who were under the law” (Gal. 4.5). In Paul’s undisputed letters there are statements of Jesus’ death “for us” (1 Thess 5:10), “for our sins” (1 Cor 15:3), and “for all” (II Cor 5:14). In these the key is the preposition huper. The origin of the huper formula may be traced to the early church confession as I Cor. 15.3 (cf. Gal. 1.4) demonstrates. Yet frequent occurrences of this formula in Paul’s letters show that this has become a part of his proclamation of the gospel of freedom.[2] The preposition huper has generated much debate as to whether it renders “instead of” (implying substitution) or “on behalf of” (or “for the benefit of”). Taking the former meaning huper in connection with the death of Jesus Christ is generally understood in sacrificial terms.[3] However, one should not read Christ hanging on the cross as a Jewish Christian midrash based on the Aqedah Isaac (Gen. 22).[4] Hamerton-Kelly gives reason why Jesus death on the cross should not be based on the Aqedah Isaac. He contends, “Isaac is not said to be “given,” (or “sent”) that he did not die, and that had he died, his death would have been on an altar and not on a cross. Furthermore, his death would not have been “for” anyone.”[5] Whereas Paul emphasizes that Christ’s death is “for me” (Gal. 2.20) or “for us” (Gal. 3.13). Dahl admits that the typology of Gen. 22 equates Jesus and the ram, rather than Jesus and Isaac.[6]  

When huper is used in connection with Jesus’ death, it carries the notion of “on behalf of”. The idea of one party replacing for another is evident in Gal. 2.20 and 3.13.[7] The imagery is not sacrifice but ransom. However, ransom here is not to be understood as explained by the Ransom theory. According to the Ransom theory, the death of Jesus Christ is described as the ransom price paid to Satan in exchange for freeing the sinful humankind from the bondage of Satan. Paul is not using the image of ransom in that sense, but as one purchasing freedom by taking the place of the other in order to transfer the other from one realm to another.[8] He describes the nature of the redemptive purchase in Gal. 3.23-4.7 that prior to the coming of Christ “we were imprisoned and guarded under the law” and “enslaved to the elements of the world”, and “God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children.” Paul’s use of the verb exagorazō in Gal. 4.5 suggests purchase of freedom by means of a payment.[9] McLean observes, “The unprefixed form agorazein (derived from agora) means literally ‘to buy’ in a commercial sense.”[10] The term exagorazō in Gal. 3.13 and 4.5 refers to purchasing freedom for those who are enslaved by the law. The analogy of redemption of slaves by paying a ransom delineates the redemptive significance of the death of Jesus Christ. In the secular realm redemption of slaves always involved payment of a ransom and as a result of this slaves were transferred from the realm of enslavement to the realm of freedom. Because Paul in Gal. 4.3-4 associated slavery with being under the law and then presented God’s Son as redeeming those under the law, it is certain that exagorazō means more specifically to free a slave through paying a ransom in order to transfer the enslaved person from the realm of enslavement to the realm of freedom (cf. I Cor. 6.19-20). Here the analogy of redemption of slaves should not be pressed too far in the case of the significance of Jesus’ death. Paul is simply using the language of contemporary slave market to emphasize the fact that believers of Jesus Christ are now transferred from the realm of enslavement to the realm of freedom.

The second formula that Paul employs in Gal. 4.4-5 is the “sending formula”. The structure of this formula consists of four parts: 1. God as the subject; 2. son as the direct object; 3. verb in the aorist tense (exapesteilen); 4. the purpose of God’s act as redemptive (hina tous hupo nomon exagorasē).[11] Hultgren notes that the “sending formula” is not only longer and more detailed than the huper formula, but also contains more Pauline content.[12] Moreover, in this formula redemptive significance of the sending is made explicit: God sent God’s son “in order to redeem those who were under the law”.[13] Therefore, the “sending formula” used in Gal. 4.4-5 facilitates the understanding of the nature and significance of the death of Jesus Christ in Paul’s argument in Galatians.

Daniel Schwartz argues that the imagery behind Jesus’ death is the image of a scapegoat. He contends that Gal. 3.13 should be interpreted in terms of Gal. 4.4-5 as there are similarities between these two passages: common verb exagorazō and common structure (a statement of fact followed by two purpose clauses). Schwartz says that the imagery behind Gal. 4.4-5 is the image of a scapegoat.[14] Paul uses exapostellō in Gal. 4.4 for God sending Christ. Gal. 4.5 gives the purpose of God sending God’s Son: hina tous hupo nomon exagorasē. Hatch and Redpath indicate that the verb exapostellō in LXX represents the Hebrew slh (piel).[15] It is noticed that only in Leviticus 14 and 16 slh has the sense of sending forth x in order to redeem y, similar to Gal. 4.4-5. In Lev. 14 a priest, in order to “cleanse” the one who was healed of leprous decease, sends forth a living bird into an open field, after transferring the impurities to it. Lev. 16 talks about the scapegoat ritual on the Day of Atonement. A goat selected by lot for Azazel (originally a desert demon, but later in the mishnaic tractate Yoma identified it as a place) was brought forward. The high priest with both his hands on the head of the goat, signifying transfer of sins of people, confessed the sins of people over it. Then the goat was escorted into the desert (Lev. 16.5, 20-22). Commenting on the essence of the Scapegoat ritual, Philo says that the goat “was sent out into a pathless and inaccessible desolate place carrying on himself the curses of those who had committed offenses” (Philo, Spec Leg, I.188). LXX slightly hightens the sin-bearing function of the goat by adding “on itself”: “It shall bear on itself all their inequities” (LXX Lev. 16.22). Thus, the goat was a cursed one and was driven out into the realm of the desert demon, carrying the sins of the community.[16] The effectiveness of the ritual was the idea that the sins of the community, which poison relations among members of the community, were expelled with the goat from the community. People participating in this ritual did not recognize a phenomenon of “mob” violence against an innocent victim, but they only observed its reconciling results and appreciated them so much that they continued this ritual without feeling guilty of their violence against the scapegoat.

On the basis of the scapegoat ritual Schwartz argues that the usage of exapostellō with exagorazō in Gal. 4.4-5 has the connotation of a scapegoat. One difference between the scapegoat ritual in Leviticus and that in Galatians is that in Leviticus scapegoat is sent out from the sacred precincts, whereas Christ was sent into it (“born under the law” Gal. 4.4).[17] The realm that Christ enters is the realm of the law, or precisely the realm of the law interpreted in terms of the “works of the law” (cf. Gal. 3.10). Christ entered the realm of the law in order to expose the sacred violence that is active in this realm and to effect freedom for “us from the curse of the law” (Gal. 3.13) or for those who are “under the law” (Gal. 4.5). In Gal. 3.13 the redemptive death of Christ is depicted as curse-bearing. Christ as the scapegoat takes on himself “the curse of the law” on behalf of “us” “in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles” (Gal. 3.13-14). T.H. Gaster argues that the action of Jesus Christ is representative, not substitutional as understood by scholars who followed the framework of the atonement theory of Substitution. He notes that the confession over the scapegoat animal is “a collective, blanket confession of sins and then saddling the collective taint upon someone deputed being…. The scapegoat was representative, not substitutional.”[18]

It is also important to note that the “sending formula” makes it clear that the redemptive act is divine initiative and Christ is God’s agent of purchasing freedom on God’s initiative. Nowhere does Paul give a hint that Christ represents humanity over against God, offering a perfect sacrifice on the part of humanity to appease God. Paul argues in Galatians that Christ became a ransom in order to purchase freedom (exagorazō) for both the Gentiles and the Jews from the realm of the curse of the law (Gal. 3.13, 4.5; cf. I Cor. 6.20, 7.23). In other words, Christ’s scapegoat action purchased freedom of those enslaved “under the law”.

 C. Curse of the Law and Sacred Violence

Paul refers to the Abrahamic tradition in his argument to persuade Galatian believers against yielding to the teaching of the teachers of the “other gospel”. The dominance of Abraham tradition in Paul’s argument in Galatians (3.6-18, 3.29, 4.21-31) is because the teachers of the “other gospel” have used it to persuade and compel Galatian believers to follow the life patterned according to the exclusionistic understanding of the law. As John Barclay comments, “The tone of these references to Abraham (i.e. their emphasis), their frequency, their clarity and their unfamiliarity all suggest, as many commentators have observed, that Paul’s opponents in Galatia appealed to Abraham in their ‘persuasion’ of the Galatians….”[19]

The teachers of the “other gospel” have used the Abraham tradition to support their version of the gospel of freedom through midrashic interpretation of Numbers 25.1-13. The Jewish midrashic interpretation of Numbers 25.1-13, in which Abraham and Phineas are linked by means of Psalms 106 and Genesis 15.6, is known to the teachers of the “other gospel” and Paul (cf. I Macc. 2.52; Judith 9.2ff Jubilees 30.5-20 Sirach 45.23-24, 48.2).[20] Many Jews fostered the ideal of “zeal for God” or “zeal for the law” on the model of Phineas. As argued in Chapter III, such admiration for zeal was influential in shaping the Maccabean movement. Paul, before experiencing God’s revelation of God’s son, belonged to the pattern of Jewish life influenced by zeal (Gal. 1.13-14).[21] Violence for the honor of God or to preserve the pattern of life according to the zealotic interpretation of the law is an essential part of zeal.

Phineas, son of Eleazar, is the first example of the Old Testament for zeal to protect the honor of God. When Israel began to worship the Baal of Peor, God’s wrath fell upon Israel and caused a plague to fall upon them (Num. 25.1-18). When Phineas saw Zimri, an Israelite, taking a Midianite woman Cozbi into his tent, he killed both of them.[22] This violent act is reported to have been commended and approved by God as “zeal…on my (God’s) behalf” and resulted in “turning back my (God’s) wrath from the Israelites”. Phineas’ violent act “made atonement for the Israelites” and restored peace in the community (Num. 25.13). Thus, “the sword of those who love God is a redemptive instrument, and its zealous use is capable of turning away the wrath of God from his disobedient people, by making atonement for the sins of the nation.”[23] In other words, the wrath of God that had befallen on the community was diverted onto the apostates by Phineas and the killing of the apostates restored peace and order in the community. As a reward for his zealous act, Phineas was given a promise of eternal priesthood and a covenant of peace (Sirach 45.23-26; cf. 50.24).

The zeal of Phineas had become a prototype for the ideal of “zeal for the law” for the Maccabean movement. Maccabees considered Phineas an ultimate model and called him “our father” (I Macc. 2.54).[24] The zealous act of Phineas is included in ta erga tōn paterōn and thus legitimized violence to enforce conformity to the Torah within the Jewish community. His zealous act “has been reckoned to him as righteousness” (Ps. 106. 31). This echoes Genesis 15.6 where Abraham’s faith in the Lord “was reckoned to him as righteousness”. Abraham’s faith is also mentioned in I Macc. 2.52: “Was not Abraham found faithful when tested, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness?” Notice that I Macc. 2.52 is a part of Mattathias’ reference to the heroes of zeal (I Macc. 2.51-60). The Jewish midrash interprets Abraham’s faith in terms of the zealous act of Phineas and it “has been reckoned to him as righteousness”. Thus, Abraham’s faith is interpreted as “faithfulness” which is understood in terms of zealous action for God or the law. In this sense Abraham’s faith is linked to the order of sacred violence. Since Abraham’s faith forms a pattern for those of faith, the teachers of the “other gospel” insisted on lifestyle pertaining to the order of sacred violence. This sacred violence is expressed in exclusionism and violent action against apostates in order to maintain conformity to the pattern of life according to the zealotic interpretation of the law and thus to preserve unity and order of the community. That means, violence to preserve the pattern of life according to the zealotic understanding of law is active in the realm of the law. It is in the light of this Paul states that the “curse” as sacred violence is active in the realm of the “works of law”: “All who are of works of law are under a curse” (Gal. 3.10).

D. The Law as an Enslaving Power

Paul uses the Greek preposition hupo thirteen times in Galatians. Whenever he used it for himself or for God hupo is followed by a genitive noun (Gal. 1.11, 3.17, 4.9) and thus it gives a sense of agency. In the remaining instances hupo is followed by an accusative noun (Gal. 3.10, 3.22, 3.23, 3.25, 4.2, 4.3, 4.4, 4.5, 4.21, 5.18) and modifies katara, hamartia, nomos, paidagōgos, epitropos kai oikonomos and ta stoicheia tou kosmou. The phrase “under the law” is prominent in Galatians (Gal. 3.23, 4.4, 4.5, 4.21, 5.18). The importance of this phrase in Galatians must have been prompted by the crisis in Galatian churches. Jews understood the Torah as a protective fence that shuts up the Jewish community from having social relationship with “sinners”. It restrains the Jews from crossing the boundaries. However, Paul uses the preposition hupo in the sense of subjection or enslavement, thus characterizing the Torah as an enslaving power. The enslaving action of the law is described by sugkleiō and phroureō. Paul uses to the law the same verb sugkleiō that he does in Gal. 3.22 to express the enslavement of “all things” (including human beings) under the power of sin. The imagery here is confinement in prison, thus isolating those in prison from any social relationship with the rest of the society. Sin is a divisive power of the present evil age that has intruded into God’s creation. The law has also joined the power of sin in this enslaving activity by dividing the world into the circumcision and the uncircumcision (cf. Gal. 3.28; 6.12-15). Paul calls this function of the law as enslavement. The other power that enslaves is stoicheia tou kosmou (Gal. 4:3). Stoicheia tou kosmou are identified with the figures of administrators and trustees in Paul’s illustration (Gal. 4.1-7). Paul mentions that stoicheia tou kosmou have power to enslave and they exercised that power. The law in its function of enslaving those under it has a relationship with stoicheia tou kosmou. The existential contexts described by the phrases “under the law” and “under the elements of the cosmos” coincide (Gal. 3.21-4.11).[25] In Gal. 4.9-11 doing the law is associated closely with serving the elements of the cosmos. Paul maintains that the Galatians’ previous worship of “beings that by nature are not gods” enslaved them to stoicheia. He goes on to warn them that by becoming proselytes they would again become enslaved to ta asthenē kai ptōcha stoicheia.

Stoicheia tou kosmou is capable of taking a wide range of meanings as it was used in different spheres of ideas.[26] Gerhard Delling gives six ways of its usage outside of the New Testament: 1. degrees on a sundial by which time is calculated; 2. letters, syllables, or words of a sentence, or sounds that they represent; 3. the basic elements of which the cosmos is composed, especially the four elements of earth, water, air and fire; 4. the fundamental principles or rudimentary teachings of such subjects as, for example, music, mathematics, and child care; 5. the stars and other heavenly bodies, presumably because composed of the chief and finest of the elements, fire; 6. the stellar spirits, gods, demons, and angels. In the context of Galatians two suggestions are prominent in the discussion on stoicheia tou kosmou. It is understood as referring to “demonic powers”. But this meaning does not agree with Paul’s characterization of the law in the preceding argument. It is also difficult to establish a link between stoicheia tou kosmou and demonic powers until much later than Paul’s times.[27] If stoicheia tou kosmou means “the basic elements from which everything in the natural world is made and of which it is composed”, then a direct link with the law is possible. When Paul speaks of freedom from stoicheia tou kosmou, he has in mind “not earth, air, fire, and water, but the elemental pairs of opposites listed in 3.28, and emphatically the first pair, Jew and Gentile.”[28] In this sense the law is linked to stoicheia tou kosmou. The law’s enslaving function of building walls of separation between the Jews and the Gentiles is condemned by Paul in Galatians. In this sense the Gentiles who seek to come under the law are linked to their previous life under the elements of the cosmos (Gal. 4.8-9). That means, the cosmic landscape is filled with malignant enslaving powers. In short, the human tragedy is universal enslavement, ubiquitous enslavement to the powers of the present evil age.

Paul reinforces the enslaving function of the law by using another metaphor, a prison guard. He uses phroureō in the sense of a prison guard keeping watch over prison inmates so that they would remain behind bars. Paul links this image of a jailer guarding prisoners with that of paidagōgos. Paidagōgos is usually a domestic slave whose primary role is to protect and guard his charge.[29] Protection and guarding involved imposition of restrictions on and confinement of the child. Linking of the image of a jailer guarding a prisoner with paidagōgos highlights not so much of law’s function of instruction and disciplining, but of restriction and confinement to a particular pattern of life expressed in exclusionism that built a wall of separation between the Jews and the Gentiles.[30] This is what Paul has found to be a negative function of the law. By focusing on the enslaving function of the law, Paul counters the claims of the teachers of the “other gospel” that freedom and the pattern of life according to the exclusionistic interpretation of the law are coterminous.[31]

Paul’s language of law characterized by enslavement strongly suggests that the teachers of the “other gospel” have made a link between freedom and the law. Moreover, Paul calls their message “gospel” (Gal. 1.6). He does that because the teachers have claimed that their “gospel” not only brings Gentile believers out of their ambiguous position in terms of identity, but also provides them with freedom in terms of the privileges granted to the Jews by the Roman empire.[32] However, Paul qualifies their “gospel” with heteron (Gal. 1. 6). He employs the word heteron in the sense of “another of a different kind”. So for Paul the teachers’ message of freedom is a “gospel” of different kind. Because their “gospel” links freedom to a pattern of life based on the exclusionistic interpretation of the law. For Paul, this is a perversion of the gospel of freedom that he preached to the Galatians, and a message of enslavement. 

Paul contrasts the enslaving function of the law with God’s justifying act (that is, righting the wrong) in Jesus Christ (Gal. 3.24). God’s justifying act in Jesus Christ is a unifying act[33]: “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female” (Gal. 3.28). Justification is possible only ek pisteōs (Gal. 3.23-24, 3.11). Law can not achieve justification because it is not ek pisteōs (Gal. 3.12). Thus, Paul’s argument in Gal. 3.23-28 is connected to that of Gal. 3.10-13. For Paul, the law, as an enslaving power that has built walls of separation between the Jews and the Gentiles, can not accomplish justification. God’s justifying act is ek pisteōs. In order to substantiate his claim that no one is justified by the law, but by faith, Paul in Gal. 3.11,12 cites Habakkuk 2.4 and Leviticus 18.5. It is important to note the “zealot” context of these citations. As discussed above, for zealous Jews juxtaposition of Hab. 2.4 and Lev. 18.5 would not have posed a contradiction. Because for them faith in God is interpreted in terms of conformity to the pattern of life according to the works of the law (note poiēsai Gal. 3.12). Paul argues against such a view. For him, faith and law (or doing the law) are mutually exclusive (Gal. 3.11-12, 23-24). Because in the realm of the works of the law life is ordered by exclusionistic understanding of the law and this has resulted in division of the world into Jew and Gentile. For Paul, works of the law denotes the Jewish way of life described in Gal. 2.14 by the term Ioudaizein. It denotes exclusion of the Gentiles. Moreover, the power of curse, which falls on those who fail to conform their life according to the works of law, is active in the realm of the works of the law. This means, the social order in the realm of the works of the law is based on the exclusionistic interpretation of the law, and those who cause disorder to the social order come under the curse of the law. In other words, the Jewish way of life represented by the works of the law is characterized by exclusion and violence. For Paul this is an enslaving function of the law. God’s justifying act or unifying act is a reality in the realm which is characterized by faith.

Paul’s association of the law with slavery and slavery with stoicheia tou kosmou make the decision confronting the Galatians as a choice not only between slavery and freedom, but also between the present evil age, to which the enslaving powers belong, and God’s new creation. This becomes absolutely clear in the conclusion of the letter (Gal. 6.11-15), where Paul presents the world and the new creation as two exclusive entities. Paul speaks about this in the context where some are compelling the Gentiles in Galatian churches to be circumcised (Gal. 6.12-13). In Gal. 6.14 Paul mentions three crucifixions: Christ’s, the world’s and Paul’s. The latter two crucifixions are derivative of the former.[34] The death of Jesus Christ has effected the death of the world to Paul and Paul to the world. The perfect tense estaurōtai denotes that the death of the world to him and vice-versa, although occurred in the past, are still a reality in the present. Neither the world nor the self has initiated its crucifixion, but it happened through the crucifixion of Jesus Christ (di v  ou Gal. 6.14). Minear comments:

The two parallel clauses suggest that there is a subtle interaction between the two derived crucifixions…We infer that these two events are in some sense simultaneous and interdependent, yet they are not identical. It is the reciprocal relation of the two entities that has been terminated. Neither death can be telescoped into the other, yet neither is fully intelligible alone.[35]

The immediate context of Paul’s argument is decisive in setting the meaning of the world. Gal. 6.15 is both parallel and antithetical to Gal. 6.14. This makes clear that the crucifixion of the world is an event that marks circumcision and uncircumcision no longer important. The context of Paul’s accusation against those coercing the Gentiles to undergo circumcision and its juxtaposition with the new creation suggest that the world that Paul has been crucified to is the world where division between the circumcision and the uncircumcision does matter (Gal. 6.12-15). For Paul, his crucifixion to the world has resulted in his transfer from the world, where the antinomies are important, to the new creation, where the antinomies are not important and the Jews and the Gentiles living together is a reality. Thus, for Paul the world and the new creation are two exclusive entities. In this sense the world and the present evil age are synonymous. That is why Paul is strongly advocating the Galatian believers not to succumb to the teachers’ gospel of freedom.


In Gal. 2.19 Paul speaks of his crucifixion in terms of co-crucifixion with Christ: “through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ”. Paul says that it was the law itself that caused his death to the law.[36] What he has realized (through God’s revelation of God’s Son to him) is that his zealous life to protect the pattern of life according to the law is not living a life to God. Paul’s death to the law by his co-crucifixion with Christ, a victim of the “curse of the law”, has paved way to live for God.

The argument in Gal. 2.15-21 is tied to the social event in Antioch (Gal. 2.11-14). The law to which Paul died is the very law that orders the life of the Jews, including their separation from the Gentiles. The law has separated the Jews from the Gentiles by restricting and confining the Jews to a pattern of life according to the works of the law. The works of the law are primarily the boundary markers of the Jewish community. Paul explicitly rejects dietary laws (Gal. 2.11-14), circumcision (Gal. 5.6, 6.12-15), and special days (Gal. 4.9-10), which mark the boundaries of the Jewish community over against the rest of the world. Victor Turner notes, “At their deepest level rituals reveal values which are sociological facts.”[37] The Jewish boundary markers functioned as a wall of separation between the circumcision and the uncircumcision. Thus, the law has established antinomies (cf. Gal. 3.28). It is important to note that the law in its restrictive function works like a double edged sword. By restricting and confining the Jews to a particular pattern of life according to the law interpreted in terms of the works of the law, the law has not only “shut in” the Jews but also “shut out” the Gentiles. By its exclusionism and division it creates between the circumcision and the uncircumcision, the law has affected both the Jews and the Gentiles. Therefore, both the Jews and the Gentiles are “under the curse of the law”. This is what Paul argues in Gal. 3.10-13 and Gal. 3.23-4.5 that both the Jews and the Gentiles are “under the law” or under the enslaving power of the law, and the death of Christ has purchased freedom for them (Gal. 4.5, 3.13).

There are several views about the identity of those “under the curse of the law” or “under the law”. Paul uses personal pronouns “us” and “we” in Gal. 3.13, 3.23-25, and 4.5. There are three dominant interpretations of these pronouns. Betz argues that they refer to the Jewish Christians who were delivered from the “curse of the law”.[38] He contends that the Jews were under the curse of the law because they were under the law, and the Gentile Christians were not under the curse because they were not under the Torah, before they converted to Christianity.[39] Therefore, only Jews were kept imprisoned by the law.[40] However, Gaston argues that the pronoun “us” in 3.13 refers to the Gentiles because “Paul so identified with his readers that the first person plural actually means “we Gentiles”” and that hupo nomon “seems to have been used by Paul to designate the Gentile situation.”[41] The third position is represented by James Dunn. He maintains that in Gal. 3.13 “us” refers to both the Jews and the Gentiles because “the cursed status or condition is that of the covenant-breaker, put out of the covenant people, a status and condition like that of those who are outside the covenant to start with.”[42] Whereas in Gal. 3.23, according to Dunn, “we” refers to the Jews because the function of the law here refers to the positive protective custody of the law.[43]

However, Paul’s argument in both Gal. 3.10-13 and 3.23-4.5 is same. As argued else where, the law in both contexts is an enslaving power. The power of curse is active in the realm of the works of the law to direct life according to the exclusionary understanding of the law. In Gal. 3.23-25 Paul reinforces the enslaving function of the law by using the imageries of confinement in prison, prison guard and paidigōgos. Paul portrays the law as an enslaving power of the present evil age along with sin and the elements of the cosmos. At the heart of the enslavement is division of the world into Jew and Gentile. Thus, the law in its enslaving function formed as a dividing wall between Jew and Gentile. The Gentiles did not escape the curse of the law. As Charles Cousar comments, “They (Gentiles) were not under the law in precisely the same way that Jews were; nevertheless they were “under the curse”…They were excluded, isolated by the wall the law erected and victims of the antinomies it created.”[44] Thus, the law acted like a double edged sword. As a consequence of its enslaving function of dividing the world into the circumcision and the uncircumcision, both the Jews and the Gentiles are under the power of the law. The law, as understood in exclusionistic terms, not only “shut in” the Jews but also “shut out” the Gentiles from having social intercourse between the two communities. Therefore, both the Jews and the Gentiles are under the enslaving power of the law or under the curse of the law.

E. Curse of the Law and the Death of Jesus Christ 

As noted above, there are similarities between Gal. 4.4-5 and Gal. 3.13 with Christ event purchasing freedom for “those under law” (Gal. 4.5) or for “us from the curse of the law” (Gal. 3.13). In Gal. 3.10 Paul understands “curse” as a power (use of hupo) that is active in the realm of the works of the law. Those who are of the realm of the works of the law are under the power of the curse. To substantiate his conclusion Paul quotes Deut. 27.26: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all the things written in the book of the law to do them” (Gal. 3.10). This is to be understood in the light of God’s promise to Abraham: “All the nations shall be blessed in you” (Gal. 3.8).[45] Paul argues how the law (as understood in divisive terms, or law that regulates life in the realm of the works of the law) has thwarted this promise to fulfill. It is important to note that Paul is not against the law per se. Paul interprets the law in terms of love: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Gal. 5. 14). Therefore, Paul’s negative characterization of the law is not about the law per se, but the law as interpreted by the teachers of the “other gospel” in exclusionistic terms. Therefore, the criticism of Heikki Raisanen that “Paul’s thought on the law is full of … inconsistencies”[46] is inappropriate.

From Gal. 2.16 till 4.21 Paul speaks negatively about the law. In every case he has the Torah in mind. As Graham Stanton insists, “It is not exaggeration to claim that from 2.16 to 4.21a, Paul’s portrait of the law is ‘consistently malignant’.”[47] However, in Gal. 4.21, 5.14 and 6.2 Paul’s tone changes: nomos is used in a positive sense. Paul gives a hint of the positive function of the law in Gal. 3.8, although hē graphē, not ho nomos, is used. Notice in Gal. 3.21-22 Paul while arguing about ho nomos suddenly switches over to the phrase hē graphē as the one that has “imprisoned all things under the power of sin” (Gal. 3.21-22 cf. 4.21, 30). In Gal. 4.21b it is not hē graphē but ho nomos, which bears witness to the gospel of freedom in the allegory of Hagar and Sarah. In Gal. 4.21b Paul could have written hē graphē as ho nomos, as Gal. 4.30 confirms. Thus, Paul argues that “there is a “law” that is to be shunned and there is a “law” that is to be heard and obeyed.”[48] In the light of this understanding, Gal. 5.14, with its reference to fulfilling the law in loving one’s neighbor, is not “the most unexpected development of Paul’s thought in this letter.”[49] The contrast between Gal. 5.3 holon ton nomon poiēsai and Gal. 5.14 ho pas nomos peplērōtai is not a contrast between holos ho nomos and ho pas nomos but the contrast between the verbs poiēsai and plēroō.[50] In Gal. 5.14 plēroun, a verb not used with nomos in the LXX or in Greek Jewish literature, is used.[51] Paul uses the noun form plērōma to describe the eschatological fullness of time when God sent God’s Son to be born “under law” in order to redeem “those under law” (Gal. 4.4-5). In Gal. 5.14 Paul uses the verb plēroun in order to describe the fulfillment of the law in line with the eschatological fullness of time in the coming of Jesus.[52] In Gal. 6.2 Paul uses the compound verb anaplēroun with reference to the law of Christ. With the use of anaplēroun Gal. 6.2 is closely related to Gal. 5.14. Although law and Christ have been put in antithesis in the main argument of Paul, in Gal. 6.2 they are brought together. Since “fulfilling the law” in Gal. 5.14 refers to the Torah, the use of the similar verb in Gal. 6.2 suggests that the law of Christ refers to the Torah as “redefined through Christ”.[53] The positive reference of the law suggests that Paul is not against the law interpreted in terms of agape love or redefined through Christ. However, he is against the law understood in terms of “doing it” or interpreted in exclusionistic terms (poiēsai, Gal. 3.10, 5.3).

Paul uses the word poiēsai with reference to the law in Gal. 3.10, 3.12, 5.3.[54] In Gal. 3.10 Paul argues that the power of curse is active in the realm of the works of the law. In order to substantiate his claim he quotes Deut 27.26: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all the things written in the book of the law tou poiēsai auta.”[55] J.L. Martyn argues that Paul is citing one of the texts of the teachers of the “other gospel”.[56] Deut. 27.26 was used by them to persuade Galatian believers to conform their life to the demands of the law, particularly the boundary markers of the Jewish community. Some scholars have identified the “curse” as a result of breaking the Torah, because transgression of even one commandment would imply apostasy.[57] A related argument is that the intension of Paul here is to show unfulfillability of the law.[58] The reasoning for this conclusion is that the emphasis in the text of Deut. 27.26 is on pasin tois gegrammenois en tō bibliō tou nomou (cf. holon ton nomon, Gal. 5.3), and Paul has presumed that complete observance of the law is impossible. So the logic goes as follows: those who base their life on the law observance are under the curse, because no one can fulfill the entire law and so the law pronounces curse on all. The problem with this view is that nowhere in this context or the entire letter does Paul assume unfulfillability of the law. Paul, rather, encourages his readers to fulfill the law as interpreted in terms of love (Gal. 5.14 ff). Moreover, this is not Paul’s thrust in quoting Deut. 27.26. Schlier argues that Paul’s position here is that those who do the law are under the curse. Therefore, the emphasis is on “doing” instead of on “believing” and so is opposite to the “faith” of Abraham.[59] However, there is no indication in the text or in the letter that obedience to the law incurs curse. Mussner contends that “not the doing is under the curse, but the not doing.”[60] He explains it by combining the arguments of Schoeps and Schlier that the principle of “doing” the Torah is ineffective as far as the salvation is concerned because no one can fulfill it. However, Mussner also misses the mark. As Betz states, “For Paul, salvation in Christ and the fulfilling of the Torah undoubtedly go together (cf. 5.14, 19-23; 6.2). The question is only whether the Jewish concept of “works of the Torah” can lead to the fulfillment of the Torah. This Paul denies.”[61]

For Paul, the curse falls on those who fail to do the law as interpreted in exclusionistic terms (the “works of the law”; the verb poiēsai  is used in Gal. 3.10, 12). The law demanded those of the works of the law conformity to the pattern of life according to the exclusionistic understanding of the law. As Dunn says, ““Works of the law” are not understood, either by his Jewish interlocutors or by Paul himself, as works which earn God’s favour, as merit-amassing observances.”[62] Rather they are perceived as the indicators of the exclusive covenant status of the Jews. The Maccabean crisis had promoted Jewish rituals such as circumcision and dietary laws as key elements of law observance. These rituals remained central even during the time of Paul as the boundary markers of those who belonged to God’s covenant community. Paul uses the connection of the works of the law and the curse to portray law as a negative, threatening power that stands over against God’s promise to Abraham (to bless all nations, or more precisely to unite the circumcision and the uncircumcision, Gal. 3.8 cf. 3.28, 6.14-15). The curse of the law as an enslaving power restricts and confines those of the works of the law to a particular pattern of life that built a wall of separation between the Jews and the Gentiles. This “doing the law” demanded of those who are of the works of the law is that Paul rejects as slavery.[63]

Therefore, in the context of Gal. 3 the power of the curse of the law as sacred violence is active in the realm where the exclusionistic interpretation of the law patterns the life of its members, and falls on those who violate this order of life.[64] For Paul the curse of sacred violence against apostates takes the form of Jewish religious existence.[65] This sacred violence, manifested in the form of exclusion of Gentiles, persecution and extermination, is the driving energy of the Jewish social system. The Jewish social system has provided a context for the law to be used in scapegoating apostates and the Gentiles. Scapegoat victimage is demanded to ensure order and unity of the Jewish community, and is understood as being sanctioned by God’s law. Thus, those of the works of the law are enslaved to a system of sacred violence.  

Paul says that God has sent God’s Son into the very realm where the power of curse as sacred violence is active: “God sent his Son…born under the law” (Gal. 4.4). As discussed above, Christ enters into the “sacred precinct” as a scapegoat and becomes a “victim” of the curse: “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us – for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”-” (Gal. 3.13). In Palestinian Targum Deut 21.23 and Num. 25.1-5 are linked. A.T. Hanson quotes the text as of the Palestinian Targum as follows:

And the people of the house of Israel joined themselves to Baal Peor, like the nail in the wood, which is not separated but by breaking up the wood. And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel. And the Lord said to Moshe, “Take all the chiefs of the people, and appoint them for judges, and let them give judgment to put to death the people who have gone astray after Peor, and hang them before the word of the Lord upon the wood over against the morning sun, and at the departure of the sun take them down and bury them, and turn away the strong anger of the Lord against Israel.

Hamerton-Kelly argues, “The mention of the wood on which they are hanged and the command to take them down at sunset links the incident (in Num. 25.1-5) with Deut. 21.23.”[66]

Paul by citing Deut. 21.23 in a “zealot” context where faith in God is interpreted in terms of zealous action for God or the law, thus linking to the system of sacred violence, is connecting the death of Christ to the system of sacred violence.[67] Christ, the one sent by God to fulfill God’s will (Gal. 1.4, 4.4), became a victim of the curse of the law. Bemoaning at the attitude of Galatian believers toward the works of the law, Paul says that the gospel of Christ, which he proclaimed to them, is essentially a description and a public exposure of an act of violence against the crucified Christ (Gal. 3.1). Jesus’ death reveals that the curse of sacred violence is human, not divine, violence.[68] By entering the realm of the curse of sacred violence and suffering the sacred violence as a scapegoat, Christ revealed that the realm of the works of the law in which the curse of the sacred violence is active is founded on scapegoat mechanism. The crucial aspect of scapegoating is the pronouncement of the law that Jesus, who hung on the cross, was accursed. This means, the Jewish community (that is, the Jewish community based on the zealotic interpretation of the Torah) is unquestioningly on the right with regards to Jesus’ crucifixion, because Christ as the scapegoat is condemned by God (since law is the expression of God’s will). However, Paul argues that the one pronounced by the law as accursed of God, is in fact sent by God to fulfill God’s will. Thus, the death of Jesus Christ discloses the hidden truth that the realm of the works of the law is the realm of conspiracy that blames the victim as offender or object of God’s wrath (Gal. 3.12-13). The raising of Jesus Christ by God reveals what was hidden: innocence of Jesus Christ, scapegoating of Christ, and the sacred violence at work in the realm of the works of the law as human, not divine, violence against the victim. The death of Jesus Christ exposes the sacred violence for what it is: a lie perpetuated against victims in the name of God.[69] It reveals the deceit of the double transference, which transforms human violence into “divine” violence, and the violence against the apostates (of the exclusionistic interpretation of the law) as “good violence”. Jesus’ death also discloses that the victim of the curse of the law is wrongly blamed as disturber of the social order legitimized by God. When the “divine” violence in the form of curse fell on the one who was sent to fulfill God’s will (Gal. 1.4), its true nature is inescapably evident. The death of Jesus Christ has exposed the realm of the works of the law and the pattern of life according to the works of the law as diametrically opposed to the will of God. That is why Paul argues that the life according to the law interpreted in exclusionistic terms is not living for God (Gal. 2.19). The death of Christ redefines faith, not in exclusionistic terms and sacred violence, but in terms of trust in God’s promise, that is, blessing of all the nations. This is the faith exemplified by Abraham that was “reckoned to him as righteousness” (Gal. 3.6).

Further, the death of Jesus Christ discloses that the realm of the works of the law, where the curse of sacred violence is active, is founded on scapegoat mechanism. Paul says that the cross of Christ is a scandal to the Jews (Gal. 5.11).  According to Sayoon Kim the scandal of the cross could be that the disciples of Jesus Christ had been preaching the one cursed by God as the Messiah.[70] It is most likely that the conviction that the Torah had cursed the Messiah would have been scandalous to the Jews. However, Paul talks about the scandal of the cross in the context of him being persecuted for not preaching circumcision (Gal. 5.11).[71] In other words, advocating circumcision means robbing the cross of its character as the scandal to the Jews (cf. I Cor. 1.23). Here Paul has in mind the significance of the cross in relation to the ritual of circumcision, which is one of the Jewish boundary markers. The scandal of the cross for the Jews is that it has annulled the Jewish boundary markers, thus removing the wall of separation between the Jews and the Gentiles (Gal. 5.11). Here scandal has a sense of hindrance or obstacle. For the Jews the cross appears as introducing a scandal into history because it brings about the collapse of the wall between the Jews and the Gentiles, thus disturbing the social order. Thus, the cross causes social disorder. To maintain social order based on the exclusionary understanding of the law, it demands “good violence” against “bad violence”, which is the cause of social disorder. In order to prevent social disorder, violence against the victim should be concealed and the victim be projected as offender of God ordained social order. The cross by demolishing the ritual barriers around the Jewish community and uniting the Jews and the Gentiles, has given zealous Jews the motivation to engage in scapegoat mechanism to prevent “bad violence” of social disorder by “good violence” of the curse of sacred violence. In other words, Paul views the curse of sacred violence that has befallen on Jesus Christ as the same curse that is expressed in excluding the Gentiles through the Jewish rituals such as circumcision, dietary laws and the special days.[72] Thus, the death of Jesus Christ unmasks the scapegoat mechanism at work in the realm of the works of the law where the law is distorted to the service of violence. The violence is expressed in the crucifixion of Jesus Christ as cursed of the law and the exclusion of the Gentiles as “sinners”. Paul, thus, argues that the death of Christ has exposed the deception of the Jewish social order by becoming a victim of it. Through his death as the cursed one of the law Christ has purchased freedom of both Jew and Gentile in order to transfer them from the realm based on the exclusionistic understanding of the law into the new creation, where the Jews and the Gentiles are united.

Thus, the death of Jesus Christ is not a sacrificial mechanism. It deconstructs, not destroys, the sacrificial structures underlying the present evil order based on dichotomies.[73] The sacrificial structures remain unbroken and continue to unleash violence against innocent victims in order to maintain the existing social order characterized by antinomies. The death of Jesus Christ, the innocent victim, demystifies and demythologizes this sacred social order in which violence is grounded. By exposing the sacrificial structures for what they are in the realm of the works of the law, the death of Jesus Christ facilitates those who are under these structures “to withdraw credibility and allegiance from them.”[74] In other words, by entering the realm of the works of the law and becoming a victim of the sacred violence, Jesus Christ represents human violence to those enslaved to the system of sacred violence. This is what happened to Paul in his experience of God’s revelation of God’s Son. The revelation of God’s Son, the victim of the curse of the law has made Paul to realize that his persecuting activity against the believers in Jesus Christ is due to his way of life patterned according to the zealotic interpretation of the law in his community. This realization and acknowledgement of his enslavement to the system of sacred violence has led Paul to withdraw credibility and allegiance to the social order of the realm of the works of the law founded on the sacrificial mechanism and mimetically identify himself with Christ, the victim of the curse of the law. Paul affirms this by the statement: “For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the son of God, who loved and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2.19-20). This is the sense of freedom from the present evil age dominated by the enslaving powers, the law, sin and the elements of the cosmos, that Paul insists to have been realized through the Christ event.






[1] The noun aphesis is absent from Paul’s letters. The verb aphiēmi meaning “to forgive,” occurs only once, specifically in a quotation of Ps 32:1 (Rom 4:7). Similarly “repentance” is largely foreign to Paul’s theology.

[2] Arland J. Hultgren, Christ and His Benefits: Christology and Redemption in the New Testament (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1987), p. 49.

[3] Hans Dieter Betz, Galatians: A Commentary on Paul’s Letter to the Churches in Galatia (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1979), pp. 41-42; Richard N. Longenecker, Word Biblical Commentary, Volume 41: Galatians (Dallas, TX: Word Books, 1990), pp. 121-122; James D.G. Dunn, A Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians (London: A. & C. Black, 1993), pp. 34-35; Vincent M. Smiles, The Gospel and the Law in Galatia: Paul’s Response to Jewish-Christian Separation and the Threat of Galatian Apostasy (Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 1998), p. 69.

[4] Dahl, “The Atonement – An Adequate Reward for the Akedah? Rom. 8.32”; Vermes, “Redemption and Genesis xxii.18 – The Binding of Isaac and the Sacrifice of Jesus.”

[5] Hamerton-Kelly, Sacred Violence, p. 78.

[6] Dahl, “The Atonement – An Adequate Reward for the Akedah? Rom. 8.32.”

[7] Charles B. Cousar, Reading Galatians, Philippians, and I Thessalonians: A Literary and Theological Commentary (Maco, Georgia: Smyth and Helwys Publishing, 2001), p. 23.

[8] Hamerton-Kelly, Sacred Violence, p. 77.

[9] Betz, Galatians, pp. 149-150.

[10] Bradley Hudson McLean, The Cursed Christ: Mediterranean Expulsion Rituals and Pauline Soteriology (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1996), p. 72.

[11]  Hultgren, Christ and His Benefits, p. 49.

[12] Hultgren, Christ and His Benefits, p. 49.

[13] Hultgren, Christ and His Benefits, p. 50.

[14] Daniel Schwartz, “Two Pauline Allusions to the Redemptive Mechanism of the Crucifixion,” in JBL 102 (1983), pp. 259-268.

[15] K.H. Rengstorf, “apostellō, exapostellō, apostolos…,” in TDNT II, ed. by G. Kittel and G. Friedrich (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 1964-), pp. 398-447.

[16] The Mishna tractate Yoma (which is put in final form in 200 C.E) describes how the goat was being tormented by the people as it was led away: “The Babylonians (common people) would pull the hair of the Azazel as it was led away” (m. Yoma 6.4).[16] Mishna further says that ten booths were set up, from which men signaled the passing by of the goat, and the last man of the last booth pushed it over a cliff and signaled back that it had been killed (m. Yoma, 6.4 ff).

[17] Hamerton-Kelly, Sacred Violence, p. 78.

[18] T.H. Gaster, “Sacrifices and Offerings, OT,” in The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible: An Illustrated Encyclopedia, ed. by George Arthur Buttrick (New York: Abingdon, 1962), IV. 153.

[19] John M.G. Barclay, Obeying the Truth: Paul’s Ethics in Galatians (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 1988), p. 53.


[20] Hamerton-Kelly, Sacred Violence, p. 74.

[21] This is explained in Chapter V.

[22] Vincent Smiles argues that “the purpose of Phinehas’s resort to violence was not so much “to maintain Israel’s distinctiveness as God’s covenant people” as to ensure Israel’s obedience to God’s Law in defense of the covenant. Separatism serves obedience, not vice versa.” But is it possible to separate “obedience to the Torah” and Jewish “separatism” as to say “separatism serves obedience”? Smiles, “The Concept of “Zeal” in the Second-Temple Judaism,” p. 285.

[23] Farmer, Maccabees, Zealots, and Josephus, p. 178.

[24] Klassen, “Jesus and Phineas,” p. 492.

[25] Charles H. Cosgrove, The Cross and the Spirit: A Study in the Argument and Theology of Galatians (Macon, Georgia: Mercer University Press, 1988), p. 75.

[26] A. J. Bandstra, The Law and the Elements of the World (Kampen: Kok, 1964), p. 46.

[27] Longenecker, Galatians, p. 165; J. Louis Martyn, Galatians: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary (New York: Doubleday, 1997).

[28] Martyn, Galatians, p. 31.

[29] Paidagōgos is also involved in instruction.

[30] Some scholars emphasize the positive function of the paidagōgos. T.D. Gordon, “A Note on Paidagōgos in Galatians 3.24-25,” in NTS 35 (1989), pp. 150-154; Dunn, Galatians, p. 197; J.B. Lightfoot, St Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians (London: Macmillan and Co., 1880), pp. 148-149.  

[31] This is discussed in Chapter III.

[32] Read the discussion in Chapter III.

[33] This will be elaborated in Chapter VI.

[34] Paul Sevier Minear, “The Crucified World: The Enigma of Galatians 6,14,” in Theologia Crucis-Signum Crucis, Herausgegeben von Carl Andersen and Gunter Klein (Tubingen: J.C.B. Mohr, 1979), p. 396.

[35] Minear, “The Crucified World,” p. 396.

[36] Hamerton-Kelly, Sacred Violence, p. 67.

[37] Victor Turner, The Forest of Symbols (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1967), p. 44.

[38] Betz, Galatians, pp. 148, 208; Longenecker, Galatians, p. 121.

[39] Betz, Galatians, p. 148.

[40] Betz, Galatians, p. 176.

[41] L. Gaston, Paul and the Torah (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 1987), p. 62.   

[42] Dunn, Galatians, p. 176.

[43] Dunn, Galatians, pp. 196-198.

[44] Cousar, Reading Galatians, p. 60.

[45] This is a conflation of Genesis 12.3 and 18.18.       

[46] Heikki Raisanen, Paul and the Law (Tubingen: J.C.B. Mohr, 1987).

[47] Graham N. Stanton, “The Law of Moses and the Law of Christ – Galatians 3.1-6.2,” in Paul and the Mosaic Law, ed. by James D.G. Dunn (Tubingen: J.C.B. Mohr, 1996), pp. 114-115.

[48] Smiles, The Gospel and the Law in Galatia, p. 224.  

[49] Graham Shaw, The Cost of Authority: Manipulation and Freedom in the New Testament (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1983), p. 50; Barclay, Obeying the Truth, 126.

[50] Stanton, “The Law of Moses and the Law of Christ,” p. 115.

[51] Barclay, Obeying the Truth, p. 138.

[52] Barclay, Obeying the Truth, p. 140.

[53] Barclay, Obeying the Truth, pp. 134, 141.

[54] In Gal. 3.21 zōopoiēsai is used. Note that Paul uses poiein in 2.10, 5.17 and 6.9.

[55] The text does not fully agree with the LXX and MT.

[56] Martyn, Galatians, p. 309.

[57] Martin Noth, The Laws in the Pentateuch and Other Studies, tr. by D.R. Ap-Thomas (Edinburgh: Oliver & Boyd, 1966).

[58] Hans Joachim Schoeps, Paul: The Theology of the Apostle in the Light of Jewish Religious History, tr. by H. Knight (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1961), pp. 175-177; John Buckel, Free to Love: Paul’s Defense of Christian Liberty in Galatians (Louvain: Peeters Press, 1993), pp. 138-139; Longenecker, Galatians, p. 118.  

[59] Heinrich Schlier, Der Brief an die Galater (Gottingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1962), pp. 132-134.

[60] Franz Mussner, Theologie der Freiheit nach Paulus (Freiburg: Herder, 1976), pp. 224-226.

[61] Betz, Galatians, p. 146.

[62] Dunn, Jesus, Paul, and the Law: Studies in Mark and Galatians (Louisville: Westminster/John Knox Press, 1990), p. 194.  

[63] Stanton, “The Law of Moses and the Law of Christ,” p. 115.

[64] This is evident in the case of Maccabean movement.

[65] Hamerton-Kelly, Sacred Violence, p. 76.

[66] Hamerton-Kelly, Sacred Violence, n. 33, p. 75.

[67] Hamerton-Kelly, Sacred Violence, p. 75.

[68] Hamerton-Kelly, Sacred Violence, p. 79.

[69] Ted Peters succinctly puts it: “God does not demand sacrifice. We do. Yet in order to hide our own penchant for blood from ourselves, we attribute it to the divine. We create the illusion of a sacrifice-demanding God.” Ted Peters, “Atonement and the Final Scapegoat,” in PRSt 19 (1992), p. 181.

[70] Seyoon Kim, The Origin of Paul’s Gospel (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 1981), p. 47.

[71] There is a debate among scholars on the question of Paul preaching circumcision. However, there is a general agreement that Paul is referring to the claims of the teachers of “the other gospel” about him. Read Dunn, The Epistle to the Galatians, pp. 278-280.

[72] Hamerton-Kelly, Sacred Violence, p. 72.

[73] Hamerton-Kelly, Sacred Violence, p. 60.

[74] Hamerton-Kelly, Sacred Violence, p. 60.


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