Jewish Christianity in Galatians: A study of the teachers and their gospel
Arnold, James Phillip
Kelber, Werner H.
Doctor of Philosophy thesis
The subject of this study is the identity of the Jewish Christian teachers in Galatians and their alternative gospel. This investigation concerns their origins, their theology, and their place in Second Temple Judaism and Jewish Christianity. It is discovered that they are not "legalists" or reducible to mere "opponents" of Paul. Instead, the teachers are Jewish Christian charismatic nomists proclaiming their interpretation of the gospel to the Galatians. In Chapter One, a history of research on the identification of the teachers is presented from the patristic period to the modern period. Programmatic issues are developed which provide direction and parameters for this study. Chapter Two examines the teachers' historical origins and their own "apostolic" authority as well as their relation to Paul. The chapter also investigates the teachers' understanding of Abraham and the covenant of circumcision, as well as their use of Moses and the Sinai covenant. In Chapter Three the soteriology and the christology of the teachers' gospel are developed. Their gospel's use of the Law (nomos) as a medium of charismatic revelations (pneuma) is examined. The function of circumcision and the calendar for accessing heavenly revelations is explored. The teachers' christology is seen to portray Jesus as a Teacher of the Law whose "law of Christ" provides the hermeneutic by which selective obedience to the Law is determined. Chapter Four attempts to locate the teachers and their tradition in Jewish and Jewish Christian history and sources. Jewish intertestamental literature, including the pseudepigrapha and Qumran sources, is investigated. Also, the teachers' specific relationship to the Jerusalem community--the "pillars" and the pseudadelphoi is examined. Other Jewish Christian law-observant traditions similar to the teachers' tradition are located in Colossians, the Kergymata Petrou, and the Book of Elkesai. The teachers are shown to be Jewish Christian charismatic nomists with an integral gospel and independent Gentile mission. They are part of a Torah-observant tradition within the Jesus Movement which offered the venerable and wondrous Jewish Torah to the Gentiles as a means for experiencing greater degrees of charismatic life in the Spirit.
Religious history; Ancient history