The structures of Gal 2:4 and 2:6
iver_larsen at sil.org
Tue Apr 23 02:38:18 EDT 2002
> Gal 2:4-5 reads:
> 4 DIA DE TOUS PAREISAKTOUS YEUDADELFOUS hOITINES PAREISHLQON
> KATASKOPHSAI THN ELEUQERIAN hHMWN [...]
> 5 hOIS OUDE PROS hWRAN EIXAMEN THi hUTOTAGHi hINA hH ALHQEIA TOU
> EUAGGELIOU DIAMEINHi PROS hUMAS.
> An English translation takes it as follows:
> (It is ) because of the false brothers who ...., to whom we did not...
> But it is not clear what would be referred to by "it". Verse 3 simply
> says that Titus was not compelled to get circumcised. What would be
> the reference of this implicit pronoun "it"? From the viewpoint of
> verse 4, the reference would be the situation where the issue of
> circumcision of the Gentile believers occurred. But verse 3 seems to say
> that Titus was not compelled by the three apostles, whom Paul met
> privately, to be circumcised. Therefore, it is difficult to infer
> the situation which can be the referent of the implicit "it".
It may be helpful to look at the wider context and also consider the
function of DE in verse 4 and 6 from a discourse perspective.
Paul seems to re-iterate in Gal 2:1-10 what is described in Acts 15. Acts
15:1 tells us about some people from Judea who came to Antioch and required
the Gentile believers to be circumcised. These people are referred to in Gal
2:4 as false believers who sneaked in to destroy the freedom in Christ and
bring the Gentile believers into Jewish slavery to the Law. Acts 15:2 tells
about the dispute between Paul (and Barnabas) and these Jews. Gal 2:5 tells
us that Paul and Barnabas did not bow to their request for circumcision of
the Gentile believers. Acts 15:2 also tells us that a group of people were
sent from Antioch to Jerusalem to discuss the crisis with the church
authorities there. Gal 2:1 tells us that this group consisted of at least of
Paul, Barnabas and Titus.
When Paul is re-iterating the Acts 15 incident in Gal 2:1-10, he first
introduced the journey to Jerusalem in v.1, and then in v. 2 the prophetic
backing for the visit and the purpose of the visit, that his preaching of
the gospel should not be in vain, which it would be if the false brothers
succeeded in their quest to have the Gentile believers conform to Jewish
practice and tradition. V. 3 briefly foreshadows the success of the mission,
namely that the leaders agreed that circumcision of the Gentile believers
was not needed. Titus was a proof case in that he was not forced to undergo
v. 4-5 is in my analysis a flashback that gives the background for why the
journey and consultation was needed in the first place. DE is the normal
Greek connector indicating flashback and background comment, and to
translate it with English BUT is very misleading. Therefore, I see the
structure as dependent upon an implicit ESTIN as Moon suggested - (It is)
because... The implied subject "it" would refer to the whole of v. 1-2, that
is the journey and the purpose for it. The DIA indicates the reason or
occasion for the dispute and the journey. It happened as a result of these
false believers coming to destroy our freedom. V. 5 continues to say that
Paul did not yield to them during the dispute in Antioch, not even for a
moment. The dispute in 4-5 did not take place in Jerusalem, but in Antioch.
(All of this of course relates to the Galatian situation in that the same or
similar false believers had now arrived in Galatia as they did before in
Antioch with the same request for circumcision of Gentile believers.)
The DE in v. 6 would then bring us back to the storyline from the flashback.
It continues the thread from v. 2-3 about the details of the discussion with
the apostles in Jerusalem. The function of DE from a discourse perspective
is to introduce change, and that change may be a shift from storyline to
background and back again.
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