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Children of Laughter and the Re-creation of Humanity: The Theological Vision and Logic of Paul's Letter to the Galatians from the Vantage Point of 4:21-5:1

TEDDER, SAMUEL,JOHN (2017) Children of Laughter and the Re-creation of Humanity: The Theological Vision and Logic of Paul's Letter to the Galatians from the Vantage Point of 4:21-5:1. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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This thesis contributes to the discussion about the theological vision and logic in Paul's letter to the Galatians, in which he opposes the “Judaizing” of the Gentiles by means of their circumcision and the observance of the Mosaic Law, and calls for full alignment with the reality that the Christ-event had inaugurated. Thus, the discussion is also about discontinuity and continuity between Paul's message and Israel's scriptures, and with the hermeneutic in, and the shape of, Paul's retelling of Israel's story.
After reviewing six perspectives on the reading of Galatians, I position my approach in relation to N. T. Wright and John Barclay. With Wright, I focus on Paul’s appropriation of Israel's scriptures and story, giving special attention to the hermeneutic involved in it. In search for the logic in Paul's resistance to Gentile circumcision, I develop Barclay's emphasis on the centrality of incongruous grace with reference to Paul's scriptural matrix.
The vantage point for my reading of the letter is the strategically important passage of 4:21-5:1 that draws together the preceding argument, and moves it to a new phase. Also, in 4:21-5:1, Paul invites the Galatians to adopt his interpretative practice, which opens up Paul's hermeneutic for analysis. I demonstrate that Paul's allegoresis in 4:21-5:1 is intertextual; Paul reads the Abraham narrative together with Isaiah in light of the revelation of Christ and the experience of the Spirit.
Following Paul's signals in Gal 4:21-5:1 that point to his scriptural matrix, I analyse the theological potential in the narrative of the birth of Abraham's two sons and in Isaiah's vision of restoration. I claim that Paul's theological vision draws from the Abrahamic promise of blessing to all the nations and from its re-appropriation in Isaiah in terms of the Gentiles' inclusion in the regenerated people of God. Paul also makes a correlation between the pattern in Isaac's birth and the alienation-restoration paradigm in Isa 54:1 that is formative for his logic of incongruent grace that recognises the dependence of both the Jew and Gentile on the promissory act of God in Christ and the Spirit for inclusion in the restored people of God – the re-created humanity.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Paul's theology, Galatians, Intertextuality, Abraham narrative, Isaiah's vision of restoration
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Theology and Religion, Department of
Thesis Date:2017
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:05 Jul 2017 09:19

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