John Riches

in The Oxford Handbook of the Reception History of the Bible

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9780199204540
Published online May 2011 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Religion and Theology


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This article exaimes the outline, form, and content of Galatians. Paul's short letter to the congregation which he had founded in Galatia has had an extraordinary influence on the subsequent development of religious cultures across the world. It addressed an issue crucial for the development of the Christian church in the first and second centuries, namely that of its relations with the religious traditions preserved in what Christians would come to call the Old Testament, but which Paul and his contemporaries referred to as the ‘Writings’ or the ‘Law and the Prophets’. This in turn had long-term effects on the relations between Christians and Jews, as their (various) communities grew further and further apart. In this respect, Galatians was a major source of theological inspiration for the ‘heretic’ Marcion, possibly the first Christian theologian to reflect seriously on Paul's thought, who read Paul's gospel as proclaiming a strange new God, sharply contrasted with the harsh God of justice of the Old Testament.

Keywords: Paul; Galatia; Law and the Prophets; Writings; Christians; Jews; Christian church; Old Testament; Marcion

Article.  5599 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Religious Studies ; Christianity

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