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(gəlā`shənz), letter of the New Testament. It is ascribed to St. PaulPaul, Saint,
d. A.D. 64? or 67?, the apostle to the Gentiles, b. Tarsus, Asia Minor. He was a Jew. His father was a Roman citizen, probably of some means, and Paul was a tentmaker by trade. His Jewish name was Saul.
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 and addressed to ethnic Gauls living in central Asia Minor, or to inhabitants of the Roman province of Galatia in S Asia Minor. It may have been the earliest epistle (written c.A.D. 48); or, as many scholars hold, it may date after A.D. 52. Paul wrote the letter because the Galatians had been influenced by Judaizing Christians who asserted that circumcision was essential and that believers were bound to keep the law of Moses. They argued that Paul's emphasis on faith at the expense of law was his own invention. In the letter, Paul proceeds to anathematize anyone who preaches a gospel different from the one he preached to them. He defends his apostleship, claiming that he received his gospel from the risen Christ himself. His position is that God establishes people in a right relationship with God through faith in Jesus, not through the doing of works prescribed by the law. This is confirmed by the Galatians' own experience and by their understanding of the standing of Abraham before God. Relying on works of the law means being obligated to perform all its commands, or face the dire consequences. Paul demonstrates that the law was a temporary, though necessary, phenomenon in the religious experience of the people of God, until the coming of Christ. Paul espoused the belief that salvation could be achieved by faith alone, without having to comply with the demands of the Jewish law.


See studies by H. D. Betz (1979), R. Y. K. Fung (1988), and R. N. Longenecker (1990).



Celtic tribes that invaded Asia Minor in 278-277 B.C. and ravaged its western region for 46 years. Pressed back by the forces of Attalus I, king of Pergamum, they were forced to settle in the territory later named after them, Galatia, in approximately 232 B.C. The Galatians, who adopted Greek culture, are sometimes referred to as Gallo-Graeci. Cattle raising was the chief occupation of the Galatians. Their assimilation came about slowly. (They preserved their own language until the fifth century A.D.)


Stähelin, F. Geschichte der Kleinasiatischen Galater, 2nd ed. Leipzig, 1907.
Lequenne, F. Les Galates. Paris, 1959.
References in periodicals archive ?
The verbal root "estaur" in Galatians 3: 1; 5: 24; 6: 14, as well as the noun root "staur" in Galatians 5: 11; 6: 12, 14, show the theological significance that Paul has already highlighted in Galatians 1 to 4 and now means to synthesize in the epilogue (Galatians 6: 11-18).
In fact, Galatians 3:28 recently became the center of controversy with the rise of feminist and womanist readings of the Bible.
Paul is simply reminding the Galatians, and all of us, that in Jesus Christ the human person is no longer the slave of the law, but a "new creation" in Christ (cf.
I have recently been arguing that Paul's letter to the Galatians is about freedom.
I didn't know Greek but pointed out that my most-loved verse, even if it was in the King James Version of English, was still Galatians 5 where God said everyone was equal.
Although geographically distant from their land of origin, and though in contact with several other ethnically different groups of people over many centuries, the Galatians remained essentially true to the ethos of Celtic identity as exemplified by the Gauls of Western Europe.
early Christianity was built around a theology of equality; that Paul's famous reiteration in Galatians 3:28 of the ancient baptismal formula, "There is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female, for all of you are one in Christ Jesus," represents not a radical and temporary breakthrough in Paul's thinking, but an expression of broad and ordinary Christian belief.
172)), Paul's marriage and bereavement, the Jerusalem conference (October 51) precedes Galatians (spring 53), the North Galatian theory, imprisonment in Ephesus (53), the authenticity of 2 Timothy, release from the first Roman imprisonment and an abortive mission to Spain.
I must let fall before all men, I do prefer this book of Martin Luther upon the Galatians, excepting the Holy Bible, before all the books that ever I have seen, as most fit for a wounded conscience" (GA, 131).
Dave Wilkinson will teach on Galatians at the 8:15 and 10:45 a.
But, of course, this kind of writing is also easier; it's far simpler to cite journal articles than it is to wrestle with the meaning of Galatians.
Most scholars agree that these were almost certainly the work of the apostle, as were 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Romans,