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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).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



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.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
The Letter to the Galatians, summarized in the epilogue of 6: 1-18, shows the pride in the Cross as a sign of the New Creation, of which Paul is a genuine witness.
It is this call by Paul to the Galatians that "there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Gal 3:28) that compels us to make the same call to Christian institutions like Churches and theological colleges that all people are special and equal in the eyes of God irrespective of gender, class, colour and political affiliation.
Today's readers may therefore expect to encounter unusual interpretations, for example: that "Galatia is actually a place in Greece" (131); that Paul was asked to remember the poor (Gal 1:10) because they "had sold all their goods" (193); that when Peter was rebuked by Paul (Gal 2:4) he became "a great example of humility" (194); that the Galatians had been bewitched (Gal 3:1) just as "the gaze of a menstruating woman infects the mirror that has been recently cleaned" (217) and they saw Christ's crucifixion because they possessed "the four books of the Gospels" (95); that the troublemakers should be cut off (Gal 5:12) so they cannot produce more errorists "just as severed testicles cannot procreate" (175); that "those who are spiritual" (Gal.
The commentary on Galatians also includes Theodore's well-known discussion of Paul's statement in 4:24.
They may struggle a bit with the details of the author's exegesis of Galatians 2.
In his call to renewal for the Galatians, plagued as they were with false teachings, Paul makes the magnificent statement: "There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female, for all of you are one in Christ Jesus" (Gal.
I think that Paul's letter to the Galatians, through its emphasis on freedom, can inform a diaspora identity and, I will argue, a diaspora mission.
The advice of the apostle Paul is particularly appropriate: "Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people" (Galatians 6:10).
I would suggest these people read the whole book of the Bible particularly Revelation 2 verses 20-23, Roman 1 verses 19-32, Galatians five verses 17-21, and 1 Corinthians Chapter five.
As a young Bible college student, my favorite verse was Galatians 3:28, where God pronounced everyone equal ("in Christ there is neither male nor female, Jew nor Greek, bond nor free").
While often quoting 1 Timothy 2:12, Titus 2:1-10, and other contextual statements made by Paul, Deweese points out that opponents of the ordination of women rarely quote Paul's "Freedom Manifesto" found in Galatians 3:28.
As might be expected, much of this last essay focuses on the interpretation of Galatians 3:28 ("there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus").