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Galatians Through the Centuries

ISBN: 978-0-631-23084-7
352 pages
January 2008, Wiley-Blackwell
Galatians Through the Centuries (063123084X) cover image


This commentary on Paul’s highly autobiographical letter to the Galations traces the history of the book’s reception through the ages.

  • Explores the influence and history of this important New Testament book
  • Demonstrates the crucial role that Galatians has played in the development of very diverse forms of Christian spirituality
  • Considers the influence of Galatians on a wide range of theological figures, including Chrysostom, Augustine, and Luther
  • Examines the ways in which Galatians has influenced images of Paul, suggesting that it is the indeterminacy and complexity of his text that cause it to be interpreted in such widely differing ways
  • Focuses on verses, themes or arguments that have been the subject of particularly influential readings
  • Published in the innovative and stimulating Wiley-Blackwell Bible Commentaries reception history series, which focuses on the broad spectrum of interpretations rather than the traditional verse by verse analysis typically found in commentaries.
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Table of Contents

Series Editors’ Preface.


List of Abbreviations.

Galatians 1:1-9: The beginning of Paul’s argument.

Galatians 1:10-24. Paul argues for his independence as an apostle (I).

Galatians 2:1-10 Conference at Jerusalem.

Galatians 2:11-2:21. Justification by faith: the new life in Christ.

Galatians 3:1-14 Life in the spirit contrasted with living under the curse of the Law.

Galations 3:15-29. The purpose of the Law and the new life of Sonship of God.

Galatians 4:1-20 Paul contrast the Galatians’ present state as Christians with their former lives.

Galations 4:21-31: A concluding allegory.

Galatians 5: The new life of faith.

Galations 6: NewCreation: life beyond the Law.

Galalations 6:11-18 A new creation.




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Author Information

John Riches was until his retirement in 2003 Professor of Divinity and Biblical Criticism at Glasgow University. Among his books on the New Testament are Jesus and the Transformation of Judaism (1980), A Century of New Testament Study (1993) and Conflicting Mythologies (2000).
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?John Riches' contribution to this excellent series is a well-focused, rich collection of work from key writers on Galatians from Marcion to the present day.? (Journal for the Study of the New Testament , September 2009)

"An invaluable treasure trove of carefully selected interpretations, but more important is the overall picture that it paints of the extensive dialogue about Galatians, and the questions the book raises about the relationship between the text and its readers." (Ecclesiastical History, April 2009)

"Riches provides an in-depth, clear, and interesting study of Galatians by highlighting debated issues within the letter. Those studying Galatians would find this commentary well worth their study." (European Journal of Theology, April 2009)

?This book is such a useful and admirable work of scholarship that I hesitate to find any fault with it.? (Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Spring 2009)

"One can only be grateful for the wealth of material assembled here. All theological libraries must have not only this attractive volume, but all the other volumes published in this series." (International Review of Biblical Studies, 2007-2008)

"[The book] looks at sacred texts and how they have been interpreted over time." (Church Times, October 2008)

"This is a double triumph. By expert introduction and careful selection, John Riches ushers us into the long and richly diverse history of conversation between the text of Galatians and its most significant commentators. But he also shows us, through these well worked examples, that the meaning of this short but explosive text lies not behind but in the interpretations it has evoked over the centuries, and in the new worlds that it has spawned. This is a marvellous provocation for Pauline scholars, bidding them expand their conception of their intellectual task." 
John Barclay, Durham University

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