Galatians 3:1 "portrayed as crucified"

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rgprice
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Galatians 3:1 "portrayed as crucified"

Post by rgprice » Wed Jan 13, 2021 5:52 am

This passage has always fascinated me:
1 You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. 2 I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard? 3 Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?
What's going on here. I suspect that one needs to know Greek and read this in Greek, perhaps a few different variants of it, to try and get something more out of it.

Has anyone ever come up with a reasonable explanation of this passage?


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mlinssen
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Re: Galatians 3:1 "portrayed as crucified"

Post by mlinssen » Thu Jan 14, 2021 7:54 am

rgprice wrote:
Wed Jan 13, 2021 5:52 am
This passage has always fascinated me:
1 You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. 2 I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard? 3 Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?
What's going on here. I suspect that one needs to know Greek and read this in Greek, perhaps a few different variants of it, to try and get something more out of it.

Has anyone ever come up with a reasonable explanation of this passage?
https://biblehub.com/interlinear/aposto ... ians/3.htm

rgprice
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Re: Galatians 3:1 "portrayed as crucified"

Post by rgprice » Thu Jan 14, 2021 8:23 am

Interesting. So this has, "whose eyes Jesus Christ was written about beforehand among you being crucified." That's very different from "portrayed" as crucified.

Can anyone else provide better insight into what this really says?

I was also wondering if Gal 3:1 might relate to the letters of John.
1 John 1:
1 We declare to you what was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— 2 this life was revealed, and we have seen it and testify to it, and declare to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was revealed to us— 3 we declare to you what we have seen and heard so that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.
But, "written about beforehand among you being crucified," implies something totally different. That to me would imply that someone from Galatia wrote a prophecy about the crucifixion of Joshua. To me that sounds like Paul is saying, "One from among you in Galatia wrote a prophecy that Joshua would be crucified, and now it has happened.

That would also make better sense of the following lines:
2 The only thing I want to learn from you is this: Did you receive the Spirit by doing the works of the law or by believing what you heard? 3 Are you so foolish? Having started with the Spirit, are you now ending with the flesh?
In this reading, Paul would be saying that someone from Galatian wrote a true prophecy about Jesus being crucified. How can we explain a true prophecy? It must have come from the Spirit. If true prophecy was given by the Spirit, then why are you now serving the flesh as opposed to the Spirit?

So yeah, I think that does make sense and does clarify this. Why on earth then are so many translations so poor?

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Re: Galatians 3:1 "portrayed as crucified"

Post by Kunigunde Kreuzerin » Thu Jan 14, 2021 9:27 am

rgprice wrote:
Thu Jan 14, 2021 8:23 am
Why on earth then are so many translations so poor?
The literal main meaning of "προγράφω" (pro-graphó) is "to pre-scribe". A public and written notice was a "προγραφή", especially the inscription on the cross of Jesus. Because the eyes are specifically mentioned in Galatians 3:1, the majority of scholars understand the verb in the sense of "being publicly portrayed".

But see also Heidi Wendt, "Galatians 3:1 as an Allusion to Textual Prophecy"

As he admonishes the Galatians for their alleged sympathy to a different gospel, Paul makes a curious statement in 3:1b about having visually portrayed Jesus Christ crucified while among them. The meaning of the clause hinges on the sense of the verb προεγράφη. Despite an exact parallel in Rom 15:4 in reference to prophecies “forewritten” in the Judean writings, an overwhelming scholarly consensus construes this clause as “to proclaim or exhibit publicly” and, in turn, views it as an illustration of Paul's vivid rhetorical style. This interpretation has a long history but has gained further support in recent decades, as numerous Pauline scholars have argued for the apostle's familiarity with conventions of classical rhetoric. I argue, however, that the verse's immediate and wider context supports a predictive rendering of the key verb and also that this sense has in the past been excluded on questionable grounds that anticipate its rhetorical framework. Rather, I consider 3:1b an important piece of evidence for the role of textual practices within Paul's religious program, one that aids in situating him amid a broader phenomenon of divination from ostensibly prophetic literary corpora as well as a particular class of religious activity.


rgprice
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Re: Galatians 3:1 "portrayed as crucified"

Post by rgprice » Thu Jan 14, 2021 9:39 am

Awesome Kunigunde, that's very helpful!

I have to agree with Wendt. When you look at the context, the reading of "portrayed" makes no sense. When you read it as a prophetic writing, then it makes sense.

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Re: Galatians 3:1 "portrayed as crucified"

Post by gryan » Thu Jan 14, 2021 10:21 am

rgprice wrote:
Thu Jan 14, 2021 8:23 am
... "written about beforehand among you being crucified," implies something totally different. That to me would imply that someone from Galatia wrote a prophecy about the crucifixion of Joshua. To me that sounds like Paul is saying, "One from among you in Galatia wrote a prophecy that Joshua would be crucified, and now it has happened... In this reading, Paul would be saying that someone from Galatian wrote a true prophecy about Jesus being crucified.

Why on earth then are so many translations so poor?
Ὦ ἀνόητοι Γαλάται...οἷς κατ’ ὀφθαλμοὺς Ἰησοῦς Χριστὸς προεγράφη ἐσταυρωμένος

"O unperceptive Galatians... before whose eyes JC was written formerly as having been crucified."

For προγράφω (I write previously) See Eph 3:3 "Just as I have written previously in brief" (καθὼς προέγραψα ἐν ὀλίγῳ).

-------------

In my reading of Gal. 3:3, which is mine alone, as far as I know (if someone knows of this interpretation in published form, please let me know), there is an interesting parallel with the closing of Galatians where Paul wrote:

See (Ἴδετε) what size of letters I written (ἔγραψα) in my own hand... May I never boast except in the cross (ἐν τῷ σταυρῷ) of our Lord JC, through which the world has been crucified (ἐσταύρωται) to me, and I to the world...

In both Gal. 3:3 and the closing of the letter, there is an emphasis not only on JC having been crucified, but also on visually seeing the written words. I'm wondering if Gal. 3:3 is a reminder of a time when Paul was with them. Could it be that he had written a letter from Galatia with a claim such as this one in 1 Cor. 1:23: "We preach Christ having been crucified" (κηρύσσομεν Χριστὸν ἐσταυρωμένον). And when he had formerly written, could it be that he had invited the now "unperceptive" Galatians to inspect the written text with their own eyes?
Last edited by gryan on Thu Jan 14, 2021 10:49 am, edited 7 times in total.

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Re: Galatians 3:1 "portrayed as crucified"

Post by robert j » Thu Jan 14, 2021 10:28 am

Kunigunde Kreuzerin wrote:
Thu Jan 14, 2021 9:27 am

But see also Heidi Wendt, "Galatians 3:1 as an Allusion to Textual Prophecy"
rgprice wrote:
Thu Jan 14, 2021 9:39 am

I have to agree with Wendt. When you look at the context, the reading of "portrayed" makes no sense. When you read it as a prophetic writing, then it makes sense.

In the following thread I discuss Wendt's article in some detail in the OP, and cite 3 other modern scholars and an ancient commentator in support of the translation as "previously written".
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=5141

Wendt and the others suggest that Paul had shown the Galatians passages in the scriptures that served as prophesy, that is, foretold events of Jesus Christ. In my follow-up posts in that thread, I provide a very different interpretation of the verse.
Last edited by robert j on Thu Jan 14, 2021 10:53 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Galatians 3:1 "portrayed as crucified"

Post by Kunigunde Kreuzerin » Thu Jan 14, 2021 10:33 am

gryan wrote:
Thu Jan 14, 2021 10:21 am
In both Gal. 3:3 and the closing of the letter, there is an emphasis on visually seeing written letters--words portraying JC as having been crucified.
The sentence would be very ironic if Paul had already used staurograms in his letters or other writings.

Larry Hurtado wrote
But art-historians typically fail to consider an intriguing Christian scribal device found in several NT manuscripts datable to ca. 200 CE (i.e., 150-200 years earlier). This is the so-called “staurogram”, which is a device formed by superimposing the Greek capital-letter “rho” over the Greek capital-letter “tau”. (The rough result can be achieved if you superimpose our capital “P” on top of our capital “T”.)

The device wasn’t invented by Christians, for there are lots of examples of its use earlier. But the Christians adopt the device and give it their own distinctive meaning/function. In all the earliest uses, the device appears in these texts as part of the way the Greek words “cross” (“stauros”) and “crucify” (“stauro-o”) are written. The proposal that I support is that the device is intended as a pictographic representation of the crucified Jesus (the loop of the rho a pictographic depiction of the head of a figure on a T-shaped cross). This is not a new suggestion, but hasn’t been noticed adequately heretofore.


rgprice
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Re: Galatians 3:1 "portrayed as crucified"

Post by rgprice » Thu Jan 14, 2021 10:47 am

Yeah, I'm unsure really of what this is saying, but I'm pretty sure it has to do with prophecy (foretelling in writing).

Might it be read as:
1 You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was foretold to be crucified! 2 The only thing I want to learn from you is this: Did you receive the Spirit by doing the works of the law or by believing what you heard from God? 3 Are you so foolish? Having started with the Spirit, are you now ending with the flesh? 4 Did you experience so much for nothing?—if it really was for nothing. 5 Well then, does God supply you with the Spirit and work miracles among you by your doing the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard from him?

6 Just as Abraham “believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,” 7 so, you see, those who believe are the descendants of Abraham. 8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, declared the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “All the Gentiles shall be blessed in you.” 9 For this reason, those who believe are blessed with Abraham who believed.
So Paul could be saying, "Don't you believe the scriptures that I showed you, where the crucifixion of Jesus was foretold?"

Or he could be saying, "Don't you believe the prophecies you wrote yourself, which came from the Spirit?"

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