A strong argument against the authenticity of Galatians

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
User avatar
Giuseppe
Posts: 10907
Joined: Mon Apr 27, 2015 5:37 am
Location: Italy

A strong argument against the authenticity of Galatians

Post by Giuseppe »

It is surely an article of hard reading

DID PAUL WRITE GALATIANS ?
Frank R. McGuire

http://radikalkritik.de/sample-page/art ... in-english

...but someway it seems that a strong argument to think that Galatians was based on Acts is the role of Paul in Galatians - yes, in Galatians -, as apostle of the Judaizers!

Detering had in past already persuaded me that skepticism is surely justified about the first visit of Paul to Jerusalem (Tertullian doesn't report that Paul went up "again" to Jerusalem, but only that Paul "went up to Jerusalem"), only where Detering appeared to me less credible is in his argument against the authenticity of Galatians 2 (second visit of Paul in Jerusalem).

Now I think that McGuire's argument against Galatians 2 is very strong.

Galatians 2 Acts 15

Peter used to eat with the Gentiles.

(2:12)

7 After they had talked it over, Peter got up and spoke to them. “Brothers,” he said, “you know that some time ago God chose me. He appointed me to take the good news to the Gentiles. He wanted them to hear the good news and believe. 8 God knows the human heart. By giving the Holy Spirit to the Gentiles, he showed that he accepted them. He did the same for them as he had done for us. 9 God showed that there is no difference between us and them. That’s because he made their hearts pure because of their faith. 10 Now then, why are you trying to test God? You test him when you put a heavy load on the shoulders of Gentiles. Our people of long ago couldn’t carry that load. We can’t either. 11 No! We believe we are saved through the grace of our Lord Jesus. The Gentiles are saved in the same way.”


So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticized him 3 and said, “You went into the house of uncircumcised men and ate with them.”

(Acts 11:2-3)

...until some Jewish people sent from James came to Antioch.

(2:12)

13 When they finished, James spoke up. “Brothers,” he said, “listen to me. 14 Simon Peter has explained to us what God has now done. He has chosen some of the Gentiles to be among his very own people. 15 The prophets’ words agree with that. They say,

16 “ ‘After this I will return
and set up again David’s fallen tent.
I will rebuild what was destroyed.
I will make it what it used to be.
17 Then everyone else can look to the Lord.
This includes all the Gentiles who belong to me, says the Lord.
The Lord is the one who does these things.’ (Amos 9:11,12)
18 The Lord does things that have been known from long ago.

19 “Now here is my decision. We should not make it hard for the Gentiles who are turning to God. 20 Here is what we should write to them. They must not eat food that has been made impure by being offered to statues of gods. They must not commit sexual sins. They must not eat the meat of animals that have been choked to death. And they must not drink blood. 21 These laws of Moses have been preached in every city from the earliest times. They are read out loud in the synagogues every Sabbath day.”


But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group.
[/b]

(2:12)
McGuire comments:
Although he makes no further mention of him, Luke gives the impression that Peter accepted the apostolic decree – and that is how he would impose Jewish customs on the Gentiles, as charged in Galatians.

And especially, where the false Paul betrayes himself:
Peter’s former relations with non-Jewish believers in Antioch, according to Gal. ii, 12, recall not only Peter’s address to the apostolic council of Acts xv but also an earlier incident. „Why did you go to uncircumcised men“, a ‘circumcision party’ in Jerusalem demands to know (Acts xi, 2), „and eat with them?“ Note that „circumcision“ does not necessarily refer to the aim of Peter’s critics but makes sense if employed only in contradistinction to „uncircumcised“. In Gal. ii, 12 the situation is the same but Peter’s companions are referred to as „the Gentiles“. Thus his critics should have become „the Jews“; but the Pauline writer, having paraphrased the one Lucan term, mechanically repeats the other in a context to which it is incongruous

(my bold)

But I would really be wrong to begin teaching again those things that I gave up.

(2:18)

22 Then the apostles, the elders and the whole church decided what to do. They would choose some of their own men who were leaders among the believers. They would send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas.



McGuire notes that Paul is preaching circumcision exactly as the Pillars of Jerusalem:

Gal. vi, 13 refers to those who „desire to have you circumcised“ in such a way as to suggest that they themselves had been circumcised only recently and did not otherwise keep the Law. The earlier apostles would, of course, have been circumcised in infancy; and the Pauline account of the incident in Antioch suggests that all were more zealous for the Law than Paul himself. Moreover, what Paul is now being criticised for is not his neglect of the Law but his continued observance of it, allegedly to escape persecution. „But if I, brethren, still preach circumcision“, is his defence (Gal. v, 11), „why am I still persecuted?“ Obviously the Jerusalem apostles, if they were the circumcision party, would hardly attack Paul for promoting their own aim.

So also Galatians 2 replies the same scenario of Acts:
  • the good Pillars: yes to circumcision but without exaggerating.
  • the good Paul: yes to circumcision but without exaggerating.
  • the evil Judaizers, more papists than the pope: the enemies of Paul.
The curious thing is that the Christian apologists à la Gabriele Boccaccini insist just on this Acts-based Paul preacher of the circumcision, to assure us that the historical Paul was not against the Torah, etc.
User avatar
Giuseppe
Posts: 10907
Joined: Mon Apr 27, 2015 5:37 am
Location: Italy

Re: A strong argument against the authenticity of Galatians

Post by Giuseppe »

What has persuaded particularly me is, in addition to the part by me put in large size above, the singular 'coincidence' of showing the betrayal of Peter in Galatians as a discreet, silent, undetected action: merely a change of tables where to eat. From the tables of gentiles to the tables of Jews.

The Pauline author had 'read' this presumed betrayal in the simple fact that, after that the paulinized Peter talks in Acts 15, the word is taken by the moderate James and the episode appears to end with the decision of the moderate James becoming the decision of the entire council.

Really, in Acts 15, there is no betrayal at all by Peter: simply, James takes the word after Peter and it appears that James's decision becomes the decision of the entire council. But if one reads the episode with the intention a priori of finding a betrayal in it, the real absence about the betrayal by Peter in Acts becomes the reason to make very much discreet and silent the betrayal of Peter in Galatians 2:12: a mere quiet, undetected change of tables by Peter in Antiochia.

Image
gryan
Posts: 591
Joined: Fri Jun 01, 2018 4:11 am

Re: A strong argument against the authenticity of Galatians

Post by gryan »

Re: Which came first, Acts or Galatians?

Acts 11:1-2
The apostles and brothers throughout Judea soon heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God. So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised (ἐκ περιτομῆς) took issue with him and said, “You visited uncircumcised men and ate with them.”

Gal 2:12
For before certain men came from James, he [Cephas/Peter] used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of the circumcised (ἐκ περιτομῆς).

Frank R. McGuire (Berlin 2001) makes the following argument that the writing of Galatians was subsequent to and based on Acts:

"Peter’s former relations with non-Jewish believers in Antioch, according to Gal.
ii, 12, recall not only Peter’s address to the apostolic council of Acts xv but also
an earlier incident. „Why did you go to uncircumcised men“, a ‘circumcision
party’ in Jerusalem demands to know (Acts xi, 2), „and eat with them?“ Note that
„circumcision“ does not necessarily refer to the aim of Peter’s critics but makes
sense if employed only in contradistinction to „uncircumcised“. In Gal. ii, 12 the
situation is the same but Peter’s companions are referred to as „the Gentiles“.
Thus his critics should have become „the Jews“; but the Pauline writer, having
paraphrased the one Lucan term, mechanically repeats the other in a context to
which it is incongruous.

Whom does the so-called circumcision party of Gal. ii, 12 consist of? In the
writer’s mind, probably Judas and Silas, who in Acts xv, 32 deliver the apostolic
decree to Antioch. According to certain manuscripts which rarely if ever are
identified, however, it was a one-man party; and on that reading I would suggest
that that man was John Mark, whose recent return from Jerusalem is implied in
Acts xv, 37. (I suspect that the „John“ of Gal. ii, 9 is also Mark, not the disciple
John.)"

So according to McGuire, if Galatians were authentically Pauline, instead of its current form, it should have looked like this:

Gal 2:12
"For before certain men came from James, he [Cephas/Peter] used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of
the circumcised (ἐκ περιτομῆς) the Jews."

----------

This was an interesting exercise. I'm pondering.
Last edited by gryan on Wed Jun 22, 2022 4:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
Giuseppe
Posts: 10907
Joined: Mon Apr 27, 2015 5:37 am
Location: Italy

Re: A strong argument against the authenticity of Galatians

Post by Giuseppe »

That is part of the argument.

What do you think about the strange "coincidence" of Galatians's Peter who betrayed Paul not by explicit proclamations or attacks, but simply by changing tables in total silence

...and the fact that, in Acts 15, Peter is silent after that James had decided the need of a compromise (the noahide laws for gentiles, etc) and the entire council followed James's decision without objections at all ?

In both the cases, Peter is following James in complete silence.
User avatar
Giuseppe
Posts: 10907
Joined: Mon Apr 27, 2015 5:37 am
Location: Italy

Re: A strong argument against the authenticity of Galatians

Post by Giuseppe »

I profit to ask to everyone if it is possible to share this other article of Frank McGuire:

Galatians as a reply to Acts. Journal of Higher Criticism 10:1-22.

...where it seems that he does a complete argument against the authenticity of Galatians.

Thank you in advance.

The confutation of Galatians 2 is a necessary prerequisite to throw doubt on the other epistles: if even Galatians 2 fails the test of authenticity, then even more so the rest of the epistles collapses.
gryan
Posts: 591
Joined: Fri Jun 01, 2018 4:11 am

Re: A strong argument against the authenticity of Galatians

Post by gryan »

Re: silence

I find the crowd's silence interesting:

Acts 15:7-12
"Peter having risen up said unto them, ‘Men, brethren, ye know that from former days, God among us did make choice, through my mouth, for the nations to hear the word of the good news, and to believe; 8and the heart-knowing God did bare them testimony, having given to them the Holy Spirit, even as also to us, 9and did put no difference also between us and them, by the faith having purified their hearts; 10now, therefore, why do ye tempt God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? 11but, through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, we believe to be saved, even as also they.’

12And all the multitude did keep silence, and were hearkening to Barnabas and Paul, declaring as many signs and wonders as God did among the nations through them..."

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

If I were reading that as my basis for writing Galatians, I doubt I would have written anything like canonical Galatians.
gryan
Posts: 591
Joined: Fri Jun 01, 2018 4:11 am

Re: A strong argument against the authenticity of Galatians

Post by gryan »

PS. I find it interesting that after that speech in Acts, Peter is "silent" inasmuch as he is not seen again in the narrative of Acts. Paul becomes the main character. Likewise in Galatians, Paul resists Peter with a speech, and Peter does not reply. I take that as slight evidence that the author of Acts knew Galatians. But I don't think it works the other way around, i.e. as evidence that the author of Galatians knew Acts.
rgprice
Posts: 856
Joined: Sun Sep 16, 2018 11:57 pm

Re: A strong argument against the authenticity of Galatians

Post by rgprice »

It seems to me that Galatians has been been revised multiple times, and that parts of Galatians precede Acts, while other parts were written after Acts. I think Acts and canonical Luke were produced in the mid second century. The Marcionite version of Galatians certainly precedes that. Acts was produced in reaction to Marcionism.
Last edited by rgprice on Wed Jun 22, 2022 9:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
Giuseppe
Posts: 10907
Joined: Mon Apr 27, 2015 5:37 am
Location: Italy

Re: A strong argument against the authenticity of Galatians

Post by Giuseppe »

do you think that the clash in Antiochia preceded Acts?

McGuire refers in particular to Johannes Weiss:
Johannes Weiss (Earliest Christianity) suggests that Galatians was directed against some account not unlike Acts.

gryan
Posts: 591
Joined: Fri Jun 01, 2018 4:11 am

Re: A strong argument against the authenticity of Galatians

Post by gryan »

@rgprice

On text critical grounds, "Peter and James and John" in Gal 2:9 is considered a corruption of the more likely original text, "James and Cephas and John".

But the later corrupted text is attested by Tertullian as part of Marcion's Galatians.

I take that as evidence that Marcion's Galatians was subsequent to the "James and Cephas and John" textual stage.

Based on source critical evidence that the author of Acts knew the positive reading of πρὸς ὥραν εἴξαμεν τῇ ὑποταγῇ, in Gal 2:5, I accept Turtillian's claim that οἷς οὐδὲ was a corruption. But I doubt that Marcion produced it. I think he adopted it. I think the author of Acts was reading a text of Galatians that was older than the text of Galatians in Marcion's canon.

Are these persuasive inferences?
Post Reply