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3.0 out of 5 stars Focused, scholarly - and controversial, 1 July 2008
Jeremy Bevan (West Midlands, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Abraham's Divided Children: Galatians and the Politics of Faith (New Testament in Context) (Paperback)
There's a basic problem in having a commentary on the New Testament letter of Paul to the Galatians in a series subtitled `The New Testament in context', and it's this: we know so little of that context that any sustained discussion must contain large amounts of conjecture. Despite this serious limitation, Perkins does a fair job of arguing, from the text, for the background to the letter as being a very localised dispute, possibly centred on the Jewish proselytisers of Antioch (and not the Jerusalem church, as is often argued). She highlights consistently the force of Paul's rhetoric, concluding (and here is her most interesting insight on this controversial and much-studied letter) that we would do well to focus strongly on the implications for us today of one particular section of the letter - the call to cultivate and develop a community-building ethos in Galatians 5: 13 - 6: 10. The advice in this section, particularly on bearing of others' burdens, will (she hopes) act as an antidote to the destructive theology that has forced others to bear the `evils, suffering, and opprobrium heaped on nonbelievers in the centuries of Christian political and cultural domination' (131). Controversial perhaps, but focused, scholarly and illuminating on many points.
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