The Irony of Galatians

The Irony of Galatians: Paul’s Letter in First-Century Context

Fortress Press, 2002

Endorsements from the back cover:

“The Irony of Galatians is the most thorough and innovative investigation of this letter since Betz’s Hermeneia commentary (1979). It develops a completely new approach to Galatians as a response to local Jewish ‘influencers’ who sought to bring members of Christian cells into the status of honored proselytes within their synagogues. With his mastery of historical, social, and linguistic details, Mark Nanos challenges centuries of traditional interpretations–including my own. This incisive book is certain to become the storm center of future debate, throwing new light onto the interaction between Jewish and Christian groups in the first century.”

— Robert Jewett, Visiting Professor, University of Heidelberg

“Like a judge hearing a case of domestic conflict and ferreting out the issues, Mark Nanos gives a rigorous, fair-minded assessment of a Jewish context for Galatians and of Paul’s engagement as a Jew with both Jews and Gentiles in that context. In the service of his historical construal, he adeptly employs rhetoric, genre criticism, literary theory, the social sciences, philology, and comparative history of religions. The result is a sensitive reading of how Paul, the Galatians, and the influencers variously seek understandings of identity in terms of who is included in the people of God, which is also a question of how marginalized people find a place of belonging in a dominant in-group. Even the most venturesome aspects of his thesis will demand serious attention from other scholars.”

— Robert L. Brawley, Albert G. McGaw Professor Of New Testament, McCormick Theological Seminary



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By Stephen Chester, in Biblica 84.1 (2003): 135-39.

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