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Based upon lectures delivered by Luther at the University of Wittenburg in 1531 and transcribed by his friends and admirers, this Commentary was first published in Latin in 1535. Edited by Philip S. Watson, this revised and completed English translation is based on the 'Middleton' edition of the English version of 1575. The Epistle to the Galatians was a favourite of Luther's. He called it " my own epistle, to which I have plighted my troth. It is my Katie von Bora." He found in it a source of strength for his own faith and life, and an armoury of weapons for his reforming work. He had expounded on it twice previously: in 1519, when he depended largely on St Jerome and Erasmus for his exegesis, and in 1523, when he departed from them both. In this Commentary he frequently expresses his dissent from St Jerome, and occasionally takes issue with Erasmus. He came to think very little of his earlier commentaries, but he rated his later expositions more highly. When the complete Latin edition of his works was in preparation a couple of years before his death, he said: "If they took my advice, they'd print only the books containing doctrine, like the Galatians." Luther's main theme in this text is an attack on the human propensity for self-justification and self-righteousness, of which he finds symptoms in unexpected places. It is hardly too much to say that the whole aim of his exposition of the Epistle is to make us aware of it and point us towards its antidote. This he finds in Paul's doctrine of justification by faith - faith in Christ and in God through Christ; a faith that 'carrieth us out of ourselves'; and a faith that is 'not idle' but always 'working by love'. No-one would wish to maintain that Luther's exegesis can be defended on every point in the light of modern scholarship, but that he has caught 'the spirit and veine' of the Apostle can hardly be denied; and he has much that is illuminating to say in the course of his exposition. And since the 'plague' of self-righteousness has not been banished from the world, the main theme of his Commentary is no less relevant today than it was nearly five centuries ago. John Bunyan wrote of this book: "I do prefer this book of Martin Luther upon the Galatians, excepting the Holy Bible, before all books that I have ever seen."
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