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Obeying the Truth: Paul's Ethics in Galatians [Paperback]

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Item Number 118127  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   316
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.5" Width: 5.5" Height: 0.71"
Weight:   0.9 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jun 7, 2005
Publisher   Regent College Publishing
ISBN  157383355X  
EAN  9781573833554  

Availability  53 units.
Availability accurate as of Jan 19, 2018 12:56.
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Item Description...
Obeying the Truth is a great addition to the further study of the new perspective of Paul and the Law. John M.G. Barclay addresses the interpretive difficulties of Paul's letter to the Galatians. He concludes that the best way to view the debate is through the eyes of the first century Jew that Paul was and the first century difficulties Christian Jews and Christian Gentiles were having. Barclay reminds us the importance of focusing on the historical context in order to understand what Paul is really saying to the Galatians and how it is applicable to our current situations.

John M.G. Barclay is Lightfoot Professor of Divinity at the University of Durham. His other works include Jews in the Mediterranean Diaspora.

Publishers Description
This volume probes the social context of Paul's letter to Galatians in order to determine the character and purpose of the moral instruction Paul gives to its recipients. Here the new perspectives on Paul and the Law are fully integrated with a detailed exegesis of Galatians, shedding light on the crisis Paul addressed and on the whole character of Pauline ethics.

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More About John M. G. Barclay

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! John M. G. Barclay is Lightfoot Professor of Divinity at Durham University. His previous books include Pauline Churches and Diaspora Jews and Obeying the Truth: Paul's Ethics in Galatians.

John M. G. Barclay has an academic affiliation as follows - University of Glasgow.

John M. G. Barclay has published or released items in the following series...
  1. T & T Clark Study Guides
  2. T&T Clark Biblical Studies

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Barclay's "Truth" bats a home run!  Sep 19, 2005
Barclay wrote "Obeying the Truth" in order to persuasively argue (successfully I might add) "how to interpret" (6) and "what purpose" (8) the role of ethics play in Galatians 5 & 6 relationally to Galatians 2-4. He argues that such exhortations are "rendered necessary" and are "required" (96 & 105) which means that Galatians 2-4 point "point toward and require" chapters 5 & 6.
Thus Galatians is not about justification by faith (though Barclay (or "B." following) points out that "faith, love and walking in the Spirit draw out the implications of jbf" 217), nor "works" but how "Gentiles should become members of the people of God and what lifestyle they should adopt" (8 & 216). But taking such a view necessitates rejecting the traditional Lutheran viewpoint that works of the Torah (or "Mosaic law" & "works of law") are the legalistic attempts of Judaism to gain God's favor (which he calls a "perverse intention" 250). Rather, B. argues that works of law obligates one into doing Jewish cultural distinctives (such as circumcision) which when imposed upon Gentile Christians force them to "live like a Jew" (82,168,237) which is precisely what Paul vehemently opposes. Such is the "new perspective on Paul" which B. adopts.
B. then states that Paul's "main argument" (83) is his appeal to the Galatians' experience of the Spirit which they did not receive by works of law. Rather it is the Spirit which "determines the Galatians identity" and which is appealed to "as the only appropiate standard of behavior" (85).Living by faith and walking in the Spirit "makes the best sense" then of fulfilling Galatians 5 & 6 (218). However for the Gentiles to submit to Jewish cultural distinctives they fall back into a "merely human religion" of "flesh" (208 & 209) which is "culturally imperalistic" (239) and "racially exclusive" (240). But here I have a problem with B. Why does he refer to Judaism in such demeaning terms?
He points out that such negative views of Judaism are due to "God's activity in the new age" (Paul's apocalyptic perspective 208) which basically has Paul seeing Judaism Christologically (240). But be that as it may B., in my opinion, does not give Judaism enough credit. He will go on to speak degradingly of Judaism by calling it "culturally imperalistic" and "nationalistic" (208, 209 & 239). It's pretty shocking to me that B. refers to God's "first" revelation (the Jewish Scriptures) to His chosen People as a man made religion! Such negative comments is unlike the "new" take on Paul. With such a viewpoint Neal Elliot states that "apparently the 'new perspective of Paul' is still a reality in travail." B., should have then, in making his argument clearer, discussed Torah relevance for today as well as yesterday. After all, both Christianity and Judaism regard the original testament as Scripture. And as such Torah has not "passed away" or been abrogated. It is still God's revelation to humanity! Without it we would have no "New" Testament. In fact, without the Jewish Scriptures would we have had any notion of Messiah "fulfilling" those things written of Him? Let's give more credit then to early developing Judaism which besides herself produced Christianity.
Further I'd like to suggest that such a low classification of Judaism would have been avoided if B. had sketched how God in fact honored Torah observance BEFORE the cross. Reading Paul NOW AFTER the cross and the changes that God indeed initiated in Christ without understanding that first, before the cross, God honored Torah observance decisively alters the Biblically correct assessment of Jewish Torah observance. But sadly, most NT commentators fall into similar shortcomings.
Therefore the time has come to emphasive a more correct and balanced reinterpretation of Torah as First century Jew and Gentile Christians understood it. Then will we not only understand Torah's role more correctly and completely but be able to follow the logic and detail of NT writer's exegesis not only of the Jewish Scriptures but in what sense and exactly how the coming of Messiah did indeed effect Torah.
But regardless, B. book has indeed done us a great service in answering for us decisively the fact that Galatians 5 & 6 are indeed "necessary" and "required" if Galatians 1-4 are to be understood. His tight arguments, his exegetical savvy all balance his arguments and conclusions resulting in an excellent study. A must for any library interested in "Obeying the Truth."!
William S. Downer Chico, California


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