Research on the letter to Galatians: 2000-2010
Tolmie, D. F.
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This article is devoted to an overview of research published on the Letter to the Galatians from 2000 to 2010. An attempt is made to paint as detailed a picture as possible of the research on the letter, but in such a way that the gist of the contributions that have been selected is also communicated, albeit very briefly. Research on Galatians in the following five areas is discussed: introductory issues (e.g., authorship, opponents and recipients), the Wirkungsgeschichte of the letter, interpretative approaches to the letter, studies of particular verses/passages in the letter and the theology of the letter. The aim of this study is to present an overview of the research published on the Letter to the Galatians from 2000 to 2010. The large number of studies falling within this period (more or less 450 articles and books!) makes it impossible to discuss – or even to mention in passing – all the work that has been done in this regard, in a brief overview such as this. A possible way out of this dilemma would be to restrict this overview to only those contributions that have brought fundamentally new insights to bear on the interpretation of the letter. However, such an approach also has a disadvantage, since one would be constrained to omit many valuable contributions which are indeed based on sound scholarship, but which have not really brought about major changes in the interpretation of the letter, for example, in cases where such contributions have clarified only a minute detail of the text, or have merely added another possibility to an already large range of existing interpretations of a particular issue. A further disadvantage of such an approach is that it would not really provide an overall picture of developments pertaining to the research on the letter. Accordingly, I have opted for another approach, namely to paint as detailed a picture as possible of the research on the letter, but in such a way that the gist of the contributions that I have selected is also communicated, albeit very briefly. I will thus refrain from entering into detailed discussions and evaluations of these studies. Instead, the aim of this overview is to offer the reader a broad orientation of the research conducted on this letter. I have divided the overview into five main areas (with subdivisions). I have attempted to place studies according to the area which received the most emphasis in each case; but in some instances it was difficult to decide on the category under which a particular study should be discussed. Furthermore, in some instances so many studies have been devoted to a particular issue that I had no other option than to restrict the overview to representative examples of the type of research that has been done. Lastly, I have decided not to discuss any commentaries in this overview, since it is impossible to summarise the contribution of a commentary in a few sentences.