Paul and the Gentile Women
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Paperback / softback
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Number of Pages: 168
Width: 13.8 cm
Height: 21.6 cm
For hundreds of years, Paul's letter to the Galatians has been a flashpoint of controversy among Christians. Why did Paul write the letter, and what was at issue in the controversy over Torah observance, particularly male circumcision? Has the letter with its classic contrast of faith in Christ and works of the law served to divide Jews from Christians and Christians from one other? Radically reframing the debate, Tatha Wiley's fresh approach decisively shifts the Galatian question to focus on the social consequences of Paul's bitter disagreement with the circumcision preachers and specifically the implications of the dispute for Gentile women in the community. Wiley maintains that Paul's argument of equality in Christ was directed to and for the situation of women, whose newly won status was jeopardized by the preaching of Paul's opponents. By looking at the issue of circumcision from the angle of the Gentile women of Galatia, Wiley cuts to the core concerns of the dispute: gender privilege, religious authority, and the life-changing implications of Christian commitment.
"This recent study of Paul's letter to the Galatians offers a thoughtful and provocative new angle on the intent and focus of Paul's debate with the Jerusalem Church. Tatha Wiley, who is at United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities, Minnesota makes the case that the debate about circumcision in Galatians is about the importance of women's equality that Paul bases in the spirit of the ekklesia's" embrace of Jesus as the Messiah. Paul's egalitarian commitment does not allow male members of the Galatian assembly to return to circumcision. To do so endangers the meaning of full and equal membership of all before god, particularly gender equality. Wiley's arguments offer better grounds for understanding the Torah and Paul's position that circumcision was not obligatory for Gentile converts. Recent studies of Diaspora Judaism also show evidence that supports the emergence of leadership roles for women in the Diaspora Synagogues. Paul's position therefore was in continuity with these Diaspora practices. Paul and the Gentile Women is a bold book and one that will stir others to return to the text and address the range of questions it unleashes about the early church, the divide between the public and private, Paul's teaching of ekklessia and its practice of liberty for all regardless of gender. What role did the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE play in the process that led to a reaction to gender equality and separation of the Jesus movement from Judaism is left to be explored more fully. This book is an excellent resource for undergraduate, graduate and seminary classes in New Testament and Pauline Studies. Particularly helpful is its feminist reading that makes visible the role of women and gender in the early church. The index and notes offer important guides for the argument. It is a rich synthesis of scholarship at the service of an original thesis." --Sanford Lakoff