This study examines ancient Greco-Roman communication theories and practices to understand both Paul as a communicator and the central purposes of Galatians. Taking account of but moving beyond discussions of rhetorical and epistolary categorizations, this work probes Greco-Roman principles of persuasive communication and the ways in which Paul uses them in Galatians. Of particular significance is the discovery of the widespread practice of placing a communication’s central points at the beginning and ending of a message and developing those themes in the message’s body, a technique that Paul employs in Galatians. As a result, this investigation shows that the importance of Jesus’s resurrection for understanding Galatians is inversely proportional to Paul’s singular opening statement about it. The author demonstrates that the risen crucified Christ is fundamental for understanding Paul’s letter-speech to the Galatians, as well as for understanding Paul himself and his theology as a whole.
“Bryant’s careful exploration of the prescript in Galatians demonstrates the centrality of Christ’s death in Paul’s gospel, and thus by extension the main point of contention between him and his opponents. … Those who find rhetorical and epistolary criticism useful will be more inclined to accept Bryant’s conclusions, but even those who question the value of such approaches will benefit from Bryant’s demonstration of the importance of the prescript for the interpretation of Galatians.” —Matthew S. Harmon, Review of Biblical Literature
To read Dennis R. Lindsay’s review of this work, click here.
© 2007, Society of Biblical Literature. All Rights Reserved.