Re: Galatians 1:15

From: Jim West (
Date: Fri Jan 23 1998 - 10:05:23 EST

At 08:39 AM 1/23/98 -0800, you wrote:
>Help, please, from anyone with a commentary on Galatians 1:15
>"who separated me out of my mother's womb"
>Is this a Hebrew (or Greek) idiom?

It is a Hebrew idiom, based on the call of Jeremiah (cf. Jer 1). Paul here
imitates the call of Jeremiah and applies the same kind of call to himself!

>I.e., does it just mean either: a)
>from the time I was still within my mother's womb or b) from the time I
>was born? Or is it non-idiomatic, i.e., does the preposition EK ("out
>of") have a special sense for Paul here, i.e., he separated me "out
>of/out from" my mother's womb/took me out of my human existence/realm
>(see Galatians 4:4 GENOMENON EK GUNAIKOS with reference to Jesus having
>a human birth)? I opt for the simple idiomatic meaning, but a friend
>said he's read something where the author was giving it this more
>spiritual or mystical interpretation.

Your friend is wrong. Again, see the call of Jeremiah, which Paul here
intentionally applies to his own situation.

>"Eric S. Weiss"


Jim West, ThD
Adjunct Professor of Bible
Quartz Hill School of Theology

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