Re: Gal. 4:14

From: George Athas (
Date: Thu Aug 13 1998 - 23:08:54 EDT

Edgar Foster wrote:

> I respectfully disagree. Paul was an avid scholar of the Hebrew
> Scriptures, and he quoted profusely from God's sacred DAVAR. Pauline
> ideas are both heavily influenced and guided by the Hebrew OT. This is
> evidenced by the Pauline delineation of the exalted "name" given to
> Christ (Phil. 2:9-11). It is quite possible that Paul had the Hebrew
> SHEM in mind when elaborating on the heavenly glorification of IHSOUS

For Philippians, I agree, for Paul is making an almost direct quote where
the subject in both Philippians and Isaiah is seen to be the same.

> Furthermore, 1 Thess. 3:13 seems to draw off of Zech. 14:5.

I agree that there is a correspondence here, too. The subjects are the

> >Also, the contexts of Zechariah and Galatians are so vastly different
> that you cannot legitimately draw any influence from Zechariah over to
> Galatians.<
> Here again, the (literary) "contexts" don't have to be similar to
> infer that one influences the other. This can be seen by comparing the
> context of Zech. 14:5 with 1 Thess. 3:13.

The subjects are the same in the Christian mindset: Jesus = YHWH.

> It would also seem that Rev.
> 11:11, 12 contains elements of both Gen. 2 and Ezek. 37.

Revelation is a collage of OT images which is deliberate. It is an
apocalypse, so we expect this to happen; it is not a
conversational/oratorial epistle.

> If so, this
> would indicate that literary contexts are not required to be exact, in
> order to serve as intratextual evidences.

No. Context is all important! Sometimes you can quote something from a
completely different context to serve a particular purpose in another,
such as the saying "There is no rest for the wicked". However, that is not
what Paul is doing at all. The *only* similarity between Paul's words in
Galatians and the words of Zechariah are that they are both climactic
similes. They both employ the same mechanism, but that does not mean that
one is derived from the other. The subjects are just so vastly different
that if you want to see a dependent connection between them, you actually
have to impose it artificially. I'm sure Paul, being of a strict Jewish
background, knew his Minor Prophets scroll inside out - but I do not think
that he is drawing on Zechariah when he writes to the Galatians.

> I agree that "context" is important, but we must also adequately
> define context. If by context, you strictly mean--literary
> context--then I do not agree. If by context, you encompass other
> factors, then we can voice unanimous assent. Let me just briefly add
> that cotext is also important in determining the meaning of a text.
> While all may not agree, I therefore see it as quite plausible that
> Zech. 12:8 possibly influenced Gal. 4.

I guess we will agree to disagree.

> Always a pleasure, George!

Ditto, Edgar!

Best regards!
George Athas
-University of Sydney & Moore Theological College
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