From: Ward Powers (bwpowers@eagles.com.au)
Date: Mon Sep 27 1999 - 21:42:55 EDT


Yesterday my Greek class was looking at Galatians and comparing 1:18 with 2:1.

In my introduction to the Epistle I had briefed them about the provenance
of this letter, including the argument about the North Galatian vs South
Galatian theories and the question of whether Galatians was written just
prior to the Council of Jerusalem of Acts 15 (and is thus the first written
of Paul's epistles that we have) or at a later time (and thus comes after
the Thessalonian epistles). A relevant factor here is the dating of the
periods of Paul's life, and the times mentioned in these two verses of
Galatians relate to this: in particular, whether the fourteen years of 2:1
has the same starting point as the three years of 1:18.

That is, is Paul referring here to a total period of fourteen years (the
period of 2:1 having the same starting point as 1:18, i.e. concurrent), or
seventeen years (the period of 2:1 running from the end of the period of
1:18, i.e. consecutive)?

The Greek is different in 1:18 and 2:1. Is this significant for the point
at issue?

In 1:18 Paul says, "Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem ...";

In 2:1 Paul says, "Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem

Three issues:

1. Gal 1:18 has ANHLQON and 2:1 has ANEBHN. I take it that this difference
is stylistic, that the words are synonyms, and have no bearing upon the issue.

2. Both passages commence with EPEITA. Does this of necessity indicate that
the second period follows on from the first, thus ruling out the
interpretation that the two periods of time could be concurrent?

3. The major point: In the second passage, the preposition is DIA plus the
genitive. Is this an equivalent for META with the accusative, so that once
again (as in point 1, above) we have two synonyms, the difference being
purely stylistic? Or alternatively: Does DIA plus the genitive have the
force of "through" and indicate that the fourteen years of this verse
travels "through" the earlier period of three years which Paul has just
mentioned in the immediate context?

It is interesting to note that translations seem uniformly to render 2:1 as
"Then after fourteen years" or "Fourteen years later"; none that I have
consulted bring out any idea of "through" for the DIA.

I will be interested in your comments.



Rev Dr B. Ward Powers Phone (International): 61-2-9799-7501
10 Grosvenor Crescent Phone (Australia): (02) 9799-7501
SUMMER HILL NSW 2130 email: bwpowers@eagles.bbs.net.au
AUSTRALIA. Director, Tyndale College

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