Some Light Upon Galatians

From: Ward Powers (
Date: Sat Mar 04 2000 - 05:00:20 EST

B-Greekers all,

My weekly Bible Study Group on the Greek NT is currently travelling through

At the commencement we noted the two views about the chronological
provenance and destination of this Epistle (the South Galatian and North
Galatian hypotheses), and the difference that is involved in regard to the
dating of this Epistle, both absolutely and also in relation to the Council
of Jerusalem, and Paul's participation therein.

Part of this total question is whether the three years and fourteen years
of Galatians 1:18 and 2:1 respectively are concurrent or consecutive. And
this is where the Greek comes in. And it is the Greek I am raising for
discussionm, not other factors outside the ambit of b-greek.

We noted that 1:18 read EPEITA META TRIA ETH, which is what we would have
expected for "then after three years". But 2:1 is differently worded:
EPEITA DIA DEKATESSARWN ETWN, which looks rather like "then through
fourteen years".

My Bauer does list a meaning of DIA plus genitive as "to denote an interval
after" (Meaning II,2), and this is where it includes Gal 2:1. But it also
notes the meaning of DIA plus genitive, in relation to time, thus: "to
denote extent-a. in the case of extension over a whole period of time, to
its very end, throoough, during"; and gives examples which mean "through
the whole period as stated".

Now here is my question: is this expression in 2:1 synomymous with the META
expression in 1:18, so that they are alternative ways of saying exactly the
same thing (differing only in the period of time to which they refer); or,
is the change of expression to convey a difference of meaning, so that the
fourteen years goes "through" the period which includes the three years?
That is, in this latter case, the fourteen years having the same starting
point as the threee years?

I incline towards the latter. That is, I tend to the view that the change
from META to DIA is deliberate and significant, and DIA plus genitive is
not just being used as an alternative with identical meaning; and that the
point of the use of DIA is that this latter period of time (the fourteen
years) runs "through" the previously mentioned period of three years, so
that they are concurrent.

B-greekers, what say you upon this point of Greek usage? Can you throw some
light upon this section of Galatians?



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

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