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Nihil Obstat
Jun 5th 2010, 12:55 AM
I'm presently reading a commentary on Genesis, and the author points out that Paul quotes directly from the LXX of Gen. 1:27 in Gal. 3:28 when he says, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither 'male and female'; for you are all one in Christ Jesus." The author points out that the Greek is not male or female, but male and female. I found this to be quite interesting. It's not that Paul is saying here that in Christ there are no distinctions between men and women (though I would agree with this statement), but rather he seems to be making a statement concerning oneness in a marriage covenant (perhaps like Eph. 5:31?), and how it is unnecessary to be married in order to be in Christ's covenant. Apparently this is what the Jewish people taught though, and apparently the 'Christian' Judaizers who came in and confused the Galatians taught this as well. What are your thoughts?

Quickened
Jun 5th 2010, 01:26 AM
I just took it that with God there is no favortism. God sees us as saved or redeemed. He doesn't draw distinctions between Jew's or Greeks holding one higher then the other. Same with the male and female part that you referenced.

markedward
Jun 5th 2010, 01:57 AM
It's an interesting idea, but I don't think it follows the consistency of the other adjectives.

First, compare Galatians 3.28 to Colossians 3.11; Paul contrasts "Jew" against "Greek". "Circumcision" against "uncircumcision". "Barbarian" against "Scythian". "Slave" against "free". He always has a pair that he contrasts. In Galatians 3.28, we have "Jew" against "Greek" (again). "Slave" against "free" (again). But, if the final pair is interpreted as a single unit ("male and female"), where is the contrast? If "male and female" is intended to mean "married", why not just say "married"? And if that's the case, why does he leave out the alternative, "unmarried"? The fact that he gives no alternative makes me lean toward the notion that Paul is giving "male" against "female".

Second, check out Colossians 3.11 again. In that instance, he uses "and" as his connector (in the Greek). He says, "Greek and Jew", "circumcised and uncircumcised". If he uses "and" here in the same way he uses "nor" in Galatians 3.28, I think it likely that Paul simply used "and" as his connector for "male" and "female" there. But then for the next two pairs in Colossians 3.11, he leaves out any sort of "and" or "or" or "nor", so that it literally reads, "barbarian, Scythian, slave, free". But by context we know he's giving us two opposing pairs: "barbarian" against "Scythian", and "slave" against "free". We wouldn't interpret Paul as detailing four groups being one unit.

Radagast
Jun 5th 2010, 01:23 PM
I'm presently reading a commentary on Genesis, and the author points out that Paul quotes directly from the LXX of Gen. 1:27 in Gal. 3:28 when he says, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither 'male and female'; for you are all one in Christ Jesus." The author points out that the Greek is not male or female, but male and female.

That's a stretch: you can't read the Greek "and" quite like the English one. The Greek here reads οὐκ ἔνι Ἰουδαῖος οὐδὲ Ἕλλην, οὐκ ἔνι δοῦλος οὐδὲ ἐλεύθερος, οὐκ ἔνι ἄρσεν καὶ θῆλυἅπαντες γὰρ ὑμεῖς εἷς ἐστὲ ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ.

Literally, that's "There is no Jew, nor a Greek; there is no slave, nor a free man; there is no 'male and female'; for you are all one in Christ Jesus."

The ESV has "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus."

There may be a reference to Gen 1:27 here, in that ἄρσεν καὶ θῆλυ is a direct quote from the Septuagint, but the logic of the sentence suggests that the male/female distinction is treated just like the Jew/Greek and slave/free ones. People are born one or the other, and in most cases will spend all their lives as one or the other, but in Christ Jesus all are "one."

Furthermore, the emphatic "there is no" implies that in some sense the Jew/Greek, slave/free, and male/female distinctions all disappear in Jesus (even if they survive in the world). That is to say, the most important thing about someone is not that they are a "female slave of Greek origin" but that they are a "sister in Christ."

Nihil Obstat
Jun 5th 2010, 02:44 PM
It's an interesting idea, but I don't think it follows the consistency of the other adjectives.

First, compare Galatians 3.28 to Colossians 3.11; Paul contrasts "Jew" against "Greek". "Circumcision" against "uncircumcision". "Barbarian" against "Scythian". "Slave" against "free". He always has a pair that he contrasts. In Galatians 3.28, we have "Jew" against "Greek" (again). "Slave" against "free" (again). But, if the final pair is interpreted as a single unit ("male and female"), where is the contrast? If "male and female" is intended to mean "married", why not just say "married"? And if that's the case, why does he leave out the alternative, "unmarried"? The fact that he gives no alternative makes me lean toward the notion that Paul is giving "male" against "female".

Second, check out Colossians 3.11 again. In that instance, he uses "and" as his connector (in the Greek). He says, "Greek and Jew", "circumcised and uncircumcised". If he uses "and" here in the same way he uses "nor" in Galatians 3.28, I think it likely that Paul simply used "and" as his connector for "male" and "female" there. But then for the next two pairs in Colossians 3.11, he leaves out any sort of "and" or "or" or "nor", so that it literally reads, "barbarian, Scythian, slave, free". But by context we know he's giving us two opposing pairs: "barbarian" against "Scythian", and "slave" against "free". We wouldn't interpret Paul as detailing four groups being one unit.

Yes, the commentator did make mention of Col. 3:11 as you did, acknowledging that 'kai' and 'oude' seemed perhaps interchangeable. I wondered about his interpretation of the quotation from the LXX of Gen. 1:27 being about marriage, given that this 'male and female' were not said to have been 'one' until Gen. 2:24. I would think that if Paul were countering some confusing doctrine on marriage that he would quote somewhere from Gen. 2:23ff. Still, I find the switch from 'oude' to 'kai', and the identical phrase in Gal. 3:28 with that of the LXX of Gen. 1:27, to mark and to be a purposeful and maybe even strategic quotation. At the conclusion of Galatians, in 6:15, Paul repeats part of 3:28, indicating that those who are 'one in Christ Jesus' are together 'a new creation.' The account of the creation of 'male and female' was in Gen. 1:27, and occurred on the sixth day - perhaps Paul is with his very brief quotation alluding to the renewed and restored creation had within Christ crucified, who was nailed to His cross on the sixth day of the week?

BroRog
Jun 5th 2010, 10:09 PM
I'm presently reading a commentary on Genesis, and the author points out that Paul quotes directly from the LXX of Gen. 1:27 in Gal. 3:28 when he says, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither 'male and female'; for you are all one in Christ Jesus." The author points out that the Greek is not male or female, but male and female. I found this to be quite interesting. It's not that Paul is saying here that in Christ there are no distinctions between men and women (though I would agree with this statement), but rather he seems to be making a statement concerning oneness in a marriage covenant (perhaps like Eph. 5:31?), and how it is unnecessary to be married in order to be in Christ's covenant. Apparently this is what the Jewish people taught though, and apparently the 'Christian' Judaizers who came in and confused the Galatians taught this as well. What are your thoughts?If the subject of the discourse was marriage, this might be a plausible interpretation to consider, but since Galatians 3 isn't about marriage, then I don't think so.

In fact, Paul is in the process of answering his rhetorical question in verse 19, "Why the Law then?, and his follow-up question, "Is the Law then contrary to promises of God?"

When we think about what it means to be human, we can ask two questions: "What are we?", and "Who are we? To the first question we usually talk about our biology and our place in this world as creatures. To the second question we typically answer by giving our name, address, occupation, religious affiliation, family affiliation, family history, personal achievements, etc. Paul typically refers to this aspect of being human as kata sarka:according to the flesh.

In the middle of his discussion about the need for the law, he talks about being Abraham's descendant. The Jews were Abraham's descendant "kata sarka", i.e. according to the flesh. In Romans Paul identifies Jesus as a son of David "kata sarka", according to the flesh. Jesus was a physical descendant of David, "kata sarka."

Roma 1:1 Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called [as] an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, 2 which He promised beforehand through His prophets in the holy Scriptures, 3 concerning His Son, who was born of a descendant of David [I/](kata sarka)[I] according to the flesh . . .

With respect to Jesus' humanity, answering the question "Who are you?", Jesus could answer, "I am a descendant of David." But as Paul mentions elsewhere,

"Therefore from now on we recognize no one (kata sarka) according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ (kata sarka) according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer." 2Cor. 5:16.

So then, even though these things are part of what it means to be human: ethnicity, race, gender, economic status, etc. we no longer "know" each other that way. In Christ, we have a new way to identify and recognize ourselves. We no longer define ourselves in terms of our natural descent, or our particular culture, how much we make, or our place in history. We define ourselves in terms of our relation to Christ, which is the central and most essential aspect of being human for us as Christians.