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Link in French – Poutine, Zelinsky : le ping-pong du nazisme
. By evoking the fight against Hitler's ideology to justify his war in Ukraine, the Russian leader is using Orwellian procedures to the point of losing his mind. The Wagner Group's military strategist? An SS worshiper. And in Kiev, the action of openly pro-Nazi Russian militiamen, who acted with the blessing of Ukrainian services, raises questions. By our editorialist Guillaume Malaurie.
It's so confusing, it'll be harder and harder to explain to our children. After the fog of the Russian-Ukrainian war, comes the fog of words, concepts and proven, documented facts that confuse our thinking and degrade our memories.
Starting with the word "Nazism", which we thought was always understood for the bestial tragedy it was, from the Atlantic to the Urals, from left-wing to right-wing parties. From Sartre to Aron, it would seem. And, in a way, from Churchill to Stalin. When Vladimir Putin called Ukrainian President Zelensky a "Nazi" to justify the invasion a year ago, we were stunned, but we were reminded of Orwell, who explains how the totalitarian dialectic turns the meaning of words and concepts inside out: "peace" instead of "war", "happiness" instead of "tragedy" and why not "Nazism" instead of "democracy". Red-brown" fascination
So far, the rustic manipulation had gone down pretty well. But when we learned that openly pro-Nazi Russian militiamen, Denis Kapustin's "Russian Volunteer Corps" (RDK) - well known in Germany - had made an incursion into Russian territory in Belgorod with the blessing and American equipment of the Ukrainian services, we coughed quite a bit. Even though we've mastered the cough by telling ourselves that war is never very clean, and that it's like this: the enemies of my enemies are always (somewhat) my friends...
On the Russian side, the "red-brown" fascination is just as pervasive. Take Dimitri Outkine, the military strategist of the "Wagner Group". A former special forces officer with the Russian Ministry of Defense, he worked in Syria and was awarded the "Medal of Courage" by Vladimir Putin. The man bears SS tattoos on his neck and, it seems, on the rest of his body. He worships relentless violence. Naked. In fact, it was he who chose the word "Wagner" for Prigogine's mercenary enterprise, in homage to the composer of "Twilight of the Gods", of whom Hitler was a fervent admirer.
How, but how, in these ex-Soviet lands of blood, where twenty-one million Russian citizens, military and civilian, died atomized, burned, raped and crushed in the war against Hitler, is the idea of claiming to be Nazi conceivable? Tolerated? How can we claim to be part of a doctrine that aimed to industrialize death, starting with the Jews, and to enslave the Slavs? And therefore of the Russians.
But it's worth noting that monarchist, facistoid, imperialist, white supremacist and Slavic supremacist groups have been flourishing in Russia for years, with the complicity of the regime. In her book "Russia Blues", Hélène Blanc, a political scientist at the CNRS, recalls the following fact: "On January 19, 2009, the lawyer Stanislav Markélov and the young freelancer Anastassia Babourova, still a journalism student, were shot dead in the street in Moscow. Markelov, a humanitarian lawyer, had defended Chechens. Both were already known for their investigations into Russian neo-Nazis and their articles on this sensitive subject". The hated West
For a long time, the West reassured itself by explaining that, in order to be feared by the regime, certain determined opponents donned the abominable label of Nazi. To provoke. To scare people off. From this point of view, it's worth reading Zakhar Prilepine, this highly talented Russian writer, perhaps the best of his generation, who volunteered in the Chechen and Donbass wars. In the spirit of his "National Bolshevik" Party, he vomits the West and LGBT people, and continues to support the war all the more since he was recently the victim of an attack.
His character Oleg (1), a militant leader of the Russian Blacblock type, breaks cops to express his rage: "He was an educated boy. He could change his behavior in a minute, felt no pity for any human being - could break someone's fingers in a fight. He hated power - all power without exception - and wished death on prime ministers and governors - a real, physical, original death if possible, not too quick."
So there is indeed this Russian red-brown nihilist bortch, of which Nazism is just another spice to spice up the soup a bit. To inspire fear. But there is also a consolidated red-brown ideology in Russia, where the "Slavic race" seems set to take over from the "Aryan" race, where Jews are no longer targeted but where the "global West" has taken their place. Where Iranian Muslim religious fundamentalists are welcome...
Exactly the doxa of Alexandre Douguine, the Kremlin's most listened-to guru, successively a member of the National Bolshevik Party, then of the National Bolshevik Front he created with writer Limonov in 1993, and finally of the Eurasia Party. It was in these bodies that Dugin compiled the old Slavophile "Eurasian" and "Moscow Third Rome" theses. An apocalyptic vision for our children
Historian Jean-François Colosimo clearly identified the religious underpinning of Dugin's discourse:
"Orthodox indifference to history is total in Russia. History will always go against the kingdom of God. That the ruler will be a tyrant is no surprise. In fact, it's the most likely. History is the devil's playground. Throughout Russian Orthodox culture, there's this impatience that goes a long way to explaining why the Russians are going to secrete the first global terrorism, so aptly described by Dostoyevsky in the words of one of his heroes: "I want the end of the world, and by tomorrow at 10:25! You can make the best society, the best art, it's zero. Everything will inevitably be degraded by time. Eternity must manifest itself brutally in its fullness. When you have such an absolutist conception of the relationship between everything and nothing, you open the door to the neantization of many things, and thus also the advent of nihilism, which paves the way for totalitarianism"(2).
How can we explain this to our children? How can we justify this apocalyptic pleasure in the land of Tolstoy and Pushkin? How can we explain the "liberation" of cities reduced to dust, such as Bakhmut and Marioupol? How to describe the consent of the Russian population?
How are we to speak of the mortifying remnants of the Third Reich embarked on this headlong rush towards a misty "Fifth Empire" (Dugin)? How do we tell our children that "Armageddon" is just around the corner?
(1) San'kia by Zakhar Prilepine, Actes Sud.
Hello! Just looking for feedback on strengthening my query or just overall thoughts.
Thank you in advance.
Seventeen-year-old Faye knows her late-mom harbored secrets. So, when Faye moves with her father and brother into her mom’s childhood home in Lumina Springs, Connecticut, she sees this as an opportunity. Somewhere within the Victorian house, surrounded by dense trees, are the answers she seeks. To learn more about her mom and why she cut ties after the divorce, leaving Faye feeling worthless. While roaming the backyard for clues, Faye captures a photo of a miniature leg and glistening, violet wing.
Soon Faye discovers the property houses the Aza—dark-skinned fairy-like creatures. Her mom was an Aza Mensa, a blood-oathed protector. When Faye, and her new bubbly friend, Danni, are attacked by a towering, horned troll, Faye injures the beast by unleashing a brilliant light from her palm. She’s shocked to learn that these powerful creatures, who stalk the streets at night, are hell-bent on destroying the Aza’s life tree. With her mom’s passing, Faye now stands in their way.
When the trolls start targeting the people she loves, Faye must decide whether to embrace her birthright. Turning away means risking the lives of her family and the Aza. Accepting means fighting against the dangerous trolls who may be linked to her mom’s death. But succeeding is more than just harnessing her new ancestral power and finding the closure she needs. It’s also about learning who to trust. As Faye and Danni unravel this mysterious war, Faye realizes her mom wasn’t the only one with secrets. Sometimes the truth hurts, and in Faye’s case, it’s also quite deadly.
AZA MENSA, complete at 94,000 words, is a YA fantasy with mystery elements. Inspired by West African mythology, it features an African American lead and a diverse cast. It will appeal to fans of This Poison Heart by Kalynn Bayron and That Self-Same Metal by Brittany N. Williams.
The Gospel of Paul
Paul can be forgiven for equating the destruction of Israel with the end of the world. Everyone who loves Israel wants to save her, the controversy between the Judaizers and Paul was over how to do it. From The Interpreters’ Bible
-1. Occasion and Purpose
Conservative preachers were persuading the Galatians that faith was not enough to make sure of God’s kingdom. Besides believing that Jesus was the Messiah, one must join the Jewish nation, observe the laws and customs of Moses, and refuse to eat with the Gentiles (2:11-14, 4:10). One must have Christ and Moses, faith and law. Paul insisted that it must be either Moses or Christ. (5:2-6). [Mind you, the congregations were literally segregated at meals according to whether the male members’ foreskins were circumcised; compare with the trouble regarding the allocations between the two groups of widows reported in Acts.]
Not content with raising doubts concerning the sufficiency of Christ, the Judaizers attacked Paul’s credentials. They said that he had not been one of the original apostles, and that he was distorting the gospel which Peter and John and James the Lord’s brother were preaching. They declared that his proposal to abandon the law of Moses was contrary to the teaching of Jesus, and they insinuated that he had taken this radical step to please men with the specious promise of cheap admission to God’s kingdom (1:10). If he were allowed to have his way, men would believe and be baptized but keep on sinning, deluding themselves that the Christian sacraments would save them. Claiming to rise above Moses and the prophets, they would debase faith into magic, liberty into license, making Christ the abettor of sin (2:17). The Judaizers were alarmed lest Paul bring down God’s wrath and delay the kingdom. They had not shared the emotion of a catastrophic conversion like Paul’s, and they found it hard to understand when he talked about a new power which overcame sin and brought righteousness better than the best that the law could produce.
Another party attacked Paul from the opposite side. Influenced by the pagan notion that religion transcends ethics and is separable from morality, they wanted to abandon the Old Testament and its prophetic insights. They could not see how Paul’s demand to crucify one’s old sinful nature and produce the fruit of the Spirit could be anything but a new form of slavery to law (2:19-20, 5:14, 2-24). They accused him of rebuilding the old legalism, and some said that he was still preaching circumcision (2:18; 5:11). Whereas the Judaizers rejected Paul’s gospel because they believed it contrary to the teaching of the original apostles, these antilegalists felt that he was so subservient to the apostles as to endanger the freedom of the Christian Movement.
Actually Paul had risen above both legalism and sacramentarianism ... his faith was qualitatively different from mere assent to a creed (5:6). He was living on the plateau of the Spirit, where life was so free that men needed no law to say ‘Thou shalt’ and ‘Thou shalt not’ (5:22-24). But this rarefied atmosphere was hard to breathe, and neither side could understand him. The conservatives were watching for moral lapses… and the radicals blamed him for slowing the progress of Christianity by refusing to cut it loose from Judaism and its nationalistic religious imperialism.” (Stamm, TIB
1953, vol. X pp. 430)
Paul’s defense of his gospel and apostleship was the more difficult because he had to maintain his right to go directly to Christ without the mediation of Peter and the rest, but had to do it in such a way as not to split the church and break the continuity of his gospel with the Old Testament and the apostolic traditions about Jesus and his teaching. …
To this end Paul gave an account of his relations with the Jerusalem church during the seventeen years that followed his conversion (1:11-2:14). Instead of going to Jerusalem he went to Arabia, presumably to preach (1:17). After a time he returned to Damascus, and only three years later did he go to see Peter. Even then he stayed only fifteen days and saw no other apostle except James the Lord’s brother (1:18-20). Then he left for Syria and Cilicia, and not until another fourteen years had passed did he visit Jerusalem again. This time it was in response to a revelation from his Lord, and not to a summons by the authorities in the Hoy City.
Paul emphasizes that neither visit implied an admission that his gospel needed the apostolic stamp to make it valid. His purpose was to get the apostles to treat the uncircumcised Gentile Christians as their equals in the church (2:2). Making a test case of Titus, he won his point (2:3-5). The apostles agreed that a Gentile could join the church by faith without first becoming a member of the synagogue by circumcision. … They … recognize[d] that his mission to the Gentiles was on the same footing as theirs to the Jews – only he was to remember the poor (2:7-10). So far was Paul from being subordinated that when Peter came to Antioch and wavered on eating with the Gentile Christians, Paul did not hesitate to rebuke him in public (2:11-14). (Stamm, 1953, TIB
vol. X pp. 430-431)
Paul’s defense of his apostolic commission involved the question: What is the seat of authority in religion? A Jewish rabbi debating the application of the kosher laws would quote the authority of Moses and the fathers in support of his view. Jewish tradition declared that God delivered the law to Moses, and Moses to Joshua, and Joshua to the elders, and the elders to the men of the Great Synagogue, and that they had handed it down through an unbroken rabbinical succession to the present. If Paul had been a Christian rabbi, he could have treated the Sermon on the Mount as a new law from a new Sinai, which God had delivered to Jesus, and Jesus to Peter, and Peter to Paul, and Paul to Timothy and Titus, and so on through an unbroken apostolic succession until the second coming of Christ. Instead of taking his problems directly to this Lord in prayer, he would ask, ‘What does Peter say that Jesus did and said about it?’ And if Peter or the other apostles happened not to have a pronouncement from Jesus on a given subject, they would need to apply some other saying to his by reasoning from analogy. This would turn the gospel into a system of legalism, with casuistry for its guide, making Jesus a second Moses – a prophet who lived and died in a dim and distant past and left only a written code to guide the future. Jesus would not have been the living Lord, personally present in his church in every age as the daily companion of his members. That is why Paul insisted that Christ must not be confused or combined with Moses, but must be all in all.
The Judaizers assumed that God had revealed to Moses all of his will, and nothing but this will, for all time, changeless and unchangeable; and that death was the penalty for tampering with it. The rest of the scriptures and the oral tradition which developed and applied them were believed to be implicit in the Pentateuch as an oak in an acorn. The first duty of the teacher was to transmit the Torah exactly as he had received it from the men of old. Only then might he give his own opinion, which must never contradict but always be validated by the authority of the past. When authorities differed, the teacher must labor to reconcile them. Elaborate rules of interpretation were devised to help decide cases not covered by specific provision in the scripture. These rules made it possible to apply a changeless revelation to changing conditions, but they also presented a dilemma. The interpreter might modernize by reading into his Bible ideas that were not in the minds of its writers, or he might quench his own creative insights by fearing to go beyond what was written. Those who modernized the Old Testament were beset with the perils of incipient Gnosticism, while those who, like the Sadducees, accepted nothing but the written Torah could misuse it to obstruct social and religious progress. (Stamm, 1953, TIB
X pp. 431-432)
To submit to circumcision would have betrayed the truth of the gospel because it contradicted the principle that all is of grace and grace is for all (2:5). Perpetuated in the church of Christ, the kosher code and other Jewish customs would have destroyed the fellowship. Few things could have hurt the feelings and heaped more indignity upon the Gentiles than the spiritual snobbery of refusing to eat with them.
The tragedy of division was proportional to the sincerity of men’s scruples. The Jews were brought up to believe that eating with Gentiles was a flagrant violation of God’s revealed will which would bring down his terrible wrath. How strongly both sides felt appears in Paul’s account of the stormy conference at Jerusalem and the angry dispute that followed it at Antioch (2:1-14). Paul claimed that refusal to eat with a Gentile brother would deny that the grace of Christ was sufficient to make him worthy of the kingdom. If all men were sons of God through Christ, there could be no classes of Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female (3:26-28). What mattered was neither circumcision not uncircumcision, but only faith and a new act of creation by the Spirit (5:6; 6”15). (Stamm, 1953, TIB
X p. 433)
Church unity was essential to the success of Christian missions. Friction between Aramaic and Greek-speaking Jewish Christians in Palestine had to be eliminated (Acts 6:1). The death of Stephen and a special vision to Peter were required to convince the conservatives of the propriety of admitting the Gentiles on an equality with the Jews; and even Peter was amazed that God had given them the same gift of the Spirit (Act 11: 1-18). This hesitation was potentially fatal to the spread of Christianity beyond Palestine. Many Gentiles had been attracted by the pure monotheism and high morality of Judaism but were not willing to break with their native culture by submitting to the painful initiatory rite and social stigma of being a Jew…. Had the church kept circumcision as a requirement for membership, it could not have freed itself from Jewish nationalism.” (Stamm, 1953, TIB
X p. 433)
III. Some Characteristics of Paul’s Thinking
… “the law” of which Paul is speaking does not coincide with “law” in a twentieth-century state with representative government. His Greek word was νομος [nomos], an inadequate translation of the Hebrew “Torah,” which included much more than “law” as we use the term. [When “תורה ThORaH
” appears in the text I translate it as “Instruction” – its literal definition - capitalized.] Torah was teaching on any subject concerning the will of God as revealed in the Scriptures. Since the Jews did not divide life into two compartments labeled “religious” and “secular,” their law covered both their spiritual and their civil life. Nor did Paul and his fellow Jews think in terms of “nature” and the “natural law.” They believed that everything that happened was God’s doing, directly or by his permission. The messiah was expected to restore the ancient theocracy with its power over both civil and religious affairs.
The Gentiles too were accustomed to state regulation of religion and priestly control of civil affairs. The Greek city-states had always managed the relations of their citizens with the gods, and Alexander the Great prepared the way for religious imperialism. When he invaded Asia, he consolidated his power by the ancient Oriental idea that the ruler was a god or a son of God. His successors, in their endless wars over the fragments of his empire, adopted the same device. Posing as “savior-gods,” they liberated their victims by enslaving them. The Romans did likewise, believing that the safety of their empire depended upon correct legal relations with the gods who had founded it. … Each city had its temple dedicated to the emperor, and its patriotic priests to see that everyone burned incense before his statue. Having done this, the worshiper was free under Roman ‘tolerance’ to adopt any other legal religion. … Whether salvation was offered in the name of the ancient gods of the Orient, or of Greece, or of the emperor of Rome, or of Yahweh the theocratic king of the Jews, the favor of the deity was thought to depend upon obedience to his law.
One did not therefore have to be a Jew to be a legalist in religion. … Since Paul’s first converts were drawn from Gentiles who had been attending the synagogues, it is easy to see how Gentile Christians could be a zealous to add Moses to Christ as the most conservative Jew.
This is what gave the Judaizers their hold in Galatia. The rivalry between the synagogue, which was engaged in winning men to worship the God of Moses, and the church, which was preaching the God who had revealed himself in Christ Jesus, was bound to raise the issue of legalism and stir up doubts about the sufficiency of Christ.
Gentile and Jewish Christians alike would regard Paul’s preaching of salvation apart from the merit acquired by obedience to law as a violently revolutionary doctrine. Fidelity to his declaration of religious independence from all mediating rulers and priesthoods required a spiritual maturity of which most who heard his preaching were not yet capable. … Paul’s gospel has always been in danger of being stifled by those who would treat the teachings of Jesus as laws to be enforced by a hierarchy. (Stamm, TIB
1953, X pp. 434-435)
V. Environment of Paul’s Churches in Galatia
The conclusion concerning the destination of the epistle does not involve the essentials of its religious message, but it does affect our understanding of certain passages, such as 3:1 and 41:12, 20.
From the earliest times that part of the world had been swept by the cross tides of migration and struggle for empire. The third millennium found the Hittites in possession. In the second millennium the Greeks and Phrygians came spilling over from Europe, and in the first millennium the remaining power of the Hittites was swept away by Babylon and Persia. Then came the turn of the Asiatic tide into Europe, only to be swept back again by Alexander the Great. But the Greek cities with which he and his successors dotted the map of Asia were like anthills destined to be leveled by Oriental reaction.
About 278 B.C. new turmoil came with the Gauls, who were shunted from Greece and crossed into Asia to overrun Phrygia. Gradually the Greek kings succeeded in pushing them up into the central highlands, where they established themselves in the region of Ancyra. Thus located, they constituted a perpetually disturbing element, raiding the Greek cities and furnishing soldiers now to one, and now to another of the rival kings. Then in 121 B.C. came the Romans to 'set free' Galatia by making it a part of their own Empire. By 40 B.C. there were three kingdoms, with capitals at Ancyra, Pisidian Antioch, and Iconium. Four years later Lycaonia and Galatia were given to Amyntas the king of Pisidia. He added Pamphylia and part of Cilicia to his kingdom. But he was killed in 25 B.C., and the Romans made his dominion into the province of Galatia, which was thus much larger than the territory inhabited by the Gauls. (Stamm, 1953, TIB
X pp. 437-438)
War and slavery, poverty, disease, and famine made life hard and uncertain. In religion and philosophy men were confused by this meeting of East and West. But man’s extremity was Paul’s opportunity. The soil of the centuries had been plowed and harrowed for his new, revolutionary gospel of grace and freedom.
Not all, however, were ready for this freedom. The old religions with prestige and authority seemed safer. Most Jews preferred Moses, and among the Gentiles the hold of the Great Mother Cybele of Phrygia was not easily shaken. Paul’s converts, bringing their former ideas and customs with them, were all too ready to reshape his gospel into a combination of Christ with their ancient laws and rituals. The old religions were especially tenacious in the small villages, whose inhabitants spoke the native languages and were inaccessible to the Greek-speaking Paul. To this gravitational attraction of the indigenous cults was added the more sophisticated syncretism of the city dwellers, pulling Paul’s churches away from his gospel when the moral demands of his faith and the responsibilities of his freedom became irksome. This was the root of the trouble in Galatia. (Stamm, 1953, TIB
X p. 438)
VI. Date and Place of Writing
Some consider it the earliest of Paul’s extant letters and place it in 49 … In support of this date it is said that Paul, who had come from Perga by boat, was met by messengers from Galatia, who had taken the shorter route by land. They reported the disturbance which had arisen in his churches soon after his departure. He could not go back immediately to straighten things out in person, because he saw that he would have to settle the matter first in Jerusalem, whence the troublemakers had come. So he wrote a letter.
But … [w]e do not know that the trouble in Galatia was stirred up by emissaries from the church in Jerusalem … Moreover, this solution overlooks the crux of the issue between Paul and the legalists. His contention was that neither circumcision nor the observance of any other law was the basis of salvation, but only faith in God’s grace through Christ. … On the matter of kosher customs, as on every other question, he directed men to the mind and Spirit of Christ, and not to law, either Mosaic or apostolic. That mind was a Spirit of edification which abstained voluntarily from all that defiled or offended.
We may say that the situation [in Galatia] was different – that in Macedonia it was persecution from outside by Jews who were trying to prevent Paul’s preaching, whereas in Galatia it was trouble inside the church created by legalistic Christians who were proposing to change his teaching; that in one case the issue was justification by faith, and in the other faithfulness while waiting for the day of the Lord.
The letter to the Romans, written during the three months in Greece mentioned in Acts 20:2-3, is our earliest commentary on Galatians. In it the relation between the law and the gospel is set forth in the perspective of Paul’s further experience. The brevity and storminess of Galatians gives way to a more complete and calmly reasoned presentation of his gospel. (Stamm, 1953, TIB
X pp. 438 - 439)
At Corinth, as in Galatia, Paul had to defend his right to be an apostle against opponents heartless enough to turn against him the cruel belief that physical illness was a sign of God’s disfavor … and they charged him with being a crafty man-pleaser … He exhorts his converts to put away childish things and grow up in faith, hope and love…
Most childish of all were the factions incipient in Galatia, and actual in Corinth … He abandoned the kosher customs and all other artificial distinctions between Jews and Gentiles and laid the emphasis where it belonged – upon the necessity for God’s people to establish and maintain a higher morality and spiritual life… He substituted a catholic spirit for partisan loyalties ... (Stamm, 1953, TIB
X pp. 440-441)
VII. Authorship and Attestation
If Paul wrote anything that goes under his name, it was Galatians, Romans, and the letters to Corinth. … F.C. Baur and his followers tried to show that the letters ascribed to Paul were the product of a second-century conflict between a Judaist party and the liberals in the church, and that they were written by Paulinists who used his name and authority to promote their own ideas.
[But] the earliest mention of the epistle by name occurs in the canon of the Gnostic heretic Marcion (ca.
[approximately] 144). He put it first in his list of ten letters of Paul. A generation later the orthodox Muratorian canon (ca.
185) listed it as the sixth of Paul’s letters. … While the first explicit reference to Galatians as a letter of Paul is as late as the middle of the second century … the authors of Ephesians and the Gospel of John knew it; and Polycarp in his letter to the Philippians quoted it. Revelation, I Peter, Hebrew, I Clement, and Ignatius show acquaintance with it; and there is evidence that the writer of the Epistle of James knew Galatians, as did the authors of II Peter and the Pastoral epistle, and Justin Martyr and Athenagoras. (Stamm, 1953, TIB
X pp. 441-442)
VIII. Text and Transmission
Although the epistle was composed neither carelessly nor hastily, the anxiety and emotional stress under which Paul dictated his cascading thoughts have produced some involved and obscure sentences … and a number of abrupt transitions… These have been a standing invitation to scribal clarification. … Paul’s debate with his critics takes the form of a diatribe, which is characterized by quotations from past or anticipated objectors and rapid-fire answers to them. Paul did not use quotation marks, and this accounts for the difficulty in 2:14-15 of deciding where his speech to Peter ends. The numerous allusions to person and places, events and teachings, with which Paul assumed his readers to be acquainted, are another source of difficulty. All theses factors operated to produce the numerous variations in the text of Galatians." (Stamm, 1953, TIB
p. 442) From Adam Clarke’s Commentaryi
"The authenticity of this epistle is ably vindicated by Dr. Paley: the principal part of his arguments I shall here introduce …
As Judea was the scene of the Christian history; as the author and preachers of Christianity were Jews; as the religion itself acknowledged and was founded upon the Jewish religion, in contra distinction to every other religion, then professed among mankind: it was not to be wondered at, that some its teachers should carry it out in the world rather as a sect
and modification of Judaism, than as a separate original revelation; or that they should invite their proselytes to those observances in which they lived themselves. ... I … think that those pretensions of Judaism were much more likely to be insisted upon, whilst the Jews continued a nation, than after their fall and dispersion; while Jerusalem and the temple stood, than after the destruction brought upon them by the Roman arms, the fatal cessation of the sacrifice and the priesthood, the humiliating loss of their country, and, with it, of the great rites and symbols of their institution. It should seem, therefore, from the nature of the subject and the situation of the parties, that this controversy was carried on in the interval between the preaching of Christianity to the Gentiles, and the invasion of Titus: and that our present epistle ... must be referred to the same period.
… the epistle supposes that certain designing adherents of the Jewish law had crept into the churches of Galatia; and had been endeavouring, and but too successfully, to persuade the Galatic converts, that they had been taught the new religion imperfectly, and at second hand; that the founder of their church himself possessed only an inferior and disputed commission, the seat of truth and authority being in the apostles and elders of Jerusalem; moreover, that whatever he might profess among them, he had himself, at other times and in other places, given way to the doctrine of circumcision. The epistle is unintelligible without supposing all this. (Clarke, 1831, vol. II p. 361)
This epistle goes farther than any of St. Paul’s epistles; for it avows in direct terms the supersession of the Jewish law, as an instrument of salvation, even to the Jews themselves. Not only were the Gentiles exempt from its authority, but even the Jews were no longer either to place any dependency upon it, or consider themselves as subject to it on a religious account. "Before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto faith which should afterward be revealed: wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith; but, after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster
." (Chap. [chapter] iii. 23-25) This was undoubtedly spoken of Jews, and to Jews. … What then should be the conduct of a Jew (for such St. Paul was) who preached this doctrine? To be consistent with himself, either he would no longer comply, in his own person, with the directions of the law; or, if he did comply, it would be some other reason than any confidence which he placed in its efficacy, as a religious institution. (Clarke, 1831, vol. II pp. 366-367)
of the ancient Galatae
was extremely corrupt and superstitious: and they are said to have worshipped the mother of the gods
, under the name of Agdistis
; and to have offered human sacrifices of the prisoners they took in war.
They are mentioned by historians as a tall
and valiant people, who went nearly naked; and used for arms only a sword and buckler. The impetuosity of their attack is stated to have been irresistible
…’” (Clarke, 1831, vol. II p. 369) From The New Jerome Biblical Commentaryii
The Galatai, originally an Indo-Aryan tribe of Asia, were related to the Celts or Gauls (“who in their own language are called Keltae
, but in ours Galli
”) ... About 279 BC some of them invaded the lower Danube area and Macedonia, descending even into the Gk [Greek] peninsula. After they were stopped by the Aetolians in 278, a remnant fled across the Hellespont into Asia Minor …
Occasion and Purpose
… He … stoutly maintained that the gospel he had preached, without the observance of the Mosaic practices, was the only correct view of Christianity … Gal [Galatians] thus became the first expose` of Paul’s teaching about justification by grace through faith apart from deeds prescribed by the law; it is Paul’s manifesto about Christian freedom.
... Who were the agitators in Galatia? … they are best identified as Jewish Christians of Palestine, of an even stricter Jewish background than Peter, Paul, or James, or even of the ‘false brethren' (2:4) of Jerusalem, whom Paul had encountered there. (The account in Acts 15:5 would identify the latter as ‘believers who had belonged to the sect of the Pharisees.’) … The agitators in Galatia were Judaizers, who insisted not on the observance of the whole Mosaic law, but at least on circumcision and the observance of some other Jewish practices. Paul for this reason warned the Gentile Christians of Galatia that their fascination with ‘circumcision’ would oblige them to keep ‘the whole law’ (5:3). The agitators may have been syncretists of some sort: Christians of Jewish perhaps Essene, background, affected by some Anatolian influences. … (Joseph A. Fitzmyer, 1990, TNJBC
pp. 780-781) END NOTES i The New Testament of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ
. The text carefully printed from the most correct copies of the present Authorized Version. Including the marginal readings and parallel texts. With a Commentary and Critical Notes. Designed as a help to a better understanding of the sacred writings. By Adam Clarke
, LL.D. F.S.A. M.R.I.A. With a complete alphabetical index. Royal Octavo Stereotype Edition. Vol. II. [Vol. VI together with the O.T.] New York, Published by J. Emory and B. Waugh, for the Methodist Episcopal Church, at the conference office, 13 Crosby-Street. J. Collord, Printer. 1831. ii The New Jerome Biblical Commentary
, Edited by Raymond E. Brown, S.S., Union Theological Seminary, New York; NY, Joseph A. Fitzmyer, S.J. (emeritus) Catholic University of America, Washington, DC; Roland E. Murphy, O.Carm. (emeritus) The Divinity School, Duke University, Durham, NC, with a foreword by His Eminence Carlo Maria Cardinal Martini, S.J.; Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, 1990 Chapter One
Tiding of [בשורת, BeSOoRahTh, Gospel] one
How [כיצד, KaYTsahD] was [היה, HahYaH] Shah`OoL [“Lender”, Saul, Paul] to become a Sent Forth [Apostle]
[verses 11 to end of chapter]
… Chapter Two
Sending forth of Shah’OoL required upon hands of the Sent Forth
The YeHOo-DeeYM [“YHVH-ites”, Judeans] and the nations, righteous from inside belief
[verses 11 to end of chapter]
-16. And since [וכיון, VeKhayVahN
] that know, we, that [כי, KeeY
] the ’ahDahM
[“man”, Adam] is not made righteous in realizing commandments
[of] the Instruction
rather in belief of the Anointed [המשיח, HahMahSheeY-ahH
, the Messiah, the Christ] YayShOo`ah [“Savior”, Jesus],
believe, also we, in Anointed YayShOo`ah,
to sake we are made righteous
from inside belief in Anointed,
and not in realizing commandments [of] the Instruction,
that yes, in realizing commandments [of] the Instruction is not made righteous any [כל, KahL
“As a Pharisee, Paul had been taught that works of law were deeds done in obedience to the Torah, contrasted with things done according to one’s own will. The object of this obedience was to render oneself acceptable to God – to ‘justify’ oneself. Having found this impossible, Paul reinforced the evidence from his own experience by Ps. [Psalm] 143:2, where the sinner prays God not to enter into judgment with him because in God’s sight no man living is righteous. Into this passage from the LXX [The Septuagint, the ancient Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible] Paul inserted ‘by works of law,’ and wrote σαρξ [sarx], ‘flesh,’ instead of ζων [zon], ‘one living.’ This quotation warns us against setting Paul’s salvation by grace over against Judaism in such a way as to obscure the fact that the Jews depended also upon God’s lovingkindness and tender mercies (I Kings 8:46; Job 10:14-15; 14:3-4; Prov. [Proverbs] 20:9; Eccl. [Ecclesiasticus] 7:20; Mal. [Malachi] 3:2; Dan. [Daniel] 9:18).” (Stamm, 1953, TIB X p. 483)
“Justified is a metaphor from the law court. The Greek verb is δικαιοω [dikaioo], the noun δικαιοσουνη [dikaiosoune’], the adjective δικαιος [dikaios]. The common root is δικ [dik] as in δεικνυμι [deiknumi], ‘point out,’ ‘show.’ The words formed on this root point to a norm or standard to which persons and things must conform in order to be ‘right.’ The English ‘right’ expresses the same idea, being derived from the Anglo-Saxon ‘richt,’ which means ‘straight,’ not crooked, ‘upright,’ not oblique. The verb δικαιοω means ‘I think it right.’ A man is δικαιος, ‘right’ when he conforms to the standard of acceptable character and conduct, and δικαιοσυνη, ‘righteousness,’ ‘justice,’ is the state or quality of this conformity. In the LXX these Greek words translate a group of Hebrew words formed on the root צדק [TsehDehQ], and in Latin the corresponding terms are justifico, justus, and justificatio. In all four languages the common idea is the norm by which persons and things are to be tested. Thus in Hebrew a wall is ‘righteous’ when it conforms to the plumb line, a man when he does God’s will.
From earliest boyhood Paul had tried to be righteous. But there came a terrible day when he said ‘I will covet’ to the law’s ‘Thou shalt not,’ and in that defiance he had fallen out of right relation to God and into the ‘wrath,’ where he ‘died’ spiritually… Thenceforth all his efforts, however strenuous, to get ‘right’ with God were thwarted by the weakness of his sinful human nature, the ‘flesh’ (σαρξ) [sarx]. That experience of futility led him to say that a man is not justified by works ‘of law.’” (Stamm, 1953, TIB X p. 483)
[Actually Paul changed his point of view as a result of his encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus, not as a result of intellectual contemplation. His many failures hitherto had not led him to this conclusion. The description of Paul in the preceding paragraph is a fiction.] “In the eyes of the psalmists and rabbis this was blasphemously revolutionary. Resting on God’s covenant with Abraham, they held it axiomatic that the ‘righteous’ man who had conscientiously done his part deserved to be vindicated before a wicked world; otherwise God could not be righteous. … In Judaism God was thought of as forgiving only repentant sinners who followed their repentance with right living …
The theological expression for this conception of salvation is ‘justification by faith.’ Unfortunately this Latin word does not make plain Paul’s underlying religious experience, which was a change of status through faith from a wrong to a ‘right’ relationship with God… It conceals from the English reader the fact that the Greek word also means ‘righteousness.’ … (observe the ASV [American Standard Version] mg. [marginal note], ‘accounted righteous’).
But ‘reckoned’ and ‘accounted’ expose Paul’s thought to misinterpretation by suggesting a legal fiction which God adopted to escape the contradiction between his acceptance of sinners and his own righteousness and justice.
On the other hand, Paul’s term, in the passive, cannot be translated by ‘made righteous’ without misrepresenting him. In baptism he had ‘died with Christ’ to sin. By this definition the Christian is a person who does not sin! And yet Paul does not say that he is sinless, but that he must not sin. … This laid him open to a charge of self contradiction; sinless and yet not sinless, righteous and unrighteous, just and unjust at the same time. Some interpreters have labeled it ‘paradox,’ but such a superficial dismissal of the problem is religiously barren and worse than useless.
The extreme difficulty of understanding Paul on this matter has led to a distinction between ‘justification’ and ‘sanctification,’ which obscures Paul’s urgency to be now, at this very moment, what God in accepting him says he is: a righteous man in Christ Jesus. Justification is reduced to a forensic declaration by which God acquits and accepts the guilty criminal, and sanctification is viewed as a leisurely process of becoming the kind of person posited by that declaration. This makes perfection seem far less urgent than Paul conceived it, and permits the spiritual inertia of human nature to continue its habit of separating religion from ethics. To prevent this misunderstanding it is necessary to keep in mind the root meaning of ‘righteousness’ in δικαιοω and its cognates.” (Stamm, 1953, TIB X pp. 484-485)
-19. I died according to [לגבי, LeGahBaY
] the Instruction, because of [בגלל, BeeGLahL
] the Instruction, in order [כדי, KeDaY
] that I will live to God.
“… The Pharisees taught that the Torah was the life element of the Jews; all who obeyed would live, those who did not would die (Deut. [Deuteronomy] 30:11-20).” (Stamm, 1953, TIB X pp. 488-489)
-20. With the Anointed I was crucified, and no more I live, rather the Anointed lives in me
The life that I live now in flesh
, I live them in the belief of Son [of] the Gods that loved me and delivered up [ומסר, OoMahÇahR
] himself in my behalf [בעדי, Bah`ahDeeY
“The danger was that Paul’s Gentile converts might claim freedom in Christ but reject the cross-bearing that made it possible. Lacking the momentum of moral discipline under Moses, which prepared Paul to make right use of his freedom, they might imagine that his dying and rising with Christ was a magical way of immortalizing themselves by sacramental absorption of Christ’s divine substance in baptism and the Lord’s Supper. The church has always been tempted to take Paul’s crucifixion with Christ in a symbolic sense only, or as an experience at baptism which is sacramentally automatic. It has also been tempted to reduce Paul’s ‘faith’ to bare belief and assent to his doctrine, and to equate his ‘righteousness’ with a fictitious imputation by a Judge made lenient by Christ’s death.
Against these caricatures of ‘justification by faith,’ Paul’s whole life and all his letters are a standing protest. He never allows us to forget that to be crucified with Christ is to share the motives, the purposes, and the way of life that led Jesus to the Cross; to take up vicariously the burden of the sins of others, forgiving and loving instead of condemning them; to make oneself the slave of every man; to create unity and harmony by reconciling man to God and man to his fellow men; to pray without ceasing ‘Thy will be done’; to consign one’s life to God, walking by faith where one cannot see; and finally to leave this earth with the prayer ‘Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.’
… When Christ the Spirit came to live in Paul … Paul was guided at each step, in each new circumstance, to answer for himself the question: What would Jesus have me do? And the answer was always this: Rely solely on God’s grace through Christ, count others better than yourself, and make yourself everybody’s slave after the manner of the Son of God who loved you and gave himself for you.
… The phrase εν σαρκι [en sarki] … means, lit. [literally], in the flesh. Someday – Paul hoped it would be soon – this would be changed into a body like that of the risen Christ, which belonged to the realm of Spirit.” (Stamm, 1953, TIB X pp. 490-493)
“Christ lives in me: The perfection of Christian life is expressed here … it reshapes human beings anew, supplying them with a new principle of activity on the ontological1 level of their very beings.” (Joseph A. Fitzmyer, 1990, TNJBC p. 785)
-21. I do not nullify [מבטל, MeBahTayL
] [את, ’ehTh
(indicator of direct object; no English equivalent)] mercy [of] Gods;
is not if [it] is possible to become righteous upon hand of the Instruction, see, that the Anointed died to nothing [לשוא, LahShahVe’
“It is not I, he says, who am nullifying the grace of God by abandoning the law which is his grace-gift to Israel, but those who insist on retaining that law in addition to the grace which he has now manifested in Christ.” (Stamm, 1953, TIB X p. 495) Footnotes 1
Ontological - relating to the branch of metaphysics dealing with the nature of being An Amateur's Journey Through the Bible