Sunday, August 19, 2007
The Antioch Incident
One of the most important texts in Galatians (and for understanding earliest Christianity) is the confrontation in Antioch between Peter and Paul as narrated in Gal. 2.11-14. This is what David Garland has to say about this text:
"If there had been a church bus at Antioch, the Gentiles would always have had to move to the back. In the church building, one might find a Gentile water fountain and a Jewish water fountain and the Gentiles would have had to sit in a special Gentile balcony section. Signs in various areas of the church might warn, "Jews Only, No Gentiles Allowed," and the bulletin logo might announce "Separate but Equal in Christ". In practice, however, the Gentile Christians were considered to be unfit for full equality. The compulsion was subtle but real. If Gentiles wanted to eat the Lord's Supper with Cephas and the other Jewish Christians, they would have to do something to make themselves fit. They would have to become Jews, submit to circumcision and abide by the Jewish dietary regulations. The truth of the gospel, as far as Paul was concerned, does not mix with this kind of compulsion."
David Garland, "Paul's Defense of the Truth of the Gospel Regarding Gentiles (Galatians 2:15-3:22)," RevExp 91 (1994): 170-71.