Pilgrimage as singing and walking in the way of the law of Christ : interpreting 'dying to the law' in Gal. 2:19

Moon, Sewon (2017-03)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2017.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Although being a key statement in dealing with the controversy over the law and faith, Paul's declaration about 'dying to the law, living by faith' in Gal. 2:19-20 has not been properly interpreted within the literary, social-historical context nor in relation to the before-mentioned controversy. In this study, Gal. 2:19-20 was re-interpreted as part of Paul's autobiographical narrative, considering the social-historical context, i.e. the first century Jewish pilgrimage. Based on the antithetical structure between the present worldly empire and the empire of God which runs through the whole letter of Galatians, it was shown that Jesus' followers in those days were under social pressure to submit to the order of the present worldly empire, i.e. first century Judaism with the Jerusalem Temple at its centre. Some of the Jesus' followers (including Peter) gave in to this social pressure, and this led to the crisis in Galatia. Against this background, the researcher argued that the letter to the Galatians should be read from the perspective of an orthodox monotheistic Jew with a new awakening that God's forgiveness and acceptance is now mediated by Jesus Christ, not by the Jerusalem Temple and its priests. It was shown that the whole letter to the Galatians, especially Paul's autobiographical narrative, is orbiting around the controversy over the Jerusalem Temple and Jesus Christ as the new temple. With this context, the research argued that the letter to the Galatians can be better understood with the motif of pilgrimage, which was one of the most important rituals of the existing world order, i.e. first century Judaism. Based on the researcher's definition of pilgrimage, 'journey to the centre', 'journey to the past' and 'journey to the presence of God', the first century Jewish pilgrimage was re-examined in this study, and then Galatians was reread from the pilgrimage perspective: Clarifying that the present Jerusalem was not the mother-city (pilgrimage centre) of Jesus' followers, and that the law of first century Judaism should not be identified with the law of God, Paul urges the Galatian believers who were delivered from the present evil empire, to make a pilgrimage to the presence of God in the heavenly Jerusalem, following the examples of the pilgrims who preceded them: Abraham, Paul himself and most signifiantly, Jesus Christ. Paul's personal confession, 'dying to the law, living by faith' was also re-interpreted within this context. Paul's dying to the law was understood as his departure from the external worship and life according to the law of first century Judaism. However, 'dying to the law' must be understood in relation to the other side of the coin, 'living by faith'. Paul's present life which is characterized by 'being crucified with Christ', 'life led by Christ' and 'living by faith in Christ' was, in fact, Paul's pilgrimage, singing the way of Christ, walking in the law of Christ. Following Christ who made the journey from the highest place to the lowest of the cross to offer his body in order that sinners may be forgiven and restored as the people of God, Paul is making his pilgrimage, which is characterized by persecution and crucifixion, in order to lead the Gentile sinners to the presence of God. Gal. 2:19-20 is Paul's song to invite the Galatian believers, and ultimately all believers, to participate in the pilgrimage of Christ, which leads us to the lowest place of the cross, and eventually to the presence of God.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Alhoewel dit 'n deurslaggewende stelling is wanneer dit kom by die debat rondom die wet en die geloof, word Paulus se verklaring “deur die wet is ek vir die wet dood sodat ek vir God kan lewe” (Gal. 2:19-20) nie binne die literêre sosio-geskiedkundige konteks, of in verhouding tot die voorafgenoemde debat altyd korrek geïnterpreteer nie. In hierdie studie word Gal. 2:19-20 as deel van Paulus se autobiografiese narratief, herinterpreteer, gegewe die sosio-geskiedkundige konteks, by name die Joodse pelgrimstog van die eerste eeu. Gegrond op die teenstellende struktuur tussen die huidige wêreldse ryk en die ryk van God, wat deur die hele Galasiërbrief loop, is dit duidelik dat Jesus se volgelinge in daardie dae onder sosiale druk verkeer het om onderdanig te wees aan die orde van die wêreldse ryk van daardie tyd, d.i. die eerste-eeuse Judaïsme met die Jerusalemse Tempel as middelpunt. Sommige van die volgelinge van Jesus (onder meer Petrus) het onder hierdie sosiale druk geswig en dit het gelei tot die krisis in Galasië. Teen hierdie agtergrond, redeneer die navorser dat die brief aan die Galasiërs vanuit die perspektief gelees behoort te word van 'n ortodokse, monoteïstiese Jood met die vars bewuswording dat God se vergifnis en aanvaarding nou deur Jesus Christus bewerkstellig word, en nie deur die Tempel van Jerusalem en sy priesters nie. Daar word getoon dat die hele brief aan die Galasiëers, veral Paulus se autobiografiese narratief, rondom die debat oor die Tempel van Jerusalem en Christus as die nuwe tempel draai. Binne hierdie konteks redeneer die navorsing dat die brief aan die Galasiërs beter verstaan kan word deur middel van die motief van die pelgrimstog, wat een van die belangrike rituele van die bestaande wêreldorde, dit is eerste-eeuse Judaïsme, was. Gebaseer op die navorser se definisie van die pelgrimstog; “reis na die middelpunt”, “reis na die verlede” en “reis na die aanwesigheid van God”, word die eerste-eeuse Joodse pelgrimstog in hierdie studie herondersoek en Galasiërs vanuit sodanige perspektief van die pelgrimstog herlees. Dit verduidelik hoedat die huidige Jerusalem nie die moederstad (middelpunt van die pelgrimstog) van die volgelinge van Jesus was nie; en dat die wet van die eerste-eeuse Judaïsme nie met die wet van God geïdentifiseer moet word nie. Paulus moedig dus die Galasiese gelowiges aan wat uit die bose imperiale ryk gered is, om pelgrimstogte te onderneem na die aanwesigheid van God in die hemelse Jerusalem, na aanleiding van die voorbeelde van die pelgrims wat hulle voorafgegaan het - Abraham, Paulus self en mees beduidend, Jesus Christus. Paulus se persoonlike belydenis, “deur [...] is ek vir die wet dood sodat ek vir God kan lewe” word ook binne hierdie konteks herinterpreteer. Paulus se sterfte “vir die wet” is verstaan asof hy wegbeweeg het van die uiterlike aanbidding en lewe volgens die wet van eerste-eeuse Judaïsme. “[Om] vir die wet dood [te wees]” moet egter in verhouding met die keersy van die saak verstaan word, naamlik “[om] vir God [te] lewe”. Paul se lewe op daardie stadium, wat die kenmerke gedra het van “gekruisig wees saam met Christus”, 'n “lewe [wat] deur Christus gelei [word]” en “[om] deur die geloof [te] lewe in Christus”, was in werklikheid Paulus se pelgrimstog, waar hy die pad van Chrisus vooruitgesing het en in die wet van Christus gewandel het. In die voetspore van Christus, wat die reis onderneem het van die hoogste plek tot die laagste van die kruis, met die doel om sy liggaam te gee sodat sondaars vergewe mag word en herstel kan word as God se volk, onderneem Paulus hierdie pelgrimstog, gekenmerk deur vervolging en kruisiging, met die doel om die nie-Joodse sondaars in die teenwoordigheid van God te bring. Gal. 2:19-20 is Paulus se lied waarin hy die Galasiese gelowiges, en uiteindelik alle gelowiges uitnooi om aan die pelgrimstog van Christus deel te neem, wat ons na die laagste plek van die kruis toe lei, en eindelik tot by die aanwesigheid van God.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/101227
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