Paul the Apostle, His Life, Letters and Thought—Part Forty Nine



P. 750—Sanders distinguishes between Galatia the region settled by Celts around Ankara, and Galatia the Roman province which extended almost from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean and encompassing several regions.

p. 751— The new Gal. province was about 420 miles north to south and included parts of regions called Pisidia and Lycaonia. Augustus based the province of the territory ruled by King Amyntas which went beyond old Galatia and included parts of Pamphylia, Pisidia and Lycaonia. At the time of Paul, Pamphylia was no longer part of Galatia. In 43 A.D. Claudius made it and Lycia into a new province. This means Perga was not in Galatia province in Paul’s day.

p. 752– In Acts 13-14 Luke uses regional names Antioch in Pisidia (13.14) Lystra, and Derbe in Lycaonia (14.6) and Perge in Pamphylia (14.24). He does not assign a region to Iconium but it too was in Lycaonia. According 16.6 Paul went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia and in 18.23 through the Galatian region and Phrygia. If Luke means the part of the Roman province of Galatia near Phrygia, then the ref. could be to Pisidian Antioch and Iconium. Most of Phrygia was taken into the province of Asia in 120 B.C. The Galatians had settled in northern Phrygia in 265 B.C.

p. 753— As Sanders says, while Acts mentions the region of Galatia it does not say Paul founded churches there while it does say he founded churches in the southern part of the Roman province of Galatia.

p. 754— Sanders objects that it would be very peculiar to call Greeks in Lycaonia and Pisidia ‘Galatians’ since the word clear meant Celts. [But when Paul speaks of Achaians he does not necessarily mean Athenians, he could even mean people who lived near Corinth].

p. 757 n. 22— He critiques C. Hemer’s view, as not proving the south Galatia hypothesis. Popular usage is one thing, governmental usage is another, and Sanders cannot rule out the idea that the term Galatia was used for cities in the south (see p. 758 continuation of the note).

p. 758— Sanders points to Gal. 1.21 to show Paul could use regional designations in this case the regions (plural) of Syria and Cilicia. Paul uses the term Judaea which could either be the name of the Roman province or the name of the region (between 44-66 A.D. it was a Roman province), and Sanders notes that it is the region around Jerusalem Paul is always referring to (Rom. 15.31; 2 Cor. 1.16; Gal. 1.22; 1 Thess. 2.14).

p. 760— Sanders admits Paul probably used provincial designations when referring to Macedonia and Achaia. He twice mentions the two together (Rom. 15.26; 1 Thes. 1.7-8), which in the first century encompassed the whole of Greece and Macedonia.

p. 761—Sanders simply wants to say that Burton is wrong that Paul never used regional titles. And in Acts 18.12 and 27 it seems clear that Luke is using the provincial designation Achaia as he speaks of Gallio being its proconsul. [Sanders is right that the Syria and Cilicia regions changed provincial shape so many times in the first century, that it is understandable that Paul would refer to the older regional designations. But this is not really so with Asia and Galatia. It is not however relevant, as Sanders seems to think, that designations shifted in Asia a good deal during 133-40 B.C. period. That’s ancient history by the time Paul is writing.]

p. 762— Here is Sander’s main point “It is impossible for me to think that the people of Pamphylia were called ‘Asians’ then ‘Cilicians, then ‘Asians’ again, then ‘Galatians’ and then ‘Lycian and Pamphylians’. But this is in effect what the south Galatia hypothesis proposes…. It is probable that they all called themselves ‘Greeks’, but in any case ‘Galatians’ would have meant ‘Celts’ to them.” [This is not the issue! The issue is what Paul the Roman citizen would have called them, and it is major deficiency of this study that Sanders never discusses whether Paul was or wasn’t a Roman citizen. Furthermore, if Paul is dealing with people of diverse extractions regionally, and he wants to address them as a group why would he not call them all one thing, namely Galatians???].

He tries to argue that ‘Asia’ is a special case because even in Acts, the provincial designation is used. It was established as a province in 129 B.C. whereas Galatia was only established by Augustus in 25 B.C. Paul is writing a good 75 or more years after the establishment of Galatia as a province by Augustus. [There is no reason that with that length time what happened in Asia could not have also happened in Galatia— namely that the provincial title became common usage. More importantly since the Roman province of Galatia had various different ethnic groups in it, the only omnibus term Paul would find convenient to use for all of them is Galatians].

p. 763– Sanders argues that while Acts says nothing about Paul founding churches in north Galatia, “Acts does not give a complete account” [and no sooner do those words come out of his mouth then he says that Acts says nothing about Paul interrupting his itinerary due to illness—whereas Gal. 4.13 says he first preached the Gospel to Galatians due to physical infirmity. Well, you can’t have it both ways. If Luke’s account is cursory then it could easily leave out the cause of Paul showing up first in Pisidian Antioch. Paul is not saying he showed up in Pisidian Antioch by accident. Sander’s imagines that this conflicts with the idea in Acts of Paul following a pre-planned itinerary. Why? Maybe Paul went first to Pisidian Antioch because he thought the mountain air would help his condition, but he also had a letter of reference from Sergius Paulus who had family in Pisidian Antioch as the inscriptions show. In other words, Paul changed the itinerary when he got to Perge and wasn’t feeling great. Maybe he had been planning to go to Iconium or Lystra first.]

p. 764— “If it is true that the itinerary was thought out in advance and then executed, Paul could not conceivably have founded the churches in southern Galatian by accident because of physical infirmity. There was nothing accidental about the trip described in Acts.” [He seems to be ignorant that the phrase Galatic Phrygia or Phyrgian Galatia, refers to the Phrygian region of Galatia, which is not old Galatia. And again, if Paul had a chronic condition, he may have altered his plans to go to a place which was on the itinerary later, but which during the chronic issue was more likely to provide relief to his condition—- namely, away from the humid hot disease prone low lands, and up in the mountains where Psidian Antioch is.]

pp. 766-69— Sanders goes to considerable lengths to establish that when Paul traveled overland from Syrian Antioch to Ephesus, he could have taken the old King’s Highway road north from the Cilician Gates to Ancrya and on. This road however was the longer road to Ephesus. “If one thinks of the trip from Ephesus to Cilicia or Syria, however the Royal Road involves a long detour to the north.” (p. 767). Sanders admits there is a good southern route which is less mountainous which goes south of the salt lake Tuz Golu. This road was built in the fifth century B.C. by merchants.

p. 768— “This we may call in full ‘the Great Eastern highway of the Greco-Roman period’” He’s quoting William Ramsay.

p. 770—Sanders does not find the exegesis of the Acts 16 and 18 verses about Phyrgia and Galatia compelling for either north or south view.

p. 771— Sanders is right that there are various omissions in the narrative, but these silences do not provided added support for the north Galatia hypothesis.

p. 775— L. Martyn argues for the north Galatia hypothesis and says Paul founded churches in the Hellenized cities of Ankyra and Pessinus, with which Lightfoot agrees and he added a third possible city—Gordion (of the knot fame).

p. 776— Paul speaks of the churches plural of Galatia so more than one locale probably as opposed to the divided but one city ‘church of God in Corinth’.

pp. 776-77— Gal. 4.13-15 about the infirmity “can hardly apply equally to congregations separated from each other by a journey of three or more days” [why not if we are talking about a chronic condition that flares up from time to time— say like eye trouble]. He ends the appendix by saying he doesn’t finally think we can know where the churches were to which Paul wrote.