N’T Wright’s Galatians– Part Forty One

N’T Wright’s Galatians– Part Forty One August 16, 2021

Q. I wonder if you have heard the view that the term in Gal. 5 pharmakeia from which we get pharmacy no doubt, actually means drugs , and in some case abortion producing drugs, which, not incidentally, one went to a sorcerer for. Indeed, the Brill exhaustive dictionary says clearly that the main meaning of pharmakeia is the use of drugs or potions. (see Brill p. 2256). Do you think Paul could be mentioning drugs here? And in the same dictionary the second meaning of the word refers to a female poisoner or sorceress. People went to such persons for potions and medicines, and poisons. Do you think Paul could mean this?

A. Well, that’s certainly possible … I suspect there are all sorts of meanings like this lying just below the surface. But I’d be wary of using the word ‘drugs’ in case people thought Paul was criticizing cannabis – though I’m sure he would, had he known of it!

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