This book examines Paul’s appeals to Greco-Roman values of benefaction in his Epistle to the Galatians.
Ferdinand Okorie is director of Bible studies and travel programs and assistant professor of New Testament at Catholic Theological Union.
Chapter One: The Scope of the Study and Approach
Chapter Two: Manifestations of χάρις in Divine-Human Benefaction
Chapter Three: Language of χάρις in Divine-Human Benefaction
Chapter Four: Language of χάρις in Human-Human Benefaction
Chapter Five: Contrast between Paul and Opponents on χάρις
Ferdinand Okorie’s fresh study of Galatians investigates the way that Paul uses the language of benefaction and friendship to persuade his auditors to adopt his version of the gospel message. Paul not only wants to convince the Galatians to recognize God’s benefaction toward them, but they too can and must act toward one another with fellowship, equality, goodwill, etc. This is a most valuable book for Pauline studies.
How did Paul’s Gentile Galatian audience, steeped in the Hellenistic ethos of patron-client reciprocity, hear Paul’s message of charis and pistis? Okorie persuasively argues that charis in Galatians be rendered favor and pistis gratitude. God’s favor or goodwill towards the Galatians is χάρις; what they do to acknowledge this is also called χάρις. Both patron and client are reliable and faithful— the patron in rendering promised assistance, the client in being grateful, loyal, and committed. Okorie’s scintillating research breaks new ground in scholarship and uncovers layers of hitherto fallow meaning. To read this book is to read Galatians, indeed Paul, again for the first time!
Okorie offers an excellent and persuasive reading of how the Galatian audience understands the concepts of faith and grace in light of benefaction in their own cultural context. Scholars, students, and pastors alike will benefit from this book that illuminates key points of Paul's theology, as well as his talent for communication.
This book is undoubtedly an impressive monograph contributing to the study of Paul, Galatians, and Greco-Roman benefaction conventions. Scholars, (under)graduate students, clergy, or anyone interested in such subjects will surely benefit from this book. It is also remarkable that this book attends to more theological questions that Galatians may bring to mind.
Okorie presents a reading of Galatians focused on how Paul wants his readers’ faith to be expressed toward God, Christ, and one another. To do so he draws on ancient literary texts that span both sides of the turn of the era, presuming that these reflect the values of the culture in which the Galatians were embedded.