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Rhetorical Identification In Paul's Autobiographical Narrative

by Paul E. Koptak

Paul D. Koptak, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Communication and Biblical Interpretation, North Park Theological Seminary, Chicago. From Journal for the Study of the New Testament 40 (1990), pp. 97 - 113. Also reprinted in New Testament Interpretation and Methods; A Sheffield Reader, ed. S.E. Porter and C.A. Evans. Sheffield Academic Press, 1997.)

While most studies of Paul's autobiography in Galatians 1.13-2.14 acknowledge the importance of Paul's relationship with the Christians of Galatia, little attention has been given to the language Paul uses to describe relationships within the autobiographical narrative itself. This study will examine the relationships that Paul portrays and creates with the Jerusalem apostles, his opponents, and the Galatians as a means to depict symbolically the issues at stake in Galatia. The literary-rhetorical method of Kenneth Burke will be employed to this end, with special focus on Burke's idea of identification.


Until very recently, most studies of Galatians have followed the suggestion of Martin Luther that Paul's autobiographical remarks in Galatians 1 and 2 were 'boasting and glorying' that followed out of his divine calling. Paul defended himself in order to defend the Gospel.1

H.D. Betz took this tradition 2 one step further when he compared Paul's letter with the rhetorical handbooks of the time and concluded that the whole of Galatians took the form of an apologetic letter.3 Betz's commentary has not failed to attract criticism.4 New methods of rhetorical and literary study have challenged the apologetic model and have suggested alternative understandings. Three examples follow.

George Kennedy has argued that the presence of a hortatory section (5.1-6.10) indicates that Galatians as a whole functions as deliberative rhetoric (that which deals with future courses of action) and not as the forensic rhetoric of apologia.5 Kennedy understands the narrative of 1.13-2.14 to be proof of Paul's statement of the proem (1.6-10) that there is no other gospel; it is therefore not part of an apology. Kennedy also does not use the term autobiography for this narrative. It is rather a proof, a building block of Paul's argument.

Another rhetorical approach was taken by George Lyons, who found parallels between Galatians and Greco-Roman autobiographies (Cicero, Isocrates, and Demosthenes).6 Lyons claims that Paul's comments should be explained as an effort to demonstrate his ithos (character) to his readers .7


Beverly Roberts Gaventa presented a third challenge to the apologetic model. Gaventa concluded that Paul's reference to the revelation of Jesus Christ' in 1.1 5-17 is central to the text and places its focus on the manner in which Paul received his gospel.8 She thus argues that Galatians I and 2 cannot be confined to the category of apology. Further, Galatians is closer in form and purpose to the letters of Seneca and Pliny than to the autobiographical narratives cited by Lyons and the advice of Quintilian cited by Betz. Seneca and Pliny wrote with the purposes of moral exhortation and instruction in view. In a similar manner, Paul used his narrative to offer himself as a paradigm of the power of the gospel (Gal. 4.12).9

These new studies give some additional attention to Paul's orientation toward the Galatian audience and thus follow the advice of the classical writers.10 Emphases on Pauline exhortation, ithos, and example do turn the focus of study toward Paul's relation to the Galatians and away from Paul's answer to the charges of his opponents.11

 Yet these studies also cast Paul as an individual communicator who addresses his audience by means of a letter. Comparisons with classical examples and prescriptions only strengthen the emphasis on Paul's references to himself and overlook the statements he makes about others.12 To date, no study has paid particular attention to Paul's depiction of his relationships within the autobiographical narrative as a means to enhance further his relationship with the Galatians and to urge them away from circumcision.13

 In addition, no study has examined the narrative as a dramatization of the issues confronting the Galatians. Above all else, the autobiography is a story with a distinct rhetorical component. As Paul tells his story, he draws a number of symbolic parallels between his own past and the present situation at Galatia. In particular, Paul means to point out the exact parallel between those persons who opposed him by attempting to compromise the gospel and those who were putting pressure on the Galatians to be circumcised. By drawing clear lines between those who stood against him and those who stood with him, Paul intends to show the Galatians the results that their choice will bring. As he draws a narrative portrait of his past relationships, he at the same time invites them to affirm their present relationship with him by resisting circumcision. In order to study these relationships, a summary of Kenneth Burke's rhetorical-literary concept of identification will be outlined below.

 2. Kenneth Burke and Identification

Kenneth Burke began his career as a poet, a writer of fiction, and a literary critic. In the course of his thinking about literature, he noted that imbedded within all literary form was a rhetorical component. In time, he expanded his idea of rhetoric to embrace all of human communication. 'Wherever there is persuasion, there is rhetoric. And wherever there is "meaning" there is "persuasion."14

A central idea in Burke's approach to rhetoric is the principle of identification, which may be understood as the attempt to overcome human division through the establishment of some common ground. His description of human division often makes use of biblical terminology, as for example, his 'problem of Babel':

 'The theologian's concerns with Eden and the 'fall' come close to the heart of the rhetorical problem. For, behind the theology, there is the perception of generic divisiveness which, being common to all men, is a universal fact about them, prior to any divisiveness caused by social classes. Here is the basis of rhetoric.15

Traditional approaches to rhetoric have described the attempt to overcome division as 'persuasion.'16 In this view, a communicator seeks to persuade an audience by winning it over to a given position so that the situation becomes, in effect, a contest of opinions and wills. Through identification, however, a communicator seeks to elicit consensus and cooperation by demonstrating what Burke calls a 'consubstantiality' between communicator and audience. The depiction of consubstantiality points out where persons 'stand together' (from the etymology of the word) and shows how they share a similar concern or interest.17

Although Burke himself has said that the difference between persuasion and identification distinguishes traditional rhetoric from the 'New Rhetoric',18 he adds that in his mind, the two are not in conflict.

 As for the relation between 'identification' and 'persuasion': we might well keep it in mind that a speaker persuades an audience by the use of stylistic identifications; his act of persuasion may be for the purpose of causing the audience to identify itself with the speaker's interests; and the speaker draws on identification of interests to establish rapport between himself and his audience. So, there is no chance of our keeping apart the meanings of persuasion, identification ('consubstantiality') and communication ... 19

Identification is a two way process. As the communicator establishes rapport by identifying with the audience's concerns, the audience begins to identify with those of the communicator. The sharing of opinion in one area works as a fulcrum to move opinion in another. 20

A Burkean approach to the study of Paul's autobiographical narrative seeks to discover both the ways in which Paul sought to identify with the Galatians and the ways in which he asked them directly and indirectly, to identify with him and his message. One also watches for evidence of Paul's attempts to highlight relationships that are based upon a common understanding of the circumcision free gospel. By depicting these relationships, Paul creates a consubstantiality (a standing together) that he asks his hearers, the Galatians, to join by rejecting circumcision. Similarly, Paul also creates relational distance between himself and those who do not share that common understanding of the gospel. As the Galatians hear Paul tell his story of his past relationships, they are forced to decide whether they win stand with Paul and his understanding of the gospel, or with those who are urging them to be circumcised. What Paul makes clear to them is that they cannot have it both ways. In addition, the narrative also shows that Paul is really concerned for their welfare, while those urging circumcision are not.

3. Identification in Galatians 1.13-2.14

 Galatians 1.1-12

Burke recommends that the analysis of any written work should begin with the 'principle of the concordance'.21 The critic builds an index of significant terms: terms that recur in changing contexts, terms that occur at significant points in the narrative, terms that seem heavy with symbolic meaning. One also looks for oppositions, beginnings and endings of sections and subsections, and indications of hierarchies.22

One of Paul's most significant terms and oppositions occurs three times prior to his narration of his past life that begins in 1.13. After the opening introduction of his name and tide 'apostle' in 1.1, he states that his apostleship is not from or through any human agency . Rather, its source is Christ and God.

The same opposition between human terms and Christ/God terms occurs in vv. 10 and 11-12. In the questions and answer of v. 10, Paul seeks to win God over, not humans and wants to please Christ, not humans. The use of e t i ('still') in v. 10 suggests that Paul here refers to a human pleasing desire that was part of his own past .23 In vv. 11-12 Paul asserts that his gospel (like his apostleship in v. 1) is not a human gospel nor was it taught to him by any human. Rather it came by a revelation from Christ.

Here then, a pattern of opposition appears three times in the course of the first dozen verses of the epistle. The opposition of the divine and human terms and the orientations they represent structures Paul's thoughts about his apostleship, his motives, and his message.24

In addition, this opposition also gives shape to Paul's narrative, particularly as it aids him in his depiction of his relationships. Paul stands (identifies) with those who identify with the divine principle and stands against those who do not, claiming that they have embraced a human principle. The repetition of a n q r w p o x (seven times in vv. 1-12, four of them plural) highlights the contrast.25 In other words, Paul has introduced his narrative by stating simply and plainly, 'I did not receive my apostleship or my gospel from any human source, and I do not want to please any humans. I received my apostleship and gospel from God and Christ and God and Christ are the ones I want to please'. Every action and motive that follows is measured against Paul's basic statement, and Paul relates to every person as friend or foe for that same reason.


Galatians 1.13-24

 The structure of opposition continues throughout Paul's retelling of his past life in Judaism. He states that he advanced beyond his contemporaries and was zealous for his father's traditions (1.14), thus describing his experience of Judaism in human, not divine terms. The divine motive enters in when God chooses to reveal his Son and Paul's mission (vv. 15-16). Paul adds that he did not consult human authorities (flesh and blood, apostles) about this, but went away to Arabia.

 The above summary suggests that a large part of the motivation that Paul reveals in his narrative up to this point centers in his repudiation of his former way of life.26 The opposition between his old life and the new is patterned after the opposition between human and divine authority seen in vv. 1-12. There Paul defined his new life as a striving for God's pleasure over that of other men. Here he contrasts God's revelation of his Son with the traditions of his fathers.

 As for the apostles, he neither competed with them nor inquired27 of them (as compared with his relations within Judaism), but rather ignored them. His move away from the apostles to Arabia, therefore, signified his break from a bondage to human tradition and authority. The contrast between Paul's old and new relationships is clear. Whereas Paul described his former life in Judaism as focused on human relationships with his contemporaries and predecessors, his depiction of his new life is so centered on his relation to God that he as yet has no relationship to the other apostles.

 Paul then goes on to report that he did finally visit the apostles Cephas and James after three years (1.18). The only indication of his purpose for the visit is given in the verb i s t o r e w , which carries the sense of 'visit to inquire of or get information from'. 28 Paul stresses the brevity of the visit and the fact that he met with only two of the apostles. After his visit he returned to Gentile territory (1.21, Syria and Cilicia; in 1.17 he goes to Arabia and Damascus). Paul seems determined to emphasize that he was a stranger to Judea, for he adds that even the churches did not know him by sight (1.22).

 Yet even while Paul establishes this physical distance between himself and the apostles and churches, he declares a common purpose; the churches hear that Paul now preaches the faith he tried to destroy. Even while many miles separate him from the churches of Judea, he has become one with them through a common faith in the gospel. Paul has established a relationship, a consubstantiality, with Christians throughout Judea. Their praise of God on his account (1.24) indicates that Paul has become a success in his new vocation of pleasing God.

 The climax of the first portion of Paul's narrative does establish that he did not receive his gospel from a human source, but it does not imply that Paul worked apart from the Jerusalem authorities because he was a rebel or did not agree with them. In fact no reason is given for the departure to Arabia apart from the ongoing opposition of the divine and human motives. In reaction to his prior life, it seems he did not wish to be taught by humans any longer. The churches hear the report (perhaps through Cephas and James) that Paul preached the faith that he once persecuted among the Gentiles, the same faith that the apostles preached the faith that he once persecuted among the Gentiles, the same faith that the apostles preach.

 The chapter ends in a scene of harmony, the division between the old Paul and the church having been overcome through God's revelation of Christ to the persecutor. The source of division between Paul and the church (Christ and the gospel) has now become the source of a consubstantiality. Although Paul states that he has never met the people of these churches, he has used the principle of identification to build a relationship with them within the narrative.

 Paul has done much the same with the Jerusalem apostles. He shows that he is one in purpose with the apostles, although he is separate (but not independent) of them. They are joined in allegiance to the purpose of God, whom Paul is anxious to please (1.10). It is Christ, however, whom he serves, not the apostles.

 Issues of circumcision and the inclusion of the Gentiles have not yet surfaced in the narrative; therefore, the Galatians are not yet drawn into the story. As they hear this portion, they may simply observe the contrast between Paul's old and new life and notice the harmony created by a common commitment to the faith (1.23). Most of all, they would see the contrast, drawn by Paul, between a commitment to the human traditions of Judaism and faith in the divinely revealed gospel.

Galatians 2.1-10

 Paul established that his mission to the Gentiles was greeted with favor in the first section of the narrative (1.1-24). In the second section (2.1-10) Paul adds that the gospel he preached to the Gentiles was circumcision-free. He reports that he went to Jerusalem and met with the apostles, but he laid out before them the message he brought with him; this was not a time for them to instruct him. The mention of revelation in 2.2, whatever else its purpose, clarifies that Paul's ultimate allegiance is to God, not the Jerusalem apostles. Yet Paul also states that he needed to lay out his gospel before the apostles for evaluation in order to forestall some problem, which he believed might cause his work to be in vain, or without lasting effect. 29

Here within the narrative Paul has defined his relationship with the Jerusalem apostles as a relationship between equals, not that of a subordinate to superiors .30 The meeting was intended to secure a common understanding of the gospel as circumcision-free. Therefore Paul is not seeking to invoke apostolic authority by appealing to Jerusalem; he has already established that he speaks with apostolic authority himself. Rather, Paul intends to show that the Jerusalem apostles stood with him in his understanding of the circumcision-free gospel and with God who revealed it to him.

Paul notes two major results of the meeting. Titus was not compelled to be circumcised and Paul's mission to the Gentiles was received warmly. Although the sentences of 2.2-5 appear to be incomplete and do not follow grammatical convention, the use of d i a with the accusative in v. 4 suggests that the false brothers were behind the push to circumcise the Gentile Christian. Paul's response was firm; Titus was not compelled (2.3) and Paul and his companions did not submit for a moment (2.5) because he saw that the false brothers wanted to bring them into bondage.

The use of the term 'bring into bondage' or 'enslave' also appears in 2 Cor. 11.20 in the context of false teachers. Here in the immediate context of Galatians 2, the term is set in contrast with 'freedom in Christ'. In the larger context of the epistle, it is also set in contrast with Paul's servant-bondage to Christ in 1.10. If the o i z o u x e is accepted as the original reading,31 Paul here claims that he did not submit to those who would enslave them. Paul uses the first person plural in 2.4 to indicate that enslavement of the Gentiles would mean enslavement to the principle of bondage for the Jewish Christians as well.

With this assertion Paul has set up another opposition between human and divine authority. Paul knew that he could only submit to one authority. If he submitted to the false brothers he would betray his loyalty to Christ and compromise freedom in Christ. The false brothers stand in relation to Paul as did his old life; they are both rejected as 'still pleasing humans' (1.10). No consubstantiality exists, therefore Paul stands against them rather than with them.

When Paul speaks of preserving the gospel for the Galatians in v. 5, he stands against the false brothers for the sake of the Galatians. In other words, the struggle at the Jerusalem meeting not only resisted the enslavement of Paul and his company, but, by extension, the enslavement of the Galatian believers as well. However, the Galatians are not enjoying their freedom, but are fighting the same battle with those who are urging them to undergo circumcision. The advocates of circumcision are like the false brothers who opposed Paul, and they too will bring the Galatians under bondage to human authority. Paul, on the other hand, represents a commitment to God's authority as revealed in the circumcision-free gospel.

The scene, as Paul depicts it, shows the two principles and parties in conflict in parallel situations. The same issue is at stake now in Galatia as it was then in Jerusalem. The Galatians cannot have it both ways; they must choose to identify with one principle or the other. If the Galatians stand with Paul they will stand with one who has fought for their freedom as well as the truth of the gospel (2.5). If they choose to undergo circumcision they will not only be trying to please humans; they will be enslaved to them.

The Galatians are also encouraged to identify with Titus, who, with Paul's help, responded to the circumcision-free gospel of Christ instead of the human desires of the false brothers. Like Titus, the Galatians have been affirmed as believers without the requirement of circumcision, and have avoided the enslavement of those who would require it. Finally, to identify with Titus, Paul, and the apostles is to identify with Christ who revealed the circumcision-free message that resists the threat of bondage. These are relationships of freedom.

When Paul turns again to the apostles (those reputed to be something), he states that their evaluation of his message suggested no revisions or additions (2.6). 7Me major implication of Paul's statement is that there is a basic relationship of equality between himself and the Jerusalem apostles in the sight of God.32 This is given explicit statement in 2.7-8; both Paul and Peter have been entrusted with the gospel. This recognition of grace led the 'pillars' to offer the right hand of fellowship so that the missions to the circumcised and to the uncircumcised are given equal standing. There is no submission to human authority, nor is there any of the competition that characterized Paul's former life (1.14). Rather, those who have been entrusted with the truth of the gospel submit together as equals under the authority of the one who entrusted it to them (2.7) and gave Paul grace (2.9). The apostles have joined Paul in a common desire to please God rather than any human authority (1.10).

 Paul's second section of the narrative, like the first, ends in harmony. For the second time a source of division has been dealt with through a realization of the grace of God that was at work in Paul (2.8-9; compare with 1.24). Once again divine action has brought about a consubstantiality as it is perceived by the church. The narrative does not establish Paul's independence from Jerusalem, but rather a relationship of cooperative interdependence based on the truth of the gospel that embraces Jew and Greek. The circumcision free gospel that Paul brought to Jerusalem now stands in consubstantial unity with the gospel preached by the Jerusalem apostles; therefore Paul's relationship with the apostles is also one of consubstantial unity.

In addition, the Galatians are welcomed with Paul in the narrative through his identification with the Gentiles. As Paul is granted the right hand of fellowship, the Gentiles he represents are welcomed into the fellowship of believers as Gentiles, not converts to Judaism. They will be treated as equals with the Jewish Christians and, like Paul's friend Titus, they will not be required to be circumcised. They can trust that in heeding Paul's apostolic authority, they are also in accord with the authority of the Jerusalem apostles.

 In opposition to this decision stand the false brothers who do not have apostolic authority based on the truth of the gospel, and would not grant equality to the Gentile believers. Instead, they would require circumcision, a status of bondage to their will. Paul has used his narrative thus far to force the Galatians to see the consequences of a decision to submit to circumcision by identifying the false brothers of 2.4 with those who are urging circumcision upon the Galatians. To choose their position over that of Paul, Titus, and the other apostles would be equal to pleasing humans and, worse yet, a relationship of bondage.

Galatians 2.11-14

The final portion of Paul's narrative does introduce division between himself and the apostles. As the climax of the narrative it demonstrates how the consubstantial principles of unity and equality are betrayed when one chooses to base one's actions on the desire to please humans rather than God. It is not, as James Hester argues, a digression from the narrative that brings the reader back to the conflict that might have gotten lost in the irenic settlement of 2.9-10.33 The conflict is a negative illustration following what has up to this point been a positive illustration of unity in the circumcision free gospel. As relations break down between Cephas, Paul, and the Gentile Christians at Antioch, the Galatians are given another picture of what lies before them should they choose to undergo circumcision.

Whatever the number and purpose of the party sent from James, its presence led Cephas to abandon the example of inclusion he had set by eating with the Gentiles. Paul interpreted his action according to the same opposition between the divine and human win that he has set up throughout the narrative. He states that Cephas withdrew because he feared the circumcised (2.12; compare with 2.7 and 2.9) and was not walking straight according to the truth of the gospel (compare with 2.5). In fearing the circumcised , Peter was seeking to please these men rather than God. As a result, his relationship with the Gentiles was broken.

Again, the revealed circumcision-free gospel is set in opposition to human authority. The choice of the human will over the divine suddenly brings division where there was once unity. In Paul's interpretation of the events, there is only unity in the gospel, which is both revealed and circumcision-free. Once that gospel is compromised, there will be no place for Gentiles and, by implication, the Galatians in the church unless they also circumcise.

Should the Galatians choose to enter the fellowship through what Paul calls the human principle of circumcision, there will be no equality either. In confronting Peter, he charged him with compelling the Gentiles to Judaize (live like a Jew, be circumcised). To Paul, Peter was doing the same as the false brothers tried to do in Jerusalem (the word for compel is used in both 2.14 and 2.3).34 Therefore, if the Galatians choose circumcision, they will no longer be servants of Christ; they will be servants of a human authority, namely those who require circumcision. They will be living as Paul did in his former life, trying to please humans instead of God.

Only here has Paul placed real relational distance between himself and the apostles in his retelling of the story, for only here has any apostle (Peter and perhaps James)35 chosen a human principle. If the Galatians had any concerns about Paul's relationship to the Jerusalem church, he has shown them that the apostles, Paul included, had been in harmony and equality until the revealed, circumcision-free gospel ceased to be the basis for fellowship.

For this reason the narrative portrait of Paul's relationship with the apostles is not simply meant to show that Paul was not taught by them; it is also meant to model the unity that is only possible in the fear of God and the revelation of Christ in the gospel. The incident at Antioch shows that any other principle of fellowship, based on subservience to human authority and distinctions, ultimately brings division.36

In contrast to his opposition to Peter, Paul continued his relationship of identification with the Gentiles in the Antioch incident by standing alone with them when all the Jewish Christians had withdrawn. As the Galatians heard this, they were still in a relationship of identification with Paul and the Gentiles that began back at the meeting with the Jerusalem apostles (2.1-10). Once again, they see Paul fighting for the right of the Gentiles (including the Galatians) to be included in the fellowship without the requirement of circumcision. Paul has shown them that the decision whether or not to be circumcised is not only a matter of freedom but is also a matter of community. The community of Christ and his circumcision free gospel is inclusive and egalitarian; the community of circumcision is no community at all.37

The Galatians must therefore choose, not only whether to be circumcised, but whether or not they will continue to identify with Paul who has identified with them. Will they choose to continue a relationship of identification with Paul, begun when they first believed and continued in Paul's narrative? Or, will they choose to please humans rather than God and withdraw themselves from Paul as Peter withdrew from them? Having placed the choice before them, Paul says, 'Brethren, I beesech you, become as I am, for I also have become as you are' (4.12).

4. Summary and Conclusion

The antithesis between pleasing God and pleasing humans in Gal. 1.10 and the corresponding antithesis between the gospel of Christ and that of humans in 1.11-12 are dramatized by Paul in his autobiographical narrative. While he demonstrates that his message was not taught to him by the Jerusalem apostles, this is not the sole purpose of his narrative. A Burkean approach has shown that Paul also depicts a community created by a common response to the gospel. The community remains intact as long as its members seek to please God on the basis of the revealed, circumcision-free gospel rather than seeking to please other humans. The community also is inclusive and egalitarian when the same principle is kept, since the gospel itself becomes the sole ground for consubstantuality. Circumcision, which Paul identifies as a desire to please human authority, divides.38

A Burkean approach also shows how the narrative forces the Galatians to decide with whom they will stand on this issue. If the Galatians wish to be in relationship with the larger church and the Jerusalem apostles, they must identify with Paul, for all the apostles are of the same fellowship in the gospel, the Antioch incident notwithstanding. The circumcision-free gospel and apostolic authority both come from God, not from any human standing. Therefore, in order for the Galatians to please God, they must continue in a relationship of identification with Paul and the other apostles (as portrayed in 2.1-10), and not enter a new relationship with those who tell them to be circumcised. To choose circumcision is to please human authority; indeed, it is to become enslaved to it.

Finally, a Burkean approach demonstrates that Paul also uses the principle of identification to enhance his relationship with the Galatians. He depicts himself as a defender of their interests, fighting for their freedom and their right to enter the fellowship without any requirement but faith in Christ. He brings the Gentiles into fellowship with the Jewish church and he alone stands with them when all other Jewish Christians withdraw. He has been an advocate for the Galatians and all Gentiles in the past; certainly his present stormings and pleadings have their interests at heart now.

No one model can appreciate the richness of Paul's autobiographical narrative. The model proposed here, based upon Kenneth Burke's literary-rhetorical method, is offered to show that Paul not only sought to strengthen his relationship with the Galatians through his autobiographical narrative, but that he used the depictions of relationships within the narrative to create a rhetorical community that the Galatians were forced either to join or reject. Thus to reject circumcision was to identify with the community of Paul and the Christ who sent him.39





1. Martin Luthcr, A Commentary on St. Paul's Epistle to the Galatians (Westwood, NJ: Fleming Revell, 1953), pp. 35, 87.


2. John Calvin, 7he Epistles of Paul the Apostle to the Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians (trans. T.H.C. Parker; London: Oliver & Boyd, 1965), pp. 4-5. See also J.B. Lighfoot, Saint Paul's Epistle to the Galatians (New York and London: Macmillan, 1905), pp. 64, 71; E.D. Burton, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians (New York: Scribners, 1920), p. lxxii; F.F. Bruce, 'Further Thoughts on Paul's Autobiography', in Jesus und Paulus: Festschrift.Pr Werner Georg Kammel zum 70. Geburtstag, ed. E. E. Ellis and E. Grasser (G6ttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1975), p. 22; Albrecht Oepke, Der Brief des Paulus an die Galater (THKNT, 9, Berlin: Evangehsche Verlags-anstalt, 1973), pp. 29, 53-54; J. Paul Sampley, 'Before God I Do Not Lie (Gal. 1.20): Paul's Self Defense in the Light of Roman Legal Praxis', NTS 23 (1977), pp. 477-82.

3. Hans Dieter Betz, Galatians: A Commentary on Paul's Letter to the Churches in Galatia (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1979@ pp. 14-15. Betz designates Gal. 1.12-2.14 as the narratio, a statement of the facts that serves as the basis for later argument (pp. 58-62).

4. Ronald Y.K. Fung, in his The Epistle to the Galatians (New International Commentary on the New Testament; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1988), pp. 28-32, surveys the reviews that are critical of Betz's approach and concludes that 'apologia is not the most appropriate category to apply to the letter as a whole'. However, against Fung's assertion that no examples of apologetic letters exist (quoting Meeks and Russel, p. 30), see Klaus Berger, 'Hellenistische Gattungen im Neuen Testament', in Aufstieg und Niedergang der rdmischen Welt (Berlin/New York: de Gruyter, 1984), 2.25, pp. 1272-74. Berger upholds Betz's decision and also cites Plato's Seventh Letter as an example that merged the forms of letter, autobiography, and apologetic speech.

 5. George A. Kennedy, New Testament Interpretation through Rhetorical Criticism (Chapel Hill and London: University of North Carolina, 1984) pp. 146-48. See Aristotle, Rhetoric 1.3.1358b, 1-20, for the distinction between three types of rhetoric: forensic, political, and ceremonial.

 6. George Lyons, Pauline Autobiography: Toward a New Understanding (SBLDS, 73; Atlanta: Scholars, 1985), p. 135. These autobiographies all recount the subject's (conduct), (deeds), (words), and make a (comparison) of the subject s character with that of another.

7. Lyons, pp. 102-104, 61. See also the similar comments by David E. Anne, The New Testament in its Literary Environment (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1987), pp. 189-90. Aristotle distinguished the ethical, logical, and emotional modes of persuasion (Rhetoric 1.2.1356a, 1377b-1378).

8. Beverly Roberts Gaventa, From Darkness to Light: Aspects of Conversion in the New Testament (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1986), p. 28.

9. B.R. Gaventa, 'Galatians 1 and 2: Autobiography as Paradigm'', NovT 26 (1986), p. 326.

  1. W. Rhys Roberts held that the focus of the entire second book of Aristotle's Rhetoric was on the audience (Greek Rhetoric and Literary Criticism [New York: Longmans, Green, 19281 p. 50). See also Cicero, De Oratore (trans. J.S. Watson; Carbondale and Edwardsville: Southern Illinois University Press, 1970), li; 'That no man can, by speaking, excite the passions of his audience, or calm them when excited... unless (he is) one who has gained a thorough insight into the nature of all things, and the dispositions and motives of mankind.'
  2. See Lyons's critique of the 'mirror method' reconstruction of the opponent's charges, Pauline Autobiography, pp. 96-104.
  3. Studies on Greco-Roman biography and autobiography often single out a focus on the individual as the constituting feature of the genre. 'Biography, Greek, and 'Biography, Roman', in The Oxford Classical Dictionary (Oxford: Clarendon, 1949), p. 136; 'Biographie', in Der Kleine Pauly-Lexicon der Antike, I (ed. Konrad Ziegler and Walther Sontheirner; Stuttgart: Alfred Druckenmuller, 1964), pp. 902-903; Georg Misch, A History of Autobiography in Antiquity (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1950), pp. vii, 69; Duane Reed Stuart, Epochs of Greek and Roman Biography (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1928), p. 39. This approach has been criticized by Arnaldo Montigliano, 7he Development of Greek Biography (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1971), pp. 11-18.

13. Although Betz does note Paul's use of the friendship motif to enhance his relationship with the Galatians in Gal. 4.12-20, he does not treat Paul's depiction of relationships in Gal. 1-2 (pp. 220-37).

14. Kenneth Burke, A Rhetoric of Motives (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1969), p. 172.

  1. Burke, Rhetoric, p. 146.

 16. Aristotle gave this idea its clearest expression when he defined rhetoric as 'the faculty of observing in any given case the available means of persuasion' (Rhetoric 1.2.1355b, 25

 17. Burke, Rhetoric, p. 62; A Grammar of Motives (New York: Prentice Hall, 1945), p. 57.

18. Kenneth Burke, 'Rhetoric Old and New', 7he Journal of Education 5 (1951), p. 203.

19. Burke, Rhetoric, p. 46.

20. Burke, Rhetoric, p. 56.

 21. Kenneth Burke, 'Fact, Inference, and Proof in the Analysis of Literary Symbolism', in Symbols and Values: An Initial Study Tenth Symposium of the Conference on Science, Philosophy, and Religion; New York: Harper & Brothers, 1954), p. 283.

22. Burke, 'Proof, pp. 299-306.

23. Gaventa, 'Paradigm', p

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