L. Ann Jervis


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L. Ann Jervis’s commentary on Galatians for the New International Biblical Commentary is a well-written exposition that introduces most of the scholarly issues surrounding this Pauline letter while preserving an inviting dialogue for the casual reader. In her introduction, Jervis summarizes the main arguments for topics such as: the appeal of Judaism for Gentiles, Paul’s opponents, audience and dating, current understandings of Paul, and grammatical issues. To her credit, Jervis presents her position in each area and prepares her reader for the ensuing commentary. On the issues of audience and dating, Jervis uses Paul’s collection as her locus and finds for a date earlier than 2 Corinthians and for an audience in South Galatia. Jervis also supports using the subjective genitive for the complicated translation in 2.16 and 3.22 of the related words, faith and Christ. Jervis’s approach to Paul’s letter of Galatians is inter-textual as well as intra-textual. She brings to the reader’s attention the intra-textual comments of Paul, inviting the reader to hear forward as well as backward within the letter. She also turns outside of the Galatians text to identify common Hellenistic practices of letter writing as well as to provide a contemporary understanding of topics discussed in Galatians. While most of the textual markers Jervis finds are appropriate to the text, some are too broadly stated to serve her readers. In her discussion of 1.1, she notes that Paul’s emphasis on God as Father in the greeting anticipates his discussion of sonship and inheritance. However, this greeting of Paul appears frequently in his letters and several have no discussion of this topic. [Full Review]

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