“No Longer Male and Female”: Interpreting Galatians 3.28 in Early Christianity
Hogan, Pauline Nigh
New York: T&T Clark, 2008 pp. xi + 228. $140.00
Library of New Testament Studies, 380
Description: Galatians 3:28 would seem to point towards an ethos of gender equality among Christians. Acting on this assumption, a number of scholars have considered the phrase significant in reconstructing attitudes toward women in early Christianity. Until now, however, a study of the history of interpretation of Gal 3:28 has been lacking. The exploration of the post-New Testament career of the verse is therefore the focus of this book. The approach is historical-critical, discussing the exegesis of Gal 3:28 in the context of attitudes about the roles of women in the first four centuries CE.
This study reveals that early Christians did not always approach this verse with the same concerns as modern readers. Ancient commentators brought several different questions to their discussion of Gal 3:28, and it is impossible to discover the trajectory in exegesis of this verse that might have been expected. It becomes apparent that during the first four centuries of Christianity most writers treated Gal 3:28 as a statement about the identification of Christians with Christ and therefore an indication that in the resolution of various differences into unity, they could achieve an ideal state. While some writers applied this concept to status differences between men and women, others used it to discuss the qualities of the ideal disciple, the character of the first created human beings, the state of the believer in heaven, and even the nature of God.
Subjects: Bible, New Testament, Pauline Epistles, Galatians, Literature
Review by Susan G. Eastman
Citation: Susan G. Eastman, review of Pauline Nigh Hogan, “No Longer Male and Female”: Interpreting Galatians 3.28 in Early Christianity, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2009).
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