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All of You are One: Paul and the Cohesion of Identity in Galatia

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Title: All of You are One: Paul and the Cohesion of Identity in Galatia
Author: Kopesky, Victoria
Department: Haverford College. Dept. of Religion
Type: Thesis (B.A.)
Issue Date: 2011
Abstract: The point of my thesis All of You are One: Paul and the Cohesion of Identity in Galatia is threefold. First, I attempt to reconstruct both Jewish and Galatian historical context before and at the time Paul was writing. In doing so, I place them both as marginalized communities under Roman rule, both in equal danger of being subsumed by Roman culture and religious custom completely. In light of this context, I then place Paul within it as an individual raised as a Jew but intending to spread his own personal message as a self-defining member of a new community of his own creation. He calls himself an 'Israelite,' bringing to mind the original descendants of Abraham--a deliberate comparison. Paul uses this term to invoke this ideal, but also to use it to redefine his own religious and social category. The term 'Israelite' is particularly relevant considering the emphasis Paul puts on biblical quotes from Genesis and Leviticus. He draws these quotes from his roots and reinterprets them for his new audience, allowing them to become a part of this newly-defined community that is a merging of Paul's Jewish and his audience's Galatian experiences into a new group that includes all who believe and rejects cultural distinctions. This group, in doing so, also gives them a workable alternative to allowing their cultures to be consumed by Rome by casting off their old culture and accepting instead Paul's new conception of theology--in rejecting previous ritual and distinction age and instead embracing Paul's lack of distraction in the physical, thereby rendering inconsequential any physical acts of ritual Rome could potentially force upon them as conquered groups. This message, while problematic in its destruction of cultural heritage, was a solution to the conflicts at the time, and was a sympathetic and unifying message that can carry over into today. Paul was writing to marginalized and oppressed groups, theologizing for their spiritual freedom from their oppressors. This message of liberation from an individual so historically consistently quoted to keep the marginalized from liberation is empowering to readers today, as it was empowering for readers at the time of its writing.
Subject: Bible. N.T. Galatians -- Commentaries
Subject: Paul, the Apostle, Saint
Subject: Jews -- Turkey -- History
Subject: Galatians
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Kopesky, Victoria. "All of You are One: Paul and the Cohesion of Identity in Galatia". 2011. Available electronically from

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