by Brigitte Kahl
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
What if we took seriously the idea that Paul's letter was written to the Galatians, in other words, the Gauls, the Celtic peoples who had been battling Rome for centuries from western Europe to Asia Minor? That's what Kahl does in her magnificent book.
As Rome built its empire it was constantly in battle with the Gauls, who had even sacked Rome in the early days of the republic. For the Romans (and Roman propaganda) the Gauls were the hated and despised enemy other. Public art was filled with images of defeated and dying Gauls.
Kahl argues that it is important to understand Paul, a Jew--another colonized people viewed as strange and other by the Romans--writing to these other colonized people. And writing to them about how in Jesus Christ a new, non-imperial identity and community is being formed among the defeated, colonized people.
Through this lens she reinterprets Paul's discussions of law and grace, justification and salvation, and markers of identity.
This is one of those books that opens up new vistas and radically shifts your understanding of something you thought you had a decent interpretative grasp of.
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