Oct 30, 2009

Longenecker on Acts 15 and Galatians 2

Richard Longenecker states the following in connection with the relationship between Acts 15 and Galatians 2.

“Any discussion of the Jerusalem church's attitude toward the Pauline mission that seeks to go beyond generalities is immediately faced with the thorny question of the relation of Paul's ‘second visit’ to Jerusalem (Gal 2:l–10) to the Jerusalem Council (Ac 15:1–29). The literary and historical issues are complex. But one point drawn from the polemic in Galatians needs to be made here, namely, that Paul's silence in that letter to his converts in Galatia as to the decision of the Jerusalem Council forces the irreconcilable dilemma of saying either (1) that Luke’s account in Acts 15 of a decision reached in Paul’s favor at Jerusalem is pure fabrication, or (2) that Galatians was written before the Jerusalem Council.

Richard N. Longenecker, “Acts,” in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, vol. 10, rev. ed., ed. Tremper Longman III and David E. Garland (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2007), 939–40.

Longenecker goes with option 2. I concur.


Daniel said...

I agree, I think it is really hard to hold a late date for Gal with this evidence.

Richard Fellows said...

This all assumes (incorrectly I think) that the Galatians recognized the authority of the Jerusalem church and did not already know that it had come down in support of Paul's position. Take a look at my reconstruction of the background to Galatians here: