This blog, by Richard Fellows, discusses historical questions concerning Paul's letters, his co-workers, Acts, and chronology.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The absence of "Titus" from Acts

In the undisputed letters Paul gives the names of several prominent companions, and most of these names appear also in Acts. These include Peter, Barnabas, James, John, Timothy, Aquila, Crispus, Sosthenes, Apollos, Erastus, Jason, and Aristarchus.

The names Prisca, Sosipater, Silvanus, and Cephas are absent from Acts, but it is generally assumed that Acts mentions these people using slightly different names (Priscilla, Sopater, Silas, and Peter). Furthermore Luke and Lucius can be equated with the author of Acts.

Therefore, Acts does give a rather complete list of Paul's prominent companions. As far as I know the secondary literature cites only two exceptions to this rule: Titus and Stephanas. Titus was particularly prominent and the absence of this name from Acts has surprised many.

It is often tentatively suggested that Titus's involvement in the collection caused Luke to omit him. However, it is not clear why Luke would not just mention him anyway, while keeping silent about his role in the collection. Acts does mention the other collection delegates (Acts 20:4), so why would he omit Titus? Others suggest that Titus may have been a relative of Luke, and is omitted as a result of Luke's modesty. However, we have no evidence that Titus was related to Luke, and we have no evidence that conventions required that gospel writers omit the names of relatives. Indeed, early tradition (whether correct or not) has it that both Matthew and John named themselves in their gospels, and I have argued here the Luke/Lucius named himself in Acts. For more on the reason for the formal anonymity of the NT history books see A.D.Baum's paper in Nov Test 50(2008).

The anomalous cases of Titus and Stephanas are solved by supposing that (like Prisca, Sosipater, Silavanus and Cephas) they are mentioned in Acts under different names. I have already argued that Stephanas was Titius Justus. The absence of "Titus" from Acts raises the suspicion that he too appears there under a different name.

In my next post on the Titus-Timothy hypothesis I hope to present further evidence that "Titus" was not his only name.

Friday, April 23, 2010

A history of the Titus-Timothy hypothesis

This is the first in a series of posts on the hypothesis that Titus and Timothy were one and the same person. In this post I will outline the history of the hypothesis and trace the developments in my own thinking.

In 1980 Udo Borse was the first to argue that Titus was Timothy: "Timotheus und Titus, Abgesandte Pauli im Dienst des Evangeliums", in Josef G. Ploger and Herman Joh. Weber (eds.), Der Diakon, Wieder-entdeckung und Erneuerung seines Dienstes (Freiburg: Herder, 1980), pp. 27-43. He made the same claim four years later: Der Brief an die Galater (RNT; Regensburg: Pustet, 1984), pp 80-85 and also "Tranenbrief und 1. Korintherbrief", SNTU 9 (1984), pp 175-202. J. Zmijewski then took up the theory in 1994: Die Apostelgeschichte (RNT; Regensburg: Pustet, 1994), pp. 587-88, 703.

Borse showed that our biographical information on "Timothy" fits well with that on "Titus". He made good sense of the Corinthian correspondence by proposing that the visit of Timothy to Corinth (which is anticipated in 1 Corinthians) is the same as the visit of Titus to Corinth (which is a past event in 2 Corinthians).

My own involvement started in 1997 when I puzzled over the fact that Titus was enthusiastic about the collection (2 Cor 8:16-17) that he would not have the pleasure of delivering (Acts 20:4). This led me to the Titus-Timothy hypothesis.

In 2001 my Titus-Timothy article was published: "Was Titus Timothy?", JSNT 81 (2001) 33-58. In this paper I attempted to bring the hypothesis to an English speaking audience, to tighten some of the arguments, and to show that (against Borse), the theory does not require that 1 Corinthians was the tearful letter. I argued that the tearful letter was carried by Titus-Timothy, who left Ephesus before 1 Corinthians was written, and arrived in Corinth after 1 Corinthians.

There are five common objections to Titus-Timothy:

1. Titus was a Greek (Gal 2:3), but Timothy was a Jew since his mother was a Jew (Acts 16:1-3).
However, some important work by Daube: Ancient Jewish Law (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1981), pp. 22-32 and S. Cohen: "Was Timothy Jewish (Acts 16:1-3)? Patristic Exegesis, Rabbinic Law, and Matrilineal Descent", JBL 105/2 (1986), pp. 251-68 shows that Timothy would have been considered a Greek (until his circumcision). Therefore our information on Titus and Timothy is in agreement, as I stated in my paper.

2. How can the same person have been called "Titus" (a Latin name) and "Timothy", (a Greek name)?
Borse and I both struggled with this issue. Borse felt that "Titus" was Timothy's nickname. In my paper I opted tentatively for the suggestion that Timothy took the name "Titus" upon acquiring citizenship. However, in 2002 more compelling explanation arose: Titus had been named "Timothy" (meaning honoring God) in much the same way that Simon had been named "Peter", etc.. The meaning of the name, and its phonetic similarity to "Titus" support this view. It turns out that renaming was quite common in Paul's churches.

3. Why would Paul call him "Timothy" in 1 Cor 1:1 and 1:19, and then switch to "Titus" in 2:13, 7:6, 13, 14; 8:6, 16, 23; 12:18?
I was not able to provide a compelling explanation in my paper, though I pointed out that Paul switches between "Cephas" and "Peter" in Galatians. However, after reading Chris Tilling's blog posts about Bauckham's work in protective silences, I have become convinced that Paul calls him "Titus" when describing his involvement with the collection for the same reason that he leaves the "brothers" of 2 Cor 8:18-22, 12:18 anonymous: to protect the collection. Paul calls him by his lesser-known name, "Titus", here to hide his identity from opponents who might want to intercept the collection.

4. How could the author of 2 Tim 4:10 have not known that Titus was Timothy?
If the name "Titus" had fallen from use, as suggested above, it is not surprising that the author of the Pastoral Epistles did not know that he was Timothy.

5. Luke seems to imply that Timothy was from Lystra, but Titus was from Antioch.
In a later post I will argue that Timothy (whether he was Titus or not) was from Antioch, and was in Lystra to organize the Galatian collection.

So, it seems to me that these standard objections neutralized and in some cases reversed. Also since writing my paper I have come to the view that Titus-Timothy explains the unity of 2 Corinthians. In coming posts I hope to lay out the evidence for the Titus-Timothy hypothesis and show that the cumulative case is now compelling. Do let me know if there are particular issues that you would like me to deal with.

The Titus-Timothy hypothesis is important because it:
a) greatly simplifies Paul's interactions with the Corinthians
b) explains the apparent fissures in 2 Corinthians without requiring partition theories
c) shows that the Pastoral Epistles were not written by Paul
d) supports the south Galatia hypothesis
e) demonstrates the accuracy of Acts on a number of points
f) removes the need for the Knox hypothesis of Pauline chronology.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Luke's silence on Paul's illegal preaching in Arabia

I will argue here that Paul made converts in Arabia and got into trouble with the civil authorities there. I will show that this explains the strange omissions in Luke's account.

I propose the following:

Paul was converted/called on the road to Damascus. He visited the city, but soon left to preach in Arabia, where there were no other Christians. He made disciples but, having got into trouble with Aretas's administration, he returned to Damascus with some of those disciples. The Jews conspired with Aretas's governor to try to capture Paul, but he escaped with the help of his disciples.

Paul visited Jerusalem after his stay in Arabia and Damascus (Gal 1:15-18). Acts 9:26 tells us that the believers there doubted that his conversion was genuine. He cannot have preached for an extended period of time in Damascus or made converts there because the news of this would surely have reached the Jerusalem church via the Christian network, and they would not have doubted him. Therefore the converts that Luke mentions in Acts 9:25 must have been acquired by Paul in Arabia, not in Damascus. This is confirmed by the strange phrase, "his disciples". Converts in Damascus would have belonged the the church there and would not have been called "his disciples". I have benefited from Mark Goodacre's astute observations on this phrase but I disagree with his conclusions. The phrase makes perfect sense if these people were converted through Paul's solo preaching in Arabia. Gal 1:17 also supports the view that Paul had no Christian associates in Arabia, since Paul's purpose here is to explain that he had no opportunity to inherit his gospel from anyone.

We then have three silences to explain: Acts does not mention
  • the conversion of the "his disciples"
  • Paul's visit to Arabia
  • The role of the ethnarch of Aretas in the plot against Paul (2 Cor 11:32-33)
The simplest explanation is that Paul had got into trouble with the civil authorities in Arabia. It may well have been illegal to preach in Arabia, for this would explain why there was no existing church there. In any case Paul's trouble with the authorities in Arabia explains why Aretas's ethnarch wanted to seize him. It also explains Luke's silences. It is well known that Luke down-plays conflicts between the church and the civil authorities. While it is often assumed that Luke wanted to convert those who were loyal to the empire, I think his motive was different. He knew that his text could easily fall into the hands of the civil authorities, so he had to be careful not to write anything that could be cited as evidence that the Christians were trouble makers. In any case, Luke's silence about Paul's stay in Arabia, the conversions there, and the conflict with Aretas's ethnarch are fully to be expected if Paul's activity in Arabia had been deemed illegal.

It cannot be proved, but I suspect that Luke, and much of his intended audience, were fully aware of Paul's visit to Arabia and his conflict with the authorities there. This would certainly explain why Luke includes the phrase, "his disciples". The difficulties associated with the phrase disappear if Luke expected his audience to know about the controversial visit to Arabia.

Other similar silences in Acts
As I argued here, the Jews in Achaia, in collaboration with the Roman authorities, had Paul's collection declared illegal. This explains why Acts does not mention it.

By combining information from Acts and Paul's letters we can infer that Jason was a believer who got into trouble with the politarchs in Thessalonica, and that he persisted in his support of the church (probably after being forbidden from doing so). Luke, however, was understandably reluctant to spell this out. He was therefore silent about Jason being a believer, and he calls him by his other name, Aristarchus, when he mentions him subsequently (see here).

Similarly, Luke does not reveal (to informants) that Gallio had approved the beating of Crispus. Instead Luke uses Crispus's new name, "Sosthenes", thus baffling his unintended audience.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Sexist early scribe altered Rom 16:15

Stephen Carlson has drawn our attention to James Royse's explanation for the text of Rom 16:15 in P46, which was written about 200 A.D. ("Scribal Habits in Early Greek New Testament Papyri" 2008 p333-4).

Most of the manuscripts read,

Greet Philologus and Julia, Nereus and the sister of him

However, in place of ΙΟΥΛΙΑΝ ΝΗΡΕΑ, P46 reads: ΒΗΡΕΑ ΚΑΙ ΑΟΥΛΙΑΝ This emendation seems inexplicable, especially since ΒΗΡΕΑ and ΑΟΥΛΙΑΝ do not appear to be attested names. Royse, however, has a very promising idea. He suggests that P46 was copied from a manuscript that had the names Julia and Nereus reversed, and that an "Α" and a "Β" had been written above the names to indicate the original order. This method of indicating a transposition is known from other manuscripts, we are told. Thus, Royse suggests that P46 was copied from a text which read like this:


The scribe of P46 then mistakenly assumed that the Β and the Α were intended to correct the Ν and the Ι, respectively, rather than to correct the order of the two names. However, Royse has difficulty accounting for the ΚΑΙ (and) between the two names in P46, and he offers no explanation for why the names Julia and Nereus were reversed in the first place.

Well, given the importance of name order in the ancient world, the reversal of the names demotes Julia, a woman, relative to Nereus, a man. This is therefore yet another example of the alteration of scripture by sexist scribes. The ΚΑΙ could well have been added to make sense of the following phrase, "and the sister of him". Without the ΚΑΙ the 'him' would appear to be Julia, a woman. The insertion of the ΚΑΙ allows the 'him' to refer back to Philologus. The name "Philologus" has all the appearance of being an honorific title/name, and ancient readers would have (correctly) taken him to be a prominent head of a household (or house church), of which the others mentioned are members. Thus, the relationship of these individuals to Philologus is in view here, so it would not be unreasonable for the 'him' to refer to Philologus in the amended text.

So, it seems to me that a sexist scribe made a copy of Romans and changed ΙΟΥΛΙΑΝ ΝΗΡΕΑ to ΝΗΡΕΑ ΚΑΙ ΙΟΥΛΙΑΝ, making the text mean, "Greet Philologus and Nereus and Julia and the sister of him (Philologus)". Later someone else discovered the fraud and tried to correct it by inserting the letters Α and Β, thus:


Later still, a third scribe copied this text, but misunderstood the Α and Β, creating P46, which reads,


The text of Rom 16:15 in P46 is therefore another piece of evidence for the early and widespread practice of altering scripture to diminish the role of women in the church. It therefore should have a small but significant part in the debate about whether Paul wrote 1 Cor 14:34-35. It is also a witness to the importance of name order, which is often overlooked.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Paul's dilemma when writing Galatians

In my last two posts, here and here, I presented a new reconstruction of the background to Galatians.

Paul's understanding of scripture showed him that Gentiles should be free from the Law. He shared his views with the Galatians when he visited them, but the agitators later dismissed Paul's teachings as insincere. They argued that Paul was an envoy of the Jerusalem apostles, whose doctrine he had loyally promoted, without believing it. The agitators encouraged the Galatians to therefore dismiss what Paul had taught them on this matter, and accept circumcision. Paul then wrote Galatians, but was in a predicament. He wanted to persuade the Galatians not to be circumcised, but how was he to convince them that he was giving his own opinions? There was a danger that, whatever Paul wrote, the Galatians would think it was motivated by subservience to Jerusalem, and therefore lacking any independent authority. Even Paul's claims to being independent of Jerusalem could be seen by the Galatians as a ploy to promote Jerusalem's doctrine and consistent with his subservience to them. This was a real dilemma. In my previous posts I discussed Paul's claims to independence from Jerusalem. In this post I will argue that several other features of Galatians also come into sharper focus when they are understood as Paul's attempt to overcome this dilemma.

Paul claims he is not lying

Gal 1:20 reads, "In what I am writing to you, before God, I do not lie." This suggests that Paul was aware that his words might not be taken to be honest. This is explicable if the Galatians were suspecting Paul was the mouthpiece of the Jerusalem church leaders rather than one who honestly gave his own opinions on this matter.

Three parallel passages

The three main passages that deal with the agitators are laid out on a web page here. You may wish to open this web page in a second window so that you can keep it in view while reading this blog post. The first passage, Gal 1:1-10, begins the letter, so we should not be surprised to find Paul laying out his argument there. The last passage, Gal 6:11-17 is the letter’s subscription (written in Paul’s own hand) and we should not be surprised to find Paul recapping his argument here. The second passage, Gal 5:1-12, is the last section that deals with the principle theme of the letter in its main body, so this passage, too, would be a good place for Paul to repeat his case. It will be shown below that all three passages do indeed make essentially the same points in the same order, and that the major differences are also explained by the present theory. In each passage Paul’s argument runs: I am writing on my own behalf: you are justified by faith, not by the Law. A curse on those who have told you that I believe otherwise. The passages should be interpreted together, rather than in isolation.

I am writing on my own behalf

Shown in blue below, Paul begins each passage by claiming that he is representing himself. Gal 5:2 starts with the emphatic "I, Paul" (γ Παλος). With the conventional understanding of Galatians this "I, Paul" is hard to explain. Paul could not be here appealing to the authority carried by his own name, because (on the conventional view), the Galatians did not recognize his authority. The phrase appears three other times in Paul's undisputed letters (2 Cor 10:1; 1 Thess 2:18; Philemon 19). In each case Paul uses the phrase to differentiate himself from others. In Philemon 19 Paul uses "I, Paul" to start his subscription, where it was customary for the author to take the pen and sole responsibility. Thus, "I, Paul" dismisses Timothy, Paul's co-sender. I would argue that 2 Cor 10:1 does the same. The phrase in 1 Thess 2:18 is probably used to distinguish Paul from Silvanus. Given this usage, it is likely that Paul writes "I, Paul" in Gal 5:2 to make it clear that he is doing the talking. The verse is an unambiguous declaration of Paul's position, "Listen!, I, Paul, am telling you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no benefit to you". James Dunn is close to the mark when he writes that the words, "I, Paul, say to you"

has the form of a solemn affidavit (cf. 2 Cor x.1; eph. iii.1). What is about to follow is something he wants his Galatian audiences to pay special attention to, something of particular importance to them; perhaps also a clarification of his own teaching on the subject, made necessary by insinuations that his teaching was different (see on v.11).

Paul here states his position clearly and asserts that he is writing his own words, lest the Galatians continue to believe that he is merely a mouthpiece for others. Note also that the repetition in Gal 5:2-3 further reinforces Paul's point that he means what he is writing.

Gal 6:11 is similar. Paul points to the large letters as evidence that he has taken the pen and perhaps also to show them that he is writing as clearly as possible. Paul is here telling the Galatians that he really does want them to know that what follows is his declaration.

Gal 1:1 can, and should, be interpreted in the light of Gal 5:2 and Gal 6:11. Paul is implying here that he gives the truth, as he understands it from his revelation, and does not speak merely as an envoy of others.

You are justified by faith, not by the Law

Each passage then continues with a discussion, shown in light green, of Christ's saving role. At this point two of the passages have similar statements, shown in red, about the obligation of the circumcised to obey the whole Law (Gal 5:3; 6:13).

Then, both Gal 5:6 and Gal 6:15 (shown in dark green) say, in very similar words, that neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is anything. This statement, superficially at least, is ambiguous about whether it is OK to be circumcised. On the present hypothesis the Galatians suspected that Paul actually believed in circumcision. This explains why Gal 1:1-10 has no statement equivalent to 5:6 and 6:15. At the start of the letter Paul must present himself as an uncompromising opponent of circumcision and allow no ambiguity. Only towards the end of the letter, when he is becoming confident that he is getting the message across (Gal 5:10), can he nuance his position in the way that he does in 5:6 and 6:15.

A curse on those who have told you that I believe otherwise

Then Paul turns to the Galatians in Gal 1:6 and Gal 5:7-8. In both places he refers to how the Galatians have turned from “the one who calls you”/”the one having called you”. In Gal 1:6 Paul expresses shock at what has happened in Galatia. By the time we get to Gal 5:7-8 this shock has turned to puzzlement. Then in Gal 6:11-17 we find no parallel verse. This progression makes sense. Paul’s expression of intense emotion Paul in Gal 1:6 demonstrates to the Galatians that his views are sincerely held (it would he difficult for someone to fake the emotion that comes across here and elsewhere in the letter). By the end of the letter, however, Paul has made his case well and no longer needs to demonstrate such emotion.

Then comes Gal 1:7, which parallels Gal 5:9-10 (both shown in pink). Paul says that the agitators are “confusing” the Galatians. The same word (ταράσσω) is used in both places. Furthermore, in both places Paul says that the agitators have corrupted the true gospel: in Gal 1:7 the agitators “want to pervert the gospel of Christ”; and in Gal 5:9 “A little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough”. There is no parallel verse in Gal 6:11-17, presumably because Paul feels, by then, that he has largely cleared up the confusion.

Then we come to Gal 1:8-10, Gal 5:11-12, and Gal 6:16-17. All three passages contain some kind of curse (shown in brown). Paul calls down a curse on himself in Gal 1:8, and on the agitators in Gal 1:9. In Gal 5:10 he says that the agitators will pay the penalty, and in Gal 5:11 he wishes that they will castrate themselves. Gal 6:16 wishes peace on those who recognize that circumcision is nothing, and there is an implied curse on those who do not (so Betz “The Galatians debate” Ed. M. Nanos p7). These curses help Paul overcome his dilemma. They demonstrate to the Galatians that Paul does not believe in circumcision. A supporter of circumcision would struggle to bring himself to call down a curse on himself, or indeed to use the strong language of Gal 5:12, even out of the strongest loyalty to the Jerusalem church leaders. By the time Paul got to 6:16 he may have felt that he no longer needed to exaggerate his opposition to circumcision (to dispel the rumor that he supported circumcision), and this may explain why the curse in Gal 6:16 is implied rather than explicit.

Both Gal 5:11 and Gal 6:17 refer to persecutions. 6:17 comes into sharper focus when interpreted in the light of 5:11. Paul is saying, “let no-one cause trouble for me by saying that I am not committed to Gentile liberty, for my wounds prove my commitment.” Here, as in 5:11 Paul’s persecutions demonstrate his commitment, in contrast to the agitators, who are avoiding persecution by advocating circumcision (Gal 6:12). This understanding of 6:17 is essentially that of John Chrysostom (see here).

Gal 1:8-9 should be interpreted together with Gal 5:11-12 because a) both refer to Paul (hypothetically) preaching circumcision, b) they have very similar contexts (see on Gal 1:6-7 and Gal 5:7-9 above), c) both include a curse. This strongly suggests that in 1:8, as in 5:11 and 6:17, Paul is refuting the rumor that he supported circumcision. This rumor is the confusion alluded to in 1:7 and 5:10. The repetition explicitly mentioned in Gal 1:8-9 helps Paul convince the Galatians that he means what he writes.

Gal 1:10 reads, “For am I now seeking the approval of men....”. The Greek word, “γὰρ” (For) shows that 1:10 in some sense must explain 1:8-9. This confirms that 1:8-9 is primarily about Paul’s sincerity. The word “men” appears three times in 1:10 and is often taken to refer to the Gentiles to whom Paul preached, but this does not fit the context. The word refers to the Judean church leaders in Gal 1:11 as in Gal 1:12 and also in Gal 1:1. Therefore Gal 1:10 shows that Paul is concerned that his readers will assume that his letter is written not out of conviction but out of a desire to please the Judean church leaders.

More on Paul and Peter

My last two posts concerned Paul’s relationship with Peter and the other Jerusalem church leaders. I should have mentioned that Paul never names his adversaries. This makes it even harder to see Paul and Peter as opponents when Paul wrote Galatians.

Now, Loren Rosson points out here that it would have been considered shameful for Paul to criticize Peter in the way that he does in Gal 2:11-14 if they had been friends. Loren concludes that Peter and Paul were not friends. However, the dilemma hypothesis argued here provides an explanation. Paul’s ‘shameful’ account of the Antioch incident serves Paul’s purpose because it proves that Paul was not a puppet of Peter. No loyal underling of Peter would be able to bring himself to criticize Peter in writing, as Paul does here, even in the interest of promoting Peter’s views on the inclusion of Gentiles. Now, Paul would have expected the Galatians to realize that he was writing primarily to make this point, so his words about Peter would not have been as shameful as they appear. Gal 2:11-14 is not commentary on Peter. Paul wrote it to convince a skeptical audience that his opposition to circumcision was sincere and not borne of loyalty to Peter and the others.


Paul makes the same sequence of points in Gal 1:10, Gal 5:2-11, and Gal 6:11-17:

1) I am writing on my own behalf: 2) you are justified by faith, not by the Law. 3) A curse on those who have told you otherwise.

This confirms that Paul had to correct the view that he spoke and wrote against circumcision only out of obedience to the Jerusalem church leaders.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Gal 2:1-14: whose side were the pillars on?

Here I will continue to defend the hypothesis of my last post. To recap, the Galatians were thinking that Paul was an envoy of the Jerusalem church leaders. Envoys in the ancient world were expected to represent those who sent them. The almost universal assumption is that the rumor in Galatia was that Paul was a bad envoy in that he had not followed the Law-affirming stance of the Jerusalem church leaders. I suggest the opposite: the rumor in Galatia was that Paul had been a good envoy in that he had loyally repeated the Law-free gospel that the Jerusalem church leaders had given him (but had done so without believing it).

It is hard to get one's head around the hypothesis, so be sure to read Steve's review here. He has explained it very clearly.

Also see Thomas's blog post. He is right that I did not do enough to show that Gal 1:11-14 is consistent with the assumption that the Galatians knew (or at least believed) Peter and James to be supporters of Gentile liberty. So here are some additional arguments.

Galatians as corrective
I believe that Paul cites the Antioch incident of Gal 2:11-14 to correct the rumor in Galatia: namely that his support of Gentile liberty was motivated by loyalty to the Jerusalem church leaders and was not based on conviction or revelation. If I am right we no longer have any reason to suppose that the incident was at all representative of the interactions between Paul and Peter. Indeed, we can assume that there was no other occasion when Paul so forcefully urged Peter to be more supportive of Gentile liberty. Thus the passage tells us nothing about the relationship between Paul and Peter, since even the best of friends can have a heated argument at least once. We can be sure that Paul in Galatians chose to mention whatever events proved his case, and not necessarily those that would give future students of the NT a balanced view of his interactions with Jerusalem.

Paul argued against the Galatian rumor so effectively that it is now hard for us to believe that anyone believed the rumor in the first place, unless we read the letter in the context of the rumors. It is important to be ever mindful of the fact that we are reading just one half of a conversation.

But it is legitimate to ask whether Gal 2:11 allows the view that James did actually write the decree (and was therefore known by the Galatians to be a supporter of Gentile liberty). Well, Stephen Carlson has shown that the harder and better textual variant in Gal 2:12 is in fact the original, and that this makes it probable that the men from James had arrived in Antioch before Paul's visit to Jerusalem (for Peter had visited Antioch twice). It is therefore likely that the men from James are the men from Judea mentioned in Acts 15:1-2. You can read Stephen's incredibly important original blog post here. Now, Acts 15:24 tells us that these men had gone out from the Jerusalem church, but that their teaching had not been approved by the Jerusalem church. This means that we cannot blame James for the role that the men 'from James' played in Antioch.

Is Gal 2:1-14 consistent with the view of Acts that Peter was a supporter of Gentile liberty? I believe it is.

1. Paul wrote that Peter stood self-condemned (Gal 2:11) and that his action was hypocrisy (ὑποκρίσει) (Gal 2:13). The implication is that Peter's action was contrary to his own position. His doctrine was identical to Paul's.

2. Peter's lapse was out of fear of the circumcision faction, and there is no hint that his decision to withdraw from table fellowship had been ideologically motivated. Indeed, this lapse out of fear is consistent with Peter's earlier pattern of behavior (Mark 8:29-38; Mark 14:27-31, 66-72) - it was in character.

3. Peter's decided to no longer eat with Gentiles, and we can assume that he ate with Jews instead. This action may be closer to Paul's policy than is normally supposed, for Paul himself became a Jew to the Jews to win Jews (1 Cor 8:20).

4. Paul calls Cephas "Peter" only at Gal 2:7-8. He calls him "Cephas" everywhere else, including Gal 1:18; 2:9, 11, 14. Now, "Peter" is the Greek form of the name that had been given to Simon to reflect the important foundational role that he was to play in the church (Matt 16:18-19). Therefore Paul's switch to the name "Peter" was, for Paul's Greek-speaking readers, a reference to Simon's important leadership role, for which Jesus had given him the name. This is confirmed by the fact that only here, in Gal 2:7-8, does Paul discuss Peter's role in the church. Now, I see two consequences of this explanation for Paul's use of the name "Peter here". Firstly, the relationship between Paul and Peter cannot have been as strained as is often supposed, because Paul here honors Peter with that name. Secondly, it suggests that Paul is alluding here to the appointment of Peter by Jesus. Paul is therefore referring back to the role that Peter had played as apostle to the circumcised before his encounter with Cornelius (it is not surprising, given the rumor in Galatia, that Paul does not mention Peters later role in extending the faith to the Gentiles). The agreement of Gal 2:9 should therefore not be seen as a deal in which one or other of the parties made a compromise. It was rather a logical division of responsibilities. I imagine that the pillars were pleased to find that Paul had a calling to go to the Gentiles. This allowed them to off-load some of their responsibilities to Paul, and focus on the Jews. The increased responsibilities given to Paul and Barnabas allowed Peter to wind up his missions among the Gentiles and return to his original role as apostle to the Jews. Now, this change in Peter's role may explain his decision to withdraw from eating with Gentiles. He ate with Gentiles during his first visit to Antioch, when he still had responsibilities for the Gentile mission, but when Peter returned to Antioch after Paul's visit to Jerusalem, he ate with Jews instead because he was, by then, focusing on the Jews (Gal 2:9).

Gal 2:3
Some people stress the word "compelled" in Gal 2:3 to suggest that the pillars wanted Titus to be circumcised (but did not insist on it). However, even if this were the case, it would not mean that the pillars were less supportive of Gentile liberty than Paul. Paul did circumcise Timothy, who, I believe, was Titus renamed.

In summary, my conclusion that Peter and James were supporters of Gentile liberty is not called into question by anything in Gal 2:1-14 (or elsewhere, as far as I can see).