David deSilva’s Baylor Handbook on Galatians (Gupta)

deSilvaI wish to commend to you David deSilva’s new (2014) Baylor Handbook on the Greek Text of Galatians (Baylor). This whole series is excellent and very useful for students and scholars who want a guide to the Greek NT.

deSilva goes above and beyond the call of duty by not simply commenting on grammar and syntax, but also delving into the historical context of Galatians and briefly touching on theological issues. In many ways, then, this is a precursor to his anticipated NICNT commentary on Galatians.

Three aspects of deSilva’s interpretation of Galatians remind me of Peter Oakes’ exegetical work in his new commentary, and these are worth mentioning:

(1) Both Oakes and deSilva recognize the Pistis Christou debate is complicated, but both lean in favor of the objective genitive (see deSilva 43).

(2) When it comes to the translation of pistis, deSilva (like Oakes) does not fall back on a simplistic notion of “faith” this is assumed or repeated in too many commentaries (see 74).

(3) deSilva is sensitive to getting the interpretation of Ioudaismos/Ioudaizein right historically, so “to adopt a Jewish way of life” (not “religion” per se).

Overall, then, I think deSilva has good exegetical sensibilities (and not just because I agree with him on these!)

Perhaps my one concern for this handbook is the way deSilva approaches tense and verbal aspect. He does not offer a preface-explanation of his approach, and in practice it seems that deSilva links tense to Aktionsart (see 14, 37, 102, 107). This approach is popular in some circles, though I think it behooves the author in this series to explain and even defend this approach somewhere (as it is contested in scholarship).

All in all, though, deSilva offers much wisdom in this handbook, and if I teach a Greek readings course, no doubt this will become a textbook.

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