On that reading, rendering Gal 3:28 as a declaration of equality is not only too little, it is distinctly beside the point. Those who find themselves "in Christ" are not also "in" the power arena that makes questions of equality necessary. Equality is a concept or principle invoked in order to insist that individuals or groups be treated uniformly, that they have the same access to decision-making, and that they have the same privilege or status. All those who are "in Christ," however, know that they all have only what has been granted them by the Spirit, and all have exactly the same standing in that God rescued all from "the present evil age." To be sure, the pairs reflect not simply spheres of identity but the privilege assigned to one member of each pair: the Jew, the free person, the male. Yet what Paul declares is not simply that the gospel brings these privileges to an end, but that the pairs no longer exist. The best paraphrase comes in 6:15: "there is neither circumcision nor uncir-cumcision but new creation."
- Beverly Gaventa, "Is Galatians Just a 'Guy Thing'?", Interpretation, July 2000, 275-276.
Saturday, July 21, 2012
The Gospel and Gender Identity.
Despite the fact that I'm taking five classes in the fall and I will be busier than I prefer, I have been looking forward to this upcoming semester more than any other during my time as a graduate student. I am most excited about my New Testament course entitled "Paul and Karl" co-taught by Bruce McCormack and Beverly Gaventa, which is an in-depth study of the Apostle Paul's letter to the Romans and Karl Barth's Epistle to the Romans. In attempting to read ahead and start thinking about my research paper for this class, I started reading Gaventa's work on the apocalyptic gospel and gender. Her work is both deeply fascinating and refreshingly accessible. I told my friend the other day when discussing Gaventa's work on gender that I have never read anyone who captures my own thoughts, concerns, and beliefs so well on the topic. Gaventa's writings give me hope for the rich conversation about gender that can occur when critically engaging the apocalyptic gospel found in Paul's letter to the Galatians. Here's one of my favorite excerpts: