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Harmon, Matthew S.


She Must and Shall Go Free. Paul’s Isa­-ian­ic Gospel in Galatians.


Berlin/New York: de Gruyter 2010. XI, 330 S. 23,0 x 15,5 cm = Beihefte zur Zeitschrift für die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft und die Kunde der älteren Kirche, 168. Lw. EUR 99,95. ISBN 978-3-11-022175-6.


Mary Yi Wang

A revised PhD dissertation submitted to Wheaton College in 2006, the book consists of five chapters. Chapter one (1–46) deals with the historical review of the relevant literature and the methodological issues; chapters 2–4 (47–248) examines the influence of the major themes in Isaiah 40–66, i. e., the Servant’s mission, the Servant’s redemption and the freedom of the Servant’s family, upon Paul’s arguments in the Galatians 1–2, 3–4, 5–6; chapter five (249–265) is a synthesis and conclusion. Matthew S. Harmon uses the »two-tiered approach« (31) to examine the quotations, allusions, echoes, the­-mat­ic parallels of Isaiah in Galatians; in addition to expose the Isa­-ianic substructure in Galatians, H. also analyzes Paul’s hermeneutical use and theological use of the Old Testament. His study shows that the methodology of intertextual study employed in the analysis of the relationship between Isaiah and Galatians not only helps to understand the background information about Pauline theo­logy, it also helps to understand how these cultural, historical, and theological issues of the Old Testament are appropriated and de-veloped in the New Testament.
H. distinguishes four categories of Isaianic influence and two tiers of criteria. Unlike the previous studies on the use of the Old Testament/Isaiah in the New Testament that categorize one or two types of intertextual relationship, H. understands these four categories of Isaianic influence as »a part of a spectrum that runs from an explicit citation at one end to a thematic parallel at the other, with allusion and echo somewhere in between« (28). In his first chapter which discusses the methodology and background information about Galatians and Isaiah, H. explains Paul’s divergence from the exact wording of the biblical texts (22), and specifies that the text of his study is a critically reconstructed text of LXX Isaiah (25). The two tiers of criteria for detecting influence, according to H., can be classified by three categories (vocabulary and syntax, structure/sequence, thematic/conceptual) and five considerations (volume, recurrence, coherence, recognition by others, explanatory power).
H.’s study on the influence of Is 40–66 upon Galatians tries to substantiate the Isaianic narrative substructure in Galatians, his overall approach intends to show how the peace and reconciliation language, the righteousness language, and the Spirit language are interwoven together with the covenant of Abraham, the Christ events, and the inaugurated Messianic age. This can be seen from his analysis of the exegetical study of the points of contact of the two texts followed by a synthesis of the major thematic parallels in other Pauline epistles. From the theological perspective, H.’s intertextual study of Paul’s Isaianic gospel in Galatians sheds light on the understanding of the Pauline Christology and eschatology, especially within the framework of Old Testament prophecy and Old Testament theology. This includes, first, the appellation Χριστοῦ δοῦλος as a thematic parallel to the Servant figure of Isa­-iah; second, the combination of the covenant, promise, seed, inheritance and the allegory of Sarah and Hagar as allusion, echo and citation of the new exodus and restoration of Isaiah; third, the concept of new creation, the experience of the eschatological spirit and the restoration of Israel as having Isaianic roots. H. also comments on the value of studying a broader spectrum of Paul’s use of the Old Testament, and Paul’s own understanding of his gospel message reflected in the Isainic shape of the Galatians. He argues that the only citation of Is 54.1 in Gal 4.27 functions as a bookend (202), and that »it signals to the reader that not only the trope of Gal 4.21–5.1 hinges upon it, but the totality of Gal 3–4 as well« (202). The hermeneutical, theological and rhetorical significances of this citation are discussed with special emphasis on the correspondence with Gen 16–21 and the Christ events.
H.’s study complements the previous works on Paul’s use of Isa­-iah, and provides »substantially more detail with respect to the means by which God has accomplished ›eschatological salvation in Christ‹« (257). Another contribution of H.’s work is that his unique approach to expose the Isaianic substructure in Gal 3.1–5.15 helps to understand Paul’s view of the law in reference to Isaianic renewal. Christian freedom in contrast with law observation is understood in this study in the context of the Isaianic new exodus and experiences of eschatological renewal. Although in H.’s division Gal 3.1–5.1 and Gal 5.2–6.18 deal with Paul’s interpretation of the servant salvation in Is 51–54 and Paul’s »Isaianic« explanation of the freedom of the servant family separately, his synthesis in 3.3.6 and 4.3.1 clearly shows that Gal 4.21–5.1 and Gal 5.2–15 construct a thematic unity in reference to the freedom from the law. The metaphor and the typology employed in Gal 3–5 also suggest a close connection between the two parts. H. understands Gal 5.2–15 as an extension of Gal 4.21–5.1, and he comments that »the emphasis on freedom in Gal 5.2–15 is a development from the conclusion of the Hagar-Sarah trope of 4.21–5.1. … the freedom/slavery contrast begins as early as 3:23, comes to the fore in 4.1–7 and builds to its climax in 4.21–5.1« (205, note 5).
In spite of the problem of the unity of Gal 3.1–5.15 mentioned above, the even division of the six chapters of the book Galatians seems to substantiate Paul’s intention for the Isaianic shape of his message. The Isaianic narrative substructure is also highlighted by the titles of each division: singing the servant’s song in Gal 1–2, reading the servant’s redemption in Gal 3–4, and freeing the serv­ant’s family in Gal 5–6. However, H. treats the three types of the experiences of eschatological renewal in 4.3 as a manifestation of freedom from the law. And the four subtitles in this section appar­ently follow the major themes of Is 40–66 instead of reflecting clearly the structure of the Galatians passage, especially the sub­title of 4.3.1. The overall approach in 4.3 heightens the major motifs of both texts, i.e., righteousness and justification as experience of eschatological renewal. The structure of Gal 5–6, however, does not appear correspondently although the similar motifs can be seen from the negative and positive arguments on the law observation. For this reason, freedom as manifestation of the experiences of eschatological renewal seems to be a better choice for the subtitle of 4.3.1. Moreover, recurrence of the same Isaianic influence in this regard in the other Pauline epistles will be helpful to expose and to confirm Paul’s understanding of the Isaianic gospel in the synthesis of this section: for example, resurrection, cosmological restoration and reconciliation in the new creation in 2Cor 5.11–21; freedom as manifestation of the new creation in Rom 8.21, etc.
H. also discusses the competence of the original recipients to perceive any Isaianic influence in Galatians and the implications of the study of Paul’s use of Isaiah. A master chart of proposed Isaianic influence is given in the end of the conclusion chapter. In addition to the exegetical insights of both the Septuagint Isaiah and the Greek text of Galatians, other LXX manuscript traditions and the Hebrew text are also examined.