Blessing for the nations and the curse of the law : Paul's citation of Genesis and Deuteronomy in Gal 3.8-10
This thesis is an interpretation of Paul's citation of Genesis and Deuteronomy in Gal 3.8-10. The promise to Abraham to bless all nations and the curse of the covenant are sun/eyed in the Jewish scripture. We argue that blessing for the nations is an important part of God's covenant purpose for Abraham's descendants from the start and that the curse is consistently connected with the motifs of failure to do all the law and of the abandonment of the Lord for other gods. This thesis then identifies and analyzes the various strands of the postbiblical Jewish literature that cite the promise of blessing for the nations and the curse of the covenant. An interpretation of Gal 3.8-10 is argued, in which the importance for Paul's argument of blessing for the nations and the curse on those who are disloyal to the Lord is stressed. Paul's call to preach the gospel to the gentiles and his defense of the truth of the gospel provide the context for the connection between the gospel and the promise to Abraham of blessing for the nations in Gal 3.8, a blessing which has always been God's purpose for Abraham's descendants. The interpretation of Gal 3.10 then builds on this insight. Those who are of works of the law are identified as the troublemakers who have preached another gospel to the Galatians and thereby they have been disloyal to God and his purpose for Abraham's descendants. Paul cites Deut 27.26 to support this assertion that they have been disloyal to God and therefore are under the curse. This interpretation of Gal 3.8-10 is supported by other traces of the same perspective on the gospel and the curse in Galatians.