The question of the recipients of Paul’s letter to the Galatians continues to be debated. The two opposing viewpoints are the South Galatian Hypothesis and the North Galatian Hypothesis. The South Galatianists believe that Paul wrote to churches in the southern part of the Roman province of Galatia (in modern day Turkey) – in particular the to the churches at Pisidian Antioch, Lystra, Iconium and Derbe that had been formed during Paul’s First Missionary Journey. The North Galatianists believe that Paul was writing to (unnamed) believers/churches in “ethnic” Galatia in the northern part of the province who, according to this hypothesis, were evangelised during Paul’s Second Missionary Journey. An important distinction between the two hypothesis is that the churches in the south were composed of Jewish and Gentile believers – probably in approximately equal numbers – whereas believers in the north would have been all, or almost all, Gentiles who had come to faith from a background of paganism.
The extent to which this issue affects the interpretation of Galatians is also a matter of debate.
I currently believe that the North Galatian Hypothesis is the correct viewpoint, and I also believe that the identity of the recipients of Paul’s famous letter has a really important bearing on its interpretation. In furtherance of these two views, I have written a two volume defence of the North Galatian Hypothesis, and these two volumes are now freely available to download from this website. To access these, please go to the “Articles” page!
Categories: North Galatian Hypothesis