I’ve moved this to a new thread. Why? Because I can. And because that other thread viewtopic.php?f=3&t=4521 was too warm and fuzzy ---
I do agree with David that the Christ-related arguments --- those associated with the Abrahamic arguments in Galatians --- do seem like they were tacked-on. Yes, I think in a way they were.
However, I think the Christ-related arguments in Galatians are compatible with the Abrahamic arguments and are necessary and required to adequately make the argument in Galatians even work. Why? Because the Abrahamic arguments alone are woefully inadequate. One might even say the Abrahamic arguments alone fail under their own weight.
Regardless of rhetorical gymnastics to make the Abrahamic requirement for circumcision go away with arguments about faith, about the promise, about slaves and sons, and flesh and spirit, those alone are all too easily refuted by God’s own words ---
Those directives directly from the deity are unequivocal --- no ifs or ands or buts --- no exception for “faith”. If one wanted to share in the Abrahamic covenant with God, if one wanted to be included among God’s chosen people, with the milk and honey --- it’s off with their little heads!
I think Paul would have recognized the inadequacy of an Abrahamic-only argument. After all, the concept of Gentiles becoming full-participants with the Israel of God was foundational to his system. And without that concept his system would fall apart, along with his work and income from his only audience and patrons --- the Gentiles.
A discussion about circumcision would naturally be formulated around the covenant between Abraham and God. But Paul needed a much stronger argument than could be teased from those concepts alone --- he needed some divine mitigation. I think Paul formulated such an argument well before he embarked on his entrepreneurial missions into Gentile territory. He needed a good argument to convince Gentiles that despite centuries of tradition, they could actually be full participants with the Israel of God without the need for circumcision or following the Mosaic laws.
I suspect Paul presented some version of his Abraham-Christ-circumcision argument, like we see in the letter Galatians, during his evangelizing visit with each his congregations. Circumcision never became a significant issue among his other congregations, but we are fortunate for the situation among the Galatians to allow us a peek as Paul elaborated on his solution.
Paul used his Christ figure to counter the clear position on circumcision found in the Jewish scriptures. Paul set the stage, emphasizing the ideas of faith and the promise. Paul introduced the concept of his Christ as God’s plan all along.
Notice Paul’s clever use of the term προευηγγελίσατο (foretold the gospel) --- to Abraham no less --- this term nicely describes a scriptural foretelling of his gospel, the announcement of good news (τὸ εὐαγγέλιόν), his version of the story.
Paul played word games to establish Christ as the “seed of Abraham”, thereby placing his Jesus Christ figure 'in the driver’s seat'.
In the letter, Paul had already established his coup de grace with more creative readings of the Jewish scriptures. Apparently intending to include both the Abrahamic covenant and the Mosaic laws, Paul’s divine agent accomplished the necessary act of exemption ---
Paul explained ---
In other letters the knowledge about Paul’s Christ was characterized as a mystery kept secret in times of the ages, and only recently revealed. (1 Corinthians 2:7 and Romans 16:25-26). Only recently had the “promise” come, that is, had been made known.
Whether or not some among the Galatians found Paul’s arguments convincing we’ll likely never know. But his argument has held sway for millions, over millennia, down to this day for those who believe that anyone with faith in a Jesus Christ can be a full participant among God's chosen people.
"Abe says where do you want this killin' done?
God says out on highway 61"
Highway 61 Revisited, Bob Dylan, 1965