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“As long as the heir is a child”

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The Rhetoric of Inheritance in Galatians 4:1-2 and P.Ryl. 2.153

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Abstract Although Gal 4:1-2 has historically been interpreted as an analogy taken from Greco-Roman practices of guardianship and inheritance, an increasing number of scholars, following the initial proposal of James M. Scott, have interpreted the passage as an allusion to the exodus. Seeking to defend the conventional interpretation, this study identifies a number of significant verbal and conceptual parallels between Gal 4:1-2 and P.Ryl. 2.153, the mid-second-century C.E. will of a Hermopolite gentleman, thereby showing that Paul’s rhetoric of inheritance in Gal 4:1-2 resonates best within the metaphorical field of Roman guardianship and succession.

Affiliations: 1: Chicago, IL


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