YoungSan Theological Institute of Hansei University

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Journal of Youngsan Theology - Vol. 50

[ Article ]
Journal of Youngsan Theology - Vol. 49, No. 0, pp.115-156
ISSN: 1738-1509 (Print)
Print publication date 30 Sep 2019
Received 24 Jun 2019 Revised 06 Aug 2019 Accepted 14 Aug 2019
DOI: https://doi.org/10.18804/jyt.2019.09.49.115

The Background Study of Paul’s Use of ΤΑ ΣΤΙΓΜΑΤΑ in Galatians 6:17
Ki Cheol Joo
Kosin University, New Testament (doulosjoo.kc@kosin.ac.kr)

갈라디아서 6:17에서 바울이 사용한 흔적(ΤΑ ΣΤΙΓΜΑΤΑ)에 대한 배경 연구
주기철

Abstract

The expression τὰ στίγματα τοῦ Ἰησοῦ comes in Galatians 6:17. There has been scholarly debate on the meaning of this expression since Paul does not explain its meaning clearly and τὰ στίγματα is used only in Galatians 6:17 in the NT. Apart from this debate, the term στίγμα is commonly understood as a mark or tattoo slaves were carrying in their bodies in the ancient world. Since Paul considers himself as ‘a slave of Jesus’ (Rom 1:1; Gal 1:10; cf. Ti 1:1), people commonly understand the term στίγμα as referring to a certain mark which was given to Paul during his service for Jesus. There is no problem with such an understanding. Nevertheless, it seems necessary to examine the historical background of the term στίγμα since although the term στίγμα was commonly used in the ancient world in various contexts, the specific sense was different from one era to another so it is unclear what Paul means by the term στίγμα in Galatians 6:17. In addition, since Paul regards the marks of Jesus in his body as the reason why the Galatians should stop troubling him, clarifying the usage of στίγμα in Galatians 6:17 would sharpen the meaning of the whole verse. For this reason, the purpose of this study is to examine the background of Paul’s use of the term στίγμα in Galatians 6:17. So I will deal with the terminological analysis and historical usage of στίγμα in the first section. In the second section, the meaning of τὰ στίγματα τοῦ Ἰησοῦ and its use in relation to Jesus’ suffering and Paul’s suffering for Christ and the reason why Paul suffers for Christ will be explored in the wider Pauline context.

This study will lead to the conclusion that Paul’s use of the term στίγμα is most likely similar to that given to troublesome slaves as a penalty. We can also perceive that Paul understands Jesus as taking the form of a slave and suffered and dying on the cross, which is well expressed in the phrase τὰ στίγματα τοῦ Ἰησοῦ. The reason why Paul says τὰ στίγματα τοῦ Ἰησοῦ ἐν τῷ σώματί μου βαστάζω is because he wants to show that he has Jesusʼ mind and follows him, imitating him.

초록

갈라디아서 6:17에 τὰ στίγματα τοῦ Ἰησοῦ(‘예수의 흔적’)이라는 표현이 나온다. 바울이 이 표현의 의미에 대해서 정확하게 설명하지 않았고 또 이 표현은 신약성경 중 갈라디아서 6:17에서만 유일하게 사용되었기 때문에(a hapax legomenon) 그 의미에 대해서 학자들 간에 논의가 많이 있어왔다. 이러한 논의를 별도로 하고, στίγμα라는 용어는 일반적으로 고대 세계에서 노예들이 지니고 다녔던 흔적이나 문신으로 이해된다. 바울이 자신을‘예수의 종(노예)’로 여겼기 때문에(롬 1:1; 갈 1:10; 비교. 딛 1:1) στίγμα는 종종 예수님을 섬기는 동안 바울에게 주어진 모종의 흔적을 지칭한다고 본다. 이렇게 이해하는 것도 무리는 없어 보인다. 그럼에도 불구하고 στίγμα의 역사적 배경을 연구하는 것은 필요해 보인다. 왜냐하면 고대 세계에서 στίγμα가 다양한 상황에서 자주 쓰였지만 그 구체적인 의미는 시대마다 다르고, 따라서 바울이 갈라디아서 6:17에서는 그러한 의미들 중에 어떤 의미로 στίγμα를 사용했는지 확실하지 않기 때문이다. 게다가 만약 갈라디아서 6:17에서 볼 수 있듯이 바울이 그의 몸에 있는 예수의 흔적을 갈라디아인들이 자신을 괴롭히는 것을 멈추게 할 이유로 여긴다면, στίγμα의 용례를 명확히 하는 것은 갈라디아서 6:17 전체의 의미를 더 명확히 할 것이다.

이러한 이유로 본 연구는 갈라디아서 6:17에서 바울이 사용한 στίγμα라는 용어의 배경을 조사하는 것을 목적으로 할 것이다. 필자는 στίγμα 용어 자체와 역사적 용례를 먼저 다룰 것이다. 그리고 이어서 τὰ στίγματα τοῦ Ἰησοῦ의 의미와 이 표현이 예수의 고난과 예수를 위한 바울의 고난과 관련하여 어떻게 사용되었는지, 그리고 바울은 왜 그리스도를 위해서 고난을 당하는지에 대해 보다 넓은 바울서신의 상황에서 살펴볼 것이다.

이 연구를 통해서 바울이 사용한 στίγμα와 가장 비슷한 용례는 문제를 일으킨 노예에게 벌로 주어졌던 στίγμα라는 사실을 보게 될 것이다. 또한 바울은 예수님을 종의 형체를 취하셔서 고난당하시고, 십자가에서 죽으신 분으로 이해한 사실이 τὰ στίγματα τοῦ Ἰησοῦ라는 표현에 잘 나타난다는 사실도 이해하게 될 것이다. 바울이 갈라디아서 6:17에서“내가 내 몸에 예수의 흔적을 지니고 있노라.”고 말한 이유는 바울 자신이 예수의 마음을 가지고 그를 따르면서 예수님을 본받고 있다는 것을 보여주기 위함이라는 사실도 보게 될 것이다.


Keywords: The Marks of Jesus, Stigma, Gal 6:17, the Historical Background of the Term Stigma, the Usage of the Term Stigma
키워드: 예수의 흔적, 스티그마, 갈 6:17, 스티그마의 역사적 배경, 스티그마의 용례

I. Introduction

Paul uses τὰ στίγματα τοῦ Ἰησοῦ in Galatians 6:17. Scholars have disputed the meaning of ‘the marks of Jesus’ (τὰ στίγματα τοῦ Ἰησοῦ)1) since Paul does not explain its meaning precisely and also the phrase τὰ στίγματα is a hapax legomenon in the NT. Apart from these discussions, the expression στίγμα (‘mark’) is often understood to mean the mark or tattoo that slaves in the ancient world had on their bodies. Paul also claimed that he was a ‘slave of Jesus’ (Rom 1:1; Gal 1:10; cf. Ti 1:1). Thus the expression ‘στίγμα’ is often understood as a sign Paul had as a slave of Jesus for him. Even if it is not hard to understand in this sense, it seems necessary to study the background of the word used by Paul. It is because, as you can see later, the word στίγμα was not always used in the same sense, even if it was used in ancient times. In other words, it was used for slightly different meanings and purposes in different countries and periods. If so, it is important to study the background of the word in order to understand the exact meaning of the term στίγμα used in Galatians 6:17.

The background study of the term στίγμα would help not only to understand in what sense Paul uses the term in Galatians 6:17, but also to perceive the meaning of the whole of 6:17. Paul said here, “In conclusion, let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.”2) As Paul presents τὰ στίγματα as a reason for the Galatians to stop troubling him, it seems necessary to clarify the meaning of this expression in order to understand what it means that the Galatians trouble Paul. Furthermore, if Paul talks about his conclusion in 6:17, it will be all the more important to grasp the meaning of τὰ στίγματα.3) Therefore, in this article, we will look at the word στίγμα and its usage in the ancient world to understand the meaning of τὰ στίγματα used in the Galatian context. And I will argue that the marks (στίγματα) given to the slave who caused the trouble is most similar to the one used in 6:17. Afterward, the meaning of the phrase τὰ στίγματα τοῦ Ἰησοῦ will be examined in the context of a broader Pauline letters. I will also argue that Paul may have used the term τὰ στίγματα τοῦ Ἰησοῦ in order to show that he has followed Jesus in his heart and has all kinds of hardships, being persecuted for Jesus Christ with joy.


Ⅱ. Terminological and Historical Study on ΣΤΙΓΜΑ

The term στίγμα came from στίζω which means ‘to prick’ or ‘to mark’ with a sharpened instrument or graver. When στίζω is used in relation to the flesh of human and beast it means ‘to brand’ or ‘to tattoo.’4) Thus, the term στίγμα refers to a bodily mark resulted from branding.5) This term was used commonly in the ancient world in various contexts, though the specific sense was different from one era to another. There are economical, social, political and religious reasons for applying a mark in this way.

1. ΣΤΙΓΜΑ on Domestic Animals

In the ancient world, it was fairly common to brand cattle with certain signs or initials in order to identify its owner.6) This branding which is marked generally on the animal’s right thigh protects the property of the owner from theft; it also prohibits people from deceiving others as to ownership. However, it is notable that there is no reference to marking animals in the Old and New Testaments, which means that it was not practised among the Israelite community. C. P. Jones says “the branding of animals is virtually never designated by stigma but by a word denoting a burn or a stamp (χαρακτήρ).”7)

2. ΣΤΙΓΜΑ on the Human Body

Branding was also practised in the ancient Orient (Babylonia and Egypt) on the human body. It was used either in a negative or a positive way. There were three cases in the ancient Orient where branding/tattooing was used in a positive sense. Firstly, στίγματα were applied as a membership mark for a certain clan.8) Secondly, στίγματα were used as decoration. Jones, amongst others, suggests that the Thracians, amongst other tribes in the ancient world, practised tattooing for decoration.9) Thirdly, in oriental religion some devout people marked themselves to show that they belonged to their god.10) Thus, these marks were regarded as a ‘confessional sign and talisman.’11) Those who had this sacred mark were devoted to their god and served it; they were under its protection, so they would not be ill-treated.12) This description matches with the view of certain scholars which describes τὰ στίγματα in 6:17 as a protective mark. Certainly, there are a number of similarities between this usage and the context of Paul’s. Paul was dedicated to God and became his slave; he also claims that the marks of Jesus were the reason why he should not be troubled. Nevertheless, Paul does not seem to use τὰ στίγματα (6:17) in the sense of a religious protective-mark since in oriental religion the devoted people marked themselves. As well the Hebrews were not allowed to cut themselves (Lv 19:28; Dt 14:1-2), which also nullifies the possibility that τὰ στίγματα (6:17) are used in the sense of the other two cases (membership and decorating mark) suggested above.

In the negative sense, a mark was generally burned on slaves13) indicated not only their standing but also their owner.14) There were others who were treated like slaves. When a concubine rebelled against her mistress she was considered a slave and consequently branded. Likewise when a son dealt with his (single) mother or father badly he was also regarded and treated as a slave being marked as a slave.15) However, this oriental practice identifying slaves with στίγμα did not exist in the early Greco-Roman world; Jones says ‘the branding of animals was a universal practice, but that of humans was almost unknown to the Greek, and even among the Romans was comparatively rare.’16) Walter says ‘in the post-NT period such στίγματα are documented as a “normal” means of identification of slaves or recruits in the Roman army.’17) This arguably means that those who were in the NT-period Roman world were not familiar with the oriental culture. In other words, the Galatians may not perceive στίγματα as a mark identifying both a slave’s status and his owner. Nevertheless, we cannot say that Paul and the Galatians did not know of the oriental practice of branding slaves since that a practice was not ‘documented’ does not always indicate that people did not know about it.

In the Greco-Roman world, στίγματα were not used as much as in the ancient Orient. Jones says “the Greek and Romans knew of religious tattooing, but only a few of them practised it. The same is even truer of decoration.”18) As Harris, amongst others, points out, slaves in this period “were not distinguishable from free persons by race, by speech or by clothing,” although they were still considered personal property.19) Στίγματα were branded on some who tried to run away, steal or otherwise transgress. Martial deserters also carried marks and criminals were punished by being branded on their bodies.20) It is not able that when one was given penal στίγματα on his/her body, most of the time he/she received lashes of the whip or was beaten beforehand,21) which means that στίγματα are accompanied by sufferings. Although στίγματα were mostly given to slaves, in some cases citizens were branded on their forehead being condemned as a punishment to “forced labour in the construction of buildings and roads.”22) Thus, in the Greco-Roman world στίγματα did not indicate a slave’s social status when they were used on troublesome slaves (citizens); rather, it referred to a symbol of dishonour or disgrace, which those who carried it would wish to be removed.23) It is probable that a mark bearer would be despised by all the people; even by his fellow slaves. If Paul adopted the term in this sense, perhaps, it means that in his body he bore the most shameful marks in the sight of people.

Paulʼs use of στίγματα seems to be similar to those on troublesome slaves if, as we will see later, τὰ στίγματα τοῦ Ἰησου refer to the marks on Jesusʼ body caused by crucifixion, which was a method of execution invented by the Persians and widely used in ancient times. In the Greco-Roman period it was basically inflicted on inferior classes such as slaves, aliens and those who did not have Roman citizenship.24) Crucifixion was by design a cruel way to die; it was a particular expression that shows the cruelty latent within humans.25) There was no other more abominable experience than that of crucifixion; even the term ‘cross’ was an obscenity, people avoided using the term in Greco-Roman society, such was its status.26) Thus, Jesusʼ cross was humiliating and demeaning; it was punishing and painful; it was a very strong statement that Jesus was a person who was to be seen as of the lowest. The reason why we can build from the branding of slaves who behaved badly to Jesusʼ cross is that as the branding marks the slaves as those things (humiliating, demeaning and punishing), the cross marks Jesus as those things too. This commonality is the reason why we can see Jesusʼ execution as his punitive branding, his being treated in a humiliating way as one would treat a terribly disobedient slave.

The term στίγμα is found only once in LXX: Song of Songs 1:11. However, its meaning is not branding or tattooing.27) Although no word is directly equivalent to στίγμα, the ideas associated with the word are present in the Hebrew OT.28) It is written in Isaiah 44:5 that “another will write on his hand, ‘The LORD’S’”; it was ordered that the faithful in Israel should put a mark ( ) on their foreheads (Ez 9:4).29) Nevertheless, branding or tattooing was forbidden in Israel (Lv 19:28; 21:5);30) “only in her apostate days did Israel borrow this practice [religious tattooing] from the Gentile nations (Jer 16:6; 41:5; cf. 47:5; 48:37).”31) Thus, Betz notes that “in the post-exilic period, the prohibition was enforced in the case of priests (cf. Lv 21:5) and generally (Lv 19:28; Dt 14:1f).”32) On the basis of this, branding or tattooing was not widely practised in the OT period in Israel as it was forbidden. However, they have understood στίγμα not only from the occasional practice in Israel but also from the influence of pagan countries after returning from the Exile.33)

During the Hellenistic age the Jews might have been familiar with branding or tattooing as their captors branded Jewish prisoners and slaves.34) It is written as follows: “those who are registered are also to be branded on their bodies by fire with the ivy-leaf symbol of Dionysus” (3 Macc 2:29; cf. 2 Macc 6:7). Martin states that “the Hellenistic persecution of the Jews took the form of the forcible imposition of pagan symbols.” He goes on to say that for this reason tattooing was intimately related to idolatry and for the Jews the willingness to accept a tattoo was regarded as ‘a hallmark of apostasy.’35) On the contrary, the Jews considered circumcision a sign that they were in a covenant relationship with God. Walter says “Judaism in the Hellenistic period viewed circumcision as a confessional sign that excluded religious tattooing.”36) Certainly, circumcision was compared with the pagan stigma in Exod. rab. 19. 6. Nevertheless, in later Judaism the notion of protective-mark in Ezekiel 9:4 was noted in some documents (CD. 9:10-12; 19:11-14; Ps. Sol. 15:6-9).37) Though, scholars have debated whether the Jews practised branding the body, they probably inscribed the mark of the cross on their ossuaries and tombs.38)

Branding or tattooing was common in the Middle Ages, especially ʻpenal brandingʼ was frequently practised in this age.39) However, there was a tendency in the Christian world to see στίγματα as a mystically induced phenomenon. The term στίγματα refers to “wounds some people bear on hands and feet, and occasionally on the side, shoulder, or back, that are believed to be visible signs of participation in Christʼs passion.”40) L. Mödl says that Galatians 6:17 is “a point of departure” to see στίγματα like this in the Middle Ages.41) Betz says that in this period “men distinguished for profound piety and great spiritual power, or weakened by sickness and abstinence so that their bodies are susceptible, have visibly borne the stigmata of Christ.”42) It has been suggested that Francis of Assisi was the first stigmatic and a great number of subsequent stigmatics have appeared.43)

The discussion above suggests that although the purpose of branding or tattooing was different from one era and culture to another, it had always been practised from ancient times. Sometimes στίγμα identified a slave’s social status and his owner. At other times it identified membership of a tribe; it was also given to a religious devotee as a sacred mark which was considered as a protective-mark. In some periods, it was a mark of punishment, dishonouring criminals or slaves who misbehaved and army deserters. Though the Jews were prohibited to brand, they were influenced by pagan countries in the post-exilic time. Even though it was clear that Judaism did not practise branding on the human body, the Jewish believers of Paul’s day might be familiar with στίγμα as they marked the cross on their tombs and also circumcision was regarded as a contrasting mark against Gentile στίγματα. In the Middle Ages, στίγμα was commonly understood in the Christian world as referring to wounds or scars, a visible sign that were mystically given to those who participated in Christʼs passion.

Since Paul adopts the term τὰ στίγματα only once in Galatians 6:17 amongst all his letters and he never explained his precise use of the term, it is not immediately clear in what sense Paul uses τὰ στίγματα in 6:17. Nevertheless, it is probable that Paul, as a well educated person ʻat the feet of Gamalielʼ (Acts 22:3), knew various usages of the term στίγμα not only in the contemporary world but also in the history since he commonly uses slavery imagery in his letters. In particular the case that troublesome slaves were given στίγματα as penalty seems most likely to be applied to Paulʼs use of τὰ στίγματα,44) if these marks refer to Paul’s physical scars caused by persecution because of Christ,45) since there are some analogies between τὰ στίγματα of delinquent slaves and those of Jesus. The former suffered lashing and beating, likewise Jesus was treated as a troublesome slave, being lashed, beaten and crucified; finally the former bore στίγματα on their bodies and Jesus bore στίγματα on his body (cf. Jn 20:24-27).46) Perhaps, this analogy can provide us with some background information to understand what Paul says in Galatians 6:17.


Ⅲ. Jesusʼ Suffering and Paulʼs Bearing ΤΑ ΣΤΙΓΜΑΤΑ ΤΟΥ ΙΗΣΟΥ

The background study above suggests that Paulʼs use of τὰ στίγματα is similar to that of delinquent slaves. How, then, can this suggestion be understood? In order to understand this it is necessary to examine first the meaning of τὰ στίγματα τοῦ Ἰησου (Gal 6:17); how and why Paul applies this understanding to his life in the wider Pauline context.

What does Paul mean by the phrase τὰ στίγματα τοῦ Ἰησου? I will argue that it refers to Paulʼs bodily wounds resulting from persecution for the sake of the cross of Christ. The marks of Jesus have been interpreted in various ways. In the middle ages, ‘the marks of Jesus’ referred to stigmata some Christians had on their body. It is said that St. Francis of Assisi was the first man who was recorded as stigmatic in history.47) When Francis was fasting and praying for forty days, he had a vision; it disappeared “leaving … in his flesh a marvellous image of and resemblance to the Passion of Christ.”48) Many, especially in the Roman Catholic Church, considered the marks (stigmatization) as a miraculous sign which was given to the saint.49) This view suggests that Paul’s marks resulted from his intense meditation on Christ’s passion. Bligh, however, rightly points out that “then v. 17 will be a plea for peace and quiet, so that he can devote himself to this contemplation”;50) this cannot be what Paul means. As J. Nickell describes, many would fake stigmata; some have deliberately wounded themselves to give a false impression to people that they are extraordinary saints.51) Even, Ramsay says that the view that these marks were similar to those of Jesus’ body caused by crucifixion “belongs to the ‘Dark Ages’ of scholarship.”52)

G. A. Deissmann asserts that τὰ στίγματα are protecting marks of Jesus or of magical amulets,53) which is based on the OT, where there are some examples showing protective-marks.54) Providing some later documents (Ps. Sol. 15:8; 3 Macc 2:39. Philo), Revelation (14:1; 7:2; 9:4) and some Papyrus passages, Deissmann says that Paul characterises the scars in his body in a metaphorical way as protective-marks. He argues that Paul is using τὰ στίγματα to mean protective-marks in the same way as the corpse of Osiris was used as an amulet.55) However, since Paul regards sorcery as one of the works of the flesh and warns the Galatians not to do such things as they will not inherit the kingdom of God (5:19-21), it is probable that Paul does not consider τὰ στίγματα as a protective -mark like an amulet. In this sense, W. F. Adeney rightly points out that Paul would not compare his experience as a Christian to sorcerous activity.56) J. S. Pobee also disputes Deissmannʼs view as he “fails to produce evidence that the amulets are called στίγματα in the papyri.”57) Therefore, Deissmanʼs view is improbable.

E. Dinkler describes τὰ στίγματα as the Greek letter Χ standing for χριστός which was marked on Paul’s body at his baptism.58) This view is probably influenced by Ezekiel 9:4, where the Lord says “put a mark [τὸ σημεῖον] on the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations that are committed in it.”59) Concerning the cross-marks on Jewish ossauries and tombs in the NT period, O. Betz says that this custom was “probably influenced by Ezekiel 9:4 and is to be regarded as providing eschatologically protective-marks for those who were faithful to Yahweh.”60) However, religious tattoos were forbidden not only by the Mosaic Law (Lv 19:28) but also by Pharisaic teaching.61) It is notable that there is no evidence that the early church practised this custom; that Paul was given the letter X at his baptism. Pobee rightly highlights that “nowhere else does Paul see his baptism as something special which marked him personally off from other Christians, as Dinklerʼs theory would require us to suppose.”62) Thus, Dinklerʼs view is unlikely.

E. Hirsch depicts τὰ στίγματα as bodily weakness caused by encountering Jesus on the Damascus road.63) This view is based on speculation that Paul was hurt when “a light from heaven flashed around him” (Acts 9:3-4) and the affect of that hurt still remains. In 4:13-15 Paul mentions his weakness or perhaps illness; he says “if possible, you would have gouged out your eyes and given them to me” (4:15b).64) Some scholars regard the reason why Paul writes the closing section with large letters (6:11) is because Paul has an eye problem.65) Although we cannot say that Paul does not have eye trouble or bodily weakness, we also cannot say with certainty that τὰ στίγματα refer to Paulʼs weakness or eye trouble since there is no explicit evidence to it see as such.66) Also, there is no mention of his weakness in the concluding verse (6:17). Furthermore, if 6:17b, an explanatory clause of 6:17a, is understood in relation to 6:17a where, as we will see later, Paul commands the Galatians to keep their faith, Hirschʼs view would not fit the context. Thus, Hirschʼs suggestion is implausible.

O’Neill connects τὰ στίγματα with Paul’s martyrdom. Saying that “Paul is about to be martyred,” OʼNeill goes on to say “he is about to bear the marks of Jesus on his body … He hopes, therefore, that he will not be troubled by news that the Galatians are going any further along the dangerous path they have been tempted to follow.”67) Although it is surely possible that Paul is speaking of his martyrdom that will happen in the near future, this does not fit the preceding context in 6:17a, where Paul says τοῦ λοιποῦ κόπους μοι μηδεὶς παρεχέτω. Paul adopts the imperative mood, which means that Paul does not express what he will do; rather, he strongly commands the Galatians not to trouble him. In other words, what Paul says here is not that he will not be troubled by his own action, martyrdom; rather, he commands the Galatians not to trouble him.68) The present tense verb βαστάζω also suggests that Paul does not speak of a future event but a present state; he is carrying τὰ στίγματα on his body. In addition, OʼNeillʼs view cannot explain the plural of τὰ στίγματα. Thus, this view also is implausible.

What, then, does the phrase τὰ στίγματα refer to? The scholarly consensus is that the phrase refers to scars or physical wounds left on Paul’s body resulting from persecution in the course of his apostolic ministry.69) Scholars have suggested differing reasons. Firstly, the phrase ‘on [or in] my body’ (ἐν τῷ σώματί μου) which comes immediately after τὰ στίγματα indicates that they are bodily scars.70) Secondly, this idea is linked up with Paul’s theme in other letters, that is ‘sharing Christ’s sufferings and death (Rom 8:17; 2 Cor 1:5; 4:8-10; Phil 3:10; Col 1:24).’71) Thirdly, parallel verses and words suggest that τὰ στίγματα are physical scars from persecution. Galatians 6:17 parallels 2 Corinthians 4:10: “always carrying in [or on] the body the death of Jesus.” This is spoken after Paul was persecuted and struck down (2 Cor 4:9).72) Regarding the verb βαστάζω, scholars suggest that it alludes to bearing the cross.73) More specifically, pointing out the use of βαστάζω in Galatians 6:2 where Paul instructs the Galatians to bear the burdens of others, Hardin says that this “may well have been a reference to the hardships that they would doubtless face for standing firm in the truth of the Gospel (3:4).”74) Lastly, the marks of Jesus contrast with circumcision. The opponents in Galatians insist on circumcision so as not to be persecuted for the cross (6:12b) and to boast in other’s flesh (6:13b). On the contrary, τὰ στίγματα are the consequence of persecution for Jesus’ sake.75)

As seen in Galatians 6:12-13, Paul describes one of the typical features of the false teachers as avoiding persecution for the cross (6:12). If this is so, the contrasting feature of the followers of Jesus is willingly to be persecuted for Christ.76) Paul seems to write 6:17b in this sense. The fundamental motive of 6:17b relates to the theme, ‘persecution for the cross of Christ.’77) In addition, the fact that τὰ στίγματα is qualified by τὰ στίγματα indicates that Paul considers a historical Jesus and the real occurrence of his crucifixion. Betz claims that the phrase τοῦ Ἰησοῦ spiritualizes the concept of τὰ στίγματα, although we cannot understand what he exactly means by this as he does not add any explanation.78) More specifically, A. Wikenhauser attempts to interpret τοῦ Ἰησοῦ as being mystically united with Christ in baptism, although he does not reject the concept of physical wounds.79) Surely, Paul has died and risen again with Christ in baptism (3:27), however, as Pobee points out, Paul normally expresses the mysticism not with Jesus’ personal name but with either the title Christ or Lord (Rom 6:3-4, 8-11; Gal 4:19; 5:24; Col 2:11-12).80) It is also notable that Paul rarely uses Jesus’ personal name and it appears only in 6:17 in Galatians,81) which means that its usage here is deliberate. If Paul adopts Jesus’ personal name in order to emphasize Jesus as a person, here in 6:17 Paulʼs focus is more on the actual historical event, ‘the death of the man Jesus’;82) the phrase τὰ στίγματα τοῦ Ἰησοῦ alludes to the sufferings that Jesus experienced.83) Pobee suggests that Paul deliberately adopts τοῦ Ἰησοῦ to evoke Jesus’ sufferings as ‘the protomartyr for Christians.’84) If this is so, the marks of Jesus alludes primarily and specifically to the marks of the beatings and nails resulted from Jesusʼ crucifixion.85) As Paul adds ἐν τῷ σώματί μου the marks denote scars or physical wounds on Paul’s body caused by persecution in his ministry.86)

Although τὰ στίγματα τοῦ Ἰησοῦ primarily refer to physical wounds on Paulʼs body, they also imply all sorts of sufferings for Christ. If, Paul understands himself as an imitator of Jesus and suffers for him as he did, the meaning of τὰ στίγματα cannot be restricted to the physical sense of sufferings since Jesus has experienced not only physical sufferings but also spiritual and mental anguish.87) When Jesus was crucified passersby derided him (ἐβλασφήμουν, Mt 27:39; Mk 15:29); “the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked him” (ἐμπαίζοντες, Mt 27:41; Mk 15:31); even the robbers on the cross reviled him (ὠνείδιζον, Mt 27:44; Mk 15:32). In addition Jesus was forsaken by God (ἐγκατέλιπες, Mt 27:46; Mk 15:34).88) All these passages suggest that Jesus’ sufferings are better understood holistically.89) Thus, even though the marks of Jesus on Paul’s body primarily refer to his physical wounds, they imply by extension all types of sufferings for Christ.

If τὰ στίγματα τοῦ Ἰησοῦ refer to all kinds of sufferings for Christ, what do these sufferings mean for Paul? Why does Paul describe himself as having τὰ στίγματα τοῦ Ἰησοῦ? For Paul suffering for Christ is to be like him and to be conformed to him. It is notable that Paul adopts the term βαστάζω. The literal meaning of this term is ‘to carry’ or ‘to bear away.’90) As βαστάζ is used with varied objects, the exact meaning can differ with each context.91) This term is used here with ‘the marks of Jesus’ which refer to the scars of persecution; Paul is carrying the marks of sufferings. It is noteworthy that βαστάζω is used when describing Jesus as bearing his own cross and our diseases (Jn 19:17; Mt 8:17); Jesus’ disciples as bearing their own cross (Lk 14:27).92) Paul may bear in mind Jesusʼ bearing the cross when he adopts the term βαστάζω.93) Acknowledging τὰ στίγματα as referring to all the persecution that Paul has endured for Jesus, Wenham says:

he [Paul] may more specifically be alluding to the physical wounds that Jesus received at his crucifixion (the beating, the nails, etc.) and saying that he, Paul, has been similarly wounded; he has himself been “crucified” for and with Christ (Gal 2:19; 6:14), and his body bears the marks that Jesusʼ body bore.94)

Since Paul understands his own bodily suffering as a ʻparticipation in the sufferings of Christ (2 Cor 1:5; 4:10; Phil 3:10; Col 1:24),ʼ 95) what Paul intends to say with 6:17b is that he suffers for Jesus as he (Jesus) did. As seen above, Paul does not adopt the term ʻimitatorʼ (μιμητής) here as he does in his other letters,96) he implicitly describes himself as being like Jesus Christ (2:19f; 4:13f; 5:24; 6:14).97) For this reason, perhaps for Paul, bearing the marks of Jesus is to be like him and to be conformed to him.98)

he discussion above suggests that what Paul means by τὰ στίγματα τοῦ Ἰησοῦ ἐν τῷ σώματί μου βαστάζω is that he bears Jesusʼ sufferings on his body. As seen earlier, Jesusʼ crucifixion shows how badly he was treated; people treated him like a troublesome slave. Nailing Jesus on the cross, they were humiliating and demeaning him. As such, Paul would understand Jesusʼ crucifixion and his passion as being branded by people like troublesome slaves were branded in his day (cf. 1 Cor 1:23). In this sense, it is notable that Paul describes Jesus as a slave in Philippians 2:7-8 (cf. Acts 3:13, 26).99) Jesus “made himself nothing, taking the form of a slave (μορφὴν δούλου λαβών)100) … [and he] humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”101) Paul suggests Jesus as the ultimate example of humility,102) which is seen in Paulʼs wish that all the Philippians have the same mind that Jesus had: “have this (mind) among yourselves, which is also in Christ Jesus” (τοῦτο φρονεῖτε ἐν ὑμῖν ὃ καὶ ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ, Phil 2:5).103) Jesus shows his ultimate humble obedience on the cross by giving his life up to death (Phil 2:8).104) Concerning this verse, Fee rightly points out that Paul “understood Jesus’ death not from the perspective of those who ‘crucified the Lord of glory’ (1 Cor 2:8) … but from the perspective of one who saw his death as an act of ‘obedience’ to the divine will.”105)

With the example of Jesus Paul says that he and the recipients should serve others with a humble mind. In other words, with the imperatival verb φρονεῖτε (ʻhave in mindʼ) Paul commands the recipients to be like Jesus. In the sense of demanding Jesusʼ mind, this command would be similar to that of imitating Jesus.106)

It is noteworthy that Philippians 2:1-8 is linked to the immediately preceding verses (1:29-30) with the conjunction οὖν (2:1), which suggests that to have the same mind with Jesus in serving others is one of the aspects of suffering for Jesus as seen in 1:29-30.107) As Paul commands the Philippians to have Jesusʼ mind that is humbly to take the role of a slave and Paul says that the Philippians were given “the privilege not only of believing in Christ, but of suffering for him as well” (1:29, NLT), what Paul says in 2:1-8 is that the Philippians should endure sufferings for Christ in serving others.

Thus, if we pull the threads together, Paul understands Jesus as taking the form of a slave and suffered and dying on the cross, which is well expressed in the phrase τὰ στίγματα τοῦ Ἰησοῦ. The reason why Paul says τὰ στίγματα τοῦ Ἰησοῦ ἐν τῷ σώματί μου βαστάζω is because he wants to show that he has Jesusʼ mind and follows him, imitating him.


IV. Conclusion

As discussed above, the term στίγμα denotes a mark branded (or tattooed) on a body. The ancient world practised this branding with various aims in different countries. Firstly, the mark identified the social status of a slave and the slaveʼs owner. Secondly, the mark was given to criminals, slaves who misbehaved and army deserters; in this case the mark was a symbol of punishment or dishonour. Thirdly, the mark distinguished a tribe as one group; for a religious devotee branding was a sacred mark protecting him. Fourthly, though the Jews were forbidden to brand their body, they were familiar with branding since the implicit notion of branding slaves was in the OT (Ex 21:6; Dt 15:16). The Jews were affected by the pagan countries; they arguably marked the cross on Jewish tombs; the Jews regard circumcision as a contrasting mark against Gentile στίγματα. Such diverse uses of στίγμα were generally regarded by Christians in the Middle Ages as the scars or wounds of the body, which were mysteriously given to those who were involved in the sufferings of Christ. Though it is unclear which custom Paul echoes for τὰ στίγματα in 6:17, the term most likely reflects branding of delinquent slaves since Paul uses the phrase τὰ στίγματα τοῦ Ἰησοῦ, which primarily refers to the marks of Jesusʼ passion and his crucifixion. In other words, just as the delinquent slave was whipped, beaten, and finally possessed, Jesus was treated as a troublesome slave by being whipped and beaten and crucified, and finally had a the mark of suffering στίγματα.

Although τὰ τοῦ στίγματα Ἰησου primarily refer to physical wounds on Paulʼs body, they also imply all sorts of sufferings for Christ. When Paul says that he bears τὰ τοῦ στίγματα Ἰησου in his body, it means that he is bearing ‘the suffering of Christ’ (or ‘the suffering for Christ’). In other words, just as Jesus was treated as a troublesome slave by people and humiliated on the cross, he wanted to show that he was being subjected to all sorts of persecutions, insults and humiliation for Jesus. By doing so, Paul is proving himself to be following Jesus and walking down the path he had walked.108)


Notes
2) The phrase τοῦ λοιποῦ is rendered into ʻfrom now onʼ (KJV; NRSV; ESV; NASB; NLT); ʻhenceforthʼ (ASV; RSV); ʻfinallyʼ (NIV). L. Morris, Galatians: Paul’s Charter of Christian Freedom (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1996), 190, rightly points out that τοῦ λοιποῦ “indicates that Paul has come to the end of his argument. We might perhaps translate the words as ‘in conclusion’.” See also Burton, Galatians, 360; Betz, Galatians, 323; R. N. Longenecker, Galatians (Waco: Word Books, 1990), 299; T. R. Schreiner, Galatians: Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2010), 383.
3) As the purpose of this study is not to examine the meaning of the whole of 6:17, it seems necessary to discuss it in a separate study. But briefly speaking, since there is a scholarly consensus that the closing section of Galatians sums up the whole letter, if Galatians 6:17 is the conclusion of the closing section, this is very important because it may be the conclusion of the whole letter consequently.
4) R. P. Martin, “στίγμα,” NIDNTT, 2:572-73.
6) Walter, “στίγμα,” 3:276.
8) Betz, “στίγμα,” 7:659-60. E.g. the Egyptians, those of Pontus, the Dacians, the Samatians, the Thracians, some tribes in Ethiopia.
10) W. L. Westermann, The Slave Systems of Greek and Roman Antiquity (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 1955), 45; Siwek, “Stigmatizaion,” 13:711; Huehnergard and Liebowitz, “The Biblical Prohibition,” 73. It is said that “if a servant of any man takes refuge there and is branded with certain sacred marks, delivering himself to the god, he may not be touched” (see Hdt. Hist. 2, 113). See also Philo, Spec. Laws 1:58.
11) Walter, “στίγμα,” 3:276.
12) Betz, “στίγμα,” 7:660. See also J. H. Moulton, “The Marks of Jesus,” ExpTim 21 (1910), 284; Jones, “Stigma,” 144; Pobee, Persecution and Martyrdom, 94. See also 3 Macc 2:29.
13) I. Mendelsohn, Slavery in the Ancient Near East (New York: Oxford University Press, 1946; Reprinted; Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1978), 49, points out that although the slave mark is mentioned in many ancient documents, it is also true that ʻthe greater number of the documents relating to slaves both in Ancient and in Neo-Babylonia do not mention it.ʼ On the basis of this, Mendelsohn goes on to say “this [fact] forces upon us the conclusion that the slave mark, to which, according to the law, all slaves were subject, was primarily impressed upon those slaves who showed a tendency to run away.” Thus, he says “the practice of marking slaves does not warrant the conclusion that every slave was marked.” Nevertheless, it seems certain that slaves have ʻa slave markʼ on them according to the Hammurabiʼs Code of Laws §226. Thus, Walter, “στίγμα,” 3:276 says “identification of slaves with brands was an established custom only in the Orient.”
14) Betz, “στίγμα,” 7:659.
15) Ibid. See also Mendelsohn, Slavery in the Ancient Near East, 43-45; C. H. W. Johns, “Babylonian Law―The Code of Hammurabi,” Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th ed. (1910-1911). Available from http://faeriekeeper.net/PDF/government16a.pdf (Accessed March 13, 2014); L. W. King, Hammurabiʼs Code of Laws (1997), §127, §146, §226, §227, §265. Available from http://eawc.evansville.edu/anthology/hammurabi.htm (Accessed March 13, 2014). For the use of στίγμα in ancient Egypt, see A. Stewart and G. Long, Plutarchʼs Lives, Vol. 2, 4 vols. (London: George Bell and Sons, 1899), 452-53.
16) Jones, “Stigma,” 141. D. B. Martin, Slavery as Salvation: The Metaphor of Slavery in Pauline Christianity (New York: Yale University Press, 1990), 1-49, says “the term slave often conjures up for the modern reader images of permanently destitute agricultural and household workers, but there is no reason to believe that ancient persons understood the term in the same way” (1). Pointing out the fact that slaves in the Greco-Roman world could have all sorts of jobs (managerial slaves, educated slaves and slaves who were trained in skills were regarded as middle-level slaves) and ranked in status depending on their ownersʼ wealth, class in society or local power, he says “the slave of a shoemaker likely had little status, but the slave of a local power broker or of a respected aristocrat could in turn hold considerable power and respect. A slave of Caesar was even higher, potentially holding power and enjoying an informal status rivalling important free provincials” (49). See also Barrier, “Marks of Oppression,” 354-55.
17) Walter, “στίγμα,” 3:276; Betz, “στίγμα,” 7:659. Similarly, Betz says this oriental practice was adopted ‘in the later imperial period.’ See also Jones, “Stigma,” 155.
18) Jones, “Stigma,” 145.
19) M. J. Harris, Slave of Christ: A New Testament Metaphor for Total Devotion to Christ (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1999), 33-45, says “Leic [slaves] were sometimes more highly educated than their owners and held responsible professional positions; ... they were not denied the right of public assembly and were not socially segregated (at least in the cities); they could accumulate savings to buy their freedom; their natural inferiority was not assumed” (44). See also Martin, Slavery as Salvation, 1-49.
20) Jones, “Stigma,” 147-50, says penal tattooing was practised among the Greeks and Romans for troublesome slaves, criminals and prisoners of war. See also Siwek, “Stigmatizaion,” 13:771; Walter, “στίγμα,” 3:276; Martin, “στίγμα,” 2:572. S. Joshel, Slavery in the Roman World (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010), 119, says “troublesome slaves were marked on their faces with brands or, more likely, tattoos to identify them and the ‘crimes’ for which they had been marked.” See also K. M. McGeough, The Romans: New Perspectives (Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2004), 142-43.
21) See Jones, “Stigma,” 147-48.
22) Betz, “στίγμα,” 7:658. It is said that “not all these punishments [for those of honourable rank] were for serious offences, but merely for criticising one of his [Caligula] shows, or for never having sworn by his Genius.” See Suet. Cal., 27, 3 (C. Suetonius Tranquillus, The Lives of the Twelve Casears, J. C. Rolfe, tr. [London: Heinemann, 1913]). Available from http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/ Roman/Texts/Suetonius/12Caesars/Caligula*.html (Accessed March 20, 2014).
23) Betz, “στίγμα,” 7:658; Walter, “στίγμα,” 3:276. Jones, “Stigma,” 142-43, says “because tattooing usually signified degradation, there are many references to its removal” (143).
24) J. Schneider, “σταυρός,” TDNT, 7:572; M. Hengel, Crucifixion in the Ancient World and the Folly of the Message of the Cross (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1977), 39-45, 86-90, says crucifixion was rarely imposed on a Roman citizen only “in case of serious crime and high treason” (39).
25) Hengel, Crucifixion, 87, says the main reason for crucifixion was “its allegedly supreme efficacy as a deterrent; it was, of course, carried out publicly ... [it] satisfied the primitive lust for revenge and the sadistic cruelty of individual rulers and of the masses. It was usually associated with other form of torture, including at least flogging.” Cf. J. Murphy-OʼConnor, “‘Even Death on a Cross’: Crucifixion in the Pauline Letters” in The Cross in Christian Tradition: From Paul to Bonaventure, E. A. Dreyer, ed. (New York: Paulist Press, 2000), 21-22.
27) The term στίγμα is understood as ‘a little ball or point on a piece of jewelry’ (see Betz, “στίγμα,” 7:660; Martin, “στίγμα,” 2:572).
28) Betz, “στίγμα,” 7:660.
29) Martin, “στίγμα,” 2:572; Betz, “στίγμα,” 7:660-61. D. I. Block, The Book of Ezekiel: Chapters 1-24 (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997), 307, says “in the archaic cursive script it [Taw] had the shape of X or a cross ... [which] was to serve as a distinguishing mark to separate the righteous from the wicked. Like the blood on the doorposts of the Israelites’ houses on the night of the Passover (Ex 12) and the scarlet cord in Rahab’s window (Jo 2:18-21; 6:22-25), it was a sign (cf. LXX, τὸ σημεῖον) of hope.” See also, J. L. Teicher, “The Christian Interpretation of the Sign X in the Isaiah Scroll,” VT 5 (1955): 193-98. Cf. I. Sonne, “The X-Sign in the Isaiah Scroll,” VT 4 (1954): 91-92.
30) See C. Roth, “Tattoo,” EncJud, 15:832; Huehnergard and Liebowitz, “The Biblical Prohibition,” 74-76; m. Mak. 21a (“R. Simeon B. Judah says in the name of R. Simeon [B. Yohai] that he is not liable until he has written there the name [the name of an idol]”). Cf. m. Mak. 3:6. See also Tg. Onq. Lev 19:28; Tg. Neof. Lev 19:28.
31) Martin, “στίγμα,” 2:572.
32) Betz, “στίγμα,” 7:661.
33) Huehnergard and Liebowitz, “The Biblical Prohibition,” 71.
34) Betz, “στίγμα,” 7:661; Martin, “στίγμα,” 2:573.
35) Martin, “στίγμα,” 2:573.
36) Walter, “στίγμα,” 3:277.
37) Betz, “στίγμα,” 7:662.
38) For further evidence of this practice, see R. H. Smith, “The Cross Marks on Jewish Ossuaries,” PEQ 106 (1974): 53-66. Smith shows various evidence that putting cross marks on Palestinian ossuaries was practised, although he says “the crude cross marks on ossuaries are non-religious in nature” (66).
39) Jones, “Stigma,” 155, says whereas penal branding was common in the Middle Ages, “tattooing, [probably on the wrist] was known as a living tradition only to travellers.” See also B. P. Pratten, tr., The Acts of Sharbil, A. Roberts, J. Donaldson and A. C. Coxe, eds. (Buffalo: Christian Literature Publishing, 1886). Around AD 330, Roman Emperor Constantine I forbade tattooing on the face allowing it on hands or calves (Jones, “Stigma,” 148, quotes part of Cod. Theod. 9.40.2 [ʻquo facies, quae ad similitudinem pulchritudinis caelestis est figurata, minime maculetur,ʼ which means “so that the face, which has been formed in the image of the divine beauty, should be defiled as little as possible”]). See also J. A. Fisher, “Tattooing the Body, Marking Culture,” BS 8 (2002): 93.
40) V. Turner, “Bodily Marks,” EncRel, 2:274.
41) L. Mödl, “Stigma,” RPP, 12:284, says “with this [Gal 6:17] as a point of departure, medieval passion mysticism began to use the term stigmata for scars on hands, feet, and beside the heart, whether involuntarily visible (authentic stigmata) or only felt (inauthentic stigmata) by highly (auto)suggestive individuals involved in intense passion piety.”
42) Betz, “στίγμα,” 7:664, goes on to say that the stigmata of Christ refer to ‘the nail prints, the wound in the side, and more rarely the marks of the crown of thorns, the scourging, and bearing the cross.’
44) Jones, “Stigma,” 147, points out the fact that the delinquent slaves were often runaways in the ancient world.
45) The meaning of τὰ στίγματα in Galatians 6:17 will be dealt with in detail later.
46) Although it is probable that the Jews understood Paulʼs being lashed and beaten in a negative sense; Paul regarded his suffering for Christ as his slave in a positive sense. See J. Byron, “Paul and the Background of Slavery: The Status Quaestionis in New Testament Scholarship,” CBR 3 (2004): 121-23.
47) Nickell, Looking for a Miracle, 219.
49) Warfield, Miracles, 84-94.
50) Bligh, Galatians, 496.
53) G. A. Deissmann, Bible Studies: Contributions Chiefly from Papyri and Inscriptions to the History of the Language, the Literature and the Religion of Hellenistic Judaism and Primitive Christianity. 2nd ed. (Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1909), 349-60. See also Pobee, Persecution and Martyrdom, 94. Deissman says “the βαστάζειν of a particular amulet associated with a god acts as a charm against the κόπους παρέχειν on the part of an adversary” (358).
54) Deissmann, Bible Studies, 350-52, suggests some passages as evidence for the protective-marks: Is 44:51, Ez 9:2, Lv 19:27f, 21:5f, Dt 14:1. He goes on to say that this view is in line with the thought of B. Stade who argued about Cainʼs protective -mark. See B. Stade, “Beiträge zur Pentateuchkritik,” ZAW 14 (1894): 250-318.
55) Deissmann, Bible Studies, 350-58, esp. 352.
57) Pobee, Persecution and Martyrdom, 94.
58) E. Dinkler, “Jesu Wort vom Kreuztrage,” in Neutestamentliche Studien für R. Bultmann, BZNW 21 (1954), 110-29, says “Gal 6:17, wo Paulus auf die stigmata τοῦ Ἰησοῦ ἐν τῷ σώματί μου hindeutet und wo nicht auf die Narben des Leidens, sondern auf eine körperliche Signierung mit dem Zeichen Χ(ristoj) verwiesen wird” (125). He goes on to say that “Es ist m.E. nicht widerlegbar, daß das Kreuzzeichen als Tav und als Chi schon in der urchristlichen Zeit mit der Taufe verbunden war und als eschatologisches Siegel verwendet wurde” (126). See also Pobee, Persecution and Martyrdom, 95; Weima, “Gal 6:11-18,” 97-98.
59) Block, The Book of Ezekiel, 307, says “Taw is the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet. In the archaic cursive script it had the shape of an X or a cross, a form that remained essentially unchanged from the early stages of the evolution of the alphabet until the adoption of the square Aramaic script. It is preserved to this day in Western scripts as T.”
60) Betz, “στίγμα,” 7:662.
61) Ibid., 7:663; Martin, “στίγμα,” 2:572-73.
62) Pobee, Persecution and Martyrdom, 95, also points out that Dinklerʼs thesis cannot explain why the plural τὰ στίγματα is used in Galatians 6:17.
63) E. Hirsch, “Zwei Fragen zu Gal. 6,” ZNW 29 (1930): 192-97, says that “wenn man will, kann man das mit dem alten Bericht erläutern, daß Paulus durch die ihn blitzartig überfallende Erscheinung vorübergehend geblendet worden sei, Acts 9:8, und die Hypothese bilden, daß er davon eine ihn immer wieder überfallende Krankheit an den Augen dauernd zurückbehalten habe. Dann gewänne diese Nachricht, die ich bisher immer als legendär beurteilt habe, auf einmal ein Zeugnis bei Paulus selbst” (196). He goes on to say that “diese Erklärung stößt aber auf die Schwierigkeit, daß nach dem von mir als authentisch paulinisch nachgewiesenen Bericht Act 26:13, 14 alle Begleiter des Paulus mit von dem Licht auf den Boden geworfen worden sind. So bleibe ich lieber bei dem unbestimmteren Allgemeinen stehen, daß die Bekehrung des Paulus einen körperlichen Zusammenbruch und eine dauernde von uns nicht näher bestimmbare körperliche Schädigung des Paulus hervorgerufen hat” (196-97).
64) Concerning the expression in Galatians 4:15b, OʼNeill, amongst others, understands it as a literal meaning, although they also acknowledge it as a literary expression. J. C. OʼNeill, The Recovery of Paulʼs Letter to the Galatians (London: SPCK, 1972), 60-61; Betz, Galatians, 228; Dunn, Galatians, 234-36. Whereas, Fung, amongst others, notes that it is an expression of deep affection which ‘represents the yielding up of one’s most precious possessions’ (Fung, Galatians, 199; Burton, Galatians, 241-44; Bruce, Galatians, 209-11; Longenecker, Galatians, 193; Martyn, Galatians, 421).
66) Bruce, Galatians, 276; Pobee, Persecution and Martyrdom, 95. Pobee notes that eye trouble cannot explain the plural of τὰ στίγματα.
67) O’Neill, Galatians, 82-83.
68) Wallace says that “the imperative is commonly used to forbid an action ... μή (or a cognate) is used before the imperative to turn the command into a prohibition. Almost all instances in the NT involve the present tense.” See D. B. Wallace, Greek Grammar beyond the Basics: An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1997), 487.
69) Lightfoot, Galatians, 225; Adeney, Thessalonians and Galatians, 339; Moulton, “The Marks of Jesus,” 283; Burton, Galatians, 360; Bruce, Galatians, 276; Cousar, Galatians, 151; Pobee, Persecution and Martyrdom, 95; Fung, Galatians, 313; A. B. Du Toit, “Alienation and Re-Identification as Pragmatic Strategies in Galatians,” Neot 26 (1992): 294; Longenecker, Galatians, 300; Dunn, Galatians, 347; B. S. Davis, “The Meaning of ΠΡΟΕΓΡΑΠΗ in the Context of Galatians 3.1,” NTS 45 (1999), 208-9.
70) Adeney, Thessalonians and Galatians, 339; C. J. Ellicott, A Critical and Grammatical Commentary on St. Paulʼs Epistle to the Galatians, with a Revised Translation (Boston: Crosby, Nichols, Lee, 1860), 155; H. A. W. Meyer, Critical and Exegetical Handbook to the Epistles to the Galatians, G. H. Venables, tr. (Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1873), 353; A. Hovey, An American Commentary on the New Testament (Philadelphia: American Baptist Publication Society, 1890, 78; G. S. Duncan, The Epistle of Paul to the Galatians (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1948), 194; Burton, Galatians, 360; R. C. H. Lenski, The Interpretation of St. Paulʼs Epistle to the Galatians, Ephesians and Philippians (Minnesota: Augsburg Publishing House, 1961), 322; R. A. Cole, Galatians, 2nd ed. (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1965; Reprinted 2008), 240; D. Guthrie, Galatians (London: Nelson, 1969), 163; Hendriksen, Galatians, 248; H. D. McDonald, Freedom in Faith: A Commentary on Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians (New Jersey: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1973), 156-57; Betz, Galatians, 325; Bruce, Galatians, 276; Pobee, Persecution and Martyrdom, 95; Longenecker, Galatians, 300; Morris, Galatians, 191; Martyn, Galatians, 568; Witherington, Grace in Galatia, 454; D. Thomas, Galatians (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 2004), 164; S. Jones, Crossway Bible Guides: Discovering Galatians (Nottingham: InterVarsity, 2007), 137; J. K. Hardin, Galatians and the Imperial Cult: A Critical Analysis of the First-Century Social Context of Paul’s Letter (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2008), 98; Schreiner, Galatians, 384. Scholars point specifically to the stoning at Lystra (Acts 14:6-21). Hardin, J. K. Galatians and the Imperial Cult: A Critical Analysis of the First-Century Social Context of Paul’s Letter. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2008.
71) Dunn, Galatians, 347; Fung, Galatians, 314. Cf. P. Siber, Mit Christus Leben, ATANT 61 (Zürich: Theologischer Verlag, 1971), 110-16. Betz, Galatians, 324-25, asserts that though the word μιμητής (ʻimitatorʼ) does not appear in Galatians (cf. 1 Cor 4:16; 11:1; Eph 5:1; Phil 3:17; 1 Thes 1:6; 2:14), Paul alludes to being an imitator of Jesus Christ (2:19; 4:13; 5:24; 6:14).
72) Guthrie, Galatians, 163. Concerning this parallel, Guthrie says that it seems obvious that Paul uses different expressions to speak of the same thing; thus, τὰ στίγματα refers to the bodily wounds of persecution.
73) Betz, Galatians, 325. D. Wenham, Paul: Follower of Jesus or Founder of Christianity? (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1995), 365, points out the significance of the verb that is used to refer to bearing the cross (John 19:17; 14:27) and also ‘bearing the sins of others’ (Isa 53:4).
74) Hardin, Galatians and the Imperial Cult, 98, n. 61.
75) Cole, Galatians, 186, says “stoning and flogging, ... would leave unmistakable scars of suffering, gladly endured for Christ’s sake that marked out their bearer as Christ’s man.” See also Burton, Galatians, 361; Bruce, Galatians, 276; Pobee, Persecution and Martyrdom, 95; Fung, Galatians, 314. Scholars use differing expressions for being Christ’s man: slave of Jesus (Burton), apostle of Christ (Pobee) and ‘the new eschatological sign marking the Church as the true circumcision and the new Israel’ (Fung).
76) Weima, “Gal 6:11-18,” 99, convincingly and more specifically notes that the phrase τὰ στίγματα τοῦ Ἰησου mainly functions to contrast “the persecution willingly experienced by Paul with the persecution deliberately avoided by his ‘mark-less’ opponents.”
77) Cousar, Galatians, 149.
78) Betz, Galatians, 324.
80) Pobee, Persecution and Martyrdom, 95. Dunn, Galatians, 347, says “the allusion to the death of the man Jesus is probably heightened by the unusual use of Jesusʼ personal name, without any title (Lord or Christ); cf. particularly 2 Cor 4:10-12, and the echo of an early resurrection formula in Rom 8:11, 1 Thess 1:10 and 4:14.”
81) Paul rarely uses Jesus’ personal name alone not just in all his other letters but also in Galatians; Galatians 6:17 is the only case where Paul uses Jesus’ personal name alone (cf. Gal 1:1; 3:14; 5:24; 6:14, 18).
82) Dunn, Galatians, 347. Harris, Slave of Christ, 87, says that the title ‘Lord’ refers to Jesus’ deity, ‘Christ’ to his messiahship and ‘Jesus’ to his humanity.
83) C. Wolff, “Humility and Self-Denial in Jesusʼ Life and Message and in the Apostolic Existence of Paul,” in Paul and Jesus, A. J. M. Wedderburn, ed. (Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1989), 156, says that the name Ἰησοῦς “clearly shows the reference to the crucifixion; by the wounds and scars which he has incurred through the punishment inflicted by his persecutors he shows that he belongs to the crucified one.” See also S. Kim, Paul and the New Perspective: Second Thoughts on The Origin of Paul’s Gospel (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2002), 228, 281; Wenham, Paul: Follower of Jesus, 364, n. 78.
84) Pobee, Persecution and Martyrdom, 95.
85) Wenham, Paul: Follower of Jesus, 364; Wolff, “Humility and Self-Denial,” 156.
86) Cole, Galatians, 186; Guthrie, Galatians, 162; Betz, Galatians, 325; Pobee, Persecution and Martyrdom, 95; Longenecker, Galatians, 300.
87) For being an imitator of Jesus, see below.
88) Peter also says that ‘when he [Jesus] was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten’ (1 Pt 2:23).
89) Wenham, Paul: Follower of Jesus, 365. Concerning Jesusʼ sufferings, Wenham rightly points out that Paul does not regard only Jesusʼ physical sufferings but also ʻthe insults that fell on him.ʼ He goes on to say that Paulʼs saying in 1 Cor 4:12 (ʻwhen reviled, we blessʼ) may recall Jesusʼ sufferings.
90) W. Stenger, “βαστάζω,” EDNT, 1:208-209; F. Büchsel, “βαστάζω,” TDNT, 1:596.
91) Stenger, “βαστάζω,” 1:208-209.
92) Ibid.
93) Betz, Galatians, 325. Pointing out the use of βαστάζω in Luke 14:27 and John 19:17 with the term σταυρός, Betz says “βαστάζω [in Gal 6:17b] seems to allude to the ‘bearing of the cross’.” Schreiner, Galatians, 383, states more strongly that “the use of the word ‘bear’ (βαστάζω) confirms that the cross is in view.” Wenham, Paul: Follower of Jesus, 364-65, n. 79, says “it is the verb that is used … in Isa 53:4 of the suffering servant bearing the sins of others.”
94) Wenham, Paul: Follower of Jesus, 364-65, also says that the marks of Jesus validates Paulʼs loyalty to Christ and his gospel (365). See also Martyn, Galatians, 568; Witherington, Grace in Galatia, 454.
95) See Wenham, Paul: Follower of Jesus, 364.
96) 1 Cor 4:16; 11:1; Phil 3:17; 1 Thes 1:6; 2:14. Cf. Eph 5:1.
97) See Betz, Galatians, 325.
98) The present indicative βαστάζω suggests that Paul always attempts to conform to Christ Jesus. D. Mitternacht, “A Structure of Persuasion in Galatians: Epistolary and Rhetorical Appeal in an Aural Setting,” ATS 9 (2007), 87, describes Paulʼs bearing the marks of Jesus as “Paulʼs imitatio Christi Crucifixi (ʻimitation of crucified Christʼ).”
99) Cf. Rom 15:8-9a as Paul says “I tell you that Christ became a slave to the circumcised to show Godʼs truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy.” Strictly speaking, Paul may be aware of Jesusʼ teaching about being a slave and humble service of others as seen in the Gospels: Mt 18:14; 20:20-28; 23:12; Mk 9:35; 10:35-45; Lk 22:24-27; 14:11; 18:14; Jn 13:1-11. Pointing out that ʻthe theme of humility and serviceʼ is also found in Paulʼs letters (Rom 12:10, 16; 15:1-4; 1 Cor 9:19, 22; 10:33-11:1; 2 Cor 4:5; 11:7; Gal 5:13c; Phil 2:2-9), Wenham says “the similarity of the Pauline teaching to the Jesus-traditions is unmistakable.” Wenham, Paul: Follower of Jesus, 266-71, esp. 268.
100) Although Jesusʼ taking ʻthe form (or nature) of a slaveʼ (μορφὴν δούλου) is interpreted in various ways, Fee, amongst others, says Paulʼs emphasis in this phrase “lies primarily on the servant nature of Christʼs incarnation. He entered our history not as kyrios (‘Lord’), which name he acquires at his vindication (vv. 9-11), but as doulos (‘slave’), a person without advantages, with no rights or privileges, but in servanthood to all” (G. D. Fee, “Philippians 2:5-11: Hymn or Exalted Pauline Prose?,” BBR 2 (1992): 211-13, esp. 212-13). Michael, Philippians, 91, says “the word rendered servant is the common word for slave, and points to the completeness of Christʼs surrender to the will of God.” See also Bruce, Philippians, 69-70; Hawthorne, Philippians, 118. Cf. C. F. D. Moule, “Further Reflections on Philippians 2:5-11,” in Apostolic History and the Gospel: Biblical and Historical Essays Presented to F. F. Bruce, W. W. Gasque and R. P. Martin, eds. (Exeter: The Paternoster Press, 1970), 268.
101) See the various interpretations on the meaning of ‘making himself nothing’ (ἑαυτὸν ἐκένωσεν) in Philippians 2:7; R. P. Martin, A Hymn of Christ: Philippians 2:5-11 in Recent Interpretation & in the Setting of Early Christian Worship (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1997), 165-96; OʼBrien, Philippians, 268-71; Hawthorne, Philippians, 116-17; G. W. Hansen, The Letter to the Philippians (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2009), 146-53. OʼBrien says the verb κενόω ʻconveys the nuance of humiliationʼ (269).
102) OʼBrien, Philippians, 45, 227. Mooʼs comment is notable as he says though the phrase “‘a servant of Christ Jesus’ carries honourable aspects of being the servant of God, the nuance of not only humility but also devotion and obedience is always present (see D. J. Moo, The Epistle to the Romans [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1996], 41).
103) Paul uses the term μιμητής and its equivalent to encourage the believers to be imitators of God (Eph 5:1), the Lord (1 Thess 1:6), churches of God (1 Thes 2:14) or himself (1 Cor 4:16; 11:1; Phil 3:17; 1 Thes 1:6; cf. 2 Thes 3:7, 9).
104) See G. D. Fee, “Philippians,” 44; Hansen, Philippians, 155.
105) Fee, Philippians, 216.
106) Paul often says “be imitators of me, as I am also of Christ” (see 1 Cor 11:1; 4:16; Phil 3:17; cf. Eph 5:1; 1 Thes 1:6; 2:14). Although Paul does not use the ʻimitationʼ language in Philippians 2:1-18, he shows that not only himself but also Timothy and Epaphroditus are already following Jesusʼ humble example in serving the Philippians (Phil 2:17; 2:19-30). The fact that Paul uses ʻimitatingʼ language in Philippians 3:17 suggests that Paul bears in mind this when he wrote this letter.
107) This connection suggests that serving others as a slave of Christ Jesus who became a slave is suffering for Christ. Thus, in Philippians 2:1-18 Paul calls the believers to be slaves of Christ for the sake of Christ (Phil 1:29). M. J. Gorman, Cruciformity: Paulʼs Narrative Spirituality of the Cross (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2001), 221, says “the metaphor of slavery is hardly surprising in light of the connections between Christʼs death and the servanthood or slavery motif in Paulʼs understanding and experience of Christ (e.g., Phil 2:6-8). Furthermore, as we have seen, Paul saw himself as a slave not only of Christ but of those to whom he and his colleagues ministered (e.g., 2 Cor 4:5, ‘your slaves for Jesus sake’). To be a slave, then is to follow in the footsteps of Christ and of his apostle.”
108) Earlier, it is mentioned that in Galatians 6:17 Paul suggests τὰ στίγματα τοῦ Ἰησου as a reason why the Galatians should stop troubling himself. For further study, it seems necessary to discuss why Paul testifies himself as bearing the marks of suffering, insults and humiliation for Jesus Christ and how these marks can be a ground for his command (“let no one cause me trouble”).

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