Face in Galatians: 'Boasting in the Cross' as Reconfigured Honour in Paul's Letter

  • David Harvey

Student thesis: Phd


This thesis uses a model of honour to make sense of Paul's response to the situation in Galatians as he describes it in Galatians 6.12-15. We argue that the use of εὐpieροsigmaωpieέω at 6.12, and its close proximity to kappaalphaυχάομalphaι in the following verses, highlights that honour concern is present in this situation. We assess this by considering face, a term used by social theorists to describe the 'self as it appears to others', and facework, the strategies for maintaining and managing such - this is considered both as a social-scientific model and as a concept within ancient Mediterranean culture. This argument holds that Paul contradicts the opponents' seeking of 'good face' (εὐpieροsigmaωpieέω) as it is in direct contrast to what we term God's 'prosopagnosia' - pieρόsigmaωpieον [ὁ] θεὸς ἀνθρώpieου οὐ Gammaalphaμβάνει (2.6), and to his own position, which is to 'boast in the cross' (6.14). We read the idea of the boast in the cross as Paul's attempt to reconfigure honour within the Christian assemblies of Galatia, a reconfiguring that centralises Christ's disregard for common perceptions of honour, exemplified in his crucifixion. This approach then makes sense of Paul's autobiographical data as his own attempt to model Christ's 'prosopagnosia' and similarly reads the data in 5.13-6.10 as Paul's exhortation that the community live in this manner.
Date of Award1 Aug 2017
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorPeter Oakes (Supervisor) & Daniel Langton (Supervisor)


  • Face
  • p?st?? ???st??
  • faith
  • biography
  • e?p??s?p??
  • p??s?p??
  • ?a????µa?
  • Conflict
  • Honor
  • Galatians
  • New Testament
  • Paul
  • Social Scientific
  • Honour
  • Social-Science
  • Boasting

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