John J. Pilch

Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Antonio Gaboury


At three places in his letter to the Galatians, Paul refers to a personal experience which he reports with the Greek word, apokalypto apokalypsis. "For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not man's gospel. For I did not receive it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through a revelation of Jesus Christ." (Gal 1:11-12) And again: "But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and had called me through his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not confer with flesh and blood ... " (Gal 1:15-16) Finally: " I went up [t.o Jerusalem] by revelation." (Gal 2:2)

Translators--as in the RSV just cited--unanimously render the Greek apokalypto apokalypsis by the English "reveal/ revelation. " Exegetes accept the translation and seek to discover the manner and content of the revelation. In Galatians it has often been assumed that Paul is describing the very same experience which Luke presented three times in Acts (9:3-6; 22:6-10; and 26: 13-18). Only recently have scholars begun to study the lucan and pauline accounts separately in order to evaluate each on its own merits.

In addition, some scholars consider Paul's "revelation" in Galatians to be in some way "eschatological" or "apocalyptic" because the Greek word he uses is most frequently found in eschatological and/or apocalyptic universes of discourse elsewhere in the scriptures. The specific studies surveyed in Chapter One of this dissertation illustrate this opinion. These scholars seem to have been guided by Bauer's observation that "in our literature [New Testament and sub-apostolic] the word occurs only in the applied [''theological'] sense."

Perhaps results of previous studies of revelation in Paul might have been different if Bauer's observation had been tested and not simply accepted. Perhaps some of the meanings listed by Liddell and Scott for apokalypto apokalypsis in Greek literature in general--other than "revelation"--might be applicable to areas of the pauline letters as well. This curiosity is at least a partial reason for the present study.

More importantly. a fresh study of apokalyp- in Galatians 1-2 can be warranted by the application of a method frequently cited by exegetes but rarely defined with precision or unanimity: viz .• structuralism. Chapter Two attempts to describe the method as applied in linguistics and in biblical studies and concludes with a tentative explanation of how the method might prove more effective in its application to scripture, specifically to Paul.

The format of the dissertation accords with the style sheet for contributors to the Catholic Biblical Quarterly (cf. The Catholic Biblical Quarterly 33 (1971) 85-88). References to periodicals in the footnotes are cited according to the abbreviations listed by the CBQ. Complete bibliographical references are listed in the final bibliography.



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