Date of Award

Spring 2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Religious Studies

First Advisor

Orlov, Andrei A.

Second Advisor

Cover, Michael B.

Third Advisor

Dempsey, Deirdre A.


This dissertation investigates the origin and persistence of evil in Galatians within the context of Second Temple Judaism and early Christianity. The focus of investigation is narrative explanation(s) for evil. What story and/or stories were told to explain the original cause of evil and why it persists in the present? The study begins with a history of research that separates current scholarly accounts of Paul’s view of evil into two broad categories, Adamic template and Christological novum. According to the Adamic template, evil originates in Adam’s sin and persists in human rebellion in the likeness of the Protoplast. According to the Christological novum, Paul’s view of evil is merely a reflex of his Christology. My research challenges both categories.I make four claims about evil in Paul, Second Temple Judaism, and early Christianity. First, Paul’s argument in Galatians, especially Gal 3:19–4:11, is informed by Enochic tradition (chapters two and five). In Galatians Paul’s view of evil is based on the Enochic narrative of rebellious angels. Second, among first century Jews, Adamic and Enochic traditions were not separated as inherently incompatible narrative explanations of evil (chapter three). Jewish authors commonly cited multiple traditions to articulate their theology of evil, producing a mixed template. Third, the function of Adamic and Enochic traditions are determined by the contexts in which they appear (chapters three and four). Adamic tradition, for example, does not indicate that evil is an essentially human problem from start to finish that absolves God (chapter three). Likewise, Enochic tradition does not blame superhuman forces for evil and abdicate human responsibility (chapter four). These traditions do not conform to strict patterns of meaning in the ways that modern scholarship often assumes. Fourth, an Enochic reading of Galatians 3:19–4:11 is supported by the early reception of Paul (chapter six). Among second century Christian apologists, especially Justin Martyr, Paul’s arguments in Galatians are redeployed and explicitly combined with an Enochic narrative.

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