The structure, flow, and logic of Paul's argumentation in Galatians continues to be a subject of debate as scholars seek to read Paul's statements about the law, works of the law, and other aspects of Judaism within a framework that appreciates both the diverse nature of first-century Judaism and Paul's appropriation of his own Jewish heritage. Scholars have also sought to read Paul's letter to the Galatians in light of first-century Greco-Roman rhetorical strategies and conventions. This essay contributes to these discussions by looking at Galatians from an angle that has not yet been considered: the first-century A.D. progymnasmata exercise on the introduction and refutation of a law (νόμου εἰσφορά). This specific compositional exercise drew on the skills mastered in earlier exercises as students utilized compositional and rhetorical skills to persuade the reader (an imaginary audience) to enact or abandon a particular law based on the topics of legality, possibility, advantage, and appropriateness. By reading Galatians through the lens of this particular exercise, it is possible to appreciate the extent to which Paul utilized conventional forms of argumentation about the application of existing laws. This sort of reading contributes to a thicker description of Paul's use of elements of ancient rhetoric.

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