ABSTRACT

As Bishop of Carthage in the mid-third century, Cyprian was responsible for uniting his flock and keeping them on the path to salvation in the midst of persecution, schism, and plague. Cyprian turned to the Scriptures to answer the questions raised by these crises, and the way he applied them to his own situation reveals the interplay of theology and exegesis. This is particularly evident in his use of Galatians, which is strikingly different from that of modern interpreters. This article examines all of Cyprian's quotations of and allusions to Galatians through the lens of his dominant pastoral concerns: the unity and uniqueness of the church and her sacraments, care for the poor and captive, the necessity of discipline and repentance, and the contrast between present privation and future reward. It categorizes the reading strategies he uses as models, images, maxims, direct application, and indirect application. Cyprian's use of Galatians highlights his paraenetic concern as well as the variety of ways he applies Scripture to the needs of his congregation, exploring different aspects of its meaning. It also makes evident the interplay between his pastoral concerns, his theology, and the text. This is seen not only in the verses he does use but also in those he does not, as he demonstrates a pronounced aversion to quoting verses that cast the law in a negative light.

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