oa Conspectus : The Journal of the South African Theological Seminary - The role of the doctrine of Trinitarian worship in Paul's dispute with the Judaizers : Galatians 4:6 and Philippians 3:3 as test cases

Volume 14, Issue 09
  • ISSN : 1996-8167



Paul's dispute with the Judaizers primarily centred on the soteriological implications of the 'works of the law', specifically, whether the circumcision of males, participation in Jewish festivals, and eating of food were preconditions for salvation. However, several aspects of Paul's arguments indicate that there were secondary areas of divergence from these Jewish opponents, which, when taken together with the primary issue, have important implications for understanding the theological bases of the 'parting of the ways' between Christianity and Judaism. One such secondary issue is reflected in Paul's appeal to Trinitarian worship as part of his denunciation of the Judaizers. After a brief summary of the dimensions of Paul's dispute with the Judaizers, this article sets out definitional criteria for identifying references to Trinitarian worship as Paul conceptualized it in his letters. It then demonstrates that Galatians 4:6 and Philippians 3:3 are test cases describing the role of the doctrine of Trinitarian worship in the dispute. It concludes by enumerating the implications of the findings to the Trinitarian distinctiveness of Christian worship.

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