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Galatian Eyes

There is an interesting discussions going between Teddi and Hugh in the comments for another posting. They are talking about Galatians 3:1, and and whether or not it is referring to the Shroud of Turin. I have snipped some of the discussion and pasted it below. Here is the verse:

You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly exhibited as crucified! (NRSV) 

Here is a link to many Bible versions of this verse: https://biblehub.com/galatians/3-1.htm

Here are some useful papers from shroud.com

Here are some of the comments from another posting:

Hugh writes:

Hi Teddi,

Some interesting views from a legal point of view, but not, to my mind, necessarily relevant to the process of scientific inquiry. Scientists do not prove; they demonstrate, as, perhaps, I hope to do now.

In referring to Galatians 3:1, and a “breakdown of the Greek words into English” being “evidence that what is now referred to as the Shroud of Turin had been shown to the Galatians” I think you are primarily supposing that the word ‘προεγράφη’ (proegraphe) implies some kind of image. It has been translated ‘presented,’ ‘described,’ ‘set forth,’ ‘displayed,’ and ‘portrayed,’ but to understand its true meaning, we have to look at as many instances as we can of its use in other circumstances. In my blog post “https://medievalshroud.com/προεγράφη/” I give seven examples, not one of which can be interpreted as having anything of the pictorial about it. That’s not to say that “προεγράφη” could never mean “shown as an image,” only that there is no evidence that it was ever used that way. Is it really a “real eyeopener”?

The word occurs near the beginning of Paul’s letter, which is overall an attempt to reconvert the Galatians to his point of view, from which they had been swayed by proponents of “another Gospel.” These are usually supposed to be the more Jewish-centred Christians (i.e. Peter and James and their disciples) with whom Paul had several quite bitter arguments. So when Paul says: “You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you?” he is referring to the Jewish Christians as the ‘bewitchers.”

Given this feud, we must ask ourselves, if the shroud of Christ had in fact been rescued and kept, who is more likely to have kept it: Peter & James, or Paul? At this stage in the history of Christianity, it is overwhelmingly more likely that, if it existed at all, it was with Peter rather than Paul, who could not, therefore, have “displayed” it to anybody.

Now, have I proved anything? Certainly not. Have I demonstrated anything? I think so.

1) The word translated as “portrayed” has never been found to mean anything pictorial.
2) If the shroud existed at all at the time, it was overwhelmingly unlikely that Paul had it.

To my mind, and I hope to anybody’s who reads this, this is very good evidence that “what is now referred to as the Shroud of Turin had” NOT “been shown to the Galatians,” and I feel that, in order to maintain that it had been, “the burden of proof” now falls upon those who support that view.

Wouldn’t you agree?


Teddi writes:

Hello, Hugh,

Let’s get into the full verse of Galatians 3:1 (as translated from the Greek, word-by-word, on biblehub.com):

“O foolish Galatians! Who you has bewitched the truth not to obey WHOSE BEFORE EYES Jesus Christ was publicly PORTRAYED [as] having been crucified?” [Emphasis added.]

It is quite clear that someone publicly portrayed SOMETHING (like the Shroud has been documented to have been “publicly portrayed” on many occasions) that depicted Christ as having been crucified. Are you proposing that someone could have been doing a reenactment of the crucifixion? If so, I would say I disagree. Why? Because a reenactment does not speak to whether something is true or not. However, the display of a burial cloth with blood stains in all of the right places –to evidence the wounds of Christ’s particular crucifixion– is something quite different. Whether the body image was visible at that time, or not, is an open question, but I think that the probabilities tip in favor of the answer, “yes,” because it is stated that the truth of it should have been rather obvious to the viewers. This, perhaps, implies more than just bloodstains which could have, more easily, been “faked up.” The addition of a strange image –especially to people who might have seen what Christ actually looked like while alive– makes more sense. That’s why, I suspect, they are being called “fools.”

Also, the root word in “προεγραφη”/”proegraphe” is the word “graph” –which means “to write.” So, this portrayal was something displayed which had something on it that was showing Christ as crucified. (If it looks like a duck, and it walks like a duck and it quacks like a duck –the balance of probabilities tell us . . . it’s a duck.) I am not arguing that this evidence, alone, is all that is needed. But, it is evidence that goes into the pile the makes up a circumstantial case that the Shroud of Turin is the Shroud of Christ. Specifically, it is evidence that counters the argument made by skeptics that the Bible makes no mention that Christ’s burial cloth with an image (blood and/or body) on it. Would it have been better if this verse said in plain language, “You fools saw Christ’s burial cloth with his blood and mysterious body image that was not made by human hands, yet you do not believe?” Yes, of course, but, as Mick Jagger proclaimed, “You can’t always get what you want, but you get what you need.”

And, as C.S. Lewis stated about God and how He operates –so as to preserve our free-will– “He cannot ravish; He can only woo.”

God gave us the Holy Shroud as evidence, and God has permitted science to provide us with a mountain of evidence that this bloodied burial cloth in Turin with Christ’s face on it is, indeed, genuine. But, God will never give us so much evidence that it will, in essence, force everyone to bend the knee –in order to avoid Hell. This would overcome free-will, and it would defeat God’s purpose in only wanting to surround Himself in Heaven with people who want to be with Him. So, the evidence will never be 100% perfect, and, quite frankly, no piece of evidence is –except that which we have to prove our own earthly existence.

And, one last thing, science is nothing more than just one tool (albeit a very important one) for helping to prove certain things to some degree of certainty (or, exclude certain unviable ideas.) Science, at its best, only yields evidence. It, then, becomes necessary to use reason and logic and debate the issues to see what we must make of the evidence and to determine if the evidence is even credible.

Scientists forget something that lawyers do not: evidence can be faked. I’m not sure that there is any scientific experiment that can withstand scrupulous cross-examination. For example, how many experiments are videotaped from start to finish? Even if it is, one can claim the video has been altered. With the things that are shown on the video, does the viewer really know what is being shown? How does this viewer know whether if an experiment was done if it was done properly? How does the viewer know if the person conducting the experiment was honest? With studies that are done, how do we know that the people in the study are telling the truth to get into the study or are telling the truth about potential side effects they are experiencing, etc.

I think you understand what I am saying –which is, there is a tremendous amount of TRUST that we must have even with SCIENCE. Yep, I said it, and I mean it. But, we don’t have a better alternative. But, let’s not act like science is the end-all-be-all, because I will tell you that REASON can, sometimes, get to the truth of the matter better than science can.

And, this is one reason why a circumstantial case which is built with many pieces of evidence can, sometimes, be more compelling than a case that has just one or a few direct witnesses –since eyewitness testimony can, often, be incorrect.

So, science is a wonderful tool for helping us arrive at certain truths, but it, typically, isn’t the exclusive pathway.

Cheers,

Teddi


Teddi writes:

Hello, again,

I would like to reword what I said here:

“[B]ecause it is stated that the truth of it should have been rather obvious to the viewers.”

Instead, I should have said, “strongly implied.”


Hugh writes:

Hi Teddi,

Thanks for getting back, but I don’t think I made myself clear. I didn’t mean to suggest any of the things you have suggested I might.

1) Yes. Paul’s epistle implies at least two visits to the Galatians before he wrote his letter. The first was by himself, in which he preached his version of the crucifixion and the resurrection, and conversion. I don’t know whether he had any visual aids; almost certainly not. His ‘portrayal’ probably consisted of his comparison of Christ to the messianic scriptures and his own conversion story. But you agree with me that he certainly did not have the shroud.

The second time was by Peter or one of the more Jerusalem centred Christians, who reconverted them (bewitched them) to what Paul describes as a “different Gospel.” This is usually interpreted as part of the early Christian debate about the primacy of “faith in Christ” over “following the law” or vice versa, and whether it was necessary to become a Jew first (with all its circumcision, dietary restrictions and temple-visiting duties) before you could become a Christian. For much of his letter Paul disparages the “following the law” party in the harshest possible terms; they are cursed, they are evil, and they bewitch people. You seem to be suggesting that this Petrine visit was when the shroud was displayed, which is not impossible, but that in spite of actually seeing an image Christ crucified, they nevertheless repudiated everything Paul had taught them.

Can Paul’s letter be interpreted as that? “O foolish Galatians! Even though Peter showed you Christ’s actual burial shroud, you were bewitched by him into false thinking.” That doesn’t make sense to me. What about: “O foolish Galatians! Just because Peter showed you Christ’s actual burial shroud, you were bewitched by him into false thinking.” That doesn’t make much sense either. Do you go along with either?

2) Moving on. The word “graph” certainly does not “specifically deal with a depiction of some sort.” Its primary meaning refers to writing. Saying so is not a “very literal” interpretation, it’s the normal meaning of the word. My favourite dictionary, Liddell and Scott, gives dozens of examples of the use of “graph” in literature, and Strong’s Greek Concordance (on biblehub) gives graptos, graphé, and graphó, and dozens of scriptural references, and not one single instance of the words suggests any kind of picture. Before you can claim that “graph” can be interpreted pictorially, I think you should find some examples. I agree with you that “over literal translations” can lead to disaster, but that doesn’t mean anyone can make up whatever meaning they like.

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