Galatians is one of the four letters of Paul known as the Hauptbriefe, which are universally accepted as authentic. It is typically dated c. 54 CE.
There is an old debate as to whether Paul's letter was directed to northern Galatia, where the ethnic Galatians lived, or to southern part of the Galatian province, where cities such as Iconium are located. Raymond E. Brown states that the arguments for the northern theory "seem more persuasive" (An Introduction, p. 476). Udo Schnelle writes (The History and Theology, p. 97): "On the whole the arguments for the north Galatian hypothesis are stronger. In particular, the absence of the addressees in Gal. 1.21, the Lucan statement about Paul's work in 'the region of . . . Galatia' and the address in Gal. 3.1, along with the well thought out arrangement of the letter as a whole, speak against the south Galatian theory."
The epistle to the Galatians shows Paul in conflict with other missionaries. Jewish-Christians from Palestine had visited the congregations of the Galatians after Paul's visit there and taught that Paul's Gospel was incomplete. They persuaded some of the Galatians that salvation required observance of the Torah laws, including circumcision. Paul writes to rebuke and to persuade the Galatians in this letter. Indeed, the letter follows the outline of a Greco-Roman apologetic letter (The History and Theology, p. 99): prescript (1:1-5), introduction (1:6-11), narrative (1:12-2:14), proposition (2:15-21), proof (3:1-4:31), exhortation (5:1-6:10), and conclusion (6:11-18). But this is not to say that the argument for justification of faith in Galatians is cut-and-dry; far from it, Paul's epistle to the Galatians is full of passion, anger, and drama.
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