By W. M. Ramsay
The attempt is made in this book to show how much light the Epistle to the Galatians throws on contemporary history in the widest sense — the history of religion, society, thought, manners, education — in the Eastern Provinces of the Empire. The introductory study of society and religion in Central Asia Minor may seem perhaps too elaborate; but it could not be put more briefly if any adequate conception were to be given of the forces acting on the minds of Paul's Galatian hearers.
The Commentary is intended to be complete in itself, able to be read and fully understood without continually looking back to the Introduction. The Commentary was written first, and published in the Expositor, June, 1898 — September, 1899. Many passages have now been completely rewritten (after the Introduction had been composed), three chapters have been suppressed and eleven added.
My first intention was tacitly to carry out the South Galatian Theory, leaving the reader to contrast the flood of light thrown on South Galatia by the Epistle with its barrenness as regards North Galatia. But it might be stigmatised as unscholarly if no reference were made to the view still widely assumed as true in Germany and wherever fashionable German views (yet see p. 316) are taken as final. Hence I am, as Lightfoot says, "distracted between the fear of saying too much and the fear of saying too little ". Probably I say too little; but the cause (an accident preventing work) is stated on p. 478. The same cause prevented the proper final revision of proofs, which may perhaps have left some errors unremoved.
In former works I applied simply the principles of Imperial history learned from Prof. Mommsen. On this book Prof. Mitteis's Imperial Law and National Law (Reicksrecht und Volksrechl) has left a strong impression. His title emphasises the opposition between Roman and National, which I have been for years entreating the North Galatian champions to notice. As to my nov^l theory of Seleucid law in Galatians, ignoring Halmel, those who want German authority for everything may find it in Prof. Mitteis's words: jedenfalls wird audi durch Ihre Ausfiihrungen dasjenige was Lialmel " das rom. Recht im Galaterbrief" sagt, aus dem Feld geschlagen.
We must all study German method, and practise it day and night; but the first principle in German method is to disregard authority (even German) and follow after truth.
I have not seen Mr. Askwith's recent work on the Galatian Question (see p. 478).