The History of the Interpretation of the Apostle Paul    HIAP Home     

By    Dr. Peter M. Head [Web Page]

 Patristic and Reformation Commentaries on Galatians


See Lightfoot, Galatians, pp. 227-236 for brief discussion of patristic commentators on Galatians and Souter for discussions (but not texts) of Marius Victorinus, Ambrosiaster, Jerome, Augustine, Pelagius on Paul generally (A. Souter, The Earliest Latin Commentaries on the Epistles of St. Paul [Oxford: Clarendon, 1927]). Still indispensible is C.H. Turner, 'Greek Patristic Commentaries on the Pauline Epistles' in James Hastings (ed.), A Dictionary of the Bible (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1904), Extra Volume, pp. 484-532. For more bibliographical resources see Betz, Galatians, pp. 336f; F.L. Sieffert (Meyer, 1899); and for a very full list of medieval commentators see F. Mussner (HTKNT, 1974), pp. XI-XIV.


Some General Resources:

Mark J. Edwards (ed.), Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture. Volume VIII: Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians (Downer's Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press, 1999).


W.R. Farmer, 'Galatians and the 2nd Century Development of the regula fidei' Second Century 4(1985), 143-170.


For an attempt to use the fathers to address a controversial issue see R.A. Harrisville III, 'Pivsti" Cristou': Witness of the Fathers' Novum Testamentum 36(1994), 233-241.


René Kieffer, Foi et justification à Antioche: interprétation d'un conflit (Ga 2, 14-21) (LD 111; Paris: Cerf, 1982): discusses patristic exegeses of Gal 2.14-21 from the Pseudo-clementines to Thomas.


Earliest explicit references: Irenaeus, Adv. Haer. III.6.5; III.7.2; III.16.3; V.21.1.


John A. Cramer, Catenae graecorum patrum (Oxford: OUP, 1844; vol. 5).


K. Staab, Pauluskommentare aus der griechischen Kirche aus Katenenhandschriften gesammelt und herausgegeben (NTAbh 15; Münster: Aschendorff, 1933) [containing Eusebius of Emesa, d. 359; Severianus of Gabala, d. c. 409; Gennadius of Consantinople, d. 741; Oecumenius of Triccs, VI; Photius of Constantinople, d. 891].


M.F. Wiles, The Divine Apostle: The Interpretation of St. Paul's Epistles in the Early Church (Cambridge, 1967). [studies commentaries on Paul up to Augustine]



Individual writers of Commentaries

Tertullian (c. 160 - c. 225): Adversus Marcionem V.2-4: critique of Marcion's edition of the Pauline Corpus which includes implicit and explicit exegetical material.

Text and ET: E. Evans (ed.), Tertullian Adversus Marcionem (OECS; Oxford; Clarendon, 1972; 2 vols) [vol. 2, pp. 513-535] [Also in ANCL]

On Marcion see U. Schmid, Marcion und sein Apostolos: Rekonstruktion und historische Einordnung der marcionitischen Paulusbriefausgabe (ANTF 25; Berlin: de Gruyter, 1995), esp. 315-319 for reconstructed Greek text. The classic text is A. von Harnack, Marcion: Das Evangelium vom frmden Gott (TU 45; Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1924); partial ET: Marcion: The Gospel of the Alien God (ed. J.E. Steely & L.D. Bierma; Durham NC: Labyrinth, 1990). For general orientation (and bibliog.) see P.M. Head, ‘The Foreign God and the Sudden Christ: Theology and Christology in Marcion’s Gospel Redaction’ Tyndale Bulletin 44(1993), pp. 307-321.



Origen (185-254): wrote a commentary (now lost) on Galatians in 15 books and 7 homilies (cf. Jerome, Ep. xxxiii ad Paulam).

     Cf. Stromateis, Book 10 (acc. Jerome Ep. 112): contains an exposition of Galatians.

B.F. Westcott, 'Origines' in Dictionary of Christian Biography (ed. W. Smith & H. Wace; London: J. Murray, 1887), vol. 4, pp. 96-142, p. 118 on Galatians.

R.P.C. Hanson, Allegory and Event: A Study of the Sources and Significance of Origen's Interpretation of Scripture (London: SCM, 1959).

K.J. Torjesen, Hermeneutical Procedure and Theological Method in Origen's Exegesis (PTS 28; Berlin & New York: Lang, 1986).



John Chrysostom (347-407): the earliest complete commentary on Galatians.

Text: Migne, PG 61.611-682; F. Field, Oxford, 1852.

ET: Commentary of St. John Chrysostom, Archibishop of Constantinople, on the Epistle of St. Paul the Apostle to the Galatians (ET G. Alexander; NPNF I.13; Grand Rapids, 1956), pp. 1-48. [An earlier ET was Oxford: J.H. Parker, 1845].

R.J. Kepple, 'Analysis of Antiochene Exegesis of Galatians 4:24-26' West. Theol. Jour. 39(1977), 239-249 [Chrysostom, Theodore, Theodoret]

J. Fairweather, 'The Epistle to the Galatians and Classical Rhetoric' Tyn. Bull. 45(1994), 1-38, 213-243.

M. Mitchell, '"A Variable and Many-sorted Man": John Chrysostom's Treatment of Pauline Inconsistency' JECS 6(1998), 93-111.



Pelagius (written before 410)

Text: Pelagius' Exposition of Thirteen Epistles of St. Paul (ed. A. Souter; TS 9.1-3; Cambridge: CUP, 1922-31), vol. 2, pp. 306-43. (cf. also Souter, Earliest Latin Commentaries, 205-230).

ET: Pelagius's Commentary on St Paul's Epistle to the Romans (ET: T. de Bruyn; OECS; Oxford: OUP, 1993). DIV: 7 PEL.



Jerome (347-420)

Text: Migne, PL 26.331-468 (disagreement on the extent to which this draws on Origen's lost commentary)

M.A. Schatkin, 'Influence of Origen upon St. Jerome's Commentary on Galatians' Vig. Chr. 24(1970), 49-58. More generally: H.F.D. Sparks, 'Jerome as Biblical Scholar' in The Cambridge History of the Bible (eds. P.R. Ackroyd & C.F. Evans; Cambridge: CUP, 1970), pp. 510-541; J.N.D. Kelly, Jerome: his life, writings, and controversies (London: Duckworth, 1975).

NB correspondence with Augustine on the interpretation of the Antioch incident (2.11-14).

R.W. Kraemer, 'Sing us a palinode: The Controversy between Augustine and Jerome over the meaning of Galatians 2:11-14' And Every Tongue Confess (FS N. Nagel; eds. G. Krispin & J. Vieker; Dearborn, MI: Nagel Festschrift Committee, 1990), 38-60.

C. White, The Correspondence (394-419), between Jerome and Augustine of Hippo (SBEC 23; Lewiston: E. Mellen Press, 1990). UL: 44.6.c.95.202

R. Hennings, Der Briefwechsel zwischen Augustinus und Hieronymus und ihr Streit um den Kanon des Alten Testaments und die Auslegung von Gal. 2, 11-14 (Supp Vig Chr. 21; Leiden: Brill, 1994). UL: P60.c.43.21

A. Fürst, Augustinus Briefwechsel mit Hieronymus (JbAC-Erg. Bd xxix; Münster, 1999).

Joseph W. Trigg, Biblical Interpretation (Message of the Fathers of the Church vol. 9; Wilmington, Delaware: Michael Glazier, 1988), pp. 250-95 on "Augustine/Jerome, Correspondence." [TH: 270.08 TRI]



Theodore of Mopsuestia (350-428)

Text: H.B. Swete, Theodore of Mopsuestia on the minor Epistles of St. Paul (Cambridge: CUP, 1880-82; 2 vols), vol. 1, pp. 1-111 (Latin text with Greek fragments). Cf. also fragments in Staab, Pauluskommentare aus der griechischen Kirche, pp. 113-212.

U. Wickert, Studien zu den Pauluskommentaren Theodors von Mopsuestia als Beitrag zum Verständnis der Antiochenischen Theologie (BZNTW 27, 1962).



Augustine (354-430)

Text: Migne, PL 35.2105-2148.

E. Plumer, 'The Influence of Marius Victorinus on Augustine's Commentary on Galatians' Studia Patristica 33 (ed. E. Livingstone, 1997), pp. 221-228.

Paula Fredriksen Landes, Augustine on Romans: Propositions from the Epistle to the Romans, Unfinished commentary on the Epistle to the Romans (SBL ECL 6; Chico, Calif.: Scholars Press, c1982).





General Resources on the Early Influence of Paul (not specific to Galatians)

D.L. Balas, 'The Use and Interpretation of Paul in Irenaeu's Five Books Adversus Haereses' Second Century 9(1992), 27-40.

C.K. Barrett, 'Pauline Controversies in the Post-Pauline Period' New Testament Studies 20(1974), pp. 235-237.

R. Bauckham, 'The Acts of Paul as a Sequel to Acts', The Book of Acts in Its Ancient Literary Setting (BAFCS 1; eds B.W. Winter & A.D. Clarke; Carlisle: Paternoster & Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1993), pp. 105-152.

J.C. Beker, Heirs of Paul: Paul's Legacy in the New Testament and in the Church Today (Minn.: Fortress, 1991).

J. Carleton Paget, 'Paul and the Epistle of Barnabas', Novum Testamentum 39(1996), pp. 359-381.

M.C. de Boer, 'Images of Paul in the Post-Apostolic Period' CBQ 42(1980), 359-380.

Peter W. Dunn, The Acts of Paul and the Pauline Legacy in the Second Century, Cambridge PhD, 1996.

Peter W. Dunn, 'The Influence of 1 Corinthians on the Acts of Paul' Society of Biblical Literature 1996 Seminar Papers (Atlanta:  Scholars Press, 1996), 438-454. [from PhD]

Peter W. Dunn, 'L'image de Paul dans les Actes de Paul' Foi et Vie 94 (1995) 75-85. [from PhD]

P. Gorday, Principles of patristic exegesis: Romans 9-11 in Origen, John Chrysostom, and Augustine (SBEC 4; New York: Edwin Mellen Press, 1983)

E.M. Howe, 'Interpretations of Paul in the Acts of Paul and Thecla', Pauline Studies (FS F.F. Bruce; eds. D.A. Hagner & M.J. Harris; Exeter: Paternoster, 1980), pp. 33-49.

A. Lindemann, Paulus im ältesten Christentum: Das Bild des Apostels und die Rezeption der paulinischen Theologie in der frühchristlichen Literatur bis Marcion (BHT 58; Tübingen: J.C.B. Mohr (Paul Siebeck), 1979).

A. Lindemann, 'Paul in the Writings of the Apostlic Fathers', Paul and the Legacies of Paul (ed. W.S. Babcock; Dallas: Southern Methodist University Press, 1990), pp. 25-45, esp. pp 29-36.

G. Luedemann, Opposition to Paul in Jewish Christianity (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1989 [ET 'with emendations and additions by the author' of Paulus der Heidenapostel, vol. 2: Antipaulinismus im frühen Christentum (FRLANT 130; Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1983)]

D. MacDonald, 'Apocryphal and Canonical Narratives about Paul' in W.S. Babcock (ed.), Paul and the Legacies of Paul (Dallas: Southern Methodist University Press, 1990), pp. 55-70.

D.R. MacDonald, The Legend and the Apostle: The Battle for Paul in Story and Canon (Phil: Westminster, 1983).

C.M. Nielsen, 'Polycarp, Paul and the Scriptures' Anglican Theological Review XLVII (1965), 199-216.

R. Noormann, Irenäus als Paulusinterpret: Zur Rezeption und Wirkung der paulinischen und deuteropaulinischen Briefe im Werk des Irenäus von Lyon (WUNT II.66; Tübingen: JCB Mohr, 1994).

R.A. Norris, 'Irenaeus' Use of Paul in His Polemic Against the Gnostics' in W.S. Babcock (ed.), Paul and the Legacies of Paul (Dallas: Southern Methodist University Press, 1990), pp. 79-98.

E.H. Pagels, The Gnostic Paul: Gnostic Exegesis of the Pauline Letters (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1975).

H. Rathke, Ignatius von Antiochen und die Paulusbriefe (TU XCIX; Leipzig, 1967).

Willy Rordorf, 'Paul's Conversion in the Canonical Acts and in the Acts of Paul', Semeia 80 (1997) 137-158: author of the Acts of Paul knows Galatians, but not the Book of Acts.

D. Trobisch, Paul's Letter Collection: Tracing the Origins (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1994): basically an english summary of Die Entstehung der Paulusbriefsammlung: Studien zu den Anfängen christlicher Publizistik (NTOA 10; Göttingen: Vandenhock & Ruprecht, 1989). Cf. also Die Endredaktion des Neuen Testaments: Eine Untersuchung zur Entstehung der christlichen Bibel (NTOA 31; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht, 1996).





Thomas Aquinas (d. 1274)

Commentary on Saint Paul's Epistle to the Galatians (ET F.R. Larcher; Albany: Magi, 1966).

Text: Opera Omnia (vol. 13; Parma: Fiaccador, 1862), pp. 383-442.

E. Rogers (?), 'Paul as Professor of Theology: The Image of the Apostle in St Thomas' Theology' The Thomist 38 (1977), 584-605.

S. Fowl, The Theological Interpretation of Scripture: Classic & Contemporary Readings, pp320-37. [selections from Aquinas' commentary on Romans 9-11]

Thomas Domanyi, Der Romerbriefkommentar des Thomas von Aquin: Ein Beitrag zur Untersuchung seiner Auslegungsmethoden, (Basler und Berner Studien zur historischen und systematischen Theologie, Vol 39, 1979).

ET of Aquinas' commentary on Romans in preparation by Stephen Boguslawski



Desiderius Erasmus (d. 1536), Annotations

ET: Paraphrases on Romans and Galatians (ed. Robert D. Sider; ET J.B. Payne et al.; University of Toronto; vol. 42 of Collected Works, Toronto: UTP, 1984). UL: 61:29.b.95.187

Orig.: Des. Erasmi Roterodami In Novum Testamentum annotationes (Basiliae: Froben, 1535).

Text: Erasmus' annotations on the New Testament: Galatians to the Apocalypse: facsimile of the final Latin text with all earlier variants (ed. Anne Reeve; Intro by M.A. Screech; SHCT 52; Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1993). UL: 47:01.c.27.52



Martin Luther (1483-1546)

Lectures given from Oct 27 1516 to March 13 1517

Luthers Vorlesung über den Galaterbrief 1516/17 (ed. H. von Schubert; AHAWPH 5; Heidelberg: Winter, 1918).

Lectures given in 1518-1519 (pub. 1519, 2nd ed. 1523)

Lectures on Galatians, 1519, Chapters 1-6. in Luther's Works (ed. J. Pelikan; Saint Louis: Concordia, 1955-1976; 55 vols); vol. 27, pp. 151-410.

Lectures given in 1531 (pub. by G. Rörer in 1535)

Lectures on Galatians, 1535, Chapters 1-4. in Luther's Works (ed. J. Pelikan; Saint Louis: Concordia, 1955-1976; 55 vols); vol 26; and Lectures on Galatians, 1535, Chapters 5-6; in vol. 27, pp. 1-150.

A Commentary on St. Paul's Epistle to the Galatians (ed. P. S. Watson; London: Clark, 1953, 1956).

K. Hagen, Luther's Approach to Scripture as Seen in His Commentaries on Galatians, 1519-1538 (Tübingen: J.C.B. Mohr (Siebeck), 1993). UL: 61:24.c.95.146

R. Kolb, 'The Influence of Luther's Galatians Commentary of 1535 on Later Sixteenth-Century Lutheran Commentaries on Galatians' Archiv für Reformationsgeschichte 84(1993), 156-184.

I.J. Hesselink, 'Luther and Calvin on law and gospel in their Galatians Commentaries' Reformed Review 37(1984), 69-82.

T.D. Parker, 'Interpretation of Scripture (Comparison of Calvin and Luther on Galatians)' Interpretation 17(1963), 61-75.

H. Bluhm, Luther translator of Paul: studies in Romans and Galatians (New York: P. Lang, c1984). UL: 31:2.c.95.87

H. Kleinknecht, Gemeinschaft ohne Bedingungen: Kirche und Rechtfertigung in Luthers grosser Galaterbrief-Vorlesung von 1531 (CTM BST&K 7; Stuttgart: Calwer, c1981). UL:  47:01.c.37.7

Wilhelm Pauck, Luther: Lectures on Romans newly translated and edited by Wilhelm Pauck (Library of Christian Classics Vol XV; London: SCM, 1961; ET from Luthers Römerbriefvorlesung [ed. Johannes Ficker; Wiemar vol. 56). TH: 278.322 LUT.63


Jean Calvin (1509-1564)

ET: The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Galatians (ET T.H.L. Parker; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1965, and later reprints). [Earlier ET by W. Pringle; Calvin Trans. Soc., 1854).

Orig.: Commentarii in quatuor Pauli Epistolas (Genevae : per Ioannem Girardum, 1548).

Text: Commentarius in Epistolam ad Galatas (Corpus Reformatorum 78; Brunswick: Schwetschke, 1893). Also: Commentarii in Pauli Epistolas ad Galatas, ad Ephesios, ad Philippenses, ad Colossenses (Ioannis Calvini Opera omnia. Series 2, Opera exegetica Veteris et Novi Testamenti; 16; ed. H. Feld; Geneva: Droz, 1992).

T.H.L. Parker, Calvin's New Testament Commentaries (Edniburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1993, 2nd.)


John Calvin, Sermons on Galatians (ET [from French] K. Childress; Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1997).



John Locke (1632-1704), A Paraphrase and Notes on the Epistles of St. Paul to the Galatians, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Romans, Ephesians (ed. A.W. Wainwright; Oxford: Clarendon, 1987; 2 vols). UL: 180.c.97.398-





Prepared by P.M. Head (12.10.2000)

More items:


Daniel Rodney Bechtel, The Exegesis of Galatians 2:14-21 by the Early Greek Fathers and the Major Recent Commentators (unpublished PhD, UMI no. 6413177)


W. B. West, Jr. Ante-Nicene Exegesis of Romans and Galatians. (not available at UMI)


William A. Perkins


 The History of the Interpretation of the Apostle Paul    HIAP Home     

By    Dr. Peter M. Head [Web Page]