Mark argues that Paul's use of ἀνόητοι does not so much depict not thinking as thinking the wrong thing:
I do not think that Paul addressing them as ἀνόητοι lends any support to your argument. It connotes shamelessness, that is, thinking wrongly from the accuser's (Paul's) point of view, and in that sense failing to think (meaning, to think correctly, with the accuser's way of thinking).The idea is that they are perhaps being effected by something since otherwise they would be expected to think otherwise (like the accuser thinks), not that they are not thinking versus thinking.Well, Paul's charge of not thinking is consistent with the rest of the epistle. Paul depicts the Galatians as being compelled rather than making a willing decision based on rational thought. So for Paul, it is not that they are thinking the wrong thing, but that they are not thinking at all. Of course this is Paul's rhetoric, but as always we have to ask the question about what situation best explains the trigger for this rhetoric. I am arguing that what Paul insists makes best sense on the assumption that they have already done something drastic, not that they are only thinking about it. In other words, Paul knows that the Galatians are in fact thinking differently from him, but his depiction of them as ἀνόητοι (unthinking, foolish) functions as part of his depiction of the Galatians as not acting on the basis of careful thought that is consistent with their calling. This is why I begun this series with a post on 6.12, where Paul depicts the Galatians as acting under compulsion from others. He wants to suggest that they are not acting in accordance with the Spirit, that they are being neither consistent nor intelligent, that they are turning to another gospel under some kind of unthinking coercion. Now the actual situation on the ground in Galatia must have been rather different from this, but the point here is that the charge of lack of thought, of compulsion being enacted upon them, makes excellent sense as something aimed at people for whom circumcision is now becoming a reality. It is much more difficult to get it to work for a group who are, in the standard description of the Galatian situation, simply "considering" circumcision.
Mark also feels that 3.1 does not make sense on my interpretation:
I think this piece of evidence in Gal 3:1 works against your thesis that some of the Galatians to whom Paul writes have already been circumcised. If already completing proselyte conversion (circumcision), then this would eliminate that which Paul accuses the influencers here of doing, of "evil eying" the addressees; that is, of the influencers "envying" (=begrudging) the Galatian addressees for claiming to have the gift of the Spirit reserved for those who are circumcised children of Abraham. That seems to depend on the addressees not yet being circumcised, but being instead non-Jews who should not be entitled to have the Spirit and miracles in their midst.I may be misunderstanding Mark's point here but it seems to me that the "evil-eying" or "bewitching" is something Paul depicts as already having happened, τίς ὑμᾶς ἐβάσκανεν (aorist indicative), "Who bewitched you?". They are not "evil-eying" those who have already been circumcised; in Paul's construction here, the evil-eying (past) precedes the Galatians' taking action.
Mark goes on to ask me a question about my interpretation:
A question for you, Mark, is how Paul can express in 5:10 that he is confident they will remain on his (non-circumcision) course (to stay on it after hitting an obstacle along the way, i.e., contemplating a detour; v. 7) if they have already become circumcised?Let's have a look at what Paul says here:
ἐγὼ πέποιθα εἰς ὑμᾶς ἐν κυρίῳ ὅτι οὐδὲν ἄλλο φρονήσετε ὁ δὲ ταράσσων ὑμᾶς βαστάσει τὸ κρίμα ὅστις ἐὰν ᾖI am persuaded concerning you in the Lord that you will come to think in no other way, but the one who is troubling you will face judgement, whoever he is.5.10 says nothing about Paul's confidence that "they will remain on his (non-circumcision) course". Rather, he is here expressing his hope that they will (future) come to think like him, in other words that this letter will succeed in his task of persuading them that the course of action they are on needs to be turned around. One can see that he is thinking about this future scenario because his mind turns here also to the (future) judgement of the one currently troubling the Galatians. 5.7 ("You were running well; who prevented you from obeying the truth?") does not speak about "contemplating a detour". Contemplation is not what Paul is discussing in Galatians; he sees the act as currently taking place. But that, of course, brings us back to my argument, which will continue in the next post.