The nightmares of a sad New Testament freek
When Paul wrote "to the churches in Galatia", where did this mean? To whom was Paul's letter of Galatians addressed? Was it to the communities presumably located "in places like Pessinus, Ancyra and Tavium" (cf. Esler, Galatians, 32), i.e. following the so-called Northern or tribal or ethnic hypothesis? Or did Paul write his letter, as according to the Southern or provincial hypothesis, to the churches presented in Acts 13-14?
The arguments for and against each position are complex and well-worn, and so I'll spare the reader a summary (for that cf. particularly Longenecker's commentary on Galatians)
But given that my 'gut-feeling' default tends to be more conservative than not, I have for a long time been inclined to the Southern hypothesis as it tends to make better sense of the scheme of Acts. Nevertheless, the scholarly majority appears to favour the 'tribal' hypothesis (not that that means much. An 'academic majority' is sometimes nothing more than institutionalised snobbery, flags for scholars to group around and display their 'critical credential').
Actually, and this will show how sad I am, one night I lay awake in bed unable to get to sleep, beset by the arguments of the 'Northerners'. For a while, I flirted with jumping ship to the 'tribal' camp, but then I swung round again to the 'provincials'. When I eventually fell asleep, my Southern Galatian faith lay in shreds on the floor.
But I didn't wake up a convinced 'Northerner'. Au contraire! I woke up a critical-realist. Now, I just cannot see how the evidence can be used to provoke conviction for either Southern or Northern Galatian theories. Nanos, too, has recently written of the present 'impasse' in relation to this debate (The Galatians Debate, xiv).
Is this a metaphor for much of my theological thought-life, or what?!