Original Research - Special Collection: A.G.van Aarde Festschrift

Social-scientific criticism: Perspective, process and payoff. Evil eye accusation at Galatia as illustration of the method

John H. Elliott
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 67, No 1 | a858 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v67i1.858 | © 2011 John H. Elliott | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 19 May 2010 | Published: 11 April 2011

About the author(s)

John H. Elliott, Department of Theology and Religious Studies, University of San Francisco, United States Faculty of Theology, University of Pretoria, South Africa, United States


This article explores a presentation of the method, emergence and contribution of social-scientific criticism (SSC) as an inter-disciplinary operation of New Testament exegesis. A description of ancient evil eye belief and practice and its appearance in Paul’s letter to the Galatians illustrates how the method contributes to a more accurate translation of the biblical text, a clarification of its logic and a fuller understanding of the social dynamics involving Paul and his opponents.


social-scientific interpretation; evil eye


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