In Greek tragedy, actors (who wore masks) were known as ‘hypocrites’ and so came to mean people who were not what they pretended to be. In Gal. 2:13 the Greek ‘hypocrisy’ is translated ‘dissimulation’ (AV), ‘lack of principle’ (REB), ‘insincerity’ (NJB) but ‘hypocrisy’ by NRSV. This range of meaning suggests that in the NT the word denotes a general self-righteousness, as is clear from its repeated use in Matt. 23 in the denunciations of the Pharisees.

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