In regard to τοῦ καλέσαντος ὑμᾶς “the one who called you” in Galatians 1:6, D. Francois Tolmie says:
“As a rule, Paul uses this expression to refer to God, but it could
also refer to himself in this case …”
D. Francois Tolmie, Persuading the Galatians: A Text-centred
Rhetorical Analysis of a Pauline Letter, 2005, pp39-40.
For those who are enamored with this alternate reading, I suggest looking at every occurrence of the word group: καλέω, κλῆσις, κλητός in the traditional Pauline corpus and find an example with pattern: article+(καλέω | κλῆσις | κλητός) where Paul fills the agent role. Lowering the standard and disregarding the presence or absence of the article, I wasn't able to find Paul as an agent with a member of this word group, but there may be one I overlooked. On the other hand we find numerous examples where [ὁ] θεὸς “God” is the implied or explicit agent as in the following:
2Th. 2:13 Ἡμεῖς δὲ ὀφείλομεν εὐχαριστεῖν τῷ θεῷ πάντοτε περὶ ὑμῶν, ἀδελφοὶ ἠγαπημένοι ὑπὸ κυρίου, ὅτι εἵλατο ὑμᾶς ὁ θεὸς ἀπαρχὴν εἰς σωτηρίαν ἐν ἁγιασμῷ πνεύματος καὶ πίστει ἀληθείας, 14 εἰς ὃ [καὶ] ἐκάλεσεν ὑμᾶς διὰ τοῦ εὐαγγελίου ἡμῶν εἰς περιποίησιν δόξης τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ.
NRSV 2Th. 2:13 But we must always give thanks to God for you, brothers and sisters beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the first fruits for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and through belief in the truth. 14 For this purpose he called you through our proclamation of the good news, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Suppression of Divine agent where [ὁ] θεὸς “God” is assumed:
In Paul the article + participle of καλέω without an expressed agent is not ambiguous as to agency. Suppression of the Divine agent when it can be assumed from the context is very common, not only in Paul. In following example the “call” doesn’t have an explicit agent but it can be supplied from the context.
Rom. 9:11 μήπω γὰρ γεννηθέντων μηδὲ πραξάντων τι ἀγαθὸν ἢ φαῦλον, ἵνα
ἡ κατ᾿ ἐκλογὴν πρόθεσις τοῦ θεοῦ μένῃ, 12 οὐκ ἐξ ἔργων ἀλλ᾿ ἐκ τοῦ
καλοῦντος, ἐρρέθη αὐτῇ ὅτι ὁ μείζων δουλεύσει τῷ ἐλάσσονι, 13 καθὼς
γέγραπται· τὸν Ἰακὼβ ἠγάπησα, τὸν δὲ Ἠσαῦ ἐμίσησα.
Rom. 9:11 (NRSV) Even before they had been born or had done anything
good or bad (so that God’s purpose of election might continue, 12 not
by works but by his call) she was told, “The elder shall serve the
younger.” 13 As it is written, “I have loved Jacob, but I have
Note "his call" where his is an NRSV +(plus) not represented in the greek vorlage.
“Paul can omit the word ‘God’ because in his usage the participial ὁ
καλέσας or ὁ καλῶν is a standard term for God (Rom. 4:17; 9:12; Gal.
1:15; 5:8; 1 Thess. 2:12; 5:24). For Paul, ‘calling’ is a fundamental
element of God’s nature.”
G. Ebeling, The Truth of the Gospel: An Exposition of Galatians
(trans. D. Green; Fortress, 1985), 46
Alford notes that the Syriac along with Luther, Calvin and some others understood the agent as Christ but he disagrees with them.
τοῦ καλέσ. ὑμ.] not to be taken with χριστοῦ, as Syr., Jer., Luth.
(gives both constructions, but prefers this), Calv., Grot., Bengel,
&c., nor understood of Paul, as al. and recently by Bagge,—but, as
almost always with the Apostle (see note on Romans 1:6), of God the
Father see ver. 15; and cf. Romans 8:30; Romans 9:24, Romans 9:25:
1Corinthians 1:9; 1Corinthians 7:15, 1Corinthians 7:17: 1Thessalonians
2:12: 2Thessalonians 2:14: 2Timothy 1:9. Also 1Peter 5:10).
H. Alford, Greek Testament
While searching for the citation from Ebling I found a recent thesis:
Paul’s astonishment that the Galatians so promptly turned “from the
one45 who called you in grace” ( πὸ τοῦ καλέσαντος ὑμᾶς ἐν χάριτι
[Χριστοῦ])46 has a complement only nine verses later, in that Paul was
“called through [God’s] grace” (καλέσας διὰ τῆς χάριτος αὐτοῦ).47
Paul’s phrasing is intentional: it creates an identification between
the Galatians and Paul, an essential move for Paul’s presentation of
himself as a paradigm.48 Yet, if καλέω means calling to a vocation for
Paul, it cannot mean this for the Galatians. The Galatians’ calling is
mentioned three times: they were “called in grace” (1.6), “called for
freedom” (ἐπ᾿ ἐλευθερίᾳ ἐκλήθητε; 5.13; cf. 5.1), and the “persuasion”
currently thwarting them from “obeying the truth” is “not from the one
who calls you” (ἐκ τοῦ καλοῦντος; 5.8).49 For the Galatians, calling
is set in opposition to “turning...to another gospel” and slavery
through law-observance. The Galatians are gentile sinners (2.15) whose
lives before Christ were defined by serving false-gods (4.8-9). Yet,
the Gentiles enter a story where the law has come to an end because of
the Christ-event (2.18-20; 3.23-26).50
MCFARLAND, ORREY,WAYNE (2013) The God who Gives: Philo and Paul in
Conversation , Durham theses, Durham University. Available at Durham
E-Theses Online: http://etheses.dur.ac.uk/9409/