$amz(1932792406 Ancient Letters and the New Testament), Hans-Josef Klauck (Baylor Press, 2006)


Overall this is a valuable contribution to the literature on letters in the ancient world.  Klauck takes six chapters to survey the various types of letters in the ancient world (with student exercises) and then two chapters to survey epistolary issues in the New Testament.  In Chapter 7 he briefly surveys most NT letters and in Chapter 8 he deals with a few letters in more detail.  He treats the Pastoral Epistles briefly in Chapter 7.


His treatment of the Pastorals is disappointing.  His assumption of their pseudonymity is not surprising, but what is disappointing is the various points based on overconfidence in literary and epistolary grounds.  He states baldly, “The Pastoral Letters were conceived as a complete collection by their author, who intentionally chose the number three for effect” (324).  He goes on to argue that the author intended them to be read in the order: Titus, 1 Tim, 2 Tim.  This is not a new suggestion, but it does requite argumentation.  Nothing in the manner of letter writing demands or strongly suggests this conclusion.  In fact scholarship of the last decade has increasingly challenged the idea that these three letters should be considered as a distinct corpus.  The lengthy introduction to Titus is significant, but it is a logical leap to assert this proves the author intended Titus to serve as the intro to a three letter collection!  And what “effect” is intended by the choice of the number three as Klauck suggests?  These are just a couple of examples of problems in this section.


This section represents some common older assumptions about the pastorals.  It is not very up to date (e.g., none of the works on the structure of Titus are mentioned in the bibliography).  This could be due to the fact that the original German work was published in 1998.  However, Klauck in his introduction states that this book is “not a simple translation, but the text of the German edition has been thoroughly revised, updated, and also enlarged” (viii).