Interpreting the Bible: A Handbook of Terms and Methods, Randolph Tate

(Hendrickson, 2007)


This is an interesting and useful book from a bit more of a critical perspective.  My reason for commenting on it here is Tate’s evaluation of the Pastoral Epistles in his entry for “Epistolary Literature”.  In this entry Tate refers to the “Undisputed Pauline Letters”, the “Disputed (Deutero-)Pauline Letters” and the “Pseudo-Pauline Letters.”  These are fairly standard categories.  What is unusual is that for Tate the Pastorals are the “Disputed” letters and Ephesians and 2 Thessalonians are the “Pseudo-Pauline”!  Every other source I have ever read which uses these three categories places the Pastorals in the lowest category, the least Pauline.  Ephesians and other letters are typically labeled “Deutero-Pauline.”  The reversal of categories is so complete that I wonder if it was a mistake.  If not, does Tate see the Pastorals as more Pauline than Ephesians?  That would be interesting.  His treatment of the Pastorals does not seem to suggest a higher view of the letters however (indeed he does not seem to be aware of some research that has seriously challenged older criticisms of the Pastorals).


Any thoughts form others?