Month: December 2010

Christmas and the Pastoral Epistles

As you listen to Handel’s Messiah this season, remember that the man who wrote the text listed 1 Timothy 3:16 as a moto for the oratorio:
And without controversy great is the Mystery of Godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

Merry Christmas!

Pastoral Epistles Consultation at ETS

A new consultation on the Pastoral Epistles will begin at next year’s annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society. The title of the consultation is “The Pastoral Epistles and Pauline Theology.” Co-chairs are Greg Couser and Ray Van Neste with steering committee members Ben Merkle, Tom Schreiner, and Tim Swinson.

This consultation begins with the assumption of Pauline authorship. We are aware that in contemporary scholarship this is a significant assumption. However, since most work on Paul for many decades (even among those who affirm Pauline authorship) has set aside the Pastorals, we believe it is fair to take up the work from the other perspective. If we take the Pastorals as genuinely Pauline, how would this impact our view of Paul and his theology? What would be the result of a robust integration of the Pastorals into Pauline theology? Has our view of Paul been significantly shaped by the exclusion of the Pastorals? Read more

The PE at SBL

There were a number of papers on the Pastorals at SBL this year including a full session of the Disputed Paulines study group being devoted to them.

The best paper on the Pastorals which I heard came from Jens Herzer of Leipzig. His paper was titled, “Language and Ideas of the Pastoral Epistles in Light of the Papyri.” Herzer, while not affirming Pauline authorship, has a positive view of these letters and presented solid work on the papyri. He argued for maintaining the individuality of the three letters (rather than simply lumping them together, as is too common), supported the idea of 1 Timothy as mandata principis, and made several other suggestions. Herzer seems to be working on a larger project on the Pastorals, so I will be watching for more from him. Read more