I have previously mentioned here the new section at ETS devoted to the Pastoral Epistles. This section came into being due to the conviction (shared by myself and others) that the exclusion of the Pastorals from our thinking about Paul has skewed our understanding of Pauline theology. Specifically, I have become convinced that if the Pastoral Epistles were taken seriously as Pauline, the “New Perspective on Paul” would never have taken off. Stephen Westerhom in 2004 made this very point, stating:
No study that took Ephesians and the Pastorals into account could conclude, what proponents of the new perspective have sometimes claimed, that the Pelagian crisis or sixteenth-century controversies are the source of the “misreading” of Paul that sees him excluding human works from salvation rather than particular works from the terms for Gentile admission to the people of God. (Perspectives Old and New on Paul: The “Lutheran”Paul and His Critics, 406)
Some of our papers next month will speak to this issue. I hope to see you there.