Andrew Langford’s University of Chicago dissertation, completed under the guidance of Margaret Mitchell, is now available from Mohr Siebeck. Its publication continues a recent, though doubtless inadvertent, outsized presence of Pastorals work in Mohr Siebeck’s WUNT series.
Andrew M. Langford, Diagnosing Deviance: Pathology and Polemic in the Pastoral Epistles. Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 2/592. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2023.
Mohr Siebeck provides this summary: “In this study, Andrew M. Langford demonstrates that the single, post-Pauline author of the Pastoral Epistles (‘the Pastor’) crafts a stigmatizing depiction of his theological opponents by spatializing, demonizing, and pathologizing their alleged deviance. Through close comparative readings of ancient medical and philosophical literature, the author argues for the necessity of interpreting the Pastor’s pathologizing of deviance in light of ancient disease etiologies and models of corporeality. With this book, the author contributes to recent interpretive insights about the function of authorial fiction in antiquity and demonstrates that the Pastor is self-consciously appropriating the Pauline epistolary to craft his approach to his theological opponents.”
In connection with this new work, note an earlier article by Pastorals scholar Abraham Malherbe, which doubtless covers similar ground in seminal form:
Abraham J. Malherbe, “Medical Imagery in the Pastoral Epistles.” Pages 19–35 in Texts and Testaments: Critical Essays on the Bible and Early Church Fathers. Edited by W. E. March. San Antonio: Trinity University Press, 1980. Reprint, pages 117–34 in vol. 1 of Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity. Collected Essays, 1959‒2012. Edited by Carl R. Holladay, John T. Fitzgerald, Gregory E. Sterling, and James W. Thompson. Novum Testamentum Supplements 150. Leiden: Brill, 2014.
Though the title may not immediately grab students of the Pastorals, Michael Theophilus’s new article will be of interest:
Michael P. Theophilus, “Numismatic Insights into Pauline Ethics: ΕΥΕΡΓ- on Roman Provincial, Parthian and Seleucid Coinage.” New Testament Studies 69.3 (2023): 313–31. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0028688522000339
Abstract: Numismatic inscriptional evidence consistently employs the ΕΥΕΡΓ- word group in describing a superior providing some material public benefit to an inferior, typically an entire city, nation or kingdom. This is evidenced in the present study’s comprehensive survey of several hundred numismatic types, extant in many thousands of specimens from the second century BCE to the first century CE. Within this context, 1 Timothy 6.2 is discussed, wherein it is noted that the apparent identification of a slave’s labour as ɛὐɛργɛσία not only heightens the significance and value of that service but is a deliberate inversion of expected social and linguistic norms.
“We all age. But how we understand age and aging depends on cultural context. The early followers of Jesus experienced growing up and growing old in a world where more than a third of children never reached adulthood, married women could expect to become widows, and, above all, elders were to be honoured. In the ancient Mediterranean, expectations associated with one’s age could be a source of social power, as well as a source of tension within families and communities, and between generations.
“Honouring Age positions age as an essential aspect of communal identity and familial roles in the early Christian experience by examining one of the most contentious and perplexing texts in the New Testament: the first letter to Timothy. First Timothy reflects a one-sided conversation between an older Paul and a younger Timothy, in which the author hopes to influence both the old and young in fulfilling their traditional roles in the “household of God.” It was a time of tumult, and relations were fraught, with potential consequences for the reputation of the nascent Christian community: some children were neglecting their aging parents, which was culturally unacceptable behaviour; older women who should have been encouraging young widows to remarry were discouraging them, exposing them to ridicule; young men who should have been respectful to their elders were shamefully turning on them. In recognizing the responsibilities of young and old to each other, and the reputational damage they otherwise risked, this study demonstrates that age is integral to understanding the complexities of 1 Timothy.
“Drawing on modern ethnographies corroborated by ancient evidence to interpret social aspects of 1 Timothy, Honouring Age shows convincingly that, in emerging Christian communities in the ancient Mediterranean world, age mattered.”
I will read this monograph with interest. LaFosse’s volume will mediate her dissertation work and related publications to a wider audience. Following is a brief bibliography of her other pertinent works and conference presentations:
LaFosse, Mona Tokarek. “Age Hierarchy and Social Networks among Urban Women in the Roman East.” Pages 204–20 in Mediterranean Families in Antiquity: Households, Extended Families, and Domestic Space. Edited by Sabine R. Huebner and Geoffrey Nathan. Chicester, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2017.
________. “Age Hierarchy, Honourable Reputation, and Widows in 1 Timothy 5:3–16.” Presentation at the SBL Annual Meeting, San Francisco, 21 November 2011. Abstract: https://www.sbl-site.org/meetings/abstract.aspx?id=19640 = “Age Hierarchy and Widows in 1 Timothy 5:3–16.” Presentation at the Annual Meeting of the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies, Montreal, QC, 29 May 2010.
________. “Age Matters: Age, Aging and Intergenerational Relationships in Early Christian Communities, with a Focus on 1 Timothy 5.” PhD diss., University of Toronto, 2011.
________. “Honour Your Elders: An Anthropological View of Aging and 1 Timothy 5:17–25.” Presentation at the Annual Meeting of the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies, Saskatoon, SK, 28 May 2007. Abstract: https://www.csbs-sceb.ca/2007_programme_abstracts.pdf
________. “Inspiring Intergenerational Relationships: Aging and the New Testament from One Historian’s Perspective.” Religions 13 (2022): 1–10, article 628. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13070628.
________. “‘Like a Father’: Age Hierarchy and the Meaning of Parakaleo in 1 Tim 5:1–2.” Presentation at the SBL Annual Meeting, Baltimore, 24 November 2013. Abstract: https://www.sbl-site.org/meetings/abstract.aspx?id=28327. = Presentation at the Annual Meeting of the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies, Waterloo, ON, 29 May 2012. Abstract: https://www.csbs-sceb.ca/CSBS-2012-Long-Programme.pdf
________. “Pauline Language in 2 Timothy.” Presentation at the Annual Meeting of the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies, Toronto, 26 May 2002. Abstract: https://www.csbs-sceb.ca/2002Abstracts.htm
________. “Situating 2 Timothy in Early Christian History.” M.A. thesis, Wilfrid Laurier University, 2001.
________. “Those Who Hear: The Power of Learners in 1 Timothy.” Pages 147–70 in Religions and Education in Antiquity: Studies in Honour of Michel Desjardins. Edited by Alex Damm. Numen: Studies in the History of Religions 160. Leiden: Brill, 2018.
________. “Why Sixty? A Question of Age and Reputation in 1 Timothy 5:9.” Presentation at the Annual Meeting of the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies, Fredricton, NB, 30 May 2011. Abstract: https://www.csbs-sceb.ca/2011_Programme.htm
________. “Women and ‘the Faith’ in 1 Timothy 5: A Battle for Faith and Faithfulness.” Presentation at the SBL Annual Meeting, 30 November 2020.
________. “Women, Children and House Churches.” Pages 385–405 in The Early Christian World. Edited by Philip Esler. 2nd ed. London: Routledge, 2017.
________. “Women’s Roles in the Letters to Timothy and Titus.” Christian Reflection [Center for Christian Ethics, Baylor University] (2013): 30–39.
Monographs on the Pastorals are uncommon enough that I wanted to mention this forthcoming volume even though it won’t be available for half a year:
Michael Robertson, Reading the Letter to Titus in Light of Crete: Dynamics of Early Christian Identity Construction. Critical Approaches to Early Christianity 3. Leiden: Brill, 2024.
Brill provides this summary of the volume: “This volume argues that Titus’s invocation of Crete affected the ways early readers developed their identities. Using archaeological data, classical writings, and early Christian documents, he describes multiple traditions that circulated on Crete and throughout the Roman Empire concerning Cretan Zeus, Cretan social structure, and Cretan Judaism. He then uses these traditions to interpret Titus and explain how the letter would intersect with and affect readers’ identities. Because readers had differing conceptions of Crete based on their location and access to and evaluation of Cretan traditions, readers would have developed their identities in multiple, conflictual, even contradictory ways.”
Robertson’s monograph joins his other publications, past and forthcoming, related to the Pastorals. In chronological order:
“Neophyte Pastors: Can Titus 1 Be Used to Justify Placing New Converts in the Office of Pastor?” Southwestern Theological Journal 57.1 (2014): 77‒86.
“1 and 2 Timothy.” In James Crossley and Alastair Lockhart, eds., Critical Dictionary of Apocalyptic and Millenarian Movements. 28 October 2021.
“Letter of Paul to Titus.” In James Crossley and Alastair Lockhart, eds., Critical Dictionary of Apocalyptic and Millenarian Movements. 28 October 2021. Retrieved from https://www.cdamm.org/articles/titus.
“Pauline Apocalypticism and the Pastoral Epistles.” In James Crossley and Alastair Lockhart, eds., Critical Dictionary of Apocalyptic and Millenarian Movements. 28 October 2021. Retrieved from https://www.cdamm.org/articles/apocalypticism-pastoral-epistles
“Zeus in the Interpretation of the Letter to Titus in the Church Fathers and the Acts of Titus.” Apocrypha 33, forthcoming.
“Anti-Judaism in the Pastoral Epistles.” In Judeophobia in the New Testament: Texts, Contexts, and Pedagogy. Edited by Sarah Rollens, Eric Vanden Eykel, and Meredith Warren. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, forthcoming.
“Deutero-Pauline Epistles.” In James Crossley and Michelle Fletcher, eds, Introduction to the New Testament. London: SCM Press, forthcoming.
“Eve in the New Testament.” In Katie B. Edwards and Caroline Blyth, eds., Routledge Handbook of Eve. London: Routledge, forthcoming.
“Pauline Pseudepigrapha as Lieux de Mémoire: Using and Applying Pseudepigraphic Texts in the Church.” In Proceedings of the Pastoral Implications of Pseudepigraphy and Anonymity in the New Testament Conference, ed. David Capes. Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, forthcoming.
Paul S. Jeon, Lecturer in NT at Reformed Theological Seminary and senior pastor at NewCity Church in Vienna, VA, has reviewed the recently published volume by David C. Wright, Integration: A Conversation between Theological Education and the Letters to Timothy and Titus, International Council for Evangelical Theological Education Series (Carlisle: Langham Global Library, 2022). The review is exclusive to this blog and may be accessed here.
The most recent edition of Bibel und Kirche, a “journal on the Bible in research and practice [Die Zeitschrift zur Bibel in Forschung und Praxis],” has taken the Pastorals as its theme. It describes its theme in this summary:
“The two letters to Timothy and the letter to Titus are the focus of this issue. In current biblical scholarship, the three letters have a decidedly poor image. A majority assumes that the sender and addressees are a literary fiction: Neither were the letters really written by Paul, nor were Timothy and Titus their real recipients.In recent years, however, there has now been renewed movement in the discussion. The Pastoral Epistles are one of the focal points of the renewed debates about dating and authorship of the New Testament writings. There is also a new discussion about the content, especially the history of impact on the image of the church, questions of office – and also on the image of women and the question of women’s offices.” (Translation from German via DeepL)
The contents include the following articles:
Stefan Krauter Auf den zweiten Blick Eine Hinführung zu den Pastoralbriefen
Karl Matthias Schmidt Larven des Lehrers Der Abschluss der neutestamentlichen Paulus-Pseudepigraphie
Joram Luttenberger Prophetenmantel oder Bücherfutteral? Überlegungen zu den persönlichen Notizen in den Pastoralbriefen
Ulrike Wagener Was sollen die Außenstehenden von uns denken? Orientierung an der Reaktion der nichtchristlichen Umwelt in den Pastoralbriefen
Gerd Häfner »Eine gute Aufgabe« (1 Tim 3,1) Ämter in den Pastoralbriefen und ihre Fortschreibung in neuen Kontexten
Angela Standhartinger Ältere Frauen, Presbyterinnen und Witwen in den Pastoralbriefen
Bettina Eltrop Die Israelvergessenheit der Pastoralbriefe
Barbara Lumesberger-Loisl “Predigtberbot für Frauen – bis heute?” Ein Zwischenruf
Jonathan Sanchez, “Making an Example: The Rhetorical Usefulness of Timothy in 1 Timothy.” Journal for the Study of the New Testament 45.4 (2023): 351–70. https://doi.org/10.1177/0142064X231163230
Abstract: Scholars of pseudepigraphal letters have recognized that pseudepigraphy troubles the identification of the alleged addressee with the historical addressee. This means that the rhetorical addressee is a matter of choice. Building on Benjamin Fiore’s work on exemplarity, I argue that Timothy as addressee of 1 Timothy helps the Pastor articulate specific aspects of his program. Timothy, like Paul, is an example and serves as a link between Paul’s exemplarity and this letter’s readers. Through Timothy’s exemplarity, the Pastor legitimates young leadership, addressing a second-century controversy in the Jesus movement. Finally, the Pastor reframes Timothy’s reputation, distancing him from Jewish law.
Within the Pastorals, 1 Timothy 2:9–15 holds pride of place as having more secondary literature devoted to it than any other passage in the letters. Within that passage, verse 15 has received particular focus, and has been interpreted in a surprising number of ways. With the amount of attention given to this crux interpretum it might be thought that possible understandings of the verse have been exhausted, but a new article presents yet another take on this disputed passage:
R. Gregory Jenks, “Eve as Savior of Humanity? From the Genesis Narrative to Paul’s Comments on Childbearing in 1 Timothy 2:15.” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 66.1 (2023): 133–61.
Abstract: As the concluding text to one of the more controversial Pauline teachings about women in the church community, 1 Timothy 2:15 carries a host of grammatical, semantic, and cultural questions that tax the most motivated and careful exegete. It is rendered distinctly troublesome by the change in number in the verbs and debates about their referent(s), the meaning of “salvation,” and Paul’s choice of desired attributes. I examine Paul’s use of the figure of Eve by looking first at the Genesis passage, where I consider her role as Adam’s helper, her fall, her curse, and her recovery as keys to interpret her mention in 1 Timothy 2. I offer a surprising solution: Adam, not Eve, is saved through childbirth; that is, humanity is saved from extinction through the woman’s role of mother with the condition that the couple, that is, men and women in the church, maintain the godly attributes listed.
Hester, David. “Did Paul Accept The Apocryphon of Jannes and Jambres as Scripture?” Hester finds that Paul was not necessarily referring to the Apocryphon as such in 2 Tim 3:8, and that he did not accept the Apocryphon as Scripture. The paper is available here.
Pereira, Mary Ellen. “Antidotes for Treason: Eusebeia and the Themes of 1 Timothy.” Summary available here.
Sedlacek, James. “The Meaning of αὐθεντεῖν: Some Considerations for 1 Tim 2:12.” Summary available here.