At the Society of Biblical Literature meeting Edgar Battad Ebojo presented a paper titled, “P46 with the Pastoral Epistles: A Misleading Proposal? Reinvestigating the Evidence of the Missing Last Pages of P46” P46 is an early significant document containing Paul’s letters (plus Hebrews) which is missing its last pages (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Papyrus_46). It has commonly been stated that the document would not have had enough pages to include the Pastoral Epistles, and, therefore, this is evidence that the Pastorals were not considered Pauline at this early date. However, in 1988 Jeremy Duff published an article [“P46 and the Pastorals: A Misleading Consensus?” NTS 44 (1998): 578-590]
arguing that the Pastoral Epistles would fit because the scribe was beginning to squeeze more words in per page in the last pages we have.
Ebojo provided meticulous examination of P46, character count, per line, variations, etc. The detail was impressive. He demonstrated subjectivity in the work of much of the preceding discussion and ended with the suggestion that P46 is not the place to look for information on the authorship or canonicity of the Pastoral Epistles.
Ebojo’s work was exemplary in its detail and helpful in its modesty in its claims.
I have mentioned previously the new section on the Pastorals which will begin this year at ETS.
It is often helpful to note other Pastoral Epistles related papers which are scheduled for ETS or SBL this year. I will be giving a paper in the Biblical Greek Language and Linguistics section titled “De as a Discourse Marker in 2 Timothy.” The other people involved in this session (Levinsohn, Runge, Sims, Westfall) are leading thinkers in linguistics and biblical studies, so I face this with some trepidation. I am sure I do not have the final word on de, but I have learned a lot in working on this paper. I hope it will contribute to the discussion on the Pastorals and our understanding of connectives.
Feel free to note other Pastorals related papers scheduled for these conferences in the comments. I hope to see many of you there.
Doddridge (1702-1751) was a prominent Dissenting minister in England. He was mentored by Isaac Watts and wrote over 300 hymns based on scriptural texts. This is his hymn based on 2 Timothy 2:19.
The Stability of the Divine Foundation, and Its Double Inscription
(2 Timothy 2:19)
To THEE, great Architect on high,
Immortal thanks be paid,
Who, to support Thy sinking saints,
This firm foundation laid.
2. Fix’d on a Rock Thy gospel stands,
And braves the rage of hell;
And, while the Saviour’s hand protects,
His blood cements it well.
3. Here will I build my final hope;
Here rest my weary soul;
Majestic shall the fabric rise,
Till glory crown the whole.
4. Deep on my heart, all-gracious Lord,
Engrave its double seal;
Which, while it speaks Thy honor’d name,
Its sacred use may tell.
5. Dear by a thousand tender bonds,
Thy saints to Thee are known;
And, conscious what a name they bear,
Iniquity they shun.
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.
The draft of the schedule for the Annual Meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society has now been posted. I have previously announced the presenters and titles for the new section on the Pastoral Epistles, but now I can post the date, times and location. I am excited about this beginning of our conversation about how the avoidance of the Pastorals has impacted our view of Paul.
I hope to see you there.
Thursday, November 17, 2011
The Place of the Pastoral Epistles in Pauline Theology
Moderator: Ray Van Neste
Robert W. Yarbrough
(Covenant Theological Seminary)
The Theology of the Pastorals in NT Theologies
L. Timothy Swinson
The Pastoral Epistles and Perspectives Old and New
Greg A. Couser
‘Life on Life‘: Explorations in Paul‘s Understanding of Eschatological Life
(Beeson Divinity School)
The Pedagogy of Grace: Soteriology, Ethics, and Mission in Titus 2:11-14
“cowardice [δειλια] would seem to be a sort of fearful yielding of the soul” (Theophrastus, Characters [371-287 BC])
Cowardice (δειλια) “is a disease graver than any that affects the body since it destroys the faculties [δυναμις] of the soul. Diseases of the body flourish but for a short time, but cowardice is an inbred evil, as closely inherent or more so than any part of the bodily system from the earliest years to extreme old age, unless it is healed by God. For all things are possible to Him” (Philo, On the Virtues, 26; 1st century AD).
“For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice (δειλια) but of power[δυναμις], love and self-control.
Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power [δυναμις] of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, for which I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher, which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me. Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.” (Paul, 2 Timothy 1:7-14; 1st century AD [ESV, altered])
I previously announced the creation of a new consultation of the Pastorals at the Evangelical Theological Society to begin meeting this Fall. As stated before, the overall goal of this consultation is to explore the ways that the exclusion of the Pastoral Epistles has impacted the work of Pauline theology and how the inclusion of the Pastorals would inform the same work.
Now, I am pleased to announce the presenters and paper titles for this inaugural session. Here are the details of the session:
Session Title: “The Place of the Pastoral Epistles in Pauline Theology”
Moderator: Ray Van Neste
Robert Yarbrough: “The Pastoral Epistles in New Testament Theologies from Tübingen to Thielman”
Timothy Swinson: “The Pastoral Epistles and Perspectives, Old and New”
Greg Couser: “Life on Life”: Explorations in Paul’s Understanding of Eschatological Life
Frank Thielman: The Pedagogy of Grace: Soteriology, Ethics, and Mission in Titus 2:11-14
We are pleased to have each of these scholars participating. Bob Yarbrough’s paper will open the discussion by surveying how the Pastorals have been treated or ignored. Tim Swinson’s paper will examine what the Pastorals might contribute to one of the major discussions in Pauline theology, the New Perspective. Greg Couser will examine “life” terminology in 1 Timothy in comparison with the wider Pauline usage seeking to discern how 1 Timothy would contribute to Pauline theology in this area. Frank Thielman will investigate soteriological themes in Titus 2-3 in comparison with those themes elsewhere in Paul.
This promises to be a very beneficial discussion. I hope to see you there.
Last August I was privileged to teach through 2 Timothy for the leadership of the Christian Union, a wonderful ministry to Ivy League schools. 2 Timothy was the focus of their Bible studies this academic year, and two young men from the Harvard group decided to memorize 2 Timothy. The video below is of them reciting 2 Timothy together at the Harvard College Faith and Action Christmas party.
(also posted at my blog)
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.
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?
We hope to pursue these questions in the next several years. We will have a full section at ETS in Fall 2011 with four presentations, and will announce more information at this site as things develop. We hope to see you at the session next year.