Category: Ancient Letters

Abstracts for Ethics in Titus Conference

Two weeks ago I had the privilege of participating in the “Ethics in Titus” conference held at Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany. The conference was hosted by the Research Center for Ethics in Antiquity and Christianity, which is ably led by Prof. Dr. Ruben Zimmermann. In leading this conference Prof. Zimmermann was joined by Dogara Manomi, who has just submitted his doctoral thesis on Titus under Prof. Zimmermann’s supervision. They both were excellent hosts for a stimulating conversation with papers, wonderful meals and even a tour of the city.

They have graciously allowed us to post here the abstracts from the papers of the conference. The papers are to be published in a forthcoming volume in the Context and Norms of New Testament Ethics series within WUNT (Mohr Siebeck).

The manuscript . . .

The manuscript for my commentary, Reading Paul’s Letters to Individuals: A Literary and Theological Commentary on the Letters to Philemon, Titus, and Timothy, is officially in the mail to Smyth and Helwys.=&0=&the exposition is aimed at preachers and teachers. This would be the first commentary I would recommend for people who want to preach these letters.Second, this is the first commentary on the Pastorals to take into account the role that succession plays in these letters.

More on P.Tebt. 703

I blogged about this now nearly a month ago; in the end of the post I wrote:

I’d thought I would have to instead find the 1933 Tebtunis volume in a library somewhere, but this is so much better. I had to blog it quick; first so I could find the reference easily when I really want it later on; and secondly so y’all could be aware of it.
In the meantime, a friend went up to the library at Trinity Western, and he retrieved the information on P.Tebt 703 from the printed edition for me. I thought it would be 10 pages at most, consisting mainly of transcription and translation.
I was wrong.
The information on P.Tebt 703 runs for 36 pages. There are seven pages of background and discussion, followed by a six-part table of contents (!) before the transcription begins. Following the transcription is the standard translation/notes section that runs for 20 pages!
While there are some similarities in content between P.Tebt 703 and First Timothy and Titus, I think the jury is still out on them sharing genre. But if you’re looking to study this, the information in the Tebtunis Papyri, Vol 3 Part 1, for P.Tebt 703, is well worth looking up and studying.

First Timothy and P.Tebt. 703

If you read many recent commentaries on the Pastoral Epistles (particularly Witherington, though Johnson and probably Towner and Marshall), and if you have read the section on First Timothy in Carson’s New Testament Introduction and also in Frank Theilman’s New Testament Theology, you’ve heard of P.Tebt. 703.
P.Tebt. 703 is one of the Tebtunis Papyri. It is a letter dated “after 208 BC”. It is described as:

Copy of an official memorandum probably from the dioiketes to probably the oikonomos, giving instructions concerning agriculture, transport, royal revenues and monopolies, official correspondence, and behavior of royal officials.
Many folks look to P.Tebt. 703 as an example of a superior writing instructions to his lieutenant concerning administration of an area/group and see similarities with what Paul is writing to Timothy in First Timothy (and, similarly what Paul writes to Titus in the epistle to Titus).
I’ve been looking for a full translation of P.Tebt. 703 for a few days (well, thinking about looking) and this morning I finally remembered that I could hit APIS (Advanced Papyrological Information System) and probably find it pretty quickly. It’s better than I’d thought. The APIS entry has images, verso and recto, of all the extant leaves of the letter along with summary description and translation.
I’d thought I would have to instead find the 1933 Tebtunis volume in a library somewhere, but this is so much better. I had to blog it quick; first so I could find the reference easily when I really want it later on; and secondly so y’all could be aware of it.

Classen on Titus

At SBL I finally managed to find a reasonably priced copy of Carl Joachim Classen’s Rhetorical Criticism of the New Testament (Brill, 2000).  This book is a collection of papers and articles previously given and published.  His first two essays are useful on the question of the legitimacy of using categories of classical rhetoric in analyzing Paul’s letters.  Classen is a classicist rather than a biblical scholar so he brings a valuable perspective to the question.
The third essay is the one that directly concerns the Pastoral Epistles and is entitled, “A Rhetorical Reading of the Epistle to Titus.”  Though I differ from Classen on the structure of the letter, I benefitted from reading his analysis while working on my own.  He does conclude that the letter is carefully written (in contrast to many) and that the author did not follow the directions of any of the classical handbooks on rhetoric.  Any examination of the structure of Titus ought to interact with Classen.
(You can see my differences with Classen either by comparing his work with my monograph or a brief article, “Structure and Cohesion in Titus,” published in The Bible Translator 53:1 (Jan 2002):118-33.)