Category: Article Links (Page 4 of 6)

Assessing Schleiermacher on the Authorship of 1 Timothy

Friedrich Schleiermacher’s  “Concerning the so-called first Letter of Paul to Timothy; a critical open letter to J. C. Gass” (1807) was a watershed piece in the history of the interpretation of the Pastoral Epistles, as he led the way in questioning the Pauline authorship of 1 Timothy. He argued particularly from the difference in vocabulary between 1 Timothy and other Pauline letters and from what he saw as an incoherent and discontinuous train of thought in 1 Timothy. Schleiermacher argued that 1 Timothy was created by drawing from 2 Timothy and Titus, whose authenticity he did not dispute.

In 1999 Hermann Patsch published a very helpful article which briefly summarized Schleiermacher’s arguments and how Schleiermacher’s work was received at the time.[1] Patsch summarizes all the significant contemporary reviews as well as the reviews of Heinrich Planck’s book which was written as a response to Schleiermacher.[2] I was pleased to discover the article is available online.

It was interesting to read that the early reviews of Schleiermacher were consistently negative. In fact, according to Patsch, Schleiermacher’s book was “more or less clearly torn to pieces, attacked in monographs.” De Wette was critical of several of Schleiermacher’s arguments but said: “He has seen what as yet no one saw: he demonstrates that the first letter to Timothy was not written by Paul.”

The debate seen in these reviews contains most of the same talking points found in the same debate today.

If you are doing any work on history of interpretation of the PE or the authorship question, this is a helpful article.

[1] Hermann Patsch, “The Fear of Deutero-Paulinism: The Reception of Friedrich Schleiermacher’s ‘Critical Open Letter’ concerning 1 Timothy,” Journal of Higher Criticism 6 (1999): 3-31

[2] Heinrich Ludwig Planck, Bemerkungen über den ersten Paulinischen Brief an den Timotheus in Beziehung auf das kritische Sendschreiben von Hrn. Prof. Fr. Schleiermacher (Göttingen: Röver, 1808).

History of Baptist Interpretation of Titus

After about a 5 year hiatus, the Journal of Baptist Studies has relaunched with a new website and an issue devoted entirely to the history of interpretation of the letter to Titus among Baptists. The Journal of Baptist studies is a peer-reviewed journal, published electronically and edited by Anthony Chute and Matthew Emerson. There is no charge for accessing the journal.

Here is the table of contents for the current issue (not including the book reviews):

Baptists, Pastors, and Titus 1: A History of Interpretation

By Ray Van Neste……………………………………………………………4


The Legality of Slavery in the Sight of God: Baptists and Their Use of Titus 2 to Defend Slavery

By Jeff Straub………………………………………………………………36


Reception History of Titus 3 in Baptist Life

By Anthony Chute………………………………………………………….64


Selected Baptist Bibliography on Titus

By Matthew Y. Emerson ……………………………………………………91


I think this issue will be of interest to scholars working on the Pastorals even if they are not Baptists. The essays trace the way one group of Christians have interpreted and applied this letter over the years. The focus is not simply on academic writing but how the texts were applied in the life of the church.

In my essay I was intrigued to find shifts in the way Baptist leaders interpreted references to plurality of pastors/elders, the use of alcohol, and the ‘believing” or “faithful” children in Titus 1:6.

I am interested in any thoughts readers have on these essays. Feel free to leave feedback in the comments.

Bible Study Magazine on the Pastorals and Philemon

The September-October 2012 issue of Bible Study Magazine has a special section on the Pastoral Epistles and Philemon.

I was happy to be able to write two of the articles in the special section, in addition to my normal “Thoughts from the Early Church” column. Here are some more details on some articles in the special section:

Special Section on the Pastoral Letters: In Transition

Fighter, Writer, More than a Conqueror

When authors use illustrations, they invite us to draw parallels between what we know and what they want us to learn. Their examples help us understand their ideas. And the illustrations they choose give us insights into how they see the world and what frames of reference they expect to have in common with their audience. —Eli T. Evans

The First-Century Abolitionist

Today, an estimated 27 million people are enslaved globally, and human trafficking is a $32 billion industry. Modern-day slavery is built on greed, fear and a disregard for human life, and it’s an issue we take very seriously. So when Paul writes in 1 Timothy 6:1, “All those who are under the yoke as slaves must regard their own masters as worthy of all honor,” it seems surprising to us that he doesn’t denounce the practice. Instead, he addresses the attitude Christian slaves should have toward unbelieving masters. Why does Paul seem so nonchalant about slavery? Has he cowered under the pressure of Graeco-Roman culture and embraced it? —John D. Barry and Craig A. Smith

You Owe Me Your Very Soul

“And I won’t mention that you owe me your very soul,” Paul says in his letter to Philemon (Phlm 19). At first glance, Paul’s comment seems like a threat—a rhetorical hand grenade he tosses to pressure Philemon, a church leader in Colossae, to do what he wants. But is that what’s going on? —Perry L. Stepp and Rebecca Kruyswijk

See the Bible Study Magazine web site for more information (including subscription info).

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.

The papers from the Disputed Paulines Section were less constructive and less helpful. The Monday morning session of this group had the theme, “New Methods and the Pastoral Epistles.” I will list each presenter and paper title with a brief interaction.

Ilaria Ramelli, Catholic University of Milan, “Tit 2:1-4, Women Presbyters, and a Patristic Interpretation”

Ramelli essentially argued that Origen affirmed women “elders.” However, even the evidence cited had Origen stating clearly that these women were neither to teach men nor to teach publicly in church. It was not clear to me that “elders” were clearly in view, rather than Origen simply affirming the role of women teaching and encouraging younger women as stated in Titus 2. AS the paper progressed it was not really rooted in Titus 2 but referred to wide ranging sources which alluded to women in ordained ministries. These references were primarily cited but not explained or defended. This paper was similar to her article “Theosebia: A Presbyter of the Catholic Church,” Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion 26.2 (2010): 79-102.

Elsa Tamez, United Bible Society, “The Rhetorical Strategy in 1 Tim 2:8-3:1”

Tamez’s paper followed a similar approach as that found in her book on 1 Timothy. She cited some verbal parallels in this text, though her point was not entirely clear to me. She argued for a basic A, B. A’ structure in various places- some of which has been commonly noted in the literature. She did argue that this text prohibits women from certain ministry but suggested it is not necessarily binding, stating, “There have been men and women who have refused to heed this text.”. She stated, in what may have been an off hand comment, “So the only way out for women is rebellion.”

Marianna Kartzow, University of Oslo, “An Intersectional Approach to the Pastoral Epistles”

Kartzow, author of the recent Gossip and Gender: Othering of Speech in the Pastoral Epistles, essentially approached the Pastorals on the assumption that they are written as late as three generations after Paul and asked “Who needed this memory of Paul?” She was concerned with how different groups- particularly marginalized or oppressed groups- would have “remembered” the ideas contained in the letter. She stated that she did not think the Pastorals were reflections of reality and said we ought to pay as little attention to the Pastoral Epistles as possible because they contain dangerous hierarchies and are texts of terror. She noted, with apparent disappointment that she found little destabilizing ideas in the Pastoral Epistles, i.e. they were socially conventional.

Gail Streete, Rhodes College, “The Pastorals in Rehab; Why They Are Important to Feminism (And It’s Now What You Think)”

Streete is the author of several books, including The Strange Woman: Power and Sex in the Bible. I did not catch why, in her opinion, the Pastorals are important to feminism, though that failure is probably mine due to having listened to too many academic papers in a row. 🙂 She was pessimistic about the possibility of discovering meaning in these letters. She confessed, “I have never learned to love the Pastoral Epistles,” and referred to Deborah Krause’s portrayal of the Pastorals as the “grumpy old uncle” whom you learn to tolerate. She also affirmed the statement of Linda Maloney (in Fiorenza’s Feminist Commentary) that the author of the Pastorals was “a frightened would-be authority on the defensive.”

Ken Myers on Titus and Cultural Engagement

In the recent issue of Touchstone Magazine Ken Myers’ article “Waiting for Epimenides” draws from the letter to Titus lessons for cultural engagement.  Myers’ article is a good example in a non-technical article of drawing proper applications.

This is a good article both in its handling of Titus and in its observations of the current church scene.  Here si one quote:

“St. Paul’s letter to Titus is a bracing rebuke to much of the vague talk about cultural engagement one hears in so many Christian settings. … It recognizes that cultural moods and styles can be enemies of faithfulness.” (11)

If you are not a subscriber to Touchstone, I would encourage you to try out the magazine.

New Article on the Structure of Titus


Google is amazing!  Yesterday I was completing a writing project and using “Google books” to track down a few stray references.  On one page Google linked to an article by Kevin Gary Smith titled “The Structure of Titus: Criss-cross Chiasmus as Structural Marker.”  I had never heard of this article so I followed the link.  I discovered that this article is from volume 3 (March 2007): 99-110, of Conspectus the online, refereed journal of South African Theological Seminary.


 Smith interacts with my article and monograph on the structure of Titus as well as an article by Clark.[1]  Smith accepts the chiastic structural suggestions made by Banker[2] and myself but wants to press them further.  There is little point in me here summarizing the argument when the article is readily available and only 12 pages in length.


 I am pleased to see ongoing reflection on the structure of the Pastorals, and I agree with Smith that Titus “may well be the most delicately structured of all Paul’s letters” (99).  In the end Smith says his argument “confirms, with minor adjustments” my own proposal (109).  I think this is true, though I am not convinced by the adjustments. He mentions his intention to publish a follow up article with supporting linguistic evidence.  I will be eager to see that article as well.


I would be quite interested to hear from others what they think of Smith’s argument.  It is good to see this conversation continue.

UPDATE: Elias Fairfield has kindly pointed me to the link for Smith’s dissertation online:

Thanks, Elias!

[1] Ray Van Neste, ‘Structure and Cohesion in Titus,’ Bible Translator  53.1 (January 2002): 118-33; Cohesion and Structure in the Pastoral Epistles (London: T&T Clark, 2005); D. J. Clark, “Discourse Structure in Titus,” Bible Translator  53.1 (January 2002): 101-17.


[2] John Banker, Semantic Structure Analysis of Titus (Dallas: Summer Institute of Linguistics, 1987).




Titus 3.10 and αιρετικον ανθρωπον

Roger Pearse (whose blog you really should be reading) has some questions on how αιρετικον ανθρωπον should be translated in Titus 3.10.

He lists a number of English translations (plus the Vulgate) and has some other discussion; but the meat of his question is:

The most natural English usage would appear to be ‘heretic’ or ‘heretical man’.  Why don’t we say so?  How would we translate this in a patristic text? The Vulgate does not hesitate to say “haereticum hominem” – “heretic man”.

A heretic is not necessarily a “divisive person”, after all.  The Greek word, surely, will relate more to the variety of belief in the philosophical schools (haereses) than to modern ecumenism, or indeed even to 4th and 5th century doctrinal debates?

It’s been awhile since I’ve worked through the text of Titus, but I consulted my notes on this word instance from a few years back; here’s what I wrote:

While the typical literal translation of αἱρετικός (hairetikos) seems to be factious, this word is somewhat difficult in that it is not a common word, and its meaning is not readily at hand for many readers. Thus I’ve translated as division-causing instead of the other seeming option, heretical. This is one who not only believes contrary to the sound teaching of Paul, but causes problems in the community by advancing his own heretical agenda (hence factious or division-causing).

Anyone else have ideas? If so, feel free to comment here or (better) head to Roger’s blog and interact there.

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