Category: Commentary

A Half-Century of Pastorals Scholarship

I’ve made a first attempt at compiling a chronological list of relatively recent Pastorals scholarship. This first edition provides a year-by-year accounting of scholarly monographs and commentaries on the Pastorals from 1970 to the present (and future!), in any language. The table is available via the “Scholarship Timeline” tab at the top of the page. The full presentation is available here, and includes, in addition to the table, a full bibliography of all the works listed in the table.

I put together an early version of this table to help me to see what scholarship a given author had to draw upon at any given time in the last fifty years, and thought this sort of thing might be useful for others involved in Pastorals research.

Tsuji, Bokkai Shokan [Pastoral Epistles]

As a service to researchers in the Pastorals, we regularly note new publications that have been added to the secondary literature, and (especially through our annual bibliographies) we try to surface scholarly work in the letters that is in languages other than the relatively standard research languages of English, German, and French. My own accounting suggests there is easily as much secondary literature on the Pastorals in Italian as in French, and Polish and Dutch works are not lacking.

As many differences as there may be among, say, English, German, French, Dutch, Polish, and Italian, they are all spoken in Europe and share many similarities, not least of which is the same basic alphabet. At the time I began searching for works on the Pastorals written in Asian languages, I realized I was in a very different linguistic world. This post provides an unusual opportunity in that regard, allowing me to acknowledge a new major commentary:

Manabu Tsuji, Bokkai Shokan (Commentary on the Pastoral Epistles). Tokyo: Shinkyô Shuppansha, 2023. [Japanese]

Tsuji is Professor of Religious Studies at Hiroshima University. He holds his doctorate from the University of Berne; his dissertation was published as Glaube zwischen Vollkommenheit und Verweltlichung: Eine Untersuchung zur literarischen Gestalt und zur inhaltlichen Kohärenz des Jakobusbriefes, WUNT 2/93 (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 1997). A few years back, he contributed to a list of Japanese-language scholarly articles on the Pastorals, which we posted here at pastoralepistles.com.

At 759 pages, Bokkai Shokan is a major work. Comparing page count to English works isn’t necessarily an apples-to-apples proposition, but one might think of Mounce’s 778-page WBC volume as similar in heft. Tsuji provided this summary of his work, which will give readers of the blog a good sense of where the commentary is located in the realm of Pastorals scholarship:

“This commentary consists of an approximately 60-page introduction that discusses the name ‘Pastoral Epistles,’ problems of authorship, opponents, and theological and literary characteristics, followed by nearly 700 pages of detailed exegesis and bibliography. According to the author, the three letters were written by a single author as the Corpus Pastorale, a collection of Pauline letters to individuals (Timothy and Titus) modeled after the Corpus Paulinum and intended to be read in the order of 1 Timothy, Titus, and 2 Timothy. Titus serves as a ‘spatial extension’ of the content of 1 Timothy, showing that the content of 1 Timothy is equally applicable to churches in other regions, while II Timothy serves as a ‘temporal extension,’ showing that the issue of confronting false doctrine (the main theme of 1 Timothy) remained an important concern for Paul until the end of his life. This Corpus Pastorale was written against the backdrop of conflicts over Paul’s understanding: The role of these letters is to let Paul himself speak about the ‘final correct answer’ to the questions he left unresolved or ambiguous, such as the autonomy of women and the understanding of the resurrection. The author criticizes as ‘false doctrine’ an ascetic understanding of Paul (which prohibits marriage and the consumption of certain foods). The Pastoral Epistles were written in the first half of the second century AD. Their theological characteristics (e.g., God, Christ, faith, etc.) reflect how Pauline Christianity was preached and received in the post-Pauline Hellenistic pagan world.”

Tsuji’s previous publications on the letters include the following:

“1 Tim 5:17–25: Its Context and Structure.” Shin’yakugaku Kenkyu [New Testament Studies] (Japan Society of New Testament Studies) 25 (1997): 13–24.「Ⅰテモテ 5:17–25 の文脈と構成」、『新約学研究』(日本新約学会)25 号 (1997 年)13–24 頁。[Japanese]

“II Timothy 1:6: Laying on of Hands by Paul for Ordination?” Annual of the Japanese Biblical Institute 39 (2013): 65‒76.

“Beyond the Original Context: Reception of the Pauline Letters in the First Century.” Pages 5–21 in Scrinium: Revue de patrologie, d’hagiographie critique et d’histoire ecclésiastique, vol. 6: Patrogia Pacifica Secunda: Selected Papers Presented to the Asia-Pacific Early Christian Studies Society Fifth Annual Conference (Sendai, Japan, September 10–12, 2009) and Other Patristic Studies. Edited by Vladimir Baranov, Kazuhiko Demura, and Basil Lourié. Piscataway, NJ: Georgias, 2010. = 「元の文脈を超えて――紀元一世紀におけるパウロ書簡の受容史」、『ペディラヴィウム』65号(2010年)38–56頁。[Japanese]

“‘Different teachings’ and ‘Rich Women’: On the Structure and Background of 1 Timothy 6:3–21.” Shingaku Kenkyu [Theological Studies] (Society of Theological Studies of Kwansei Gakuin University) 43 (1996): 17–38.「『異なる教え』と『富める女性』――1テモテ6,3–21の構成とその背景――」、『神学研究』 43号(1996年)17–38頁。[Japanese]

“Die Intertextualität von 1 Tim 2,1–3/Tit 3,1–2.” Pages 99–110 in Neutestamentliche Exegese im Dialog: Hermeneutik—Wirkungsgeschichte—Matthäusevangelium. Festschrift für Ulrich Luz zum 70. Geburtstag. Edited by Peter Lampe, Moises Mayordomo, and Migaku Sato. Neukirchener-Vluyn: Neukirchener, 2008. = 「Ⅰテモテ2,1–3/テトス3,1–2の間テクスト性」、『人間文化研究』第3号(2011年3月)36-48頁。[Japanese]

“Laying on of Hands by the Elders (1 Timothy 4:14) and by Paul (2 Timothy 1:6),” in: Shingaku Kenkyu [Theological Studies] (Society of Theological Studies of Kwansei Gakuin University) 51 (2004): 63–75.「長老団の按手(Ⅰテモテ4:14)とパウロの按手(Ⅱテモテ1:6)」、『神学研究』 51号(2004年)63–75頁。 [Japanese]

“On the Enrollment of ‘Widows’ (1 Timothy 5:3–16).” Shin’yakugaku Kenkyu [New Testament Studies] (Japan Society of New Testament Studies) 26 (1998): 17–29.「『やもめ』の登録 (1 テモテ 5:3–16) をめぐって」、『新約学研究』26 号 (1998年) 17–29 頁。 [Japanese]

“The Pastoral Epistles: On the Advocates of their Authenticity.” Shogaku Ronkyu [Journal of Business Administration of Kwansei Gakuin University] 50.4 (2003): 135–152.「牧会書簡――真筆性擁護の動きをめぐって」、『商学論究』 50巻4号(2003年)135–52頁。[Japanese]

“Persönliche Korrespondenz des Paulus: Zur Strategie der Pastoralbriefe als Pseudepigrapha.” New Testament Studies 56.2 (2010): 253–72. = 「パウロの個人宛書簡――偽名文書としての牧会書簡の戦略――」、『聖書学論集』43号(2011年4月)71–96頁。[Japanese]

“Saved through Childbearing: Context and Background of 1 Timothy 2:15.” Seishogaku Ronshu 41 (“Bible as Experience. Festschrift for Prof. ONUKI Takashi”) (2009): 463–79.「子を産むことによって救われる――1テモテ2:15の文脈と背景――」、日本聖書学研究所編『経験としての聖書:大貫隆教授献呈論文集』(聖書学論集41)リトン社、2009年3月、463–79頁。 [Japanese]

“Der zweite Timotheus als letzter Gefangenschaftsbrief.” Kwansei Gakuin University Humanities Review 11 (2006): 1–11. = “2 Timothy as the Last Captivity Letter.” 「獄中書簡としてのⅡテモテ書」、『新約学研究』 31号(2003年)42–55頁。 [Japanese]

“Zwischen Ideal und Realität: Zu den Witwen in 1 Tim 5.3–16.” New Testament Studies 47.1 (2001): 92–104.

McKnight, The Pastoral Epistles (NCBC)

Scot McKnight, The Pastoral Epistles. New Cambridge Bible Commentary. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2023.

Cambridge has just released Scot McKnight’s revision of the Pastorals volume in the New Cambridge Bible Commentary series. The NCBC series replaces — no surprise — the Cambridge Bible Commentary series produced in the 1960s and 1970s.

The CBC volume on the Pastorals was produced by Anthony Tyrrell Hanson in 1966. In a day when publications were not nearly as prevalent, A. T. Hanson would have been considered well-published in the Pastorals, having produced Studies in the Pastoral Epistles (London: SPCK, 1968), a collection of essays expanding on what he was able to include in the CBC volume; “The Theology of Suffering in the Pastoral Epistles and Ignatius of Antioch,” in Studia Patristica 17/2, ed. Elizabeth A. Livingstone (Oxford: Pergamon, 1982), 694‒96; and the final fruit of his Pastorals work, The Pastoral Epistles, New Century Bible Commentary (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1982). The staying power of Hanson’s scholarship is suggested by Wipf & Stock’s 2015 reprint of Hanson’s 1968 Studies.

McKnight is a well-known name in New Testament scholarship, and is bringing his wide range of expertise to the Pastorals. His previous publication specifically targeting the Pastorals, to my knowledge, consists of his “Eusebeia as Social Respectability: The Public Life of the Christian Pastor,” in Rhetoric, History, and Theology: Interpreting the New Testament, ed. Todd D. Still and Jason A. Myers (Lanham, MD: Lexington/Fortress, 2022), 161–77 (material which will be presented at the inaugural meeting of the IBR Pastoral Epistles Research Group). Note also his “From Timely Exegesis to Contemporary Ecclesiology: Relevant Hermeneutics and Provocative Embodiment of Faith in a Corona-Defined World – Generosity During a Pandemic,” HTS Teologiese Studies/Theological Studies 77.4 (2021): a6426.

The publisher gives this summary: “In the church tradition three letters, now known as the Pastoral Epistles, are attributed to the apostle Paul. They are unlike any other letters by Paul. They are written to two of his closest companions, Timothy and Titus, and they instruct those two leaders how to lead gathered Christians in Ephesus and in Crete. The letters contain plenty of instruction for how church leaders at that time, and in those places, were to function. In this commentary, Scot McKnight seeks to explain the major themes of the Pastoral Epistles – church order, false teaching, and failing Christians – and their foundational vision for how Christians could make a good impression in public life. These three brief letters express a view of how Christians were to live in the Roman empire in a way that does not offend public sensibilities. They prescribe a way of public behavior best translated as ‘civilized religion.'”

Contents and the first six pages of the introduction were available to me at Amazon; they suggest robust engagement with scholarship, including recent work by Hoklotubbe, Van Nes, and Kidson. What interests me immediately in the table of contents are the excurses scattered throughout.

Pao, 1–2 Timothy, Titus

David Pao, 1-2 Timothy, Titus. Brill Exegetical Commentary 1. Leiden: Brill, 2023.

David Pao, Dean and Professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, has produced 1–2 Timothy, Titus as the inaugural volume of the Brill Exegetical Commentary. The cheerful-looking cover may not immediately suggest the heft of this volume, which at over 825 pages is a massive tome, and beats Mounce’s WBC contribution for page count. I’m looking forward to receiving a review copy of this volume.

I love the first paragraph of the preface:

“Those expecting an apologia here for burdening modern readers with yet
another commentary on the Pastoral Epistles (PE) will be disappointed. Previous works have not exhausted either the meaning or the nuances of the PE,
nor will this one. While the textual data argue against limiting the PE to either
an abstract manual of ecclesiastic order or a narrow contextual response to the
false teachings of the time, a consensus appears to have developed in certain
circles where the author is considered to be a follower of Paul who reinvents
Christianity into a faith that accommodates itself to the wider mainstream
society. A reexamination of linguistic and conceptual patterns often seen as
reflecting such an accommodating stance may, however, point in a different
direction. Perhaps the subversive voice of the Pauline gospel can be heard
afresh with the renewed appreciation of not only the rhetorical strategies of
the author but also the theological significance of such strategies. And so the
journey continues. It is my prayer that with this and subsequent commentaries,
the complexity and richness of the PE will be further appreciated by those who
may find this gospel equally relevant and urgent in the contexts they find themselves.”

Luke Timothy Johnson and the Pastorals

I learned a good deal by reading Luke Timothy Johnson’s recently published memoir, The Mind in Another Place: My Life as a Scholar (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2022), from both his interesting and detailed account of his scholarly preparation and career, and his incisive treatment of the intellectual and moral virtues of a scholar. Researchers in the Pastorals are, of course, familiar with his work in the letters, most notably his volume on the letters to Timothy in the Anchor Bible series. That volume is remarkable not least for its robust disagreement with the position that the Pastorals are pseudonymous, but also for its extensive treatment of history of research in the letters. On the former point regarding authorship, he notes, “Of particular importance was my demonstrating how the ‘consensus’ view of scholarship was based not on the power of argument but on the weight of custom” (165).

Johnson’s oeuvre is far broader than his work on the Pastorals, and his specific remarks about his work in those letters are actually fairly brief. I have pulled three pertinent excerpts, thinking they might be of interest to students of the letters. They may be read here.

Annual Bibliographies on the Pastorals

It’s that time of year again! For some years now, we’ve been compiling and posting annual bibliographies for researchers in the Letters to Timothy and Titus. These projects are intended to help researchers in the Pastorals maintain control of the secondary literature, and give some idea of research trends. Our compilation of these bibliographies involves the input of Pastorals scholars who have published previously on the letters. Our thanks to all who contributed!

Our annual bibliography of recent publications on the Letters to Timothy and Titus covers contributions from all of 2022 and early 2023. Over 170 items long and international in scope, the list contains monographs, journal articles, and commentaries, as well as lists of dissertations and conference presentations on the letters. It is available for viewing and downloading here.

Our annual bibliography of forthcoming academic publications on the Letters to Timothy and Titus is wide-ranging, containing over 60 forthcoming works on the Pastoral Epistles, including essays, monographs, and commentaries. In some cases, authors have provided a brief synopsis of their work. This bibliography is available for viewing and downloading here.

Veit-Engelmann, Die Briefe an Timotheus und Titus: Die Pastoralbriefe

A new commentary:

Michaela Veit-Engelmann. Die Briefe an Timotheus und Titus: Die Pastoralbriefe. Die Botschaft des Neuen Testaments. Gottingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2022.

Veit-Engelmann has a monograph on the Pastorals to her credit, the published version of her doctoral thesis completed under the guidance of Jens Herzer, which informs her commentary work: Michaela Engelmann, Unzertrennliche Drillinge? Motivsemantische Untersuchungen zum literarischen Verhältnis der Pastoralbriefe. BZNW 192. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2012.

Veit-Engelmann’s BNT volume (see publisher’s page, with sample content) proceeds on the understanding that the three Pastoral Epistles are pseudepigraphical letters written independently by three different authors to mediate the Pauline legacy in three distinct situations: “Zielt der Titusbrief nach Kreta in eine Debatte mit jüdischen Gegnern, geriert sich der 2. Timotheusbrief als Dokument eines innerpaulinischen Schuldiskurses im kleinasiatischen Raum. Das jüngste der drei Schreiben ist der 1. Timotheusbrief; er kennt die beiden anderen Texte und spitzt ihre Inhalte für seinen antignostischen Kampf zu.”

The contents are given below. Note at the close of the volume the 25 pages of discussion of thematic emphases in the letters, as well as the various excursuses throughout the commentary.

Padilla, The Pastoral Epistles (TNTC)

The well-known TNTC series — Tyndale New Testament Commentaries — is releasing a new commentary on the Pastoral Epistles by Osvaldo Padilla.

The new volume replaces a former treatment of the letters by Donald Guthrie (1916–1992), who mounted a robust defense of Pauline authorship in his 1957 TNTC volume (2nd ed., 1990), one of the first in the series. Guthrie was not a prolific author of Pastorals literature, but well-known for what he did write in that vein. Pertinent works included The Pastorals and the Mind of Paul (London: Tyndale, 1955); “The Development of the Idea of Canonical Pseudepigrapha in New Testament Criticism,” Vox Evangelica 1 (1962): 43–59; and his treatment of the letters in his well-known New Testament Introduction, published and revised in various editions from the 1960s to the final 4th edition in 1990. He also contributed articles on the Pastorals to the New Bible Dictionary. His New Testament Theology thoroughly incorporates the Pastorals as Pauline, but is structured such that there is little in the way of distinct treatment of the letters.

I will formally review Padilla’s volume in the future, but will simply note here its release. Osvaldo Padilla is professor of divinity at Beeson Divinity School. The Pastoral Epistles is “the first time I have written in the ‘genre’ of the commentary” (ix), although he has published The Acts of the Apostles: Interpretation, History and Theology (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2016). From my initial glance through the volume, he writes as a defender of the letters’ authenticity, as would be expected in the TNTC series (1–16), and as an egalitarian (cf. 97–98). Highlighting these points is not meant to minimize other aspects of the volume, simply to to note two areas that are often of significant interest in a Pastorals commentary. I am grateful to IVP for providing a review copy.

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