Category: Dissertations

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.

Bulundwe, 2 Timothée dans le corpus paulinien: Analyse mémorielle

Mohr Siebeck’s WUNT series continues to produce monographs on the Pastorals, with two coming out nearly back-to-back near the end of 2023. Mark Langford’s Diagnosing Deviance: Pathology and Polemic in the Pastoral Epistles was WUNT 2/592, released a short while ago, and WUNT 2/598 is now available:

Kampotela Luc Bulundwe, 2 Timothée dans le corpus paulinien: Analyse mémorielle [2 Timothy in the Pauline Corpus: Memory Analysis]. Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 2/598. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2023.

Even at a first glance, two acts of generosity stand out. First, Bulundwe has released the work in open-access form. Those who do not wish to pay the typically steep price for a physical copy of an academic monograph can work through a well-organized electronic facsimile here. Second, though Bulundwe’s work is in French, he has thoughtfully provided a detailed ten-page summary in English at the close of the book (pp. 429–38). I reproduce the opening of that summary here for convenience:

“This monograph examines the role of 2 Timothy (2 Tim) within the Pauline corpus through the lens of social memory. It aims to show that the letter’s literary genre — an epistolary farewell address — and content make it a hermeneutic key that guides the reading and transmission of a first collection of Paul’s letters. This collection includes the seven undisputed Pauline letters … and Colossians, and is considered to be Paul’s legacy. The main originality of the monograph lies in the specific consideration of 2 Tim in the Pauline literature and not only in the corpus of the so-called ‘Pastorals,’ the letters to Timothy and Titus (LTT).

“The first part describes the historical and methodological framework of the analysis. The second part consists of a reading of the whole letter through the lens of memory, while the third assesses the relationship between 2 Tim and the above-mentioned collection of Paul’s letters. Three realms of memory (lieux de mémoire) guide the assessment: the characters, the geographical locations, and the literary points of contact between 2 Tim and each letter.” (429)

Langford, Diagnosing Deviance

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.

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.

Percival, “The Plan of Salvation in the Letters to Timothy and Titus”

John Percival has finished up his Cambridge PhD thesis on the Pastorals, and researchers in the Pastorals will want to engage his work in their own where they can. Because of the nature of the project, it will be germane to other research done throughout all three letters. This is true not only for the thesis’s main area of investigation, the plan of salvation, but also in the way it examines distinctions among the three letters.

Here’s the abstract:

“The New Testament letters to Timothy and Titus (LTT) are often lumped together as ‘The Pastoral Epistles.’ While there are understandable reasons for this approach, it has meant that the distinctive contribution of each of the three letters has not been sufficiently considered. Furthermore, narrative approaches to the Pauline letters have led to fruitful explorations of their theology, especially from a salvation-historical perspective, but these approaches have not been applied to the LTT, at least in part due to their marginal status in the conversation. Taken together, this has impoverished our understanding of the theology and purpose of the LTT.
“Therefore, this thesis employs a narrative approach to examine the salvation-historical outlook of each of the LTT. This is accomplished by adopting minimal assumptions about authorship and reviewing each letter in turn, describing the components of a narrative ‘plan of salvation.’ The relationship between the elements of the plan is examined so as to shed light on the narrative world, theology and, especially, the rhetorical purpose of the letter. For such short letters, there is a wealth of data and clear differences between the three. Thus we are able to identify areas where the letters have been misrepresented or misunderstood in scholarly literature, offering a fresh and creative contribution to scholarship on the LTT. The outcome is a clearer understanding of the distinctive contribution of each letter, particularly in terms of the plan of salvation as conceived from a narrative perspective.”

For more information, see this Cambridge repository page.

Fickenscher, “A Rank-Based Analysis of Word Order and Codification in the Greek of the Pastoral Epistles”

A recent dissertation may be of interest to students of the Pastorals, especially those interested in questions of the authorship of the letters:

James Fickenscher, “A Rank-Based Analysis of Word Order and Codification in the Greek of the Pastoral Epistles.” PhD diss., Concordia Seminary, 2022.

The dissertation was completed under the direction of James Voelz. Voelz is not a specialist in the Pastorals, but I have used his 2-volume commentary on Mark (Concordia Commentaries; 2013, 2019) with profit. Here is the abstract:

“The relationship of word order and clausal structures with meaning, literary style, and authorial considerations in New Testament Greek is an often underdeveloped yet important field for reading, understanding, and interpreting the New Testament text. Navigating between a grammatical-historical and historical-critical reading of the New Testament, this dissertation analyzes the phenomena of word order and clausal structures afresh through the lens of systemic functional grammar, following the work of Michael Halliday. This project contributes a preliminary step forward in constructing a method that can account for and understand the purpose of word order patterns and variance from those patterns within New Testament Greek without presuming that variations are simply for emphasis or that they arise from a priori assumptions of an historical or authorial nature behind the text. As an initial test case, this dissertation explores the Pastoral Epistles, chosen due to their similarity in content, genre, and register, constructing a linguistic profile for each work that includes the codified patterns of word order and structure on the ranks of larger sections of text, individual clauses, and word groups within each clause that have a discrete, syntactical function. It is shown that a fuller understanding of word order, especially where variations or marked syntax occurs, both contributes to an overall analysis of the text, including issues of textual criticism and interpretation, as well as identifies multiple causes for changes in word order beyond simple emphasis. The phenomenon of rank shift, where a clause functions as a single, syntactical element within another clause, also impacts expected patterns of word order and clausal structure. This study then compares the linguistic profiles of Pastoral Epistles to one another and to other select texts of the New Testament, demonstrating both areas of general consistency and difference between the works. This suggests that some patterns under investigation are likely not significant for inter-textual discussions of literary style, provenance, or register, but many areas of word order do have potential import for larger analysis of literary or historical considerations as they are manifested within each work on a strictly linguistic basis.”

The entire dissertation is available here.

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