Category: Education

The Pastorals in Interpretation 75.4

Every so often, a scholarly journal will devote an entire issue to the Pastorals. The current issue of Interpretation does so (TOC), and contains the following articles:

MacDonald, Margaret Y. “Education and the Household in the Pastoral Epistles.” Interpretation 75.4 (2021): 283–93. ( Abstract: “The article examines the convergence of studies on the Pastoral Epistles, with greater attention to the theme of education as a key to the purpose of the documents. The close association between the household and education is considered in an effort to shed light on the presentations of Timothy and Titus, emerging leadership roles, intergenerational instruction, and constructions of gender.”

Huizenga, Annette. “Idealized Motherhood: Examples of the Gendered Worldview of the Pastoral Letters.” Interpretation 75.4 (2021): 294–304. ( Abstract: “In the Pastoral Letters, the roles and practices of mothering in a domestic household serve as benchmarks for the general instructions on how ‘one ought to behave in the household of God’ (1 Tim 3:15). This article examines several passages in 1–2 Timothy and Titus in which the author employs an idealized and stereotypical view of motherhood in order to persuade female believers to fulfill this socially-appropriate condition and to restrict them from leadership positions in the community.”

Kartzow, Marianne Bjelland. “The ‘Believing Woman’ and Her ekklēsia: Rethinking Intersectional Households and Manuscript Variations in the Widows’ Tale (1 Tim 5:3–16).” Interpretation 75.4 (2021): 305–16. ( Abstract: “The widows of the Pastoral Epistles (1 Tim 5:3–16) have been a puzzle for interpreters for generations. In the ‘Widows’ Tale’ different categories of women are given a whole set of instructions, including how they shall be organized and with whom to live. In this article, I will highlight the interpretative potential of the very last verse of the paragraph, where ‘a believing woman who has widows’ is mentioned. In some important manuscripts, scribes have added ‘believing man’ in v. 16, while others have left out the woman altogether. What can these disagreements and changes tell? I will argue that not enough scholarly attention has been directed to this verse. There is huge potential for a new understanding of the whole paragraph hidden here. Attention to alternative housing arrangements and manuscript variations will be employed as interpretative tools. I will use the disagreement among scribes to rethink variety and difference, and to reimagine ekklēsia within intersectional early Christian households.”

Fortune, Marie M. “Is Nothing Sacred? I Timothy and Clergy Sexual Abuse.” Interpretation 75.4 (2021): 317–27. ( Abstract: “1 Timothy and the Pastoral Letters appear to be efforts to codify structure and roles in the early church. These efforts largely reflected the patriarchal social structures of the time and as such are not relevant to the twenty-first-century church. But some of the concerns identified herein, for example expectations of church leaders, are useful for a current discussion. What is missing is any acknowledgement of the potential for identified church leaders to take advantage of vulnerable congregants, particularly women and children. How might the writer of 1 Timothy have addressed this serious problem in the churches?”

Heringer, “Beginning with the End: 1 Timothy 1:3–6 and Formative Theological Education”

Researchers in the Pastorals may be interested in a new article on moral formation as an integral part of Christian higher education. This is, to my knowledge, the first article in the five-year-old Journal of Theological Interpretation specifically focusing on a passage from the Pastorals:

Seth Heringer. “Beginning with the End: 1 Timothy 1:3–6 and Formative Theological Education.” Journal of Theological Interpretation 15.2 (2021): 365–80.

Abstract: Institutions of Christian higher education are currently facing numerous and substantial challenges pressuring them to direct resources into training students in professional skills and away from religious and moral formation. Contrary to this prevailing movement, Joel Green has emphasized that Christian education should be orientated toward the church with the goal of forming students to love God with their whole being. This article will argue that Green’s position is rooted in 1 Tim 1:3–6, where Paul juxtaposes heterodox and orthodox instruction. Heterodox instruction seeks “myths” and “genealogies,” leading to worthless arguments and the destruction of relationships. Orthodox instruction teaches about God’s ordering of the world according to his plan as revealed in the gospel. The telos of orthodox instruction is love brought about by three penultimate ends: “a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith.” If these ends are to be sought by Christian institutions, then formative instruction is a biblically mandated, essential aim that must be sought through institution-wide efforts and measured like other educational outcomes.

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