Category: Ethics (Page 1 of 2)

Zimmermann and Manomi, eds., “Ready for Every Good Work” (Titus 3:1)

Mohr Siebeck has now listed as forthcoming the volume containing the proceedings of the 2019 “Ethics in Titus” conference held in Mainz:

Ruben Zimmermann and Dogara Ishaya Manomi, eds. “Ready for Every Good Work” (Titus 3:1): Implicit Ethics in the Letter to Titus. Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 484. Kontexte und Normen neutestamentlicher Ethik / Contexts and Norms of New Testament Ethics 13. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2022.

My email to Mohr Siebeck confirmed that the volume is scheduled for formal release on 30 September 2022. The contributors to the volume are a veritable “who’s who” in Pastorals scholarship:

Introduction
Ruben Zimmermann/Dogara Ishaya Manomi: The »Implicit Ethics« in Titus. Introductory Remarks and Summary of the Contributions

I. Linguistic and Rhetorical Aspects of the Implicit Ethics: A Text-immanent Approach
Luke Timothy Johnson: The Pedagogy of Grace. The Experiential Basis of Morality in Titus
Annette Bourland Huizenga: Moral Education in Titus. Antitheses for Ethical Living
Dogara Ishaya Manomi: The Language of Virtue. Discovering Implicit Virtue-Ethical Linguistic Elements in Titus
Rick Brannan: The Language of Ethical Instruction in the Letter to Titus. A View Informed by Discourse Grammar and Speech Act Theory
Jermo van Nes: Moral Language and Ethical Argument in Titus. A Reassessment of the Pseudonymity Hypothesis
Philip H. Towner: The Ethical Agenda of Titus. The Time and Space of Ethics

II. Historical and Contextual Dimensions of the Implicit Ethics: A Socio-historial Approach
Jens Herzer: Ethics, Ethos, and Truth. Reassessing the Question of the Individuality of the Pastoral Epistles
Michael Theobald: Internal Ethos or Ethos before the Public Forum? Titus and His Construct of the Opponents
Ray Van Neste: »Our People«. Ethics and the Identity of the People of God in the Letter to Titus
Harry O. Maier: Ethics and Empire in Titus. Texts, Co-texts, and Contexts

III. The Relevance of the Implicit Ethics: A Hermeneutical Approach
Korinna Zamfir: Women’s Vocation and Ministry according to Titus. Ethical Issues and Their Contemporary Relevance
Claire S. Smith: Ethics of Teaching and Learning in Christianity Today. Insights from the Book of Titus
Hans-Ulrich Weidemann: Written to Be with Paul. Reading Galatians with Titus
Marianne Bjelland Kartzow: »Speak evil of no one!« (Titus 3:2).

Popa, “Ethic als Vermittlung zwischen Generationen in den Pastoralbriefen”

Romeo Popa. “Ethic als Vermittlung zwischen Generationen in den Pastoralbriefen [Ethics as Mediation between Generations in the Pastoral Epistles.]” Sacra Scripta 18.1 (2020): 70–96.

Abstract: “In the Pastoral Letters the problem of the relationship between age groups is most clearly expressed in early Christian literature. In the course of the reorganization of church structures resistance against younger leaders is attested (1Tim 4:12–15). New “false doctrines” further fuel the tension between generations because especially “young widows” (1Tim 5:11–15; 2Tim 3,6) show interest in such theological offers. Consequently, they are also given special attention in the paraenesis, whereby the paternalistic tendencies are radicalized. The theological confrontation with the opponents and the development of age-appropriate ethic discourses are illuminated on the background of the relations between generations.”

Manomi, Virtue Ethics in Titus

The first of two WUNT volumes on ethics in Titus expected this year and next is now available. Both are part of WUNT’s Context and Norms of New Testament Ethics series. The volume of the proceedings of the 2019 “Ethics in Titus” conference held at Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany, is still forthcoming. Just published, however, is a recent dissertation by Dogara Manomi. The two volumes are not formally related — they are not a two-part publication — but Manomi is integrally involved in both.

Dogara Ishaya Manomi. Virtue Ethics in the Letter to Titus: An Interdisciplinary Study. Kontexte und Normen neutestamentlicher Ethik / Contexts and Norms of New Testament Ethics 12. Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 2/560. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2021. [Mohr Siebeck’s German title is more descriptive: Tugendethik im Brief an Titus: Eine interdisziplinäre Interaktion von biblischer Ethik und Tugendethik mit hermeneutischen Reflexionen aus der Perspektive der afrikanischen Ethik]

Manomi is currently a full-time lecturer at the Theological College of Northern Nigeria located in Jos, Plateau state, Nigeria, an Affliated Researcher of the Evangelische Theologische Faculteit, Leuven, Belgium, and a Research Associate of the University of Pretoria, South Africa.

I had not known much about virtue ethics before I read Manomi’s monograph, but his helpful survey of the topic (before bringing it to bear upon the Epistle to Titus) brought me up to speed. I provide here the publisher summary of the volume and major headings:

“Dogara Ishaya Manomi analyzes and identifes the characteristics of (neo-)Aristotelian virtue ethics that are implicitly and explicitly embedded in the linguistic elements, theological motifs, and ethical norms in the letter to Titus. He argues that (neo-)Aristotelian virtue ethics and the ethical perspectives of Titus share the following features: a sense of a moral telos that leads to human flourishing; emphasis on character, habits, and inner dispositions; focus on the morality of persons more than the morality of actions; commitment to moral perfectionism; particularity of moral agents; the concept of moral exemplar; a concern for character development through training or moral education; and a consideration of the moral significance of community. The author concludes, therefore, that there is a significant correlation between (neo-)Aristotelian
virtues ethics and the ethical perspectives of the letter to Titus, to the extent that the letter to Titus can be described as a virtue-ethical text. Moreover, his research concludes that the virtue-ethical perspectives of Titus, in comparison with African
ethics, have foundational and narrative differences, yet they share some important similarities. However, through progressive hermeneutical negotiations, concessions, appropriations, and application between the two virtue-ethical perspectives, there emerges a new virtue-ethical horizon described as ‘African Biblical Virtue Ethics,’ which is, as accountable as possible, faithful to the virtue-ethical perspectives of Titus and ‘at home’ to African Christian ethics.
This study was awarded the prestigious Johannes Gutenberg Dissertation Prize.”

I. Description of Contents and Methodology
II. History of Interpretation of the Selected Virtues in Titus
III. A Virtue-Ethical Reading of the Letter to Titus
IV. Appropriating the Virtue-Ethical Perspective of Titus
into African Ethics: Hermeneutical, Contextual, and Ethnological
Reflections
V. Summary and Conclusion

Wedgeworth, “Good and Proper: Paul’s Use of Nature, Custom, and Decorum in Pastoral Theology”

An interesting article which could be considered a “hidden contribution to Pastorals scholarship“:

Wedgeworth, Steven. “Good and Proper: Paul’s Use of Nature, Custom, and Decorum in Pastoral Theology.” Eikon: A Journal for Biblical Anthropology 2.2 (2020): 88–97.

Eikon is the journal of the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, formally known as the Journal of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. Wedgeworth’s article uses 1 Tim 2:8-15 as its primary text, thus contributing to the ever-increasing literature on that passage.

The essay does not have an abstract, but an excerpt from the beginning will serve to summarize: “This essay will investigate to what extent the Apostle Paul uses a sort of natural-law reasoning in his argument against women teaching or holding an office of authority in the church. The primary textual subject will be 1 Timothy 2:8–15, but parallel New Testament passages will be considered insofar as they provide additional support for understanding the logic of Paul’s argument. I will argue that Paul is making a kind of natural law argument, by way of custom and decorum. This is not a simple appeal to human intuition, neither is it a generalized observation of empirical data taken from nature. It is, however, an argument based on the concepts of basic honor to authority figures, an element of the natural law, and the social power of decorum, of what is proper or fitting for social relationships between men and women. These are concepts grounded in a particular philosophy of nature and the morally formative role of custom. While appropriately using language and categories from the creation order, Paul is indeed employing a particular kind of natural-law application of this biblical account in order to prescribe customary social relations between men and women in the church.”

The full issue of Eikon which includes Wedgeworth’s article is here, and an online version of the full article is here.

Pastorals Section at ETS 2019

We had a good meeting of the Pastoral Epistles Study Group at ETS last week. Stan Porter was unable to attend due to health issues, so we missed his paper. We were glad to hear, though, that he is on the mend.

David Yoon presented his paper, “The Register of Paul in 1 Timothy: Why the Pastorals May Differ in ‘Style’ than the Hauptbrief,” which summarized the linguistic category of “register” which covers what people generally refer to as “style” when they say that the style of the PE differ so much from the accepted Pauline epistles. In the end, Yoon argued there is not enough evidence to establish what an acceptable variance would be, and thus that difference in register is slim basis for any argument concerning authorship. Yoon’s analysis then agrees with the significant recent monograph by Jermo Van Nes, Pauline Language and the Pastoral Epistles: A Study of Linguistic Variation in the Corpus Paulinum (Linguistic Biblical Studies 16; Leiden: Brill, 2018).

My paper came second and was a revision of the paper I presented at the Mainz conference a couple of months earlier. My central contention was that according to the text of Titus, the ethical admonitions in the letter are not culturally driven but are rooted in the gospel itself. The ethical instruction is presented as necessary entailments of the gospel, such that to reject them is to show that one does not know God (1:16). A final version is to be published in a volume with the other essays from the Mainz conference.

Our last paper, “Salvation History in Six Lines: Reading 1 Timothy 3:16b as an Interconnected Whole,” was by John Percival who is working on a PhD at Cambridge under the supervision of Simon Gathercole. Percival noted the long-standing debate about how to read the six lines of this verse and argued that they should be read in order as following chronologically. Key to such an argument is arguing that the last line “taken up in glory” refers not to the ascension (as is often thought) but to the final enthronement of Christ. I found the argument quite persuasive. This will be part of his completed thesis, and hopefully will be published on its own as an article soon.

We are planning for next year, so if you are interested in presenting a paper next year or some time feel free to contact me at rayvanneste at gmail.com

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 Pastorals at ETS 2019

The annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society will be held on Nov 20-22 in San Diego. We’ve collected here sessions that may be of interest to researchers in the Pastorals.

The section devoted to the study of the Pastorals has four sessions scheduled on Nov 20, 9 AM to 12:10 PM:

  • David I. Yoon, “The Register of Paul in 1 Timothy: Why the Pastorals May Differ in ‘Style’ than the Hauptbrief.”
  • Stanley E. Porter: “Arguments for and against Pauline Authorship of the Pastoral Epistles: Recent Proposals.”
  • Ran Van Neste, “Ethics in Titus.”
  • John Percival: “Salvation History in Six Lines: Reading 1 Timothy 3:16b as an Interconnected Whole.”

Note also:

  • Craig Keener, “Greek versus Jewish Conceptions of Inspiration, with Attendant Implications for Authority, and 2 Timothy 3:16.” (Nov 21, 5:30 PM)
  • David Warren, “A Husband of One Wife” (1 Tim 3:2, 12; Titus 1:6): What Does It Mean?” (Nov 22, 3:30 PM)

Papers from ETS Group Published in Journal

img_3602We had a great session at the Pastoral Epistles study group at ETS last week with four strong papers. I was pleased to announce in our session that the latest issue of the Southeastern Theological Review has been released and is devoted to the Pastoral Epistles. Most of the articles came from papers previously presented in our study group. Editor, Ben Merkle, has done a wonderful job bringing these together. Here are the contents:

“Kinship, Christian Kinship, and the Letters to Timothy and Titus,” Charles J. Bumgardner

“Divergent, Insurgent or Allegiant? 1 Timothy 5:1-2 and the Nature of God’s Household,” Gregory A. Couser

“Paul’s Family of God: What Familial Language in the Pastorals Can and Cannot Tell Us about the Church,” Gregory J. Stiekes

“Πιστος ὁ λόγος: An Alternative Analysis,” L. Timothy Swinson

“Paul’s Letters to Timothy and Titus: A Literature Review (2009-2015),” Charles J. Bumgardner

“Interview with Ray Van Neste of Union University”

Several of the papers deal with the household and family language of the Pastorals, and I found them particularly helpful. Tim Swinson challenges the typical way of understanding Paul’s use of the phrase “πιστoς ὁ λόγος.” If you’ve been reading this site, you are already aware of Bumgardner’s bibliographic grasp, and his literature review here is quite helpful.

I had the privilege of doing an interview on how the Pastoral Epistles discussing how they have impacted my life, noting some ongoing work and pointing to various ways the church needs the Pastorals specifically today.

Southeastern posts the full journal free online, so I expect it will appear at their website soon.

Update: This issue is now available online. I have also linked the first reference to the journal above to this issue. The website provides a link to the full issue as well as to specific articles.

 

Fred Sanders, Moral Beauty in the Pastoral Epistles

Fred Sanders, well known for his work on the Trinity, has been recently working with the Pastoral Epistles and his post, “Moral Beauty in the Pastoral Epistles,” is well worth reading. He reflects on Chapter 5 of Ceslaus Spicq’s 1963 The Trinity and our Moral Life, a book which I must confess I have not read. Sanders notes how richly Spicq draws from the the Pastorals in his discussion of the beauty of the moral life  and suggests this ethical discussion may be part of the reason for the distinct vocabulary of the Pastorals.

Sanders writes:

This is the gospel expressed not just with the change of a few words into a more hellenistic moral vocabulary, but in a way that actually lays hold of and commandeers what is best in that ancient pagan tradition. The unique vocabulary that Paul used in these letters to his deputies, the half-gentile Timothy and the fully-gentile Titus, is a bold missionary appropriation of Greek ethics.

The full post is well worth reading.

Summary of recent Dutch Dissertation on Ethical Instruction in the PE

Klinker-De Klerk, Myriam. Herderlijke regel of inburgeringscursus? Een bijdrage aan het onderzoek naar de ethische richtlijnen in 1 Timoteüs en Titus [Pastoral Rule or Lesson on Assimilation? A Contribution to the Research on the Ethical Instructions in 1 Timothy and Titus]. Zoetermeer: Boekencentrum Academic, 2013.

 

Students of the Pastoral Epistles who do not read Dutch will be glad to know that an English-language summary of this dissertation has been provided in Journal for the Study of Paul and His Letters 3.2 (2013): 263-67. Here, I’ll merely provide a summary of the summary. Page references are to the summary in JSPL, not the dissertation itself.

In her dissertation, Klinker-De Klerk addresses the common assumption that the PE witness to a christliche Bürgerlichkeit, a “bourgeois Christianity” that encourages an accommodation to prevailing social conventions as Christians hunker down for a stay in this present world which is longer than first expected. Reading the PE as authentically Pauline, she examines the ethical instructions in 1 Timothy and Titus, focusing on the area of male-female relationships. First, she works “internally,” examining the regulations of 1Tim/Titus against prevailing social conventions. Along the way, she gives particular attention to the stated motives behind the regulations. Second, she works “externally,” comparing the regulations in question with those in an undisputed Pauline letter, 1 Corinthians.

Her findings:

(1) “The examined instructions in 1 Timothy and Titus correspond highly to the prevailing ethics at the time.” (264)

(2) “The motives that accompany the regulations in 1 Timothy and Titus are diverse,” and include both internally and externally oriented motives. (264-65)

(3) “The idea of the church preparing for a long-term stay in this world is nowhere explicitly stated.” (265)

(4) Comparing 1Tim/Tit to 1Cor highlights marital fidelity (1 Tim 3:2, 12; 5:9; Titus 1:6; 1 Cor 7:1-7) and subordination of the wife to the husband (1 Tim 2:8—3:1a; Titus 2:4-5; 1 Cor 11:2-16; 14:33b-36). In this regard, “1 Timothy and Titus do not point to an increased adaptation to social conventions.” (265)

(5) Motivational parallels exist between 1Tim/Tit and 1Cor. “In both cases, the apostle provides for an ‘ontological’ reasoning by recalling the story of creation. Further, in both cases there is a ‘practical’ reasoning that has to do with the ‘internal’ concern for the orderly course of the Christian meetings on the one hand and with the ‘external’ concern for the attractiveness of Christianity to outsiders on the other hand.” (265)

(6) Although both 1Tim/Tit and 1Cor highlight the male-female relationship from an “outer” perspective—“what is said about the relationship is viewed within a broader social perspective”—1 Cor also gives particular attention to the “inner” perspective, emphasizing reciprocity. (265)

(7) Differences between 1Tim/Tit and 1Cor are most notable as regards motivation. (a) The “ontological” reasoning is applied to women and men (i.e., more “equally”) in 1Cor. (b) Honor/shame discourse is stronger in 1Cor. (c) Motivations to marital fidelity vary, due to the varying contexts of the instruction: in 1Tim/Tit, the context is the need for irreproachable conduct for various groups in the church, which conduct is “in turn, motivated by reasons of community stability and the public image of the Christians”; in 1Cor, the motive for marital fidelity is “the desire to prevent sin.” (265-66)

(8) Understanding the PE as actual Pauline letters to co-workers provides a reasonable explanation for the points of contrast between 1Tim/Titus and 1Cor.

All in all, there are significant points of contact between the ethical instructions in view in 1Tim/Titus and 1Cor, while “the differences can be accounted for by the different audiences and the practical orientation of the letters.” (266) Klinker-De Klerck is rather narrowly focused in her treatment, so rightly notes that her results do not in themselves invalidate the christliche Bürgerlichkeit hypothesis. All the same, her findings do not support it.

[Guest post from Chuck Bumgardner]

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