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.
“We all age. But how we understand age and aging depends on cultural context. The early followers of Jesus experienced growing up and growing old in a world where more than a third of children never reached adulthood, married women could expect to become widows, and, above all, elders were to be honoured. In the ancient Mediterranean, expectations associated with one’s age could be a source of social power, as well as a source of tension within families and communities, and between generations.
“Honouring Age positions age as an essential aspect of communal identity and familial roles in the early Christian experience by examining one of the most contentious and perplexing texts in the New Testament: the first letter to Timothy. First Timothy reflects a one-sided conversation between an older Paul and a younger Timothy, in which the author hopes to influence both the old and young in fulfilling their traditional roles in the “household of God.” It was a time of tumult, and relations were fraught, with potential consequences for the reputation of the nascent Christian community: some children were neglecting their aging parents, which was culturally unacceptable behaviour; older women who should have been encouraging young widows to remarry were discouraging them, exposing them to ridicule; young men who should have been respectful to their elders were shamefully turning on them. In recognizing the responsibilities of young and old to each other, and the reputational damage they otherwise risked, this study demonstrates that age is integral to understanding the complexities of 1 Timothy.
“Drawing on modern ethnographies corroborated by ancient evidence to interpret social aspects of 1 Timothy, Honouring Age shows convincingly that, in emerging Christian communities in the ancient Mediterranean world, age mattered.”
I will read this monograph with interest. LaFosse’s volume will mediate her dissertation work and related publications to a wider audience. Following is a brief bibliography of her other pertinent works and conference presentations:
LaFosse, Mona Tokarek. “Age Hierarchy and Social Networks among Urban Women in the Roman East.” Pages 204–20 in Mediterranean Families in Antiquity: Households, Extended Families, and Domestic Space. Edited by Sabine R. Huebner and Geoffrey Nathan. Chicester, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2017.
________. “Age Hierarchy, Honourable Reputation, and Widows in 1 Timothy 5:3–16.” Presentation at the SBL Annual Meeting, San Francisco, 21 November 2011. Abstract: https://www.sbl-site.org/meetings/abstract.aspx?id=19640 = “Age Hierarchy and Widows in 1 Timothy 5:3–16.” Presentation at the Annual Meeting of the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies, Montreal, QC, 29 May 2010.
________. “Age Matters: Age, Aging and Intergenerational Relationships in Early Christian Communities, with a Focus on 1 Timothy 5.” PhD diss., University of Toronto, 2011.
________. “Honour Your Elders: An Anthropological View of Aging and 1 Timothy 5:17–25.” Presentation at the Annual Meeting of the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies, Saskatoon, SK, 28 May 2007. Abstract: https://www.csbs-sceb.ca/2007_programme_abstracts.pdf
________. “Inspiring Intergenerational Relationships: Aging and the New Testament from One Historian’s Perspective.” Religions 13 (2022): 1–10, article 628. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13070628.
________. “‘Like a Father’: Age Hierarchy and the Meaning of Parakaleo in 1 Tim 5:1–2.” Presentation at the SBL Annual Meeting, Baltimore, 24 November 2013. Abstract: https://www.sbl-site.org/meetings/abstract.aspx?id=28327. = Presentation at the Annual Meeting of the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies, Waterloo, ON, 29 May 2012. Abstract: https://www.csbs-sceb.ca/CSBS-2012-Long-Programme.pdf
________. “Pauline Language in 2 Timothy.” Presentation at the Annual Meeting of the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies, Toronto, 26 May 2002. Abstract: https://www.csbs-sceb.ca/2002Abstracts.htm
________. “Situating 2 Timothy in Early Christian History.” M.A. thesis, Wilfrid Laurier University, 2001.
________. “Those Who Hear: The Power of Learners in 1 Timothy.” Pages 147–70 in Religions and Education in Antiquity: Studies in Honour of Michel Desjardins. Edited by Alex Damm. Numen: Studies in the History of Religions 160. Leiden: Brill, 2018.
________. “Why Sixty? A Question of Age and Reputation in 1 Timothy 5:9.” Presentation at the Annual Meeting of the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies, Fredricton, NB, 30 May 2011. Abstract: https://www.csbs-sceb.ca/2011_Programme.htm
________. “Women and ‘the Faith’ in 1 Timothy 5: A Battle for Faith and Faithfulness.” Presentation at the SBL Annual Meeting, 30 November 2020.
________. “Women, Children and House Churches.” Pages 385–405 in The Early Christian World. Edited by Philip Esler. 2nd ed. London: Routledge, 2017.
________. “Women’s Roles in the Letters to Timothy and Titus.” Christian Reflection [Center for Christian Ethics, Baylor University] (2013): 30–39.
Paul S. Jeon, Lecturer in NT at Reformed Theological Seminary and senior pastor at NewCity Church in Vienna, VA, has reviewed the recently published volume by David C. Wright, Integration: A Conversation between Theological Education and the Letters to Timothy and Titus, International Council for Evangelical Theological Education Series (Carlisle: Langham Global Library, 2022). The review is exclusive to this blog and may be accessed here.
The most recent edition of Bibel und Kirche, a “journal on the Bible in research and practice [Die Zeitschrift zur Bibel in Forschung und Praxis],” has taken the Pastorals as its theme. It describes its theme in this summary:
“The two letters to Timothy and the letter to Titus are the focus of this issue. In current biblical scholarship, the three letters have a decidedly poor image. A majority assumes that the sender and addressees are a literary fiction: Neither were the letters really written by Paul, nor were Timothy and Titus their real recipients.In recent years, however, there has now been renewed movement in the discussion. The Pastoral Epistles are one of the focal points of the renewed debates about dating and authorship of the New Testament writings. There is also a new discussion about the content, especially the history of impact on the image of the church, questions of office – and also on the image of women and the question of women’s offices.” (Translation from German via DeepL)
The contents include the following articles:
Stefan Krauter Auf den zweiten Blick Eine Hinführung zu den Pastoralbriefen
Karl Matthias Schmidt Larven des Lehrers Der Abschluss der neutestamentlichen Paulus-Pseudepigraphie
Joram Luttenberger Prophetenmantel oder Bücherfutteral? Überlegungen zu den persönlichen Notizen in den Pastoralbriefen
Ulrike Wagener Was sollen die Außenstehenden von uns denken? Orientierung an der Reaktion der nichtchristlichen Umwelt in den Pastoralbriefen
Gerd Häfner »Eine gute Aufgabe« (1 Tim 3,1) Ämter in den Pastoralbriefen und ihre Fortschreibung in neuen Kontexten
Angela Standhartinger Ältere Frauen, Presbyterinnen und Witwen in den Pastoralbriefen
Bettina Eltrop Die Israelvergessenheit der Pastoralbriefe
Barbara Lumesberger-Loisl “Predigtberbot für Frauen – bis heute?” Ein Zwischenruf
Jonathan Sanchez, “Making an Example: The Rhetorical Usefulness of Timothy in 1 Timothy.” Journal for the Study of the New Testament 45.4 (2023): 351–70. https://doi.org/10.1177/0142064X231163230
Abstract: Scholars of pseudepigraphal letters have recognized that pseudepigraphy troubles the identification of the alleged addressee with the historical addressee. This means that the rhetorical addressee is a matter of choice. Building on Benjamin Fiore’s work on exemplarity, I argue that Timothy as addressee of 1 Timothy helps the Pastor articulate specific aspects of his program. Timothy, like Paul, is an example and serves as a link between Paul’s exemplarity and this letter’s readers. Through Timothy’s exemplarity, the Pastor legitimates young leadership, addressing a second-century controversy in the Jesus movement. Finally, the Pastor reframes Timothy’s reputation, distancing him from Jewish law.
Within the Pastorals, 1 Timothy 2:9–15 holds pride of place as having more secondary literature devoted to it than any other passage in the letters. Within that passage, verse 15 has received particular focus, and has been interpreted in a surprising number of ways. With the amount of attention given to this crux interpretum it might be thought that possible understandings of the verse have been exhausted, but a new article presents yet another take on this disputed passage:
R. Gregory Jenks, “Eve as Savior of Humanity? From the Genesis Narrative to Paul’s Comments on Childbearing in 1 Timothy 2:15.” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 66.1 (2023): 133–61.
Abstract: As the concluding text to one of the more controversial Pauline teachings about women in the church community, 1 Timothy 2:15 carries a host of grammatical, semantic, and cultural questions that tax the most motivated and careful exegete. It is rendered distinctly troublesome by the change in number in the verbs and debates about their referent(s), the meaning of “salvation,” and Paul’s choice of desired attributes. I examine Paul’s use of the figure of Eve by looking first at the Genesis passage, where I consider her role as Adam’s helper, her fall, her curse, and her recovery as keys to interpret her mention in 1 Timothy 2. I offer a surprising solution: Adam, not Eve, is saved through childbirth; that is, humanity is saved from extinction through the woman’s role of mother with the condition that the couple, that is, men and women in the church, maintain the godly attributes listed.
A new volume by Brill has several articles oriented toward the Pastorals:
Studies on the Paratextual Features of Early New Testament Manuscripts. Edited by Stanley E. Porter, Chris S. Stevens, and David I. Yoon. Texts and Editions for New Testament Study. Leiden: Brill, 2023.
Solomon, S. Matthew. “Segmentation and Interpretation of Early Pauline Manuscripts.” (pp. 123–45). “Manuscripts from the ancient world had less stereotyped formatting rules than books and media today. Unfortunately, some of these features are greatly underap-preciated for their potential interpretive value. In this paper, attention is given to how scribes of the Pauline corpus used spatial segmentation for their distinct pur-poses. The aim is to provide insights into how these scribal choices may influence the interpretation of certain texts, including 1 Cor 7:39, 14:33, Eph 5:21, 1 Tim 3:1, and Phlm 7. Finally, the chapter concludes that paragraphing and segmentation in the ancient world are quite different from today, and some of these differences are exe-getically significant.”
Tommy Wasserman and Linnea Thorp. “The Tradition and Development of the Subscriptions to 1 Timothy.” (pp. 172-201) “This study examines the textual tradition of the subscriptions to 1 Timothy, proposing a typology based on a collation of 415 Greek manuscripts. The authors discuss the traditions about 1 Timothy reflected in the subscriptions in relation to other paratexts, internal evidence, Corpus Paulinum, Acts, and the wider church history. The creation and elaboration of subscriptions to Pauline letters, shaping the way they are read, not only satisfies human curiosity but serves to further authenticate the writings by connecting them to Paul and his circle of co-workers. The location of the letters in time and space reflects the ongoing construction of a “landscape of memory” in the early church.”
Conrad Thorup Elmelund and Tommy Wasserman. “Second Timothy: When and Where? Text and Tradition in the Subscriptions” (pp. 202–26). “Based on full collations of the subscriptions to 2 Timothy in 485 Greek manuscripts, this study presents the textual tradition and development of these subscriptions and explains their relationship to other subscriptions, paratexts, the internal evidence in 1–2 Timothy, Acts, and the wider church history. The study tracks the source(s) be-hind the tradition that the letter was sent to Timothy, installed as the first bishop of the church of the Ephesians, sent from Rome when Paul had appeared before Nero a second time and relates this tradition to the competing ancient biographies of Paul.”
Chris S. Stevens, “Titus in P32 and Early Majuscules: Textual Reliability and Scribal Design” (pp. 267-87) “Manuscripts in the ancient world are the products of many scribal decisions. The relationship between the final product of these scribal choices and the functionality of the text, both textual and paratextual, is easily underestimated or ignored. To move forward, this chapter conducts a process of manuscript criticism of P32. First, the textual transmission will be compared with other manuscripts for transmissional lines. Second, the paratextual features, most notably segmentation and layout, are assessed and compared across the first millennium. The results indicate the scribal transmission was highly uniform, P32 is from a multi-text codex, and the design fea-tures in Codex Sinaiticus strongly suggest a Sitz em Leben within public reading and liturgical services.”
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.
A few years back, we posted a lengthy list of “hidden contributions” to Pastorals scholarship — treatments of the Pastorals that are a distinct subsection in a larger work, with the larger work being such that one might not suspect work on the Pastorals exists in it. Here are two more recent publications that fit that category:
McKnight, Scot. “Eusebeia as Social Respectability: The Public Life of the Christian Pastor.” Pages 161–77 in Rhetoric, History, and Theology: Interpreting the New Testament. Edited by Todd D. Still and Jason A. Myers. Lanham, MD: Lexington/Fortress, 2022.
Myers, Jason A. “Rhetoric from the Rusticas: In Search of the Historical Timothy and Implications for the Rhetoric of 1–2 Timothy.” Pages 179–200 in Rhetoric, History, and Theology: Interpreting the New Testament. Edited by Todd D. Still and Jason A. Myers. Lanham, MD: Lexington/Fortress, 2022.
A new article addressing the nature of 2 Timothy as a piece of writing:
Krauter, Stefan. “Exilliteratur und die Gattung des Zweiten Timotheusbriefes.” Revue Biblique 129 (2022): 183–98.
Abstract: “2 Timothy is often referred to as a pseudepigraphic testament of Paul. A minority considers it an authentic paraenetic letter. The article criticizes both positions. There are rather superficial similarities between 2 Timothy and the Jewish testaments, and the setting of the letter is not a farewell situation. Theses about 2 Timothy as a conclusion to the Pastorals or the entire corpus Paulinum are poorly substantiated. The determination of 2 Timothy as a paraenetic letter is correct, but inaccurate. Conclusions regarding its authenticity cannot be drawn from it. By comparing 2 Timothy to exilic literature of the early imperial period, it is shown that it is possible to determine its specific character as a paraentic letter from captivity. This more precise determination makes it possible to integrate the moments of truth of both common research opinions.”