Category: Theology (Page 2 of 4)

Falcetta, Early Christian Teachers: The ‘Didaskaloi’ from Their Origins to the Middle of the Second Century

We have not yet highlighted a recently published monograph in the WUNT series which has a section of substantive interaction with the Pastorals:

Falcetta, Alessandro. Early Christian Teachers: The ‘Didaskaloi’ from Their Origins to the Middle of the Second Century. Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 2/516. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2020.

Mohr Siebeck provides this summary of the work: “Were the ‘didaskaloi’ tradents of the Jesus material and therefore guarantors of the historical reliability of the Gospels? And why was their fate so different from that of the rabbis? Alessandro Falcetta tackles these and other challenging questions in his study of one of the most intriguing groups in early Christianity – its teachers – and, by surveying all the earliest sources mentioning them, unveils the first century of their history.”

The table of contents indicates that Falcetta provides a 30-page survey of teaching and teachers in the Pastorals (pp. 145-76). I provide here his conclusions (p. 176), which give some of the flavor of the larger work.

“The adversaries of the Pastorals were members of the community and were probably called ‘teachers’ by their followers. These teachers paid attention to some requirements of the law and advocated some form of realised eschatology. They were very active in spreading their views and some of them might have been women. The author(s) of the Pastorals disagreed with their doctrines and might have sensed that they threatened the very existence of the community as separate from the synagogue. In order to oppose these ‘teachers of the law,’ the author(s) presented Paul as the only teacher. The only correct teaching is the one coming from Paul, who has entrusted it to Timothy and Titus, who have entrusted it to reliable and capable people, mainly presbyters and bishops. What is transmitted is a fixed deposit of teaching, whereas the title ‘teacher’ is not transmitted. The reason is simple: disciples who do not become teachers cannot alter the deposit. The development of a community structure similar to the rabbinical one slowly emerging in Judaism was therefore put out of the question. However, the disciples can become presbyters and bishops. These are appointed on account of their talents, but [it] is the appointment, not their talents, that is the basis of their authority.”

Two final notes. First, Falcetta engages Italian-language scholarship in the footnotes, which is not common at all for works on the Pastorals published in English, and will provide some (somewhat dated) guidance in that language for those researching teaching/teachers in the Pastorals. Second, the work is a revision of his 2006 dissertation, so in spite of the 2020 publication date, the secondary literature largely reflects the state of research fifteen years ago; I noticed in the section on the Pastorals only one source which postdated the original work. Aside from the voluminous literature on 1 Tim 2:8-15, with its reference to teaching in v. 12, more current pertinent literature would include especially Claire Smith, Pauline Communities as “Scholastic Communities”: A Study of the Vocabulary of “Teaching” in 1 Corinthians, 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus (WUNT 2/335; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2012), but also the following:

De Virgilio, Giuseppe. “San Paolo ‘Educatore’: Aspetti e motivi pedagogici nell’epistolario paolino.” Rassegna di Teologia 53 (2012): 357–82. (Note “6. L’accentuazione ‘pedagogica’ nelle comunità delle Lettere Pastorali.”)

Eisele, Wilfried. “Vom ‘Zuchtmeister Gesetz’ zur ‘erziehenden Gnade’ (Gal 3,24f.; Tit 2,11f.): Religiöse Erziehung in der Paulustradition.” Biblische Zeitschrift 56.1 (2012): 65–84.

Krumbiegel, Friedemann. Erziehung in den Pastoralbriefen: Ein Konzept zur Konsolidierung der Gemeinden. Arbeiten zur Bibel und ihrer Geschichte 44. Leipzig: Evangelische Verlagsanstalt, 2013.

Kucharski, J. “Paweł z Tarsu jako nauczyciel według Drugiego Listu do Tymoteusza [Paul of Tarsus as a Teacher according to 2 Timothy].” Pages 961‒84 in vol. 2 of Więcej szczęścia jest w dawaniu aniżeli w braniu: księga pamiątkowa dla Księdza Profesora Waldemara Chrostowskiego w 60. rocznicę urodzin. Edited by B. Strzałkowska. Ad Multos Annos 15. Warsaw: Stowarzyszenie Biblistów Polskich, 2011.

MacDonald, Margaret Y. “Always Be Steady and Endure Suffering (2 Timothy 4,1‒22): Advising the Teacher in the Roman Imperial World.” Pages 87–109 in 2 Timothy and Titus Reconsidered: Der 2. Timotheus- und der Titusbrief in neuem Licht. Edited by Reimund Bieringer. Colloquium Oecumenicum Paulinum 20. Leuven: Peeters, 2018.

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.

Gourgues, “‘…Lui qui veut que tous soient sauvés et arrivent à la connaissance de la vérité’ (1 Tm 2,4). Quelle vérité?”

Michel Gourgues has just published a new article on ἀλήθεια and religious pluralism in the Pastorals:

Michel Gourgues, “‘…Lui qui veut que tous soient sauvés et arrivent à la connaissance de la vérité’ (1 Tm 2,4). Quelle vérité?” Science et Esprit 73.1­-2 (2021): 65-77.

As the title indicates, the article is in French, but Science et Esprit provides an English-language abstract. Note that the article contains excellent bibliographies of 1 Tim 2:1-7 (n. 6) and 1 Tim 4:9-10 (n. 15).

Abstract: Truth is one of the most important notions in the First Letter to Timothy, as is the case for all the Pastoral Letters, which overlap on this matter (except the beginning and the end of 2 Tim). Taking account of other uses of the word alētheia, we observe that in 1 Tim 2:4 “the knowledge of the truth” is the same as the revelation offered by God in Jesus Christ. So God’s will to save everyone (1 Tim 2:3-5) coincides with his will that all human beings greet revelation and thus come to faith in Christ, unique mediator. Two chapters further on, 1 Tim 4:10, while introducing faith in Christ as the privileged way of having access to God’s salvation, nevertheless suggests that this way is not exclusive. As present-day theology of religious pluralism focuses on 1 Tim 2:4, it would surely benefit from paying a similar attention to the complementary witness offered by 1 Tim 4:10.

Adebayo, “The Politics of the Term γραφή in the Pastoral Epistles”

Oluwarotimi Paul Adebayo has produced an article addressing the referent of γραφή in its two occurrences in the Letters to Timothy:

Adebayo, Oluwarotimi Paul. “The Politics of the Term γραφή in the Pastoral Epistles.” Scriptura 119.2 (2020): 1–11.

The article may be found online here.

Abstract: “The understanding of the term Scripture in early Christianity is best described as an evolving concept that can be categorised into various stages. This can best be seen in the most popular Greek term the NT uses in designating Scripture, γραφή and its cognates. Γραφή was used 50 times in the NT to represent Scripture, and in each of these instances, it refers to more than just a mere writing which is what the term originally meant in Greek prior to the NT’s consistent use of it as a technical term for sacred writing.
“This study attempts to reflect briefly on (part of) the evolution γραφή underwent on the pages of the NT especially within the Pastoral Epistles (PE) – a product of the early second century CE. This study bears in mind that the recognition of books as Scripture is not a series of clearly defined steps, but rather a long and complicated process involving creativity and powerplay. This study therefore serves to enhance a more accurate understanding of the transition the concept of Scripture in the PE, most especially pertaining to the use of the term γραφή.
“The question regarding the scope of the term γραφή in the NT and especially in the PE is open to debate – especially the use of the two different words, ἱερὰ γράμματα and γραφή for Scripture in 2 Tim. 3:15–16. So is the reference to Jesus’ words as Scripture in 1 Tim. 5:18. These have raised questions of a possible shift in the PE’s understanding of γραφή. “Findings from this research include the extensive use of γραφή in the PE to accommodate more than just the Jewish Scripture, as it has evolved to include emerging earlier writings of the NT; the author of the PE was creative in adopting and adapting to a new understanding of sacred writings which serves the context of his time.
“This unveils the influence a community exerts on recognition of authoritative Scripture while teasing out the politics intertwined in the recognition of Scripture and the identity of a people, as this later became the path to canonicity of Scripture.”

Bulundwe and Butticaz, “La critique paulinienne des ‘œuvres’ au regard de 4QMMT et des Pastorales”

An addition to the literature on the Pastorals may well be of interest to researchers interested in the intersection of the New Perspective on Paul and the Letters to Timothy and Titus:

Luc Bulundwe and Simon Butticaz. “La critique paulinienne des ‘œuvres’ au regard de 4QMMT et des Pastorales.” Semitica 62 (2020): 385–414.

Here’s a brief abstract: “This study reconsiders the meaning of ‘works of law’ in Paul from three perspectives: first, via a comparison with equivalents of the formula in the Dead Sea Scrolls; second, with an analysis of the phrase within Pauline contexts of communication (esp. Galatians); and finally with an exploration of its reception by the earliest readers of Paul in the Pastoral Epistles.”

Wieland, “Re-Ordering the Household: Misalignment and Realignment to God’s οἰκονομία in 1 Timothy”

Students of 1 Timothy will be interested in a newly available essay on “sin and its remedy” in 1 Timothy written by a well-known student of the Pastorals:

George M. Wieland, “Re-Ordering the Household: Misalignment and Realignment to God’s οἰκονομία in 1 Timothy.” Pages 147–60 in Sin and Its Remedy in Paul. Contours of Pauline Theology. Edited by Nijay K. Gupta and John K. Goodrich. Eugene, OR: Cascade, 2020.

Wieland has made this biblical theological essay available on his Academia page (click here), where he gives this brief description: “An investigation of references to sin in 1 Timothy suggests that in this letter sin is whatever opposes or steps out of alignment with God’s oikonomia, as expressed both in the Law and in the gospel. The remedy is a realignment to God’s saving rule over creation, the world, and the church, and in that enterprise faithful, health-giving teaching is crucial.”

Keener, “Greek vs. Jewish Conceptions of Inspiration and 2 Timothy 3:16”

Craig Keener has an article in the current issue of JETS which will be of interest to students of the Letters to Timothy and Titus:

Keener, Craig S. “Greek Versus Jewish Conceptions of Inspiration and 2 Timothy 3:16.” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 63.2 (2020): 217–31.

Abstract: Second Timothy 3:16 speaks of Scripture as θεόπνευστος, “God-breathed,” “inspired.” What would ancient audiences who heard such a claim assume that it entailed regarding accuracy? For many Greek hearers, inspiration entailed divine authority, including on basic historical matters, although some Greek thinkers allowed poetic inspiration without such accuracy. Jewish application of inspiration language to Scripture, however, apparently always entailed its authority and accuracy. Although Jewish interpreters applied various approaches to reconcile or even sidestep apparent conflicts in biblical narratives, their understanding of its inspired authority entailed reliance on Scripture’s truthfulness on all matters that it addressed.

Couser, “The Believer’s Judgment in 2 Timothy”

Greg Couser has produced a two-part article of interest for students of the Pastorals:

Couser, Gregory A. “The Believer’s Judgment in 2 Timothy, Part 1.” Bibliotheca Sacra 176.703 (2019): 312–26.

________. “The Believer’s Judgment in 2 Timothy, Part 2.” Bibliotheca Sacra 176.704 (2019): 444–58.

Abstract: Paul’s discussion with Timothy in 2 Tim makes multiple references to the eschatological assize (1:12, 15-18; 2:11, 15; 4:1-5, 8, 14, 18).   Along with the frequency of Paul’s references, its importance is emphasized by the central role it plays in motivating and shaping Timothy’s response to the dynamics of the Ephesian situation.   This suggests that the letter has the potential to offer significant insights on Paul’s understanding of the nature of the believer’s future judgment and, thus, on his understanding of the nature of the Christian life in the present.  My investigation attempts to set out the prominent contemporary options on the significance of the believer’s judgment for Paul and then work through the passages in 2 Tim in order to eventually compare and contrast Paul’s extensive treatment of the topic here with the contemporary scholarly options.  In the end, we hope to demonstrate that Paul clearly intimates that the believer’s judgment has more complexity and texture than merely confirming their status as a believer and clearing their way for a full enjoyment of the full consummation of their salvation.  Paul also expects to be recompensed by the Lord in a manner corresponding to his service to him. Paul confidently looks forward to standing before God unashamed having kept his charge (4:17).  However, the potential to maximize one’s faithfulness to Christ as Paul also leaves space for standing before the judge with shame at not doing so, something clearly implied by 2:15.  There is certainly some impact on the believer’s experience of their final salvation in the consummated Kingdom that arises from the character of their service in this life.  There seems to be something to lose should Timothy not fulfill his service to Christ, even as there is something to gain.

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