You may have been unaware, as I was until yesterday, that a good number of Pastorals commentaries and monographs are available in full at archive.org. With a free account, you can “borrow” the volumes for an hour at a time, renewable every hour pending availability.
A new article of interest for Pastorals researchers:
Gregory Goswell, “The Bookends of the Pauline Corpus.” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 65.1 (2022): 111–26.
Abstract: Romans at the head of the Pauline corpus and the Pastoral Epistles at or near the end act as bookends and provide a missional frame around the epistolary collection. Though the order of the letters appears to be due to the mechanical principle of decreasing length (Romans is the longest letter) and the (somewhat) arbitrary division made between letters to churches and to individuals, the position of Romans and the Pastoral Epistles at either end of the collection of Paul’s letters makes sense, given the general and comprehensive character of Romans and the probable setting of the Pastoral Epistles late in Paul’s missionary career as he contemplates his removal from the scene. Influenced by Romans, the reader of the letters that follow is alerted to when and how Paul sets his doctrinal and ethical instructions in a missional frame. Similarly, the Pastoral Epistles suggest a missional reading of the earlier letters. The letter to the Philippians is used as a test case for the influence that Romans and the Pastorals bring to bear on the reading of the intervening letters.
Another article engaging 1 Timothy 3:16 is now available:
David R. Edwards, “‘Taken Up in Glory’: Early Christian Traditions of the Ascension in Light of 1 Timothy 3:16.” Journal of Early Christian History 12.2 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1080/2222582X.2022.2109052
This article is the publication of an earlier conference presentation: “‘Taken Up in Glory’: Early Christian Traditions of the Ascension of Jesus in Light of 1 Tim. 3:16.” Presentation at the Annual Meeting of the SBL, San Antonio, 21 November 2021.
Abstract: I revive a chronological approach to the hymn in 1 Timothy 3:16, a reading which has frequently been dismissed on the basis of the alleged misplacement of the ascension after the Gentile missionary movement. Behind the rejection of a chronological reading has been the normativity of the narrative of Luke- Acts—or at least a conventional reading of it. This study argues that the peculiar chronology of the hymn arose from attempts to harmonise the multiple ascension reports in Luke 24 and Acts 1 along with the tradition reported by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15. Lying behind the hymn is an interpretation of Luke- Acts as implying multiple and ongoing post-resurrection appearances and ascensions which culminate in a final ascension after the appearance to Paul, which occurs in the narrative of Luke-Acts just after the Christian proclamation expands to Gentiles through the baptism of the Ethiopian eunuch.
For those trying to plumb the depths of research examining the Acts of Paul and Thecla in relation to the Pastoral Epistles, I note a recent article from a Russian theological journal:
Burdukov, Ilya (Илья Бурдуков). “Общее в учении в Деяниях Павла и Пастырских посланиях [Common Doctrines in the Acts of Paul and the Pastoral Epistles].” Теологический вестник Смоленской православной духовной семинарии [Theological Herald, Smolensk Orthodox Theological Seminary] 4 (2021): 95–107.
An English-language abstract is provided: “This article will cover topics concerning common positions for the apocrypha “Acts of Paul” and the Pastoral Epistles. This work is a logical continuation of the research on the relationship between the apocrypha and the canonical books of the New Testament. Since it was previously shown that the “Acts of Paul” are most closely related to the Pastoral Epistles of apostle Paul, it was decided to elaborate on this matter in more detail. As a result, due to the comparative analysis, it became possible to identify six thematic blocks, which demonstrate the concurrence of two groups of works. The conducted research gives a greater reason to consider the “Acts of Paul” from the point of view of Orthodox and canonical ideas, to which this apocrypha corresponds to a larger extent than it was previously believed. In this regard, the common ideas and the common language testify to the time and context in which the apocryphal “Deeds” [i.e., “Acts”] were created.”
The six themes found to be common to both works are the Christian as a soldier of Christ, the relationship to civil authority, wealth, false teachers, church officers, and widows and attitudes toward celibacy.
You can view the article here. A rough translation via Google Translate is available here.
The previous article mentioned in the abstract (“it was previously shown …”) appears to be Ilya Burdukov, “Апокриф ‘Деяния Павла’ в Контексте Новозаветной Литературы [The Apocryphal ‘Acts of Paul’ in the Context of New Testament Literature],” in Материалы VII Международной Студенческой Научно-Богословской Конференции Санкт-Петербургской Православной Духовной Академии [Proceedings of the Seventh International Student Theological Conference of the St. Petersburg Orthodox Theological Academy] (St. Petersburg: St. Petersburg Theological Academy of the Russian Orthodox Church, 2015).
An addition to the literature on 1 Timothy 2:15 was brought to my attention today. It is the published version of a presentation given at the 2018 SBL annual meeting:
Adam Booth, “The Pastor among the Physicians: 1 Tim 2:15 and Salvation in a Context of Contested Health Claims.” Revue Biblique 128.4 (2021): 593–608.
Abstract: “1 Tim 2:15 claims that women will be saved through childbearing. The language used to speak of salvation has a more basic meaning of physical health. This paper investigates how medical opinion contemporary to the letter would have evaluated the claim that childbearing was salubrious and shows that that question was contested. Are the Pastor’s hearers being called to see salvation as intimately connected with bodily forms of life for women socially valorized as ‘healthy’ or to see salvation as entangled with bodily danger?”
This week we will hold the final meeting of our Pastoral Epistles Study Group at ETS. We have not sought renewal for the group, but may look to restart the group in a couple of years. We have had a profitable decade of studying these important letters together.
If you are coming to ETS, join us for our session on Wednesday at 8:30. The only change to our published schedule is that Greg Couser will not be able to attend, so we have had to cancel his paper and I will moderate the session. We hope to see you in Fort Worth.
I’m very pleased to note a new publication on the Pastorals:
Daniel Wayne Roberts. The Pastoral Epistles and the New Perspective on Paul. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2021.
This is a published version of Roberts’ dissertation completed at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary under the direction of Benjamin L. Merkle. I provide here the publisher summary and the major headings of the work:
The so-called “New Perspective on Paul” has become a provocative way of understanding Judaism as a pattern of religion characterized by “covenantal nomism,” which stands in contrast to the traditional, Lutheran position that argues that the Judaism against which Paul responded was “legalistic.” This “new perspective” of first-century Judaism has remarkably changed the landscape of Pauline studies, but it has done so in relative isolation from the Pastoral Epistles, which are considered by most critical scholarship to be pseudonymous. Because of this lack of interaction with the Pastoral Epistles this study seeks to test the hermeneutic of the New Perspective on Paul from a canonical perspective. This study is not a polemic against the New Perspective on Paul, but an attempt to test its hermeneutic within the Pastoral Epistles. Four basic tenets of the New Perspective on Paul, taken from the writings of E. P. Sanders, N. T. Wright, and James D. G. Dunn, are identified and utilized to choose the passages in the Pastoral Epistles to be studied to test the New Perspective’s hermeneutic outside “undisputed” Paul. The four tenets are as follows: Justification/Salvation, Law and Works, Paul’s View of Judaism, and the Opponents. Based on these tenets, the passages considered are 1 Tim 1:6-16; 2:3-7; 2 Tim 1:3, 8-12; and Titus 3:3-7.
1. The New Perspective on Paul and the Pastoral Epistles: Problem, Thesis, and Method 2. History of Research: The New Perspective on Paul and the Pastoral Epistles 3. Paul, the Law, and the “Chief of Sinners”: 1 Timothy 1:6–16; 2:3–7 4. “Not According to Works”: 2 Timothy 1:3, 8–12 5. Justified by Grace: Titus 3:3–7 6. Some Conclusions Regarding the New Perspective on Paul and the Pastoral Epistles
I was pleased to have the opportunity to write the chapter on the Pastoral Epistles in Biblical Worship: Theology for God’s Glory which is due out next week. I like mining a specific text, seeking what it has to say on a specific topic, and interestingly the Pastorals are not often quizzed for what they have to offer on worship. People note that preaching is upheld in these letters, but not much else. I ended up titling the chapter, “The Word, Prayer, and Practice: Worship in the Pastoral Epistles,” trying to point out key categories of worship mentioned in the PE.
My aim was to draw out what these letters offer concerning a theology of worship and then to suggest some applications to current church life. I’ll let you read the chapter, but I suggest we should give more attention to our own ethics as worship and even to dying as worship (2 Tim 4:6). Furthermore, while prayer is readily acknowledged as a key aspect of worship, it does not feature as prominently in corporate worship in many of our churches as it appears to in these letters. Lastly, though I do not develop this point as much, the comments on worship in the PE regularly are seen as aids to perseverance. If we want to persevere well, we need the sort of formative worship portrayed in the Pastorals (and elsewhere in the NT).
It’s been awhile since we’ve posted recent reviews on monographs and commentaries on the Pastorals (in part or in whole). Here are a number of them that have come to our attention which we have not previously noted; we are limiting the selection to reviews on books published in the last three years (2018-2020).
Gerald Bray, The Pastoral Epistles (ITC; 2019): Reviewed by Michael Lakey, JSNT 42.5 (2020): 105-6; Michael Robertson, RSR 46.3 (2020): 410; Robert Yarbrough, JETS 63.4 (2020): 890-93.
Christopher Hutson, First and Second Timothy and Titus (Paideia, 2019): Reviewed by Alex Teas, Pneuma 42.2 (2020): 315-17 (most of the review is available here).
Nathan Nzyoka Joshua, Benefaction and Patronage in Leadership: A Socio-Historical Exegesis of the Pastoral Epistles (2018): Reviewed by Jin Hwan Lee, RBL (2020).
Elif Hilal Karaman, Ephesian Women in Greco-Roman and Early Christian Perspective (2018). Reviewed by Jill Marshall, RBL (2019); Charles Nathan Ridlehoover, BBR 30.1 (2020): 161-63.
Jermo van Nes, Pauline Language and the Pastoral Epistles (2018): Reviewed by Benjamin White, RBL (2020).
Thanks to Mike Bird for pointing out that the latest issue of the Journal for the Study of Paul and His Letters contains papers from a recent conference on the Pastoral Epistles in Belgium. I have copied the list of papers and contributors below. It is a fascinating list.
JERMO VAN NES The Pastoral Epistles: Common Themes, Individual Compositions? An Introduction to the Quest for the Origin(s) of the Letters to Timothy and Titus
JENS HERZER Narration, Genre, and Pseudonymity: Reconsidering the Literary Relationship of the Pastoral Epistles
MATTHIJS DEN DULY Pauline Biography and the Letter to Titus: A Response to Jens Herzer
PETER-BEN SMIT Supermen and Sissies: Masculinities in Titus and 1 Timothy
SUZAN J. M. SIERKSMA-AGTERES Faithfulness as Subhegemonic Antidote to a Precarious Existence: A Response to Peter-Ben Smit
ROB VAN HOUWELINGEN The Meaning of Epiphaneia in the Pastoral Epistles
DOGARA ISHAYA MANOMI Salvific, Ethical, and Consummative “Appearances” in the Pastoral Epistles? A Response to Rob van Houwelingen
ARMIN D. BAUM Stylistic Diversity in the Corpus Ciceronianum and in the Corpus Paulinum: A Comparison and Some Conclusions
JOHN PERCIVAL Deciding What Counts: The Difficulties of Comparing Stylistic Diversity.
STANLEY E. PORTER Pastoral Epistles: Common Themes, Individual Compositions, and Concluding Reflections