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Review, The Ideal Bishop: Aquinas’s Commentaries on the Pastoral Epistles

Michael G. Sirilla. The Ideal Bishop: Aquinas’s Commentaries on the Pastoral Epistles (Washington, D. C., The Catholic University of America Press, 2017)

This book makes a valuable contribution to Pastoral Epistles scholarship even though its aim is really toward a theology of pastoral ministry. Sirilla says this work fills “a lacuna in the scholarly work on St. Thomas’s theology of the episcopacy” (4) because scholars have tended to overlook Aquinas’s exegetical work. This has impoverished previous work because “many of St. Thomas’s theological reflections on the grace of the bishop’s office are found exclusively in his commentaries on the PE” (5). Sirilla says this is the first study to “substantively examine the theology of the episcopacy” found in Aquinas’s lectures on the Pastorals (5). Read more

The Pastorals in NTA 64.3

The current issue of New Testament Abstracts lists the following entries which substantively engage the Letters to Timothy and Titus:

1026. Becker, Matthias. “Ekklesiologie der sanften Macht. Der 1. Timotheusbrief und die antike Fürstenspiegel-Literatur.” Biblische Zeitschrift 64.2 (2020): 277–305. Read more

Poirier, The Invention of the Inspired Text

The Invention of the Inspired Text

Of interest to students of the Pastorals, and particularly those who study the theology of the letters: I received notice of a new volume forthcoming in the LNTS series, which mounts a challenge to the traditional understanding of θεόπνευστος in 2 Tim 3:16 and elsewhere in the early centuries of Christianity, advocating a meaning of “life-giving.”

Poirier, John C. The Invention of the Inspired Text: Philological Windows on the Theopneustia of Scripture. Library of New Testament Studies 640. New York: T&T Clark, 2021. Read more

Worship in the PE, a New Essay

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).

The Pastorals at the 2021 Tyndale Fellowship Conference

Two presentations on the Pastorals are slated for the New Testament Study Group at the 2021 Tyndale Fellowship Conference (to be held virtually), provided here with abstracts. They are scheduled for June 25.

Jermo van Nes, “The Letters to Timothy and Titus: Second-Century Writings?” Abstract: “Many contemporary New Testament scholars consider 1-2 Timothy and Titus, collectively known as the Pastoral Epistles (PE), to be pseudonymous writings. Some of them do so on the basis of the PE’s comparatively large number of hapaxes, which they believe is closer to the writings of the Apostolic Fathers and early Apologists dating from the second century AD. The aim of this presentation is to reconsider this influential thesis as once advocated by P.N. Harrison (1921). It will be argued that the (statistical) evidence presented by Harrison is flawed as he gives no proper definition of hapaxes and early Apologists, unevenly compares the PE collectively to individual writings, and does not use any criteria to show how his results are statistically significant. By way of alternative, this presentation will (1) provide a proper definition of hapaxes, (2) count how many of these hapaxes recur in all Greek religious second-century writings listed as such in the Thesaurus Linguae Graecae database, and (3) by means of (simple) linear regression analysis determine whether or not 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, and/or Titus in comparison to each of the other Pauline letters share significantly more hapaxes with these second-century writings.” Read more

Reviews

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. Read more

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