Solevåg, “Perspectives from Disability Studies in the Pastoral Epistles”

In a new Brill volume, Anna Rebecca Solevåg has produced a chapter that examines children in the Pastorals from the perspectives of intersectionality and disability studies. Because of its focus on the Pastorals, we are highlighting it here as an addition to the scholarly literature on the letters.

Solevåg, Anna Rebecca. “Perspectives from Disability Studies in the Pastoral Epistles.” Pages 177–95 in Children and Methods: Listening To and Learning From Children in the Biblical World. Edited by Kristine Henriksen Garroway and John W. Martens. Brill’s Series in Jewish Studies 67. Leiden: Brill, 2020.

Abstract: “The article introduces intersectionality and disability studies as tools for the study of children in the Bible, and applies these tools to a reading of the Pastoral Epistles. The framework of intersectionality shows that the place(s) of children in a society must be seen in relation to other identity categories, such as race, class, gender, etc. Hierarchical relations should be studied in their complexity and also their particularity. The concept of kyriarchy is useful for studying the particularities of intersectional identity in the New Testament, as is the method of “asking the other question.” Concerning disability studies, three insights are introduced that overlap with theoretical reflections from childhood studies. The first concerns questions of agency and voice, the second points to the fluctuality of identity categories, and the third is about metaphorical uses of identity categories.

“The chapter then applies these tools to the Pastorals. In these letters, children are never addressed directly. Nevertheless, they are the object of instructions, and the recipients are framed as metaphorical children. The chapter argues that this approach on the one hand reveals structures of power and silences in the text, and on the other supports the childist quest for children’s active role through a creative imagination of the lived experiences and blurred boundaries of everyday life.”

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.

Soon-to-come 2019 Publications and 2020 Forthcoming Lists

Have you published something in a scholarly venue that engages the Pastoral Epistles in some significant manner? Or do you have such a publication forthcoming? We are compiling our 2019 list of scholarly publications on the Letters to Timothy and Titus (here’s last year’s), to be posted in about a month, and we’d love to hear from you if you have something that should be included. The list is up to 56 items, and we’re doubtless still missing some!

As well, if you have produced (or will be producing) a scholarly publication engaging the Pastorals due for publication in 2020, we’d love to hear from you as well as we compile our “forthcoming” list for 2020 (here’s last year’s).

In either case, you can email me at chuckbumgardner (at) gmail.com with information about your academic Pastorals-related publications.

Review of Hutson, First and Second Timothy and Titus (Paideia)

Image result for Paul Jeon

Paul S. Jeon, Lecturer in NT at Reformed Theological Seminary, has reviewed the recently published Pastorals commentary by Christopher Hutson. The review is exclusive to this blog and may be accessed here.

de Wet, Slavery and Asceticism in 1 Timothy

Chris de Wet, Associate Professor of New Testament and Early Christian Studies at the University of South Africa (Academia page), has produced a new article of potential interest to students of the Pastorals:

Chris L. de Wet, “Slavery and Asceticism in 1 Timothy,” Neotestamentica 53.2 (2019): 395-419.

Abstract: “This article examines the statements about slavery in 1 Timothy in the context of early Christian asceticism. While these statements about slavery have been subjected to numerous scholarly evaluations, the possible relationship between slavery and asceticism in 1 Timothy is yet to be investigated. Along with providing a status quaestionis related to asceticism in 1 Timothy, the study first delineates aspects about early Jewish-Christian asceticism that form the backdrop to 1 Timothy. Thereafter, ascetic dispositions towards slavery are analysed in detail, with special attention given to groups like the Essenes and Therapeutae, gnostic ascetic groups and especially Marcionite views about slavery. The main point that is then argued is that 1 Timothy represents an alternative ascetic discourse and practice, according to which the status of slaves, along with that of women, is not negated. Rather, 1 Timothy provides a vision of Christian asceticism that is popular, moderate and domestic in nature. Slaves do play a role in this form of asceticism, but like the women in the community, slaves are relegated mostly to subservient positions, without any probable change in their social status and circumstances of daily life.”

Van Nes, “Who are ‘Our People’ (οἱ ἡμέτεροι) in Titus 3,14?”

Jermo van Nes has produced a brief article for ETL which will be of interest to students of the Pastorals:

Jermo van Nes, “Who are ‘Our People’ (οἱ ἡμέτεροι) in Titus 3,14?” Ephemerides Theologicae Lovanienses 95.4 (2019): 661–65.

Abstract: ” All but one contemporary commentator on Titus interprets οἱ ἡμέτεροι in 3,14 as referring to all Christ-believers. Endorsing yet modifying the minority view, the present study on the basis of exegetical considerations suggests that the phrase more likely refers to Artemas, Tychicus, Zenas, and Apollos mentioned in 3,12-13.”

Marossy, “The Rule of the Resurrected Messiah: Kingship Discourse in 2 Timothy 2:8–13”

In the forthcoming edition of Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Michael David Marossy has produced an article of interest to students of the Pastorals: “The Rule of the Resurrected Messiah: Kingship Discourse in 2 Timothy 2:8-13,” CBQ 82.1 (2020): 84-100.

Abstract: “This article contributes to recent discussion on the role of kingship discourse in shaping Pauline participation in Christ by analyzing the role of kingship discourse in the neglected text that most clearly ties together the themes of kingship discourse and participatory soteriology in the Pauline corpus, namely, 2 Tim 2:8–13. In response to Joshua Jipp’s argument that Paul utilized and adapted the metaphorical framework of kingship discourse in the Scriptures to present participation in Christ as participation in the kingdom of “Christ the King,” I argue that in 2 Tim 2:8–13, the metaphorical framework of kingship discourse is employed to describe Jesus as the resurrected Davidic Messiah-king, whose reign is characterized by the narrative of his victory over death.”

Stenschke, “‘Einer Frau gestatte ich nicht, dass sie lehre’ (1 Timotheus 2:12): Exegese – Hermeneutik – Kirche”

Christoph Stenschke, professor at the University of South Africa, has published a new article on 1 Timothy 2:12, available online:

Stenschke, Christoph W. “‘Einer Frau gestatte ich nicht, dass sie lehre’ (1 Timotheus 2:12): Exegese – Hermeneutik – Kirche.” HTS Theological Studies 75.3 (2019): 1–14.

The abstract is provided in English: “This article is an exercise in combining the exegesis, hermeneutical issues and application of 1 Timothy 2:12 in ecclesial contexts where this prohibition is still taken seriously as a Pauline injunction or, at least, as part of the canon of the Church. It surveys representative proposals in New Testament studies of dealing with this least compromising assertion regarding the teaching of women in early Christianity. It discusses the hermeneutical issues involved in exegesis and application and how one should relate this prohibition to other New Testament references to women and their role in the early Christian communities. In closing, the article discusses whether and how this assertion can still be relevant in contemporary contexts when and where women have a very different role in society and church.”

Pastoral Epistles session at SBL 2019

I was quite pleased this year to see that the Disputed Paulines session at SBL would meet on Saturday this year since that meant I would be able to attend. I hope they continue in this slot.

Jens Herzer, “Epicurus, Plutarch, and Paul: The Philosophical Discourse on Public Life and the Transformation of Pauline Ethics in 1 Timothy”

I always appreciate hearing from Herzer. In this paper he argued that the “good citizenship” ethic in 1 Timothy bears striking resemblance to Epicurean ideas. He demonstrated several parallel texts, and suggested that the author (not Paul in Herzer’s mind) was developing a Christian view of life by appropriation of Epicurean ideals. It seemed that his point was that the use of these ideals lead to a perspective different from the accepted Pauline letters (the abstract refers to a “socially accommodated Christianity”), but in the discussion afterward this point was muted.

In the end, these are interesting parallels showing that similar ideas were in view outside the New Testament. However, it is not enough to convince me that the author was intentionally drawing on Epicurean ideas.

James Buchanan Wallace, “1 Timothy and Universal Salvation”

Wallace’s paper considered whether a universalist reading of 1 Timothy might be correct. He opened with interaction with David Bentley Hart, who in his recent translation of the NT argues for universalism pointing to 1 Timothy but without exegetical argumentation.

Wallace engaged patristic interpreters who argued for universalism and those who argued against noting how they used 1 Tim (if they did). Most significant I thought was his treatment of μάλιστα exegetically and how Greek fathers understood it. I am not convinced of a universalist reading, due at least partially to the fact that I still read these letters as a whole with Paul and expecting coherence of thought.

Lyn Kidson, “Saving the Woman in 1 Timothy 2: Childbirth, Women’s Bodies, and the ‘Other Instruction’”

Kidson’s paper built on her 2018 paper in this same section. She argued that 1 Timothy 2:15 should be understood as saying that a woman’s body will be “healed or kept safe through the normal processes of intercourse, pregnancy, and childbirth that the advocates of the other instruction oppose.” Thus, she argues that σώζω in 2:15 means “preserve” rather than referring to eschatological salvation.

Kidson does find a coherent argument for a challenging text, linking 2:15 with the forbidding of marriage in 4:1-5. I did not always follow the argument in the oral presentation.

Christopher Hutson, “Lifting the Yoke of Slavery: Infrapolitics and Advice to Enslaved Persons in the Pastoral Epistles”

Hutson was very engaging (even providing a song!) as he argued that the comments on slaves in 1 Timothy 6 and Titus 2 were intentionally framed to seem like they affirmed standard Greco-Roman views on the submission of slaves all the while actually hinting at a subversive sub-text. Some people write off these texts as hopelessly compromised and demeaning to slaves, but Huston sought in his line of argument to present them in a more positive light.

Myriam Klinker-De Klerck, “Lois, Eunice, and Timothy: The Rhetorical Strategy in 2 Timothy in the Light of Social Exclusion of the First Christians”

Klinker examined the role of honor/shame in 2 Timothy suggesting a rhetorical strategy in the letter that aims to encourage Timothy to endure possible negative social consequences of his belonging to the Christ group. This is connected to the reorientation the letter gives to the idea of suffering (as an honorable token of loyalty [πίστις] to Christ) and the family identity mentioned with Lois and Eunice. Her arguments suggest further ways the letter coheres and makes sense in its historical setting.

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 it’s won 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