A Handful of Thoughts on Authorship

Of the papers from Washington, Wayne Brindle’s and Jens Herzer’s have given me the most food for thought. 

FIRST, Herzer’s work (along with Trobisch’s) has pushed me further along toward abandoning the term “pseudonymity” in regard to the PE.  If the letters were deceptively written in Paul’s name, then call the darn things FORGERIES.  No other term fits the bill.  Ultimately, “pseudonymity” is a euphemism, a “weasel-word.”

SECOND, Brindle (page 6), when summarizing Marshall’s work on authorship, briefly describes three mediating positions between direct Pauline authorship and out and out forgery.  They are:

  1. a free amenuensis;
  2. “someone may have edited and published several of Paul’s writings after his death” (emphasis added)
  3. Marshall’s allonymity, where “someone close to [Paul] may have continued to write as he would have done, perhaps completing some works that Paul had begun.”

Brindle’s paper is an argument against #3 in favor of #1. 

My own position is a modified version of #2.  The PE are the published editions of Paul’s teachings (tradition, i.e., both oral and written material), posthumously published.  The member of Paul’s circle most likely to edit and publish these materials in this way is Timothy himself.  He is acting as Paul’s tradent, the keeper of Paul’s diatheke, in much the same way as Plato served as Socrates’s tradent.