“Women as Gossips and Busybodies: Another Look at 1 Timothy 5:13”

This is the title of my paper which has just been accepted for the Disputed Paulines Consultation at the annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature in November 2007.  The abstract of the paper is below and no doubt I shall be musing on this here as my thoughts develop.

Nearly all English translations translate the
phrase
flu&aroi kai\
peri/ergoi
in 1 Tim 5:13 as “gossips and
busybodies” (ESV, GNT, NAB, NIV, NKJV and NRSV, for example), and the
concluding phrase
lalou~sai
ta_ mh_ de/onta
as some variation of “saying what they should not
say”.  This paper revisits the suggestion
by Spicq, Hanson, Kelly and others in their commentaries on this passage that the
former phrase has to do with working magic and the latter with the actual
formulae used.  I argue that the phrase
“gossips and busybodies” has, therefore, been consistently mistranslated and
that the apparent misogyny of this passage has to be seen in the context of
very real opposition arising from what the writer views as false teaching and
magical practices within the community.

The Pastoral Epistles in the Epistle of Barnabas, Part V

[This post is part of a series on The Pastoral Epistles in the Apostolic Fathers. RWB]

Ep.Barn. 14.5 and Titus 2.14 have some commonalities.


Ep.Barn. 14.5 || Titus 2.14



(5) ἐφανερώθη δὲ ἵνα κἀκεῖνοι τελειωθῶσιν τοῖς ἁμαρτήμασιν καὶ ἡμεῖς διὰ τοῦ κληρονομοῦντος διαθήκην κυρίου Ἰησοῦ λάβωμεν, ὃς εἰς τοῦτο ἡτοιμάσθη, ἵνα αὐτὸς φανείς τὰς ἤδη δεδαπανημένας ἡμῶν καρδίας τῷ θανάτῳ καὶ παραδεδομένας τῇ τῆς πλάνης ἀνομίᾳ λυτρωσάμενος ἐκ τοῦ σκότους, διάθηται ἐν ἡμῖν διαθήκην λόγῳ. (Ep.Barn. 14.5)
(5) And he was made manifest in order that they might fill up the measure of their sins and we might receive the covenant through the Lord Jesus who inherited it, who was prepared for this purpose, in order that by appearing in person and redeeming from darkness our hearts, which had already been paid over to death and given over to the lawlessness of error, he might establish a covenant in us by his word. (Ep.Barn. 14.5)
Holmes, M. W. (1999). The Apostolic Fathers : Greek texts and English translations (Updated ed.) (312, 313). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books.


14 ὃς ἔδωκεν ἑαυτὸν ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν, ἵνα λυτρώσηται ἡμᾶς ἀπὸ πάσης ἀνομίας καὶ καθαρίσῃ ἑαυτῷ λαὸν περιούσιον, ζηλωτὴν καλῶν ἔργων. (Tt 2.14, NA27)
14 who gave himself on behalf of us, to redeem us from all lawlessness and purify for himself a chosen people, zealous for good works. (Tt 2.14, my own translation)


These texts have slight lexical commonalities and, therefore, some topical similarity. First, previous to the common material, Ep.Barn. notes Christ’s “appearing in person”. Titus 2.13 also notes “appearing”, but there it is the “appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ”. One passage focuses on Christ’s person, the other on His glory. The end is the same (focus on the appearing of Christ) but the means are different.


Our NT passage here (Titus 2.14) also focuses on Christ’s person, using the reflexive pronoun ἑαυτὸν. Thus we know it is “our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ” who gave himself. Ep.Barn. also uses a pronoun (though here the personal pronoun, αὐτὸς) to refocus and emphasize the one received: the covenant-inheriting “Lord Jesus”, the one who was “prepared for this purpose”. In both texts Jesus Christ himself is the one given to a special, prepared people.


This special people that Christ is being given over to is lawless and in need of redemption. The word translated “lawlessness” in both texts is ἀνομία. Additionally, both texts use the verb λυτρόω (Ep.Barn. an aorist middle participle, λυτρωσάμενος; Titus a future indicative, λυτρώσεται) for “redeem”. In both texts, the problem (ἀνομία) is the same, and the solution (λυτρόω) is the same.


Note, however, that Tt 2.14 may echo Ps 130.8 [LXX 129.8]. The language is similar and the verb is exactly the same: 



8 καὶ αὐτὸς λυτρώσεται τὸν Ισραηλ ἐκ πασῶν τῶν ἀνομιῶν αὐτοῦ.
8 and he himself will redeem Israel from all of its lawlessnesses. (Ps 130.8 [LXX 129.8])


Ps 130.8 [LXX 129.8] may therefore lie at the root of both texts; or it may lie at the root of Titus 2.14, which may in some loose way influence Ep.Barn. Either way, direct dependence is unable to be proven though the confluence of lexical and topical similarities may indicate some loose affinity between the two.


The Oxford committee further notes:



Here the idea of Christ preparing for Himself a special people, by redeeming it from ἀνομία, is present in both writings in rather similar language, and so far strengthens the presumption created by Ep.Barn 1.3-6 || Tt 3.5-7, 1.2. (14).


The earlier noted affinity (Ep.Barn 1.3-6 || Tt 3.5-7, 1.2) brings to light the idea of the spirit being “poured out” on men, creating a “hope for life” that is present in both texts. This hope has ground in Christ’s own sacrifice, the price of redemption being paid. The two parts do go together, but whether or not these two texts are dependent in this presentation cannot be said. Christ’s death redeems sinners, and the giving of the spirit (a result of his death was the gift of the spirit, see here) and the resultant hope of life (the spirit is present as a temporary deposit after Christ’s resurrection, just as he promised, which gives us hope of his return) are foundational and necessary pieces to the whole of Christianity.


It is not surprising that two Christian texts would make these statements. What is surprising, however, is the commonality of language between the two. There may be some influence, or the two may both have some influence from both common liturgies/creeds/hymns and the LXX, but direct influence of Titus on Barnabas is not likely. Might the author of Ep.Barn. known of Titus, and might he have read it? Sure. Might he have been influenced by that exposure? Perhaps. But his using of Titus as direct source in areas of Ep.Barn. isn’t very likely, in my estimation.


Next up: Pastoral Epistles in the Didache

The Pastoral Epistles in the Epistle of Barnabas, Part IV

[This post is part of a series on The Pastoral Epistles in the Apostolic Fathers. RWB]


Ep.Barn. 1.3, 4, 6 have some commonality with Titus 3.5ff and Titus 1.2.


Ep.Barn. 1.3-6 || Titus 3.5-7; 1.2



(3) διὸ καὶ μᾶλλον συγχαίρω ἐμαυτῷ ἐλπίζων σωθῆναι, ὅτι ἀληθῶς βλέπω ἐν ὑμῖν ἐκκεχυμένον ἀπὸ τοῦ πλουσίου τῆς πηγῆς κυρίου πνεῦμα ἐφʼ ὑμᾶς. οὕτω με ἐξέπληξεν ἐπὶ ὑμῶν ἡ ἐπιποθήτη ὄψις ὑμῶν. (4) πεπεισμένος οὖν τοῦτο καὶ συνειδὼς ἐμαυτῷ, ὅτι ἐν ὑμῖν λαλήσας πολλὰ ἐπίσταμαι, ὅτι ἐμοὶ συνώδευσεν ἐν ὁδῷ δικαιοσύνης κύριος, καὶ πάντως ἀναγκάζομαι κἀγὼ εἰς τοῦτο, ἀγαπᾶν ὑμᾶς ὑπὲρ τὴν ψυχήν μου, ὅτι μεγάλη πίστις καὶ ἀγάπη ἐγκατοικεῖ ἐν ὑμῖν ἐλπίδι ζωῆς αὐτοῦ. (5) λογισάμενος οὖν τοῦτο, ὅτι ἐὰν μελήσῃ μοι περὶ ὑμῶν τοῦ μέρος τι μεταδοῦναι ἀφʼ οὗ ἔλαβον, ὅτι ἔσται μοι τοιούτοις πνεύμασιν ὑπηρετήσαντι εἰς μισθόν, ἐσπούδασα κατὰ μικρὸν ὑμῖν πέμπειν, ἵνα μετὰ τῆς πίστεως ὑμῶν τελείαν ἔχητε τὴν γνῶσιν. (6) Τρία οὖν δόγματά ἐστιν κυρίου· ζωῆς ἐλπίς, ἀρχὴ καὶ τέλος πίστεως ἡμῶν· καὶ δικαιοσύνη, κρίσεως ἀρχὴ καὶ τέλος· ἀγάπη εὐφροσύνης καὶ ἀγαλλιάσεως, ἔργων ἐν <δικαιοσύνῃ> μαρτυρία. (Ep.Barn. 1.3-6)


(3) Therefore I, who also am hoping to be saved, congratulate myself all the more because among you I truly see that the Spirit has been poured out upon you from the riches of the Lord’s fountain. How overwhelmed I was, on your account, by the long-desired sight of you! (4) Being convinced, therefore, of this and conscious of the fact that I said many things in your midst, I know that the Lord traveled with me in the way of righteousness, and above all I too am compelled to do this: to love you more than my own soul, because great faith and love dwell in you, through the hope of his life. (5) Accordingly, since I have concluded that if I care enough about you to share something of what I have received, I will be rewarded for having ministered to such spirits, I have hastened to send you a brief note, so that along with your faith you might have perfect knowledge as well. (6) Well then, there are three basic doctrines of the Lord: the hope of life, which is the beginning and end of our faith; and righteousness, which is the beginning and end of judgment; and love shown in gladness and rejoicing, the testimony of righteous works. (Ep.Barn. 1.3-6)
Holmes, M. W. (1999). The Apostolic Fathers : Greek texts and English translations (Updated ed.) (274, 275). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books.


5 οὐκ ἐξ ἔργων τῶν ἐν δικαιοσύνῃ
ἃ ἐποιήσαμεν ἡμεῖς
ἀλλὰ κατὰ τὸ αὐτοῦ ἔλεος
ἔσωσεν ἡμᾶς διὰ λουτροῦ παλιγγενεσίας
καὶ ἀνακαινώσεως πνεύματος ἁγίου,
6 οὗ ἐξέχεεν ἐφʼ ἡμᾶς πλουσίως
διὰ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ τοῦ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν,
7 ἵνα δικαιωθέντες τῇ ἐκείνου χάριτι
κληρονόμοι γενηθῶμεν κατʼ ἐλπίδα ζωῆς αἰωνίου
.
(Titus 3.5-7, NA27)


5 not out of works in righteousness
which we did
but according to His mercy
He saved us through washing of rebirth
and renewal of the Holy Spirit,
6 whom He poured out on us richly
through Jesus Christ our Saviour,
7 so that being justified in His grace
we become heirs according to the hope of life eternal
. (Titus 3.5-7, my own translation)


2 ἐπʼ ἐλπίδι ζωῆς αἰωνίου, ἣν ἐπηγγείλατο ὁ ἀψευδὴς θεὸς πρὸ χρόνων αἰωνίων, (Titus 1.2, NA27)


2 into hope of life eternal, which the non-lying God promised before eternal ages, (Titus 1.2, my own translation)


The first commonality is found in the concept of the “pouring out” of the Holy Spirit in a “rich” manner. The verb translated “pour out” is ἐκχέω (Ep.Barn. ἐκκεχυμένον, Titus ἐξέχεεν). The similarity of “rich” in the texts is less exact, involving the use of the πλουσ* word group (Ep.Barn. τοῦ πλουσίου (noun), Titus πλουσίως (adverb)). Thus in Ep.Barn. the source of the spring is what is rich (“poured out from the riches of the Lord’s fountain”) and in Titus, the pouring itself is done in a rich manner (“whom He poured out on us richly”). Not exactly the same, but very close. In both instances, the Holy Spirit is being poured out, and it is being done so in a generous manner. While these occurrences are similar, I’d guess there may be more influence on Barnabas from Acts 2.17-21, specifically Acts 2.17:



καὶ ἔσται ἐν ταῖς ἐσχάταις ἡμέραις, λέγει ὁ θεός,
ἐκχεῶ ἀπὸ τοῦ πνεύματός μου ἐπὶ πᾶσαν σάρκα,
καὶ προφητεύσουσιν οἱ υἱοὶ ὑμῶν καὶ αἱ θυγατέρες ὑμῶν
καὶ οἱ νεανίσκοι ὑμῶν ὁράσεις ὄψονται
καὶ οἱ πρεσβύτεροι ὑμῶν ἐνυπνίοις ἐνυπνιασθήσονται·
(Ac 2.17, NA27)


17 “ ‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; (Ac 2.17, ESV)


This of course refers back to Joel 2.28-32 (LXX 3.1-5):



Καὶ ἔσται μετὰ ταῦτα
καὶ ἐκχεῶ ἀπὸ τοῦ πνεύματός μου ἐπὶ πᾶσαν σάρκα,
καὶ προφητεύσουσιν οἱ υἱοὶ ὑμῶν καὶ αἱ θυγατέρες ὑμῶν,
καὶ οἱ πρεσβύτεροι ὑμῶν ἐνύπνια ἐνυπνιασθήσονται,
καὶ οἱ νεανίσκοι ὑμῶν ὁράσεις ὄψονται,
(Joel 3.1 LXX [Eng 2.28])


The concept of the Spirit being generously poured out likely runs all the way back to Joel. The occurrence of the same thought in Titus may actually be some sort of pre-formed text — an instance of an early hymn, creed or topical saying of the church. NA27 imply much the same by their treating it as poety. In any event, the idea of the Spirit being poured out is found in multiple places in the NT,* based on prophecy from Joel, and it should not surprise us to find the same concept in the writings of the early church (here, in Ep.Barn.).


The second commonality involves the “hope of life”. While the lexical similarity is present, and while “hope of life” is not a commonly found theme** this has some problems in my view because in Ep.Barn. it is only “hope of life” (or “hope of his life”, the life of Christ) and not the “hope of eternal life” of Titus. Ep.Barn. has ἐλπίδι ζωῆς αὐτοῦ (1.4) and ζωῆς ἐλπίς (1.6). Titus has ἐλπίδα ζωῆς αἰωνίου (3.7) and ἐλπίδι ζωῆς αἰωνίου (1.2). The stronger lexical correlation is between Ep.Barn. 1.4 and Titus 1.2 based on exactness of word form. And Ep.Barn. is not simply talking about the hope of life, it is focusing on the hope of his life. The pronoun “his” has “Lord” as its antecedent. Ep.Barn. 1.3 notes that the author is “hoping to be saved”, finding this point in common with those to whom he is writing. Indeed, he considers them to be saved as they have had the Spirit poured out on them richly. In 1.4, the “hope of his life” is the agent by which “great faith and love” dwell in them. Because of this, the author desires “to love you more than my own soul”. In other words, because these are brothers in the Lord, who have had the Spirit poured out on them, he loves them. But does Ep.Barn.‘s “hope of life” in 1.4 reference eternal life? Again, it is hope in the Lord’s life. There is hope of salvation because of the life of the Lord. What about Ep.Barn. 1.6 and “hope of life” there? This appears to be a topic statement; the author is setting out his path for the rest of the epistle. Whether or not “hope of life” in 1.6 refers to eternal life or not will be seen as he expounds upon this concept in the rest of the letter. Either way, the lexical similarity is not exact. Even if a hope of eternal life is meant (and I think it probably is) the direct influence of the Epistle of Titus is not very probable in my opinion. There may be loose reaches back to an overall concept, but it would be a great stretch to posit dependence of Ep.Barn. on these verses in Titus.


Next up: Ep.Barn. 14.5f





* Interesting to think about this in light of Lukan influence on the Pastorals. If Luke is Paul’s amanuensis, the inclusion of the concept of the Spirit being poured out is less surprising and perhaps even better explained.


** In the NT, the phrase “hope of life” is only found in Titus 1.2 and 3.7. The word “hope” (ἐλπίς) is qualified in other ways, though:



  • Ac 16.19: hope of gain
  • Ac 27.20: hope of being saved
  • Ac 28.20: hope of Israel
  • Ro 5.2: hope of the glory of God
  • 1Co 9.10: hope of sharing (in the crop)
  • 2Co 1.7; 1Th 2.19; 1Ti 1.1: hope of us (“our hope”)
  • Ga 5.5: hope of righteousness
  • Eph 1.18: the hope to which he has called you (note also use of “riches” in this context, see full verse)
  • Eph 4.4: the one hope that belongs to your call
  • Php 1.20: the hope of me (“my hope”)
  • Col 1.23: the hope of the gospel
  • Col 1.27: the hope of glory
  • 1Th 1.3: hope in our Lord Jesus Christ
  • 1Th 5.8: hope of salvation

The Pastoral Epistles in the Epistle of Barnabas, Part III

[This post is part of a series on The Pastoral Epistles in the Apostolic Fathers. RWB]


Ep.Barn. 7.2 has one primary point in similarity with 2Ti 4.1, though it shares some commonality with 1Pe 4.5; Ac 10.42; Poly. Phil. 2.1; 2Cl 1.1.


Ep.Barn. 7.2 || 2Ti 4.1



(2) εἰ οὖν ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ θεοῦ, ὢν κύριος καὶ μέλλων κρίνειν ζῶντας καὶ νεκρούς, ἔπαθεν ἵνα ἡ πληγὴ αὐτοῦ ζωοποιήσῃ ἡμᾶς, πιστεύσωμεν ὅτι ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ θεοῦ οὐκ ἠδύνατο παθεῖν εἰ μὴ διʼ ἡμᾶς. (Ep.Barn. 7.2)
(2) If, therefore, the Son of God, who is Lord and is destined to judge the living and the dead, suffered in order that his wounds might give us life, let us believe that the Son of God could not suffer except for our sake. (Ep.Barn. 7.2)
Holmes, M. W. (1999). The Apostolic Fathers : Greek texts and English translations (Updated ed.) (290, 291). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books.


1 Διαμαρτύρομαι ἐνώπιον τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ τοῦ μέλλοντος κρίνειν ζῶντας καὶ νεκρούς, καὶ τὴν ἐπιφάνειαν αὐτοῦ καὶ τὴν βασιλείαν αὐτοῦ· (2Ti 4.1, NA27)
1 I solemnly urge in the presence of God and Christ Jesus, the one who will judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His Kingdom: (2Ti 4.1, my own translation)


The primary point of similarity is, obviously, that Christ (the Son of God) will judge the living and the dead. The portion about judging is exactly the same in both texts: κρίνειν ζῶντας καὶ νεκρούς. An infinitive, followed by a participle and adjective, joined by καὶ and agreeing in case, number and gender.


The secondary point of similarity—the bit about the impending state of the judgment—is wrapped up with the first. In both texts it uses the same verb (Ep.Barn. anarthrous participle μέλλων; NA27 subsantive participle τοῦ μέλλοντος) but the modification structures are different. Barnabas has a phrase with noun and participle, joined by καὶ, agreeing in case, number and gender. This is all part of a relative clause that further explains who the Son of God is and what he does:



εἰ οὖν ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ θεοῦ,
If, therefore, the Son of God,
   ὢν
   who
      κύριος καὶ μέλλων κρίνειν
      (is) Lord and (is) destined to judge
         ζῶντας καὶ νεκρούς
         living ones and dead


2Ti 4.1, however, uses the same verb as a particple but in a different case with an article. It is in the genitive, which is in agreement with the phrase that precedes it, and it serves to further modify “Christ Jesus”.



Διαμαρτύρομαι ἐνώπιον
I solemnly urge in the presence
      τοῦ θεοῦ
      of God
   καὶ
   and
      Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ
      Christ Jesus
         τοῦ μέλλοντος κρίνειν
         who is about to judge
            ζῶντας καὶ νεκρούς
            living ones and dead


One issue in 2Ti invovles determining what the participle+infinitive phrase modifies. Does Granville Sharp apply? I’d say that while Paul invokes the presence of both God and Christ Jesus, the singular number of the participle phrase would point back to just “Christ Jesus”. It points to Christ as judge. The article of the participle substantizes the phrase and functions like a relative pronoun, thus the participial clause functions like a relative clause, as I’ve translated. (I’m flying off the seat of my grammatical pants here, though, and am open to correction or other opinions). The Ep.Barn. passage has no such confusion, it more explicitly points to the “Son of God” as judge, after calling him Lord and judge.


Also note that Ep.Barn. and 2Ti here use relative structures (one a relative clause, the other a participial clause functioning relatively) in disclosing who judges and the impending nature of the judgement. All in all very similar, but as was noted above this same idea of Christ being the judge of the living and the dead is not localized to these two passages. Here are the others:



  • 1Pe 4.5: οἳ ἀποδώσουσιν λόγον τῷ ἑτοίμως ἔχοντι κρῖναι ζῶντας καὶ νεκρούς.

  • Ac 10.42: καὶ παρήγγειλεν ἡμῖν κηρύξαι τῷ λαῷ καὶ διαμαρτύρασθαι ὅτι οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ ὡρισμένος ὑπὸ τοῦ θεοῦ κριτὴς ζώντων καὶ νεκρῶν.

  • Poly. Phil. 2.1: ὃς ἔρχεται κριτὴς ζώντων καὶ νεκρῶν,

  • 2Cl 1.1: Ἀδελφοί, οὕτως δεῖ ἡμᾶς φρονεῖν περὶ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, ὡς περὶ θεοῦ, ὡς περὶ κριτοῦ ζώντων καὶ νεκρῶν.

As the same basic phrase and thought occurs among different authors (six instances, in total, from six different authors) I’d say that any dependence of Ep.Barn. on 2Ti is unlikely even though they use the same exact form of infinitive clause. That Christ “will judge the living and the dead” was a phrase likely found in some common liturgical source or emphasized due to its repetition in the NT documents. Still, the degree of similarity between Ep.Barn. and 2Ti is intriguing.


Next up: Ep.Barn. 1.3, 4, 6.

The Pastoral Epistles in the Epistle of Barnabas, Part II

[This post is part of a series on The Pastoral Epistles in the Apostolic Fathers. RWB]


A few NT references are listed as potential allusion sources for Ep.Barn. 5.6.


Ep.Barn. 5.6 || 1Ti 3.16, 2Ti 1.10*



(6) οἱ προφῆται, ἀπʼ αὐτοῦ ἔχοντες τὴν χάριν, εἰς αὐτὸν ἐπροφήτευσαν. αὐτὸς δὲ ἵνα καταργήσῃ τὸν θάνατον καὶ τὴν ἐκ νεκρῶν ἀνάστασιν δείξῃ, ὅτι ἐν σαρκὶ ἔδει αὐτὸν φανερωθῆναι, ὑπέμεινεν,
(6) The prophets, receiving grace from him, prophesied about him. But he himself submitted, in order that he might destroy death and demonstrate the reality of the resurrection of the dead, because it was necessary that he be manifested in the flesh.
Holmes, M. W. (1999). The Apostolic Fathers : Greek texts and English translations (Updated ed.) (284, 285). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books.


16 καὶ ὁμολογουμένως μέγα ἐστὶν τὸ τῆς εὐσεβείας μυστήριον· ὃς ἐφανερώθη ἐν σαρκί, ἐδικαιώθη ἐν πνεύματι, ὤφθη ἀγγέλοις, ἐκηρύχθη ἐν ἔθνεσιν, ἐπιστεύθη ἐν κόσμῳ, ἀνελήμφθη ἐν δόξῃ. (1Ti 3.16, NA27)
16 And most certainly, great is the mystery of godliness: Who was revealed in flesh, Vindicated in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Proclaimed amongst the peoples, Believed on in the world, Taken up in glory. (1Ti 3.16, my own translation)


10 φανερωθεῖσαν δὲ νῦν διὰ τῆς ἐπιφανείας τοῦ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ, καταργήσαντος μὲν τὸν θάνατον φωτίσαντος δὲ ζωὴν καὶ ἀφθαρσίαν διὰ τοῦ εὐαγγελίου (2Ti 1.10, NA27)
10 and now has been revealed through the appearance of our Saviour Christ Jesus, who indeed abolished death and brought to light life and immortality through the gospel (2Ti 1.10, my own translation)


There are a few spots where affinities between Barnabas and the PE texts can be seen.


First, between Ep.Barn. 5.6 and 1Ti 3.16, the primary affinity has to do with the idea of Christ being manifested (φανερόω) in the flesh (ἐν σαρκὶ). The ideas are remarkably the same and the language seems almost liturgical. Indeed, that’s the vibe one gets from 1Ti 3.16, which has long been considered to have some sort of early Christian hymn or creed as its source. The Oxford committee that gathered these references notes the same thing: “But as it itself (1Ti 3.16) is probably quoting a current liturgical form, literary dependence cannot be pressed either way” (13). Note also that Ep.Barn. uses the phrase “manifested in the flesh” several times (Ep.Barn. 6.7, 9, 14; 12.10; 14.5). The idea has to come from somewhere, whether it be common liturgical formula (probably) or this portion of First Timothy.


Second, between Ep.Barn. 5.6 and 2Ti 1.10, there are a few points of contact. The first is similar to that of 1Ti 3.16, that Christ has appeared. 2Ti 1.10 uses φανερόω not in reference to Christ (directly, as both Ep.Barn. 5.6 and 1Ti 3.16 do) but as a participle clause that further explains “purpose and grace” from v. 9. We were saved according to God’s “purpose and grace” and not our own works. 2Ti 1.9-10 has two clauses that further explain this purpose and grace. The first is v.9, explaining that his purpose and grace have “been granted to us in Christ Jesus from times eternal”. The second is the first part of v. 10, which here has some affinity with Ep.Barn. 5.6. God’s “purpose and grace” has been “revealed” (φανερόω) through the appearance (ἐπιφανείας) of our Saviour Jesus Christ. This is similar to 1Ti 3.16, though the specific note of manifestation/appearance in the flesh (ἐν σαρκὶ) is not made in 2Ti 1.10.


The second point of contact between Ep.Barn. 5.6 and 2Ti 1.10 has to do with the destruction of death. The word translated destruction (Ep.Barn) or abolish (2Ti) is καταργέω. In both cases the destruction is of death (τὸν θάνατον). Both texts portray Jesus Christ as the one who destroyed death.


A third point of contact is not specifically lexical but rather topical. Both texts note the effect of the destruction of death using different words but both essentially supporting the same concept. In Ep.Barn., the consequence of the destruction of death is that Christ demonstrates “the reality of the resurrection of the dead”. In 2Ti, Christ brings “to light life and immortality through the gospel”. In both cases, the effect has to do with life — immortality. Because Christ destroyed death, the dead in Christ also are not bound by death, they will rise. Christ’s death obliterates the darkness and shines light on the life we will have into the ages. Different words, same basic concept: With the destruction of death those who are dead are no longer bound by death. There is now life.


These three points in common between Ep.Barn. 5.6 and 2Ti 1.10 are striking. I don’t know that dependence can be proven, but the ideas behind both texts share several commonalities that stimulate thought.


Next up: Ep.Barn. 7.2.





* Note that the Oxford committee also lists 1Pe 1.20-21 as a possible allusion/parallel source along with 2Ti 1.10:



20 προεγνωσμένου μὲν πρὸ καταβολῆς κόσμου φανερωθέντος δὲ ἐπʼ ἐσχάτου τῶν χρόνων διʼ ὑμᾶς 21 τοὺς διʼ αὐτοῦ πιστοὺς εἰς θεὸν τὸν ἐγείραντα αὐτὸν ἐκ νεκρῶν καὶ δόξαν αὐτῷ δόντα, ὥστε τὴν πίστιν ὑμῶν καὶ ἐλπίδα εἶναι εἰς θεόν. (1Pe 1.20-21, NA27)
20 He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for your sake, 21 who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. (1Pe 1.20-21, ESV)

The Pastoral Epistles in the Epistle of Barnabas, Part I

[This post is part of a series on The Pastoral Epistles in the Apostolic Fathers. RWB]


The discussion of the Epistle of Barnabas in The New Testament in the Apostolic Fathers lists seven potential references to the Pastoral Epistles. The editors rate each of the Pastoral Epistles with a ‘D’, and each of the readings have a ‘d’ mark as well. This means the editors see some affinity between the two books in these seven instances, but no clear case for dependence can be made.


Ep. Barn 5.9 || 1Ti 1.15f.



(9) ὅτε δὲ τοὺς ἰδίους ἀποστόλους τοὺς μέλλοντας κηρύσσειν τὸ εὐαγγέλιον αὐτοῦ ἐξελέξατο, ὄντας ὑπὲρ πᾶσαν ἁμαρτίαν ἀνομωτέρους ἵνα δείξῃ ὅτι οὐκ ἦλθεν καλέσαι δικαίους ἀλλὰ ἁμαρτωλούς, τότε ἐφανέρωσεν ἑαυτὸν εἶναι υἱὸν θεοῦ. (Ep. Barn. 5.9)
(9) And when he chose his own apostles who were destined to preach his gospel (who were sinful beyond all measure in order that he might demonstrate that “he did not come to call the righteous, but sinners”), then he revealed himself to be God’s Son.
Holmes, M. W. (1999). The Apostolic Fathers : Greek texts and English translations (Updated ed.) (284). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books.


15 πιστὸς ὁ λόγος καὶ πάσης ἀποδοχῆς ἄξιος, ὅτι Χριστὸς Ἰησοῦς ἦλθεν εἰς τὸν κόσμον ἁμαρτωλοὺς σῶσαι, ὧν πρῶτός εἰμι ἐγώ. 16 ἀλλὰ διὰ τοῦτο ἠλεήθην, ἵνα ἐν ἐμοὶ πρώτῳ ἐνδείξηται Χριστὸς Ἰησοῦς τὴν ἅπασαν μακροθυμίαν πρὸς ὑποτύπωσιν τῶν μελλόντων πιστεύειν ἐπʼ αὐτῷ εἰς ζωὴν αἰώνιον. (1Ti 1.15-16, NA27)
Aland, B., Aland, K., Black, M., Martini, C. M., Metzger, B. M., & Wikgren, A. (1993, c1979). Novum Testamentum Graece (27th ed.) (543). Federal Republic of Germany: United Bible Societies.
15 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. 16 But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. (1Ti 1.15-16, ESV)


There is affinity between the two, but the likelier influence is that of Mt 9.13: “Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” Holmes provides a footnote linking to this verse in his edition as justification for the quote marks in his text. And the Oxford committee also lists Mt 9.13 as a parallel (along with the synoptic parallels to this passage). But that’s only part of the story.


Unique in relation to 1Ti 1.15-16 is the idea that Paul was a vile sinner, and his calling to apostle served as an object lesson of the extent to which God’s grace can reach. Key to this is the use of the same word group (Barn: δείξῃ, NA27: ἐνδείξηται) for the verb that has Christ (either explicitly or via verb person/number reference) as subject.


Also interesting, at least to me, is the language used to describe the apostles (Ep.Barn.) and Paul (1Ti). It is not complementary. Ep.Barn. calls them “sinful beyond all measure”; Paul calls himself the foremost of sinners. The picture in both of these passages is clear. The most sinful have been redeemed. The degree of change was massive — from the worst sinner to an apostle of Christ. And the reason is the same: That Christ might demonstrate his power to save by using the worst sinners as his primary ambassadors.


Next up: Ep. Barn. 5.6

The Pastoral Epistles in the Apostolic Fathers

Awhile back I was able to locate a facsimile copy of an older work, The New Testament in the Apostolic Fathers, on archive.org. This is a cool old book.


The basic idea of the book was to examine possible NT quotations and allusions within the corpus of the Apostolic Fathers and discuss whether or not the AF material had any dependence on the NT. Here’s how the preface to the book states it:



The first duty of the Committee was to agree upon a plan. It was decided to arrange the books of the New Testament in four classes, distinguished by the letters A, B, C, and D, according to the degree of probability of their use by the several authors. Class A includes those books about which there can be no reasonable doubt, either because they are expressly mentioned, or because there are other certain indications of their use. Class B comprises those books the use of which, in the judgement of the editors, reaches a high degree of probability. With class C we come to a lower degree of probability; and in class D are placed those books which may possibly be referred to, but in regard to which the evidence appeared too uncertain to allow any reliance to be placed upon it. Under each author the books of the New Testament are arranged in accordance with these four classes, except that the Gospels are reserved for a section by themselves after the other writings. … Under each class (A, B, C, D) the books follow one another in the present canonical order; and the passages cited under each head are arranged in the order of probability, according to the editors’ judgment, and marked a, b, c, d — symbols to which an explanation will apply similar to that which has been given in connexion with the capital letters. (iv).


So, basically, they go through potential quotations/allusions and provide some rating as to the liklihood of dependence. So a book gets a rating (A, B, C, D) and the readings get ratings (a, b, c, d).


I’ve been wanting to work though the quotations/allusions to the Pastoral Epistles in this book for awhile. I have a little time tonight, so it seems like a good time to start. I’ll have at least one post per book of the Apostolic Fathers. I’ll work through them in the order they appear in The New Testament in the Apostolic Fathers.


Irenaeus, Eve, Mary and Childbearing

I’m reading through Irenaeus’ $amz(0809102641 Proof of the Apostolic Preaching) (translated by Joseph Smith) in the evenings before going to bed. It’s a pretty quick read and will familiarize you with Irenaeus before digging into his $amz(0809104547 Against Heresies) (translated by Dominic J.Unger, and my next evening reading target).


First, to set the scene, let me quote 1Ti 2.13-15:



13 For Adam was created first, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not misled, but the woman, being deceived, has become a transgressor. 15 But she will be saved through childbearing, if they remain in faith and love and holiness with good judgment. (my own translation)


Ok, now, here’s Irenaeus, Proof of the Apostolic Preaching, §33:



33. And just as it was through a virgin who disobeyed that man was stricken and fell and died, so too it was through the Virgin, who obeyed the word of God, that man resuscitated by life received life. For the Lord came to seek back the lost sheep, and it was man who was lost; and therefore He did not become some other formation, but He likewise, of her that was descended from Adam, preserved the likeness of formation: for Adam had necessarily to be restored in Christ, that mortality be absorbed in immortality, and Eve in Mary, that a virgin, become the advocate of a virgin, should undo and destroy virginal disobedience by virginal obedience. (Smith, 69. emphasis added)


Now I’m not sure what to think of this passage from Irenaeus; I certainly think Christ died once for all, male and female alike. So I don’t know quite what to think about Eve being “restored” in Mary. But this passage links Eve and Mary in a sense of restoration. More importantly, because of Mary’s obedience, man received life. Eve disobeyed, her disobedience was made right again with Christ’s birth to a virgin mother and the resultant salvation through Christ. At least, on the surface, that’s what I sense Irenaeus to be saying.


Irenaeus is early, likely the generation after the Apostolic Fathers. Polycarp, whom Irenaeus heard teach and was likely a pupil of, was martyred in 155 or 156. Irenaeus became Bishop of Lyons in 177 or 178 and, according to Smith, likely died in the early third century (Smith 6). Irenaeus also likely knew of at least First Timothy; consider the start of his preface to Against Heresies:



Certain people are discarding the Truth and introducing deceitful myths and endless geneaologies, which, as the Apostle says, promote speculations rather than the divine training that is in faith. (Unger, 21)


That’s the very first sentence of the preface, explicitly quoting $esv(1Ti 1.4) and attributing it to Paul (the “Apostle”). So Irenaeus is mid/late 2nd century, he knew of First Timothy (as did Polycarp, who in Poly. Phil. 4.1 may have quoted $esv(1Ti 6.10)) and he had this view of Eve being restored in Mary.


Realizing all of this —  how does Irenaeus in Proof of the Apostolic Preaching square with 1Ti 2.13-15? Most commentaries these days discount the ‘childbearing’ in v. 15 as having anything to do with the arrival of Christ through being born to Mary. But isn’t that pretty much what Irenaeus is saying here?


Postscript: Please note, this is all just me “thinking out loud” (i.e. blogging). I read the passage in Irenaeus last night and it’s been simmering on the back burners of my brain since. I checked Marshall’s ICC volume, Knight’s NIGTC volume, and Dibelius & Conzelmann in Hermeneia. No mention of this reference, though D&C refer to Irenaeus Adv. Haer. 1.24.2 (which attributes marriage and childbirth to Satan). I’d check Towner’s NICNT and Witherington, but I’ve loaned the volumes to a friend and don’t have them handy. I haven’t checked elsewhere to see if this passage of Irenaeus has ever been associated with these verses.

J.K. Elliott’s Greek Text of the Epistles to Timothy and Titus

A recent trip up north brought me to the very excellent library of the Vancouver School of Theology on the University of British Columbia campus.


Whilst browsing the shelves, I ran across a book I’ve been looking for for years: J.K. Elliott’s The Greek Text of the Epistles to Timothy and Titus. This is vol 36 in the University of Utah’s Studies and Documents series. It was published in 1968.


I’ve seen this title referred to in footnotes in several commentaries, studies and other monographs, but have been unable to track it down. Now that I have, I’m glad I did. The monograph is a portion of Elliott’s doctoral work. He uses his own “eclectic” methodology to establish his own text of the Pastoral Epistles. He interacts with a number of MSS, and what one ends up with is a textual commentary (from his eclectic point of view) on the Pastorals. Additionally, the introduction is a short but very well written guide to his methodology.


And the appendices are fairly fun too. Appendix 6 has several lists that show where Elliott’s readings are in agreement and at variance with published editions (Westcott/Hort, TR, Tischendorf, Tregelles, etc.) and is concluded with a list of all of his unique readings (against the editions he checked) along with the MSS that provide the textual evidence for the unique reading. For example, in $wh(1Ti 1.4), he accepts οἰκοδομην over οἰκονομιαν. No other edition (at least in 1968) took that reading. But he does, and he explains why.


An interesting follow-up will be to examine his unique readings with UBS4/NA27 and see if the UBS/NA has taken up any of his readings.



Update: I just scanned the 67 listed unique readings against NA27; nary a one of them is used in NA27. Most of Elliott’s readings have to do with word order, orthography, adding/deleting a conjunction or adding/deleting an article. Very few would actually change the sense of the text, and those only slightly.


I hope to blog on his ‘eclectic’ approach over at my personal blog (ricoblog) at some point. (Update [2007-03-26]: I’ve begun this series, see the bottom of the post for further links) One unique aspect is that MS ‘quality’ is only one of a number of factors. Readings supported in as little as one MS or even one early version, in Elliott’s methodology, may be considered as ‘original’ if other factors look good. In other words, there is no automatic veto if a reading is poorly attested — especially if that reading scores well in other areas examined.


Just to say: If you’re examining the Greek text of the Pastorals in any depth, you may consider locating Elliott’s work. Best to check a well-stocked theological library!

What’s an “Elder”, Anyway?

In early February, Ray posted on $esv(Titus 1.6) and “believing/faithful children”. In that post, Ray linked to an article in the 9 Marks newsletter.


Regarding that link, an anonymous commenter asked me:



Rico: Have you read the book in footnote 2?: Alexander Strauch, Biblical Eldership: An Urgent Call to Restore Biblical Church Leadership, revised & expanded (Littleton, Col.: Lewis & Roth Publishers, 1995), 229.


Please consider the concept of “elders” he presents in his research through the Acts and Epistles uses of the Greek words used.


I’ve not read Strauch’s book. But I have read with interest R. Alastair Campbell’s The Elders: Seniority within Earliest Christianity. Campbell gives a more complete view than just centering on practice in Acts and the Epistles; he traces the concept of “eldership” through through the Hebrew Bible, into the New Testament, and then through Apostolic Fathers (particularly Ignatius). I don’t agree with some of his presuppositions (he thinks the Pastorals are psuedepigraphal and contemporary with or immediately preceding Ignatius’ writings and this colors some of his conclusions regarding the role of elders in the Pastorals) but nonetheless he approaches the topic diachronically and does a good job of it.


Anyone else have thoughts on “eldership” as it is discussed in the Pastorals? Or on the topic of “church leadership” in general within the Pastorals?