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.”

Mounce, “Character Matters: Qualifications for Ministry in the Pastoral Epistles”

Bill Mounce, author of the massive WBC volume on The Pastoral Epistles, presented over two hours worth of material on qualifications for ministry in the Pastorals. He was speaking at Beeson Divinity School, Birmingham, AL, 15 April 2019. The video of his presentation is available on YouTube:

Part 1 Part 2

Belleville, “Lexical Fallacies in Rendering αὐθεντεῖν in 1 Timothy 2:12”

Linda Belleville, “Lexical Fallacies in Rendering αὐθεντεῖν in 1 Timothy 2:12: BDAG in Light of Greek Literary and Nonliterary Usage,” Bulletin for Biblical Research 29.3 (2019): 317–41.

Abstract:
On the basis of the studies of George Knight (1984) and Leland Wilshire (1988) in NTS, the 2000 edition of BDAG eliminated “domineer over” as a meaning of the Greek word αὐθεντέω and substituted “assume a stance of independent authority,” thereby calling into question lexicons dating from AD 1st-century Harpocration and translations of 1 Tim 2:12 dating back to the Old Latin, which render the phrase οὐδὲ αὐθεντεῖν ἀνδρός negatively as “nor to domineer over a man” or “nor to usurp authority over a man.” Indeed, examination of αὐθεντ- forms in Classical and Hellenistic literary and nonliterary materials shows that modern translations of αὐθεντεῖν as “to exercise authority” or “assume authority over” have no basis in the Greek of antiquity. Instead, “to murder” or “perpetrate a murder” surface exclusively in the literary materials, and “to domineer” or “to originate” appear without exception in the nonliterary materials.

This article follows two SBL presentations which discuss the same material: “What’s a Woman to Do? An Examination of authentein in 1 Timothy 2:12 in Light of Hellenistic Non-Literary Materials” (presentation at SBL Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, 20 November 2005) (abstract: https://www.sbl-site.org/meetings/abstract.aspx?id=2392); “A Translation Fallacy in Rendering αὐθεντεῖν in 1 Timothy 2:12: BDAG in Light of Greco-Roman Literary and Non-Literary Usage,” (presentation at SBL Annual Meeting, San Francisco, 21 November 2011) (abstract: https://www.sbl-site.org/meetings/abstract.aspx?id=19093)

The article follows a good bit of work done by Belleville on this and related passages, both in her 2009 Cornerstone commentary contribution on the Pastorals, as well as the following (chronologically): “1 Timothy,” in The IVP Women’s Bible Commentary (ed. Catherine Clark Kroeger and Mary J. Evans; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2002), 734‒747; “Exegetical Fallacies in Interpreting 1 Timothy 2:11–15,” Priscilla Papers 17.3 (2003): 3–11; “Teaching and Usurping Authority: 1 Timothy 2:11–15,” in Discovering Biblical Equality: Complementarity Without Hierarchy (ed. Ronald W. Pierce and Rebecca Merrill Groothuis; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2004), 205–223; “Women in Ministry: An Egalitarian Perspective,” Pages 19‒104 in Two Views on Women in Ministry (ed. James R. Beck; 2nd edition; Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2005).

Abstracts for Ethics in Titus Conference

Two weeks ago I had the privilege of participating in the “Ethics in Titus” conference held at Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany. The conference was hosted by the Research Center for Ethics in Antiquity and Christianity, which is ably led by Prof. Dr. Ruben Zimmermann. In leading this conference Prof. Zimmermann was joined by Dogara Manomi, who has just submitted his doctoral thesis on Titus under Prof. Zimmermann’s supervision. They both were excellent hosts for a stimulating conversation with papers, wonderful meals and even a tour of the city.

They have graciously allowed us to post here the abstracts from the papers of the conference. The papers are to be published in a forthcoming volume in the Context and Norms of New Testament Ethics series within WUNT (Mohr Siebeck).

The Marginalization of the Pastoral Epistles

I have found 1 Timothy Reconsidered (edited by K. P. Donfried; Peeters, 2008) to be a very helpful resource in Pastoral Epistles studies. I drew from it quite a bit for our recent ETS session on 1 Timothy. The book contains “the presentations and deliberations of the nineteenth meeting of the Colloquium Oecumenicum Paulinum, a distinguished group of some thirty-five international and ecumenical Pauline scholars, held at the Abbey of Saint Paul in Rome during September, 2006” (drawn from Peeters’ website). You can see the table of contents here. The book contains one essay devoted to each chapter of 1 Timothy as well as a few essays on the letter as a whole.

What I found most interesting at this time was Luke Timothy Johnson’s challenging of the marginalization of 1 Timothy and Donfried’s agreement that 1 Timothy has been marginalized. Johnson has, of course been making this point, but his essay here is a good condensing of the issue. Johnson writes, “If not Pauline, then the letters were not considered authoritative, and were increasingly moved to the edge or even out of the canon of Scripture” (p. 22). Noting how modern interpreters of Paul commonly give no attention to the Pastorals although they do interact with Gnostic writings and apocryphal writings, Johnson quips, “Out of Paul means out of canon, and even out of mind!”(p. 22, n. 11). It was particularly interesting to see Karl Donfried, not a supporter of Pauline authorship, affirm Johnson’s point. Donfried noted that the Pastorals have been “disenfranchised” in much of mainline Protestantism and suggested this process has been “facilitated by much feminist biblical scholarship” (p. 154). Donfried even pointed to Brevard Childs who said attempts to interpret the PE in light of a fictitious setting “rendered mute” the “kerygmatic witness of the text.”[1]

In his concluding essay Donfried wrote, “As one today looks at the literature dealing with the so-called ‘pastoral epistles’ one finds a state of utter disarray” (p. 179). He continues saying “their [the Pastorals’] alleged ideological bias has for many undermined their credibility and their canonical function has virtually ceased” (p. 179-180). This is a significant issue for a broad range of Christians, and I am glad to see it addressed in such a significant setting. The functional removal of a portion of the canon is serious and is an issue evangelicals and Catholics should both be concerned about.

Lastly, Donfried went further suggesting this was part of a larger problem in biblical studies.

too much biblical scholarship is performed in an individualistic and non-collaborative manner, thus leading to a situation where many theses emerge that have not been properly tested, sifted and critically discussed with a wider group of diversely competent scholars. This leads to publications with perspectives that not only sharply contradict each other, often in the name of a historiography that masks tendentious superficiality, and that are published with such rapidity that scholars and students are often more busy keeping up with the “latest” in biblical scholarship than in wrestling with the texts and their respective contexts (p. 180).

 

Donfried goes on to call for more collaboration, centering our efforts on properly understanding the texts rather than simply producing more publications. Accomplishing this will be difficult, but as Donfried suggests the way forward is probably to start on the small scale in developing communities of scholarly collaboration.

This is a valuable volume with stirring challenges and humble suggestions as we move forward with biblical studies and study of the PE specifically.



[1] Brevard Childs, The New Testament as Canon: An Introduction (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1984), 383.

Pastoral Epistles Consultation at ETS, paper titles

I previously announced the creation of a new consultation of the Pastorals at the Evangelical Theological Society to begin meeting this Fall. As stated before, the overall goal of this consultation is to explore the ways that the exclusion of the Pastoral Epistles has impacted the work of Pauline theology and how the inclusion of the Pastorals would inform the same work.

Now, I am pleased to announce the presenters and paper titles for this inaugural session. Here are the details of the session:

Session Title: “The Place of the Pastoral Epistles in Pauline Theology”

Moderator: Ray Van Neste

Robert Yarbrough: “The Pastoral Epistles in New Testament Theologies from Tübingen to Thielman”

Timothy Swinson: “The Pastoral Epistles and Perspectives, Old and New”

Greg Couser: “Life on Life”: Explorations in Paul’s Understanding of Eschatological Life

Frank Thielman: The Pedagogy of Grace: Soteriology, Ethics, and Mission in Titus 2:11-14

We are pleased to have each of these scholars participating. Bob Yarbrough’s paper will open the discussion by surveying how the Pastorals have been treated or ignored. Tim Swinson’s paper will examine what the Pastorals might contribute to one of the major discussions in Pauline theology, the New Perspective. Greg Couser will examine “life” terminology in 1 Timothy in comparison with the wider Pauline usage seeking to discern how 1 Timothy would contribute to Pauline theology in this area. Frank Thielman will investigate soteriological themes in Titus 2-3 in comparison with those themes elsewhere in Paul.

This promises to be a very beneficial discussion. I hope to see you there.

Progress

We’ve been on Winter Break (Thursday and Friday off, no school), so I’ve been able to do some writing. 

When I started on the project in January, I tried to work my way through Philemon.  I thought I could get that letter finished and then move on to the PE.  I rewrote / restructured / supplemented all the materials on slavery in the NT world, but got really bogged down when I reached the materials dealing with classical rhetoric–NOT my area.

So I’ve set Philemon aside, and now I’m writing the introduction to the PE.  Yesterday, I outlined about 35 pages (double-spaced) of material.  About 40% of that material needs to be written from scratch.  Well, I got TEN PAGES of the “from scratch” part written today.  I’m feeling pretty good about the project right now.

Of course, there are midterms and pregistration and prof reviews and taxes to do and a fuel filter to change and . . .