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).

The Pastorals at ETS 2019

The annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society will be held on Nov 20-22 in San Diego. We’ve collected here sessions that may be of interest to researchers in the Pastorals.

The section devoted to the study of the Pastorals has four sessions scheduled on Nov 20, 9 AM to 12:10 PM:

  • David I. Yoon, “The Register of Paul in 1 Timothy: Why the Pastorals May Differ in ‘Style’ than the Hauptbrief.”
  • Stanley E. Porter: “Arguments for and against Pauline Authorship of the Pastoral Epistles: Recent Proposals.”
  • Ran Van Neste, “Ethics in Titus.”
  • John Percival: “Salvation History in Six Lines: Reading 1 Timothy 3:16b as an Interconnected Whole.”

Note also:

  • Craig Keener, “Greek versus Jewish Conceptions of Inspiration, with Attendant Implications for Authority, and 2 Timothy 3:16.” (Nov 21, 5:30 PM)
  • David Warren, “A Husband of One Wife” (1 Tim 3:2, 12; Titus 1:6): What Does It Mean?” (Nov 22, 3:30 PM)

The Spiritual Depository of Paul the Apostle: (Modern-)Greek-Language Edited Volume on the Pastorals

Volumes of collections of essays which are entirely about the Pastorals (in whole or in part) are not common. Until a year or so ago, I was only aware of six:

Bieringer, Reimund, ed. 2 Timothy and Titus Reconsidered / Der 2. Timotheus- und der Titusbrief in neuem Licht. Colloquium Oecumenicum Paulinum 20. Leuven: Peeters, 2018.

de Virgilio, Giuseppe, ed. Il deposito della fede: Timoteo e Tito. Supplementi alla Rivista Biblica 34. Bologna: Dehoniane, 1998.

Donfried, Karl Paul, ed. 1 Timothy Reconsidered. Colloquium Oecumenicum Paulinum 18. Leuven: Peeters, 2008.

Köstenberger, Andreas J. and Terry L. Wilder, eds. Entrusted with the Gospel: Paul’s Theology in the Pastoral Epistles. Nashville: B&H, 2010.

Köstenberger, Andreas J. and Thomas R. Schreiner, eds. Women in the Church: An Interpretation and Application of 1 Timothy 2:9–15. 3rd ed. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2016.

Weidemann, Hans-Ulrich, and Wilfried Eisele, eds. Ein Meisterschüler: Titus und sein Brief. Michael Theobald zum 60. Gerburtstag. Stuttgarter Bibelstudien 214. Stuttgart: Katholisches Bibelwerk, 2008.

I was pleased to discover another, a privately printed volume of scholarly presentations from an academic conference on the Pastorals held in Thessaloniki in 2003: Ἡ πνευματική παρακαταθήκη τοῦ Ἀποστόλου Παύλου. Ποιμαντικές Ἐπιστολές [The Spiritual Depository of Paul the Apostle: Pastoral Epistles]. Εἰσηγήσεις ΙΑ´ Συνάξεως Ὀρθοδόξων Βιβλικῶν Θεολόγων: Λευκάδα 25–28 Σεπτεμβρίου 2003 (Thessaloniki: privately published, 2004). A couple of the essays are in English, but most are in Modern Greek (though a number of those have English-language summaries included). The essays are all written by authors who are Orthodox, though not all of them are self-consciously treating the letters from that perspective.

My profound thanks goes to Christos Karakolis, without whose help I would not have been able to obtain this work. Christos is a professor of New Testament at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, and has an essay included in the volume. He graciously provided me a copy of the volume, and assisted with the English translation of the table of contents.

I provide below a list of the essays included in the volume, most of which are well-nigh impossible to obtain through standard channels. Though it would be inappropriate for me to post the entire volume online, researchers in the Pastorals may obtain specific essays on a personal basis for research purposes; email me at chuckbumgardner at gmail.com with your request.

__________________

Agouridis, Savvas (Σαββας Αγουριδης). “Η φύση της αίρεσης που καταπολεμούν οι ποιμαντικές επιστολές [The nature of the sect fought by the Pastoral Epistles].” Pages 31–40.

Atmatzidis, Charalampos (Ατματζιδης, Χαραλαμπος). “Οι ηθικές προτροπές για τον πλούτο και τους πλουσίους στο Α’ Τιμ. 6 και η Καινοδιαθηκική ηθική [The ethical exhortations regarding wealth and the wealthy in 1 Tim. 6 and the ethics of the New Testament].” Pages 41–84. [English-language summary on p. 84]

Vassiliadis, Petros (Βασιλειαδης, Πετρος). “Μετανεωτερικότητα, σταυρική θεολογία και οι συνέπειές τους για τις ποιμαντικές επιστολές [Postmodernity, theologia crucis, and their consequences for the Pastoral Epistles].” Pages 85–100. [English-language summary on pp. 99-100]

Galanis, Ioannis (Γαλανης, Ιωαννης). “Η χρήση των ποιμαντικών επιστολών στα έργα των εκκλησιαστικών συγγραφέων της ανατολικής εκκλησίας [The use of the Pastoral Epistles in the works of ecclesiastical writers in the Eastern Church].” Pages 101–12.

Galitis, Georgios A. (Γαλιτης, Γεωργιος). “Οι ποιμαντικές επιστολές στη σύγχρονη έρευνα [The Pastoral Epistles in modern research].” Pages 113–30.

Despotis, Sotirios (Δεσποτης, Σωτηριος). “Η Χριστολογία των Ποιμαντικών Επιστολών [The Christology of the Pastoral Epistles].” Pages 131–50. [English-language summary on pp. 148–49]

Doikos, Damianos (Δοϊκος, Δαμιανος). “‘Χήρας τίμα τάς όντως χήρας’ (Α’Τιμ.5,3-16).” Pages 151–62.

Ioannidis, Thomas (Ιωαννιδης, Θωμας). “Οι ύστεροι καιροί και οι έσχατες ημέρες στις Α’ και Β’ προς Τιμόθεον επιστολές [The end of all times and the last days in the First and Second Epistles to Timothy].” Pages 163–92. [English-language summary on pp. 189–91]

Karavidopoulos, Johannes (Καραβιδοπουλος, Ιωαννης). “Η σωτηριολογία των ποιμαντικών επιστολώ [The soteriology of the Pastoral Epistles].” Pages 193–204. [English-language summary on p. 203]

Karakolis, Christos (Καρακολης, Χρηστος). “‘Λέγοντες την ανάστασιν ήδη γεγονέναι’ (Β΄ Τιμ. 2,18): Ερμηνευτική, συγκριτική και θεολογική θεώρηση μιας εσχατολογικής παρεκτροπής [‘Saying that the resurrection has already happened’ (2 Timothy 2:18): Exegetical, comparative and theological view of an eschatological deviation].” Pages 205–24.

Kirov, Dimitar Popmarinov. “Godlessness according to 2 Timothy 3.1–9 and Ps. 13(14). Some biblical and theological attitudes in the light of the situation in a postcommunist country.” Pages 225–40. [Greek-language summary on pp. 238–40]

Koltsiou-Nikita, Anna (Κόλτσιου-Νικήτα, Άννα). “To ‘κάτοπτρον επισκόπου’ στις ποιμαντικές επιστολές και το γραμματειακό του πλαίσιο [The ‘mirror of the bishop’ in the Pastoral Epistles and its literary context].” Pages 241–64. [German-language summary on p. 264]

Mihoc, Vasile. “The Mission in the Pastoral Letters.” Pages 265–86. [Greek-language summary on pp. 284–85]

Nikolakopoulos, Constantine (Νικολακοπουλος, Κωνσταντινος). “Επόψεις της ‘Παυλείου’ ρητορικής στις δυο προς Τιμόθεον επιστολές [Aspects of ‘Pauline’ rhetoric in the two letters to Timothy].” Pages 287–304

Papademetriou, Kyriakoula (Παπαδημητριου, Κυρiακουλα). “Η σημασιολογία της λ. υγιαίνω στις ποιμαντικές επιστολές [The semantics of the word υγιαίνω in the Pastoral Epistles].” Pages 305–34. [English-language summary on p. 333]

Paparnakis, Athanasios (Παπαρνακης, Αθανασιος). “‘’Από βρέφους τά ιερά γράμματα οίδας’ (Β’ Τιμ. 3,15). Η θρησκευτική αγωγή του παιδιού στον ιουδαϊσμ [‘From childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings’ (2 Tim 3:15). Religious education of children in Judaism].” Pages 335–60. [English-language summary on p. 360]

Sakkos, Stergios N. (Σακκος, Στεργιος Ν.). “Ενα εκκλησιαστικο αξιωμα για τη γυναικα (Α’ Τιμ. 5,3–16) [An ecclesiastical office for women (1 Tim 5:3–16)].” Pages 361–85.

The Impact of the Incoherence & Inauthenticity Argument

I just discovered that my article, “Authorship and Coherence in 1 Timothy,” was published in December in the Global Journal of Classic Theology. The article is a version of a paper originally delivered at the Pastoral Epistles study group at the Evangelical Theological Society annual meeting. It is a brief examination of some of theological convictions behind the turn in academia against 1 Timothy (and the Pastorals in general). Here is the abstract:

Abstract: This brief essay surveys the move away from confidence in the Pauline authorship towards increasing marginalization of all the Pastoral Epistles today. Critics of Schleiermacher in the 1800’s warned that his arguments against 1 Timothy would lead to further drift from orthodoxy. Though those critiques were derided at the time, the warnings have proven true. We need a renewed evaluation of what has been missed in evangelical scholarship by too easily leaving the Pastoral Epistles out of our conversations on Paul.

New Edition of Calvin’s Sermons on 1 Timothy

Calvin sermons coverI have finally published the new edition of Calvin’s sermons on 1 Timothy which Brian Denker and I worked on for so long. Due to its size (330,000+ words) the digital format seemed a good way to go, so it is published through Amazon for Kindle. The cost is only $2.99 for all 54 sermons.

These sermons reveal Calvin’s pastoral heart, his evangelistic fervor, and his devotion to the word of God. I have posted my introduction and a sample sermon for free so you can get a feel for the book.

I have pasted in below the commendations for the book which I have received. Howard Marshall has enthusiastically responded to my email saying he wanted to write a commendation, but sadly he passed away before being able to write it. Howard commented on how Andrew Walls read from these sermons (directly from the French original) at one of the early InterVarsity meetings he attended as a student.

I hope these sermons can encourage, challenge, and bless others as they have me.

“In this new edition of Calvin’s sermons on the Pastoral Epistles we meet the Reformer at his liveliest and most compelling. The subject matter lends itself to practical application, and here we see Calvin at the height of his pastoral powers. This new edition brings the original to life for our generation and we must hope that it will be widely read and used by preachers everywhere.”

  • Gerald Bray, Research Professor of Divinity, Beeson Divinity School, Samford University

“So many think of John Calvin as a theologian, as one who lived separate from the people writing theological books in splendid isolation. But Calvin was a pastor who was involved in the rough and tumble of everyday life. Above all else, he was a preacher, one who proclaimed the word of God to the people of God. We see in these sermons the heart of a preacher as he exhorts and instructs his congregation. Calvin’s theology was not abstract to him; it was meant to be believed and lived out in the home and in the market place. In these sermons on 1 Timothy we see Calvin the pastor at work as he proclaims God’s word for the church of Jesus Christ. Read and be instructed, challenged, encouraged, convicted, and changed.”

  • Tom Schreiner, James Buchanan Harrison Professor of New Testament Interpretation and Professor of Biblical Theology, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

“Ray Van Neste has done English readers a great service by making John Calvin’s sermons on 1 Timothy readily accessible. The 1579 English translation is simply too intimidating for many modern readers to tackle leaving the theological and pastoral wisdom of the reformer in these sermons virtually locked away. This edition is completely retyped using modern words and phrases to maintain the original English meaning. Where serious questions remained these then were checked against the original French in which the sermons first appeared. A helpful introduction which includes a suggested approach to reading the sermons makes this work all the more valuable. Those who know Calvin only as a theologian will discover in these sermons that he was a first and foremost a tender, compassionate and evangelist pastor. I hope this book gains a wide reading.”

  • Tom Ascol, Pastor, Grace Baptist Church, Cape Coral, FL

“Today’s preachers have much to gain by reading and studying sermons from past masters of the pulpit. Unfortunately, some great preachers of the past are relatively inaccessible because of differences of language. Thus, Ray Van Neste and Brian Denker have done us a great service by editing and updating the 1579 English edition of Calvin’s Sermons on 1 Timothy, making them accessible to 21st century readers. In these 54 sermons, Calvin is revealed not to be the austere theologian of modern caricatures, but a loving, caring pastor who wanted his people to understand the truth of God’s Word. This significant collection will be of interest not only to students of Calvin but to any reader interested in better understanding Paul’s inspired first letter to his protégé Timothy.”

  •   Michael Duduit, Executive Editor, Preaching magazine, and Dean of the College of Christian Studies & Clamp Divinity School, Anderson University, Anderson, SC

 

1 Timothy at International SBL 2015

The upcoming 2015 International Meeting of SBL lists three papers on the 1 Timothy. The first looks like the most interesting to me. It would be interesting to see how Graham’s work compares to that of Tim Swinson. Tamez’s title sounds like it may be drawn from her monograph which was not impressive. Thanks to Chuck Bumgardner for pointing out these titles and abstracts.

Graham, Brett M. “The Intertextuality of 1 Timothy: A Comparison of the Allusions to the Septuagint and the Jewish Pseudepigrapha in the Epistle.” Paper presented at the International Meeting of the SBL, Buenos Aires, 22 July 2015.

Abstract: The Pastoral Epistles extol the Holy Scriptures as being foundational for Christian living (2 Tim 3:15-16; cf. 1 Tim 4:13), but there is only one actual citation of these Scriptures (1 Tim 5:18) in all three of the letters. Even when the handful obvious quotations are considered, there is still not the level of engagement that might be expected from the writings described as ‘useful for every good work’ (2 Tim 3:16). Meanwhile, the quotation from Epimenides in Tit 1:12 suggests that the author of the Epistles may have also had a number of other sources to draw upon. This paper seeks to investigate the way that the first of the Pastoral Epistles, 1 Timothy, engages with external sources. Particular attention will be given to the influence of both the Septuagint and the Jewish (or O.T.) Pseudepigrapha, including a comparison of the manner and extent that these two sets of documents are referenced. In this process, a distinction will be drawn between simple idioms, influences and allusions. In simple idioms, the Epistle will share vocabulary or ideas with a possible source text but there will be no apparent reason, or benefit, of referring to that text. In contrast, the source text for an influence or allusion will provide an answer to unresolved problem in the Epistle. By applying such categories consistently throughout the whole of 1 Timothy, a clear picture of the importance of these extant documents will be evident.

Houwelingen, Rob van. “Meaning and Significance of the Instruction about Women in 1 Timothy 2:12-15.” Paper presented at the International Meeting of the SBL, Buenos Aires, 23 July 2015.

Abstract: “I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet”. Many Christians of the 21st century feel rather uncomfortable with the instruction about women from 1 Timothy 2. On the basis of his particular passage many church leadership positions have been reserved for men. But how should it be handled? First, I will make some remarks about the meaning of 1 Timothy 2. In regard to the vulnerable male/female relationship within the Christian congregation, the text refers back to the beginning of mankind: the creation, the fall and the redemption of the first human couple, Adam and Eve. The Genesis narrative tells a story of human weakness. In short: Eve was created after Adam; the woman let herself be fooled by Satan and therefore fell into transgression. She, however, would find salvation in her motherhood (1 Tim.2:15a should be translated: “she”, i.e. Eve). After that, I will discuss the significance of this passage for today. It is hermeneutically important to be aware of some key differences between our present context and that of the apostolic church. Let me mention only the central issue. The stipulation that women ought to be silent in the church is consistent with the accepted and prevailing social situation of those days. In our time, however, this command runs counter to the accepted social situation. We should consider that the instruction of 1 Timothy 2 aims to preserve the established order, both in the church and in society. Still, the overall message from 1 Timothy 2 seems to be that peaceful living is essential. Therefore, Christians are supposed to live a ‘normal’ life. Church leadership should empower them, without abusing authority and taking into account the male/female relationship.

Tamez, Elsa. “Struggles for Power in Early Christianity: The Case of 1 Timothy.” Paper presented at the International Meeting of the SBL, Buenos Aires, 21 July 2015. (no abstract)

 

2014 ETS Section Overview

We had a great meeting in the Pastoral Epistles study group at ETS this year, with good attendance and discussion.

The first paper was by David Pao of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School who is currently working on a commentary on the Pastoral Epistles for the Brill Exegetical Commentary series. His paper was titled, “Let No One Despise Your Youth: Church and the World in the Pastoral Epistles”. Examining the cultural background of honor and shame, Pao argued that in 1Timothy Paul’s stance is neither accommodation to the culture nor subversion; “instead he calls for a transformation that both transcends the accepted ideals that Christians could share with the dominant culture and challenges practices and social norms that Christians should abandon.” This was a careful study which helpfully pushes back against those who see in the Pastorals merely cultural accommodation or who think the only other option is complete cultural subversion. This paper is scheduled to appear in JETS soon. Look for it.
Greg Beale from Westminster Theological Seminary adapted a portion of his biblical theology for his paper, “The Origin of the Office of Elder and Its Relationship to the Inaugurated Eschatological Tribulation.” Beale gave a particularly rousing presentation. He argued that the office of elder is rooted in the foretold rise of false teaching in the last days. Elders are part of God’s provision to help the church endure. I appreciated the biblical theological connection and was glad to hear him clarify in the Q&A that the office also had roots in Jewish synagogue practice. Without that clarification, it sounded like he was saying the office arose without precedent.

Dillon Thornton, who has just finished writing his dissertation at the University of Otago, presented his paper titled, “Satan as Adversary and Ally in the Process of Ecclesial Discipline: The Use of the Prologue to Job in1 Cor 5:5 and 1 Tim 1:20.” Thornton argued that in the two passages in view Paul drew from the prologue of Job portraying Satan an enemy of God who can nevertheless play a role in the process of church discipline. I had never thought of a connection with Job in these texts and was skeptical at first. However, Thornton made a compelling case with helpful implications and applications. We will look for more from Thornton in days ahead.

Mark Overstreet from T4 Global, a frontier mission organization, presented a paper titled, “Διδακτικόν: Rethinking the Qualification of Elders after Years in the Bush: Theological Education Among Peoples Who Have No Access to the Written Scriptures.” This was a helpful concluding paper from a practical theology angle. Literacy is assumed in the way we think of education, but what does it look like to equip elders in existing churches in settings where no one has access to written Scriptures? While affirming the great blessing of literacy, Overstreet presented a method of oral instruction being used to equip and serve the church in such settings.

We are currently working on plans for next year’s session. If you would be interested in presenting a paper sometime contact us at pastoralepistles at gmail dot com. And join us for the conversation next year in Atlanta.

New Book on “Scripture” in the PE

I am pleased to announce that Tim Swinson’s book, What Is Scripture?: Paul’s Use of Graphe in the Letters to Timothy (Wipf & Stock) is now available (Amazon, publisher’s site). I was honored to write the foreword for this compelling book which argues that graphe in each instance in 1 & 2 Timothy includes in its reference at least some of the apostolic writings.

Here is the book summary from the publisher:

 Analysis of the literary scheme of the letters to Timothy suggests that graphe, as it is employed in each letter, may legitimately be understood to include some of the apostolic writings that now appear in the New Testament. In affirming the Pauline authorship of the Pastoral Epistles, Swinson argues that a form of the Gospel of Luke stands as the source of the second referent of graphe in 1 Tim 5:18. Second, Swinson contends that pasa graphe in 2 Tim 3:16 includes the apostolic writings extant in Paul’s day, specifically Luke’s Gospel and some of Paul’s own writings. These parallel lines of analysis demonstrate that Paul ascribes to his own writings and to those of his coworkers an authoritative standing equal to that of the sacred writings (ta hiera grammata) found in the Old Testament. While many questions surrounding biblical authority and the biblical canon remain, Paul’s use of graphe in 1 and 2 Timothy nevertheless advances a high view of both Old Testament and New Testament Scripture.

Bob Yarbrough has also written a warm commendation:

“This study takes a fresh, critical, and comprehensive look at evidence and arguments often either overlooked or facilely dismissed. The happy result is a better factual foundation for consideration of vital historical questions regarding Christian origins and the role that Scripture played from the church’s inception. Especially welcome are [Swinson’s] careful exegesis, philological rigor, and charitable candor in interaction with other contemporary scholarship.”

 

Lastly, here is the concluding portion of the foreword I wrote:

If his arguments hold (as I think they do), this book has significant implications in several areas. First, this is an important contribution to scholarship on the Pastoral Epistles. The careful exegesis, the discourse and semantic analysis, and the lexical study, not to mention his challenge to the typical reading of γραφη, make this a valuable resource for anyone working in these letters. Then, his thesis that apostolic writings were already recognized in the first century as “Scripture” on par with the Law, the Prophets and the Writings has major implications for our understanding of canon and current debates in that realm.

Careful, detailed and swimming against the tide, this is a bold, compelling book with significant conclusions for scholarship and the church. I have been privileged to encounter Tim’s work in presentations at scholarly conferences along the way and was immediately drawn to the substance and manner of his work- conscientious, cautious and charitable. I am excited that this work will now be available to a wider audience. This book has challenged and helped me, and I commend it to you.

Jack Barentsen’s Emerging Leadership in the Pauline Mission

Just judging from the title, one may not realize that Jack Barentsen’s Emerging Leadership in the Pauline Mission: A Social Identity Perspective on Local Leadership Development in Corinth and Ephesus (Pickwick, 2011) deals extensively with the Pastoral Epistles. In fact in the nine chapters one deals exclusively with 1 Timothy and another with 2 Timothy.

Bartensen is concerned to trace cultural leadership patterns through the Corinthian correspondence, Ephesians and 1-2 Timothy since in a fairly close proximity (between Corinth and Ephesus) you have this many letters written to churches over the span of Paul’s ministry. This reading, of course, depends on Pauline authorship of each of these letters and Bartensen provides a good brief defense of Pauline authorship of the 1-2 Timothy.

I cannot here summarize all of the implications of PE study, but Bartensen’s reading of the situation in 1 Timothy makes good sense of the letter as an example of mandata principis. Paul’s more formal address to Timothy is expected to be overheard by the church particularly the wealthy home owners who would presumably host the church.

This is a helpful contribution to the Pastoral Epistles literature, and I didn’t want anyone to miss it since the Pastorals aren’t mentioned in the title.

The PE at SBL

There were a number of papers on the Pastorals at SBL this year including a full session of the Disputed Paulines study group being devoted to them.

The best paper on the Pastorals which I heard came from Jens Herzer of Leipzig. His paper was titled, “Language and Ideas of the Pastoral Epistles in Light of the Papyri.” Herzer, while not affirming Pauline authorship, has a positive view of these letters and presented solid work on the papyri. He argued for maintaining the individuality of the three letters (rather than simply lumping them together, as is too common), supported the idea of 1 Timothy as mandata principis, and made several other suggestions. Herzer seems to be working on a larger project on the Pastorals, so I will be watching for more from him.

The papers from the Disputed Paulines Section were less constructive and less helpful. The Monday morning session of this group had the theme, “New Methods and the Pastoral Epistles.” I will list each presenter and paper title with a brief interaction.

Ilaria Ramelli, Catholic University of Milan, “Tit 2:1-4, Women Presbyters, and a Patristic Interpretation”

Ramelli essentially argued that Origen affirmed women “elders.” However, even the evidence cited had Origen stating clearly that these women were neither to teach men nor to teach publicly in church. It was not clear to me that “elders” were clearly in view, rather than Origen simply affirming the role of women teaching and encouraging younger women as stated in Titus 2. AS the paper progressed it was not really rooted in Titus 2 but referred to wide ranging sources which alluded to women in ordained ministries. These references were primarily cited but not explained or defended. This paper was similar to her article “Theosebia: A Presbyter of the Catholic Church,” Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion 26.2 (2010): 79-102.

Elsa Tamez, United Bible Society, “The Rhetorical Strategy in 1 Tim 2:8-3:1”

Tamez’s paper followed a similar approach as that found in her book on 1 Timothy. She cited some verbal parallels in this text, though her point was not entirely clear to me. She argued for a basic A, B. A’ structure in various places- some of which has been commonly noted in the literature. She did argue that this text prohibits women from certain ministry but suggested it is not necessarily binding, stating, “There have been men and women who have refused to heed this text.”. She stated, in what may have been an off hand comment, “So the only way out for women is rebellion.”

Marianna Kartzow, University of Oslo, “An Intersectional Approach to the Pastoral Epistles”

Kartzow, author of the recent Gossip and Gender: Othering of Speech in the Pastoral Epistles, essentially approached the Pastorals on the assumption that they are written as late as three generations after Paul and asked “Who needed this memory of Paul?” She was concerned with how different groups- particularly marginalized or oppressed groups- would have “remembered” the ideas contained in the letter. She stated that she did not think the Pastorals were reflections of reality and said we ought to pay as little attention to the Pastoral Epistles as possible because they contain dangerous hierarchies and are texts of terror. She noted, with apparent disappointment that she found little destabilizing ideas in the Pastoral Epistles, i.e. they were socially conventional.

Gail Streete, Rhodes College, “The Pastorals in Rehab; Why They Are Important to Feminism (And It’s Now What You Think)”

Streete is the author of several books, including The Strange Woman: Power and Sex in the Bible. I did not catch why, in her opinion, the Pastorals are important to feminism, though that failure is probably mine due to having listened to too many academic papers in a row. 🙂 She was pessimistic about the possibility of discovering meaning in these letters. She confessed, “I have never learned to love the Pastoral Epistles,” and referred to Deborah Krause’s portrayal of the Pastorals as the “grumpy old uncle” whom you learn to tolerate. She also affirmed the statement of Linda Maloney (in Fiorenza’s Feminist Commentary) that the author of the Pastorals was “a frightened would-be authority on the defensive.”