Lookadoo reviews Theobald, Israel-Vergessenheit in den Pastoralbriefen

Michael Theobald is a German academic who published rather extensively on the Pastorals in his later career. To my knowledge, however, all of his work on the letters is in German (save for the just-published entry on Titus in The Paulist Bible Commentary), and so English-speaking students of the Pastorals may not be as familiar with his scholarship.

The single monograph Theobald produced on the Pastorals was published in 2016: Israel-Vergessenheit in den Pastoralbriefen: Ein neuer Vorschlag zu ihrer historisch-theologischen Verortung im 2. Jahrhundert. n. Chr. unter besonderer Berücksichtigung der Ignatius-Briefe [Forgetting Israel in the Pastoral Letters: A New Proposal for Their Historical-Theological Location in the 2nd Century A.D. with Special Consideration of the Ignatius Letters]. In this work, he examines the origination of the Pastorals through the lens of the topic of Israel. He is particularly concerned to compare the engagement with Israel in Romans (another book in which he specializes) over against what he finds to be a lack of engagement with Israel in the Pastorals. He ends up dating the letters to c. 140 AD.

Jonathan Lookadoo has served English-speaking students of the Pastorals well by reviewing Theobald’s monograph for RBL, and has graciously agreed to upload the review to Academia, allowing general access. In his review, he notes Theobald’s valuable highlighting of connections between Romans and the Pastorals, and appreciates the case Theobald makes for reading Titus as the first of the Pastorals. Lookadoo notes, “Those who argue for authentically Pauline Pastoral Epistles or for another first-century date will likely take issue with some of Theobald’s arguments, but this does not take away from the value of his study. “

Use this link to read the entire review.

Nijay Gupta on Pastorals Commentaries

Over at the Logos Academic Blog, Nijay Gupta has been posting a series titled “Best Commentaries on Paul.” In his latest installation, he discusses what he finds to be the best modern technical (*Johnson, Marshall, Towner), semi-technical (*Dunn, Kelly, Spencer, Wall/Steele), and non-technical (*Fee, Oden, Towner) commentaries on the Pastorals, adding Trebilco’s Asia Bible Commentary contribution on 1 Timothy as a “hidden gem.”

Reviews

For SBL members, RBL still has copies of Bray, Yarbrough, van Nes, and Joshua for review (see previous post for volume details).

In Journal of Theological Studies 70.2 (2019), Markus Vinzent reviews Harry Maier’s Picturing Paul in Empire: Imperial Image, Text and Persuasion in Colossians, Ephesians and the Pastoral Epistles.

In Churchman 133.3 (2019), John Percival reviews Jonathan I. Griffiths, Preaching in the New Testament: An Exegetical and Biblical-Theological Study, which has a chapter devoted to 2 Timothy 3-4.

James Prothro provides a brief review of Yarbrough, The Letters to Timothy and Titus, in Religious Studies Review 45.2 (2019): 213-14.

In Bulletin for Biblical Research 29.1 (2019): 110-13, Roy Ciampa reviews Jermo van Nes, Pauline Language and the Pastoral Epistles. (pdf)

Reviews

Available to review:

Students of the Pastorals who are members of SBL may be interested in four volumes on the letters currently available for review at RBL:

  • Gerald Bray, The Pastoral Epistles (ITC; London: Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2019).
  • Nathan Nzyoka Joshua, Benefaction and Patronage in Leadership: A Socio-Historical Exegesis of the Pastoral Epistles (Carlisle, Cumbria, UK: Langham, 2018).
  • 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).
  • Robert Yarbrough, The Letters to Timothy and Titus (PNTC; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2018).

Published reviews:

Andreas J. Köstenberger’s Commentary on 1‒2 Timothy & Titus (Biblical Theology for Christian Proclamation; Nashville, TN: Holman, 2017) has been reviewed by Michael Scott Robertson at RBL (SBL member access only).

Larry J. Perkins, The Pastoral Letters: A Handbook on the Greek Text (BHGNT; Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2017), has been reviewed by Paul Foster in ExpTim 130.9 (2019): 426.

Dillon Thornton’s Hostility in the House of God: An Investigation of the Opponents in 1 and 2 Timothy (BBRSup 15; Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2016) has been reviewed by Craig D. Saunders, Religious Studies Review 45.1 (2019), 78.

Jermo van Nes’s Pauline Language and the Pastoral Epistles: A Study of Linguistic Variation in the Corpus Paulinum (Linguistic Biblical Studies 16; Leiden: Brill, 2018) has garnered a couple of reviews:

  • Ray van Neste in JETS 62.2 (2019): 411-12. (pdf)
  • Benjamin Laird in WTJ 81.1 (2019): 167-69.

Robert Yarbrough, The Letters to Timothy and Titus (PNTC; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2018), has been reviewed by Mi Young Sydney Park, Presbyterion 45.1 (2019): 172-73.

The Pastorals in JSNT 41.5 Booklist 2019

Each year, the Journal for the Study of the New Testament puts out an issue giving recently-published books in categories related to NT studies. The Pastoral Epistles are a distinct category in the issue each year, and usually garner two or three entries. This year, JSNT highlighted three volumes, each with two-paragraph annotations:

Külling, Heinz. Mann und Frau, Eltern und Kindern als Bewohner ihres Hauses in den Pastoralbriefen. Zurich: Theologischer Verlag Zurich, 2017. (annotation by Peter Oakes)

Perkins, Larry J. The Pastoral Letters: A Handbook on the Greek Text. Baylor Handbook on the Greek New Testament. Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2017. (annotation by Tom de Bruin)

Van Nes, Jermo. Pauline Language and the Pastoral Epistles: A Study of Linguistic Variation in the Corpus Paulinum. Linguistic Biblical Studies 16. Leiden: Brill, 2018. (annotation by Dirk Jongkind)

Merz contra Winter

Among the many literary accomplishments of Bruce Winter, onetime warden of Tyndale House and presently professor emeritus at Queensland Theological College, is his engagement of the connection between the Pastorals and their Greco-Roman cultural context. Published works in this regard include:

“The ‘New’ Roman Wife and 1 Timothy 2:9–15: The Search for a Sitz im Leben.” Tyndale Bulletin 51.2 (2000): 285–94.

Providentia for the Widows of 1 Timothy 5.3–16.” Tyndale Bulletin 39 (1988): 83–99.

Roman Wives, Roman Widows: The Appearance of New Women and the Pauline Communities. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003. [esp. pp. 97–169 on 1 Tim 2:9–15; 5:11–15; Titus 2:3–5]

“You Were What You Wore in Roman Law: Deciphering the Dress Codes of 1 Timothy 2:9–15.” SBL Forum, n.p. Online.

In Roman Wives, Roman Widows (see, e.g., this review for a general summary), Winter sets forth his understanding of the “new woman” in the Greco-Roman context of the NT, making application to Pauline passages such as 1 Tim 2:9-15 and 1 Tim 5:3-16. As a matter of definition, “The ‘new’ wife or widow in the late Roman Republic and early Empire was the one whose social life was reported to have been pursued at the expense of family responsibilities that included the complex running of households” (5). Winter lays out literary evidence from “(a) the views of contemporary writers covering the late Republic and the early second century A.D.; (b) those of the poets and playwrights; (c) and the legal moves of Augustus where he specifically legislates against this new phenomenon in the late Republican period and the early Empire” (22). He finds that this evidence supports “new mores” of the time which had implications for the social roles of women and “in some cases, endorsed [the ‘new woman’s] illicit sexual liaisons with younger, single men” (3). The “new woman” was characterized by provocative clothing and a loose lifestyle, in contrast with properly modest wives and widows.

Winter’s work has been widely engaged. It plays a significant role, for instance, in Towner’s NICNT commentary on the Pastorals. It has not been, however, uncontroversial. To that end, I point our readership to a just-published, and rather severe, critique: Annette Merz, “‘New’ Woman? Bruce W. Winters These und ihre Rezeption in der exegetischen Diskussion kritisch beleuchtet [Bruce W. Winter’s thesis and its reception in the exegetical discussion critically examined],” in Frauen im antiken Judentum und frühen Christentum (ed. Jörg Frey and Nicole Rupschus; WUNT 2/489; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2019), 209-34. Merz has posted a teaser on Academia, providing her faculty email address (a.b.merz@pthu.nl) for readers to obtain a copy of the entire essay.

In her lengthy discussion, Merz contends that Winter reads the ancient evidence too uncritically; appropriates modern historians too selectively and feminist scholarship too rarely; and unduly expands a limited phenomenon of antiquity beyond historically verifiable chronological and geographical bounds. She considers his overall thesis “dubious” (“dubiose,” p. 231), indeed, an “evangelical research-myth” (“ein evangelikaler Forschungsmythos,” p. 234).

My purpose in noting Winter’s and Merz’s work here is not to evaluate either, but simply to highlight the discussion. If students of the Pastorals are leaning heavily on Winter’s work in some particular project or if Winter’s thesis undergirds their understanding of the letters to any great extent, they will at least want to be aware of Merz’s substantial critique.

Van Nes, Pauline Language and the Pastoral Epistles

Cover Pauline Language and the Pastoral Epistles

Van Neste reviews van Nes. In the current issue of the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, Ray Van Neste provides a 1000-word evaluation of the recent and important 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. [Brill description; N.B.! The very valuable appendices — over 250 pages worth of data — are open access through the Brill page: “Hapax Legomena in the Corpus Paulinum“; “Lexical Richness in the Corpus Paulinum“; “Missing Indeclinables in the Corpus Paulinum“; “Interclausal Relations in the Corpus Paulinum“; “Structure Irregularities in the Corpus Paulinum.” Not to mention van Nes’s extensive bibliography.]

“It would be difficult to overstate the significance of this contribution to the study of the Pastoral Epistles.”

Read the entire review here.

Reviews

Linda Maloney has served English-speaking students of the Pastorals by providing in CBQ a summary and review of Michael Theobald, Israel-Vergessenheit in den Pastoralbriefen: Ein neuer Vorschlag zu ihrer historisch-theologischen Verortung im 2. Jahrhundert. n. Chr. unter besonderer Berücksichtigung der Ignatius-Briefe (Stuttgarter Bibelstudien 229. Stuttgart: Katholisches Bibelwerk, 2016). For Maloney, “this book is a mine of precious information and analysis.” You can find the first page of the review here.

Within the last year, Mark Harding has posted a positive review at RBL of T. Christopher Hoklotubbe, Civilized Piety: The Rhetoric of Pietas in the Pastoral Epistles and the Roman Empire (Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2017). (full review available to SBL members only)

On RBL’s site, I note there are four volumes of interest up for review by SBL members:
(1) The just-published dissertation by Nathan Nzyoka Joshua, Benefaction and Patronage in Leadership: A Socio-Historical Exegesis of the Pastoral Epistles (Carlisle, Cumbria, UK: Langham, 2018).
(2) Jermo van Nes’s recent dissertation, Pauline Language and the Pastoral Epistles: A Study of Linguistic Variation in the Corpus Paulinum (Linguistic Biblical Studies 16; Leiden: Brill, 2018).
(3) Larry J. Perkins, The Pastoral Letters: A Handbook on the Greek Text (Baylor Handbook on the Greek New Testament; Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2017).
(4) Robert W. Yarbrough, The Letters to Timothy and Titus. Pillar New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2018).

Review: Craig Smith’s New Commentary on 2 Timothy

Sitting on my desk in my “to be read” pile is the recent commentary on 2 Timothy by Craig Smith in the Readings series published by Sheffield Phoenix Press. I am keen to read this commentary because I had the privilege of meeting Craig several years ago and I know of his published thesis which argues for a different take on 2 Timothy. Regarding the letter as authentically Pauline (as I do) Craig argues that 2 Timothy is not a farewell letter but an exhortation to further ministry in which Paul expects to participate.

I was pleased to discover that although I have not yet gotten around to reading this book, Robert Wall has and has provided a review at Review of Biblical Literature. Wall praises Smith’s careful attention to the text and consistent methodology and argumentation. However, he critiques the lack of footnotes and what he finds as a lack of theological reflection on the contemporary meaning of this letter. I agree wholeheartedly with Wall that we must not hold apart exegesis and theological and ecclesial reflection, but, from what I know of Smith, he would also agree. Not having yet read the book myself, I will have to withhold judgment.

This is a helpful review, which has nudged me to get on with reading this book.

 

Pauline Communities as ‘Scholastic Communities’: A Study of the Vocabulary of ‘Teaching’ in 1 Corinthians, 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus

scholastic communitiesSteve Walton has written a helpful review of Claire Smith’s monograph, Pauline Communities as ‘Scholastic Communities’: A Study of the Vocabulary of ‘Teaching’ in 1 Corinthians, 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus, WUNT 2/335 (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2012). The monograph is a revision of her PhD thesis which was supervised by Peter Bolt.

It sounds like this book will be useful for PE studies. Her choice of the Pastorals along with 1 Corinthians is quite intriguing as is her defense. Apparently she does not take a position on the authorship issue but in the end suggests the similarities between the PE and 1 Corinthians which she finds should at least cause pause for those assuming non-Pauline authorship.

Additionally, with the significance of teaching in the PE, the amount of data gathered here (the book is 555 pages!) promises to be helpful for PE research.

Smith affirms the earlier evaluation of E. Judge that the earliest Christian communities were marked particularly by learning. In the end, while affirming the idea of Judge she says his phrase “scholastic communities” does not communicate as well (missing the relational aspects of teaching found in these letters, for example) and suggests a better phrase would be “learning communities.” Interestingly, this is the very phrase used by J I Packer, in a popular piece, which I mentioned previously.