Pastoral Epistles Study Group this week at ETS

If you are coming to ETS this week, I hope you will plan to come to our Pastoral Epistles session. We have a great slate of papers once again this year.

Here is the information on our session.

11/16/2017
8:30 AM-11:40 AM
Convention Center — Room 550 A

Pastoral Epistles
Impact of the Pastorals on our View of Paul

Moderator
Ray Van Neste, Union University

8:30 AM—9:10 AM
Fred Sanders, Biola University
“Grace the Civilizer: Paul Undomesticated in the Pastoral Epistles”

9:20 AM—10:00 AM
Eckhard Schnabel, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary
“Paul and the Next Generation of Christian Leaders: The Contribution of the Pastoral Epistles to New Testament Ecclesiology”

10:10 AM—10:50 AM
Greg Couser, Cedarville University
“The Judgment of Believers in 2 Timothy: What is Judged and What is the Outcome?”

11:00 AM—11:40 AM
Marty Feltham, Macquarie University (in Sydney)
“Carefully Crafted or a Clumsy Imitation? Assessing the Argument of 1 Timothy 2:1-7”

 

Boring on the Pastoral Epistles

By Chuck Bumgardner

Before his retirement, M. Eugene Boring was the I. Wylie and Elizabeth M. Briscoe Professor of New Testament at Brite Divinity School at Texas Christian University, a school affiliated with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). I am most familiar with Boring’s work as a translator (especially of Udo Schnelle’s writings), but he is also a prolific author with commentaries on Mark (NTL), 1 Peter (ANTC), Revelation (Interpretation) to his credit. To my knowledge, he has not written any standalone essays or monographs focusing on the PE; however, the PE are introduced and commented upon in The People’s New Testament Commentary (WJK, 2009), written by Boring and his onetime teacher Fred Craddock. Recently, Boring produced his monumental An Introduction to the New Testament: History, Literature, Theology (WJK, 2012) in which he discusses the PE under the heading “The Pastorals and the Struggle for Paul” (pp. 371-99). In the introduction to the volume, he highlights the influence on his life and thinking of men such as Leander Keck, Craddock, Russell Pregeant, Udo Schnelle, David Balch, and William Baird. My purpose here is simply to summarize Boring’s work on the PE.

Boring discusses the issue of authorship at great length, finding it to be “a watershed for the critical approach to the New Testament” (371). If a scholar holds that Paul wrote the PE, he or she will almost certainly hold that all the books attributed to Paul are authentic; conversely, if Paul is not believed to have written one or more of the PE, the door for pseudonymous authorship in the NT is open. For Boring, the question of authorship “should not be resolved on the basis of dogma from right, left, or center” (371). Boring briefly presents the arguments of those who support authenticity: the claim of the letters themselves, their canonical status (the church wouldn’t have accepted pseudonymous writings, and inspiration is incompatible with pseudonymity), church tradition, and the lack of any single compelling argument for pseudonymous authorship of the letters.

Compared to less than a page on arguments for authenticity, Boring devotes roughly 11½ pages (out of the chapter’s 29 pages) to directly setting forth the case for “the Pastorals as pseudepigraphical documents by a teacher in the Pauline school” (372). This is a thorough treatment for a New Testament introduction, and those concerned to defend the authenticity of the PE will find in Boring’s sixteen points a helpful collection of opposing arguments with which to interact:

  • The letters’ claim to be written by Paul can be dismissed without fear of a historical or theological misstep, since “the question for the ancient church . . . was not the historical issue of who actually composed [documents claiming apostolic authorship], but the theological issue of whether or not they represented the apostolic faith” (372).
  • The consistent acceptance of the Pauline authorship of the PE by the early church fathers is not proof positive of authenticity, because the fathers “were theologians first and historians second.” The PE were accepted by the fathers because they “represented the apostolic faith” and “found resonance within the wider community of faith” and on this basis, their claim to apostolic authorship was accepted (373).
  • “The chronology and personal allusions presupposed by the Pastorals do not fit into the lifetime of Paul as otherwise attested” (373).
  • Certain internal inconsistencies regarding Paul’s historical situation appear to be present in the PE, casting doubt on the letters’ historical accuracy (373-74).
  • The self-portrayal of Paul in the PE seems to be at variance with that in the undisputed Pauline letters (374).
  • “The content and tone of the Pastorals are simply not appropriate” when considering the recipients are veteran coworkers of Paul’s (374-76).
  • Various aspects of the letters connect them with the third generation of Christian leadership, when the succession of Paul’s leadership was being worked out after his death (376).
  • The sort of false teaching that seems to be present seems to reflect a later time than Paul, and the response to it in the letters seems unlike Paul’s response in the undisputed letters (376-77).
  • While the hypothesis of pseudonymous PE written specifically to combat Marcion is problematic, the PE’s insistence on the continuing value of the OT “could point to Marcionite tendencies the Pastor opposes” (377).
  • “Both a different vision of church leadership and a different church structure” (this includes the role of the Spirit) seem to be present in the PE, over against the undisputed Pauline letters (377). The PE seem to portray a church in the process of becoming institutionalized (377-79).
  • “The Pastor’s perspective on women’s role in the church reflects the period after Paul” (379-80).
  • There is a “dual temporal perspective” in the letters; while meaning to represent the time of Paul through various incidental references, the pseudonymous author of the letters portrays Paul as “predicting a later time” as a way of having Paul directly address the concerns of his own post-Pauline audience (380).
  • The PE make allusion to Paul’s undisputed letters which it is assumed the readers will recognize, which suggests the PE were written to supplement an already-existing Pauline collection (380).
  • The PE are clearly meant to be heard by churches, but are written to individuals. On the traditional view, this would mean that Timothy and Titus received and kept them, and some time later they were incorporated into the general life of the church, and eventually became part of the accepted NT canon. Boring finds the pseudepigraphical explanation simpler: they were written (falsely) to individuals but read to churches (380-81).
  • “The Pastorals reflect and interact with later New Testament movements and literature current after Paul’s time,” e.g., the “Johannine stream of tradition” and the hymns in Revelation (381).
  • “The style and vocabulary of the Pastorals point to a post-Pauline setting” (381-84). Boring provides a number of typical examples to support his contention.

In sum, “These considerations provide substantial reasons for the view that the Pastorals are post-Paul compositions emanating from the Pauline school” (383). Boring’s tour de force doesn’t end here however; he goes on to provide “incidental support” for this view in the rest of the chapter’s discussion.

Boring notes approvingly the critically accepted date of around 100 CE for the PE (his chart “Formation of NT Literature” [p. 6] actually places the PE after 1 Clement and the Didache and roughly parallel with Ignatius), and discusses the various uses (and non-use) of the PE in the NT writings and other early Christian writings, which in his view support this date. Provenance is likely Ephesus.

The theology of the PE (pp. 384-89) receives extended attention, particularly in relation to that of the undisputed Paulines. Boring views the theology of the PE as being in continuity with that of Paul, and argues that “the Pastorals do not simply repeat Paul but present him as adapting his theology to the post-Pauline situation” (385); the PE are concerned with “preserving the essential core of Pauline theology and reinterpreting it for a later generation.” So, e.g., Paul’s dynamic “faith” becomes “the faith” in the PE, a static body of orthodox doctrine; angels, about whom Paul “never had a good word,” are spoken of positively; the body of Christ has become the household of God. Paul’s expectation of an imminent parousia is absent in the PE. Boring finds the ethics of the PE to have a “different emphasis and perspective” than those of Paul.

Boring contends that “in equipping the church for its struggle with false teaching, the Pastor sees the church as grounded in three interrelated foundational elements: canon, clergy, and creed” (387). Thus, (1) while the undisputed Paul assumes the OT’s authority, the author of the PE insists on it; (2) “the Pastor is interested in promoting and furthering the development of established orders of ministry as a means of guaranteeing the transmission of the core Pauline tradition”; (3) the PE engage “firm traditional summary statements of the faith.”

Boring provides brief outlines and sets forth the essential argument section-by-section for each of the PE. He closes his treatment by appropriating Margaret MacDonald’s model for situating the PE in early Christian history; they reflect a later “community-protecting institutionalization,” following the “community building” of the undisputed Pauline letters and the “community stabilizing” of Colossians and Ephesians (398). He finds that while the post-Pauline church rejected extreme views such as Gnosticism, they accepted a “limited plurality” of “interpretations” of Paul reflected in various pseudonymous letters. Boring sees 2 Thessalonians as such a letter, reflecting a “centrist” view; Ephesians and Colossians as having been produced by “left wing” interpreters; and the PE as setting forth a “right wing” understanding of Paul (399).

In his work, Boring engages a limited range of literature specific to the PE. He refers to Trebilco’s Early Christians in Ephesus a number of times. His “further reading” list is brief, pointing only to four commentaries (no monographs): Bassler (ANTC), Collins (NTL), Johnson (AB), and Marshall (ICC). His take on the PE would be closest, I think, to that of Bassler and Collins.

3 Part Series on Titus

Study-of-Titus-2-884x497

I recently taught through the letter to Titus in three sessions at my home church, First Baptist Church, Jackson, TN. These three messages are an attempt to teach the content of this letter and apply its truths to our current context. The audio of each session is available here.

Dunn on the Pastoral Epistles in Neither Jew nor Greek

By Chuck Bumgardner

James D. G. Dunn, well-known New Testament scholar and Lightfoot Professor Emeritus of Divinity at Durham University, has discussed the Pastoral Epistles in numerous places in his writings, with the most focused treatment being his commentary on the letters in the New Interpreter’s Bible (ed. L. E. Keck; Nashville: Abingdon, 2000), 11:773-800. My purpose here is to summarize his take on the PE in the recently released third volume of his substantial Christianity in the Making project: Neither Jew nor Greek: A Contested Identity (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2015); he discusses the letters in a focused manner in §39.3(b) (85-91) and §47.2(a) (678-82).

The simple fact that Dunn places his discussion of the PE in the third volume of his project, not the second (Beginning from Jerusalem) is enough to divine his general approach to the letters, as the second volume takes the reader through 70 AD, and the third volume picks up there. Anyone familiar with Dunn’s work will not be surprised to find that his major discussion of the PE in Neither Jew nor Greek is under the heading “Paul as Depicted in Second-Generation NT Documents.” Dunn finds the best explanation of pseudepigraphy in the canonical NT to be that of Meade, who contends that “attribution is primarily a claim to authoritative tradition, not a statement of literary origin” (Pseudonymity and Canon, 102; cf. further Dunn, “Pseudepigraphy,” Dictionary of the Later New Testament and Its Developments, 977-84). In this vein, Dunn understands the PE to contemporize and promote the authoritative Pauline tradition for the following generation, and to have been accepted by that generation as “sharing in the authority of the tradition’s originator” and thus “accepted as also authoritative under his name” (85).

As typical in critical scholarship, Dunn grounds his judgment of pseudonymity in certain features of the letters: distinctive language and style, historical circumstances thought to be difficult to square with Acts and other Pauline epistles, a false teaching with no parallel in pre-70 NT literature, increasing institutionalization, and “crystallization of the faith into set forms” (86-88). “It is most probable that we should attribute [the PE] to an unknown (conservative) disciple who thought he was doing what Paul would have approved of and whose further ‘letters of Paul’ were accepted in the same spirit” (89). Dunn suggests that, though pseudonymous, the PE might just possibly have been written to Timothy and Titus, and should be dated in the 80s or 90s.

Dunn finds the most striking and distinctive features of the PE to be “increasing institutionalization” and the “crystallization of faith into set forms,” both of which he discusses as some length. As to institutionalization, Dunn uses 1 Corinthians as a foil, arguing that there Paul does not “appeal to ‘elders’ or ‘overseers’ or ‘deacons’ to exercise authority and to bring order to the disorder” (678) (but does Paul actually do this in the PE? Certainly he straightforwardly sets forth the qualifications for these positions, but it is Timothy and Titus as Paul’s delegates who receive the bulk of Paul’s instructions to take care of the problems in the churches.). Dunn finds that Paul “has become Paul the good churchman, significantly different from Paul the innovative apostle” (679).

Similarly, as to “crystallization of faith into set forms,” the PE evidence “a dominant desire to consolidate and secure a more objectified identity” (679). The dynamic “faith” of the authentic Paul (“the living means by which individuals are in communication with God and by which they live”) has become “the faith” which is simply orthodox doctrine (679-80). As well, Dunn finds Jew/Gentile tensions to be fading and formulaic, references to false teaching to be vague and lacking content.

Christology, however, is developing fresh expression in the PE, Dunn observes. It is “the only detail about the faith which is clearly defined” (680). Though monotheism is emphasized in 1 Timothy, “the Pastorals’ Christology would seem to encroach to a substantial degree” upon it (681). Dunn doesn’t see Titus 2:13 as speaking of Christ directly as “God” but as “the glory of our great God and Savior.” Jesus is “the embodiment of God’s glory and decisive expression of his saving power” (681). This developing Christology suggests that “it was the growing reverence for Christ which most clearly marked out the second-generation churches (of the Aegean) as they moved into the second century” (682).

In sum, “this then is the Paul who is presented in the Pastoral Epistles—a Paul for whom the priority was to consolidate the faith, to guard it unflinchingly and to pass it on faithfully. This was Paul as his disciple(s) evidently him remembered—as equipping his churches for what would be a threatened and challenging future” (682).

“Pauline Ecclesiology,” by David Downs

Downs, David J. “Pauline Ecclesiology.” Perspectives in Religious Studies 41 (2014): 243-255

I pursued this essay because I learned that Downs included the Pastorals in his discussion, accepting them as Pauline. Since I am pursuing the question of how the Pastorals might shape or re-shape our understanding of Pauline theology if they were seriously engaged, I was curious to see what role they played in Downs’ analysis. In the end, beyond the footnote arguing for their inclusion, little of particular interest is made of them in the essay. Perhaps this is due to the fact that this is a remarkably large topic for a single essay.

I appreciated Downs’ discussion of the universal and local church (a big issue for Baptist circles, and this is found in a Baptist journal).

However, section 3 of the essay, on “The Organization and Practices of the Pauline Churches,” was not as good. Downs says we must not homogenize these “geographically and culturally diverse congregations” into one model of “the Pauline church.” This is a common statement today, but I find it lacking. Should we not expect a significant level of similarity in theology and core practices among churches planted by one apostle who self-consciously seeks to order these communities according to the will of God?

Downs, like others, as evidence of diversity, points to the fact that these churches did not always obey the apostle. Here a key distinction must be made. Are we saying that these churches at times differed in practices or that they were never intended to have shared core practices? If the first, that is obvious and need not be debated. Paul rebukes the Corinthians for practices out of step with “all the churches.” This does not, though, mean that there was not a shared “model” to which they were all supposed to aspire. The lack of such an aspirational model is exactly what many of these scholars are arguing. In fact, Paul’s rebuke just mentioned suggests the opposite- the churches are expected to be in step with one another.

This is an important discussion because on it depends whether or not there is a coherent biblical ecclesiology (and perhaps whether we should expect a coherent theology at all in Paul). Denying the existence of such is amenable today because it allows us to say we can all have our own ecclesiologies. However, we should reconsider this claim today.

Hagner on the Pastoral Epistles

[by Chuck Bumgardner]

Donald A. Hagner has been associated with Fuller Seminary for forty years, and presently holds the title(s) of George Eldon Ladd Professor Emeritus of New Testament and Senior Professor of New Testament School of Theology. His New Testament Introduction: A Historical and Theological Introduction (Baker, 2012) (NTI) represents the mature judgments of a seasoned scholar. My purpose here is to summarize his work on the Pastoral Epistles (PE) in that volume.

Before I do that, however, I’ll observe that Hagner has (to my knowledge) produced only one standalone essay on any of the PE: “Titus as a Pauline Letter,” in Society of Biblical Literature 1998 Seminar Papers, Part Two (SBLSPS 37; Atlanta: Scholars, 1998), 546–58. This essay was part of an ongoing project in the SBL Theology of the Disputed Paulines group, a project which also included Luke Timothy Johnson’s “Oikonomia Theou: The Theological Voice of 1 Timothy from the Perspective of Pauline Authorship” and Gordon Fee’s “Toward a Theology of 2 Timothy—from a Pauline Perspective.” Each of these essays addressed the theology of one of the PE from the perspective of Pauline authorship.

In his essay, Hagner first establishes the “life-setting” of Titus, noting its distinctiveness over against the undisputed Pauline letters in two areas: Paul’s acceptance of a delayed parousia and a correspondingly different approach to his churches, and an individual recipient (except in the case of Philemon) (546–48). These two items, in conjunction with the likely use of an amanuensis, explain any differences between Titus and other Pauline letters. With this foundation laid, he engages a close reading of the most overtly theological passages in Titus, 2:11–14 and 3:4–8a, comparing their theology minutely (and favorably) with Paul’s theology in the undisputed letters (548–52). (Since these are soteriological passages, this section is helpful for studying salvation in the PE in connection with other writings of Paul.) Finally, Hagner examines the “theology of the practical instructions of Titus,” finding strong parallels with the undisputed Paul here as well (552–55). All in all, this is a strong article defending the authenticity of Titus.

Fifteen years later, in his NTI, Hagner now finds that the cumulative weight of various arguments against Pauline authorship of the PE (including Titus) means that pseudonymity has “the probabilities on its side” (614). He presents a very helpful section which addresses six different battlegrounds of opinion vis-à-vis authorship (language and style, church organization, theology and ethics, nature of opposition, the picture of Paul, and the personal history of Paul), first succinctly presenting how proponents of pseudonymity would frame a given issue, then providing a brief response from the perspective of authenticity (615–21). He stresses (1) that no particular argument for pseudonymity is persuasive in and of itself, but the cumulative case is persuasive; (2) that the debate is one of probabilities, not certainties (621–22). In his judgment (following a critical consensus), the PE simply “breathe a different atmosphere” which is unlike the undisputed Paulines, and they reflect a “conventional, ‘bourgeois’ Christianity,” displaying “the marks of an incipient early catholicism” (622).

Exploring various explanations for the “problem of the Pastorals,” Hagner examines the amanuensis hypothesis (e.g., Richards, Paul and First-Century Letter Writing), the possibility of wholesale pseudepigraphy by an associate of Paul’s after his death (e.g., Wilson, Luke and the Pastoral Epistles), theories involving Pauline fragments/notes (e.g., Miller, The Pastoral Letters as Composite Documents), and the possibility of authenticity (e.g., Fee, Knight, Johnson, Mounce, Towner) (622–26). Reading “Titus as a Pauline Letter,” I felt that Hagner was firmly championing a position of authenticity; reading his NTI, I don’t get the impression that he has confidently changed his stance on authorship, but has edged over the line, so to speak, with the balance of evidence ever so slightly disposing him to a rather agnostic position of pseudonymity.

Hagner turns to examine various emphases in the PE: protecting orthodoxy/orthopraxy; preserving and transmitting the tradition; establishing church offices; the self-consciousness of the church (626–34). Finding these to support “an incipient early catholicism,” he summarizes: “Because of the delay of the parousia, the church must reunderstand itself not as a group of believers waiting to be taken away from this world to the next, but rather as the people of God, residents in the world for the foreseeable future, whose unchanging message represents unshakable truth” (634).

Arguing that the PE ought to be considered both individually and as a cluster, Hagner gives a brief overview of the contents of each letter (634–37). He closes the essay with a position of agnosticism as to authorship, a guess that the letters were written for church leaders in general, and a preference for a date shortly after Paul’s death (637–38). A very solid English-language bibliography (25 commentaries and 85 other entries) completes the essay, including commentaries as late as 2006 (Towner [NICNT] and Witherington), and other works as late as 2010 (638–42). I only note that in commentaries, the venerable Lock (ICC, 1924) is missing, apparently being of too great a vintage, and Oden’s Interpretation volume (1989) is omitted. In other literature, Hagner has surprisingly included nothing by Trebilco (e.g., The Early Christians in Ephesus from Paul to Ignatius, 2004) nor Wieland (e.g., The Significance of Salvation, 2006).

Call for Papers

The Pastoral Epistles group in the Evangelical Theological Society is accepting paper proposals for the meeting this Fall. We are continuing to examine ways in which a more vigorous, intentional engagement with the Pastorals can impact our understanding of Paul. Too often evangelicals explicitly or implicitly bracket off the Pastorals when doing Pauline theology whether in order to gain a hearing among those who dispute them or simply because we have grown accustomed to overlooking them. We have already seen a number of ways in which the absence of 1-2 Timothy and Titus impoverish our reading and have a sneaking suspicion there are yet more aspects and nuances to be explored. So, if you would be interested to pursue this topic, we would be glad to hear from you. Send questions or proposals to me at rayvanneste at gmail dot com.

The Pastorals at SBL 2015

I was unable to attend SBL this year, but Chuck Bumgardner was kind enough to gather titles and abstracts for PE related papers at SBL from the helpful abstracts page on the SBL site.

Here is what was listed. It is encouraging to see this much work being done on these letters.

The Cretan Quote of Titus 1:12: Why Paul Appears to Be Such a Bigot 
Program Unit: Disputed Paulines
Isaiah Luke Allen, Asbury Theological Seminary

Conventional readings of Titus 1:12-13 present real grammatical and contextual problems. Taken at face value, the apostle Paul addresses Titus and quotes Epimenides, a (5th-6th Century BCE) Cretan poet, in a descriptive and highly disfavorable moral assessment of the Cretans that Paul himself shares. This paper exposes some of the literary-contextual, grammatical, and semantic problems with this reading and suggests an interpretation that coheres with the NT portrayal of the canonical Paul and Titus, the grammar of the passage, and the context of the argument in the letter to Titus. Rather than being a bigot, Paul is exposing and attacking bigotry in the church.

Satan: The Author of False Teaching in the Pastoral Epistles 
Program Unit: Disputed Paulines
Derek Brown, Lexham Press

The Pastoral Epistles reveal a number of intriguing developments within the Pauline tradition. One area which has not received sufficient attention is the references to the devil within Pastoral Epistles. Both 1 Timothy and 2 Timothy mention the malevolent figure— whether by the well known term satanas (1 Tim 1:20; 5:15), diabolos (1 Tim 3:6, 7; 2 Tim 2:26), or even ho antikeimai (“the opponent” or “the enemy,” 1 Tim 5:14; cf. 1 Clem. 51.1; Mart. Pol. 17.1)—but the collective importance of these references is rarely discussed in scholarly literature. The present paper will explore the nature of the allusions to Satan within the Pastorals by considering their function within their epistolary context, the theology of Satan which they imply, and their relationship to references to Satan in the other Pauline letters (both undisputed and disputed; see Brown, The God of this Age: Satan in the Churches and Letters of the Apostle Paul [Mohr Siebeck], forthcoming 2015). It will be argued that although the Pastoral Epistles sometimes reflect, or perhaps mimic, the earlier Pauline references to Satan (e.g., 1 Tim 1:20; cf. 1 Cor 5:5), the references to Satan in 1 Timothy and 2 Timothy aim to establish a direct connection between false teaching and Satan that is intended to warn and prevent the readers of the letters from subscribing to teaching that would separate them from the truth of the gospel and the community of faith.

Kinship and Leadership in 1 Timothy: A Study of Filial Framework and Model for Early Christian Communities in Asia Minor 
Program Unit: Disputed Paulines
Daniel K. Darko, Gordon College

This paper examines kinship framework and language in the directives for leadership in early Christianity communities of Ephesus, aiming to curb the influence of false teachers and bolster mutual support in the membership. It investigates direct appeal to responsible household management, portraits of natural and fictive kinship, and group dynamics couched in filial parlance in the leadership correspondence (1 Timothy). The Greek text will be examined carefully against the background of Greco-Roman conventions on kinship and use of kinship lexemes in relation to leadership. The study of the household code alongside other references to kinship in the prism of Christian leadership will lead to new and perhaps alternate insights regarding how we read the institutional structure of the house churches, even the notion of monarchical leadership. The manner in which fictive and natural kinship are utilized will receive critical attention in the quest also to answer the question: Does fictive kinship override natural kinship or are there interface of the two to harness group identity and group dynamics?

“Apocalyptic Rhetoric” in the Pastoral Epistles 
Program Unit: Disputed Paulines
Mark Harding, Australian College of Theology

The Apostle Paul is rightly termed an apocalypticist not only because his message originated in an apocalypse (Gal 1:12, 16), but also because he continued to receive visions and revelations. He imparted these to his hearers. The post-Pauline authors of Ephesians and Colossians mediate Paul’s apocalypticism chiefly through the discourse of “mystery.” Although it has been fashionable to downplay the apocalypticism of the Pastoral Epistles (PE), the letters do subscribe to this worldview. In the PE, Paul’s apocalypticism is encountered not only in their espousal of apocalyptic eschatology but also in their discourse of the finality of the mystery and revelation uniquely received and authoritatively mediated by the Apostle. This discourse—rooted as it is in revelation—is aptly termed “apocalyptic rhetoric.” This is a term that was first applied to the rhetoric of the New Testament Apocalypse by Adela Yarbro Collins and Barry Brummett in the early 1980s. The term can be applied to the rhetoric of the PE, although the PE (like the Pauline corpus as a whole) are letters and not apocalypses. In this discourse, the authority of the Apostle in the highly contested context of the PE is grounded in the epiphany of Christ and the moral and creedal implications that are in accord with that epiphany and to which his ministry, and the ministry of those he commissions, finally, infallibly and exclusively bears witness. The apostolic “deposit” vouchsafed to Paul and through him to his delegates and their successors is full, perfect and sufficient, such that teaching that is not in accord with it is a betrayal of the Pauline heritage. In this way, the PE are testimonies of the power of speech grounded in revelation and mediated by a writer who uniquely articulated the apostle’s authority.

The Rhetoric of PIETAS: First Timothy and the Negotiation of Roman Imperial Pietas 
Program Unit: Disputed Paulines
Chris Hoklotubbe, Harvard University

This paper provides a postcolonial reading to 1 Timothy that attends to how the author negotiates the imperial situation in his appeal to piety (eusebeia) within the context of instructing the community to offer prayers on behalf of imperial authorities (1 Tim 2:1–2) and how women and widows ought to behave within the household of God (1 Tim 2:9–15). Scholars including Mary Rose D’Angelo and Angela Standhartinger convincingly argue that 1 Timothy’s instructions on prayer and admonitions for women to marry, bear children, and remain subordinate to their husbands accommodate to conservative social values promoted in imperial legislation and propaganda. However, scholars like Ben Witherington and Phillip Towner insist that these passages are not indicative of accommodation, but rather a missiological approach that Christianized secular virtues and even resisted imperial culture. I argue that a postcolonial optics is helpful for moving beyond a dichotomy of accommodation/resistance and allows us to better observe how both elements are present within the author’s negotiation of imperial social values and Christian doctrine within the scope of his construction of a hybrid Christian identity and piety. This paper will also succinctly contextualize 1 Timothy’s appeals to piety within the prevalence of rhetorical claims to piety (pietas/eusebeia) that occur in Roman poetry, monumental inscriptions, and coins in order to clarify the cultural significance of this virtue for how both elite Romans and provincial subjects, including the author of 1 Timothy, conceptualized imperial power and their relation to it. I argue that both claims to piety that pervaded the imperial propaganda of Trajan and Hadrian as evidenced in coins, reliefs, panegyrics, and building campaigns as well as elite Roman discourses that contrasted Roman pietas against foreign superstitio textualized the structures that comprised the imperial situation of 1 Timothy’s and illuminate its rhetoric of piety.

Timothy in Ephesus? First Timothy, the Acts of the Apostles, and the Acts of Timothy Reconsidered 
Program Unit: Ancient Fiction and Early Christian and Jewish Narrative
Meira Z. Kensky, Coe College

This paper will analyze the way Timothy’s association with Ephesus is remembered and constructed in early Christian literature. While 1 Timothy imagines Timothy as an Ephesus-based administrator, and Eusebius tells us that the tradition holds Timothy as the first bishop of that city (Eus., Hist. Eccl. 3.4), other texts are ambiguous at best on this issue. The lack of a clear association between Timothy and Ephesus in the Acts of the Apostles is particularly striking. In addition to having ambiguous presence throughout Acts 19, Timothy is not located in Ephesus during the riot (19:23-41), and is also not named as present in the speech to the Ephesian elders in 20:17-38. Since many people think that Acts might have been written in Ephesus, Timothy’s absence during the Ephesian ministry is even more notable. Should we infer from Timothy’s absence that he was not really associated with Ephesus at all, and that this is a later invention by the author of 1 Timothy? The Acts of John, also set in Ephesus, is entirely silent not only on the presence of Timothy, but on the presence of any early Christian there before John, erasing the record of Pauline presence in the city. Ephesus is thus contested territory. And while the early tradition is ambiguous, the Acts of Timothy, a late addition to the corpus of Apocryphal Acts, details exactly how Paul ordained Timothy as Ephesus’ first bishop, and then narrates Timothy’s violent death during a pagan festival there. The text also talks about John’s activities in the city, and thus represents an attempt to harmonize early Christian traditions about this crucial center of early Christianity, who was working there at the same time, and what their relationship was to each other. Studying the way the Acts of Timothy paints its portrait of Timothy’s leadership and violent death in the city can shed light both on the memory of this crucial tradent as well as the memory of the city itself. What is gained in 1 Timothy by locating Timothy in Ephesus? And what is gained by having him die there in the Acts of Timothy?

Insisting on a Gospel of Resurrection in the Face of Suffering: An Initial Exploration of the Intersection of Religion and Politics in the Context in 2 Tim 2:8 
Program Unit: Disputed Paulines
Edward Pillar, University of Wales, Trinity Saint David

The writer of 2Timothy is presented as imprisoned, chained like a criminal, and suffering ‘for the gospel.’ Thus the writer asserts that his crime is inextricably linked with his gospel, and it seems apparent that his suffering is not only considerable (2:9), but some have suggested that it may well be linked to the severe, brutal, and cruel persecutions recorded by Tacitus of the Neronian era. The writer appears to be seeking to encourage Timothy not to be afraid to commit more fully to the gospel and thus perhaps inevitably to enter into the prospect of suffering (1:8). The gospel, which has led to such vicious persecution and inhumane suffering, is precisely and succinctly articulated in 2:8, ‘Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, out of the seed of David.’ In this paper we will explore the political nature of the gospel that is not simply an intersection of politics and religion, but appears to create an inexorable conflict with imperial politics. We will consider the thesis that in this letter the context of severe persecution and suffering is crucial in this instance to understand how religion and politics intersect. Jesus, as the Christ, is thus God’s alternative emperor or king. ‘Jesus Christ’, uniquely ordered at this point in the letter, taken alongside ‘out of the seed of David’ suggests an ancient narrative as an alternative to the imperial story that perpetuated the tyranny of the emperor. Further, the insistence of an alternative gospel – itself a challenge to empire – in proclaiming the resurrection of Jesus following crucifixion at the hands of the Romans Empire is both a challenge to imperial assertions of supreme power but also subverts this power in the act of resurrection.

 

Fred Sanders on Most Helpful PE Resources

After teaching a semester-long Bible Institute class on the Pastorals (“congregational-level teaching plus homework,” he said), well-known systematic theologian, Fred Sanders, has posted a list of commentaries are resources which he found most useful. I almost always find it helpful and interesting to read about what others found useful, and this list does not disappoint. Sanders not only list the titles but explains what he found useful (or not useful) about each item. He also graciously put in a good word about this blog. I am glad he found it helpful.

Additions to our list of 2014 PE publications

Thanks to those who have pointed out items we have missed. Each of these items have been added to the 2014 publications post, but I thought it might be useful to include this separate post announcing their inclusion. If you see others we’ve missed, please send them our way at pastoralepistles at gmail dot com. Also, if you publish something on the Pastorals this year, feel free to send us a notice so we can include it in this year’s list and perhaps review it.

Barentsen, Jack. “Stereotyping and Institutionalization as Indications of Leadership Maintenance in the Pastoral Epistles: 1 Timothy as a Test Case.” Pages 389-406 in T&T Clark Handbook to Social Identity in the New Testament. Edited by J. Brian Tucker and Coleman A. Baker. London: Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2014.

Bolt, Peter and Tony Payne, ed. Women, Sermons and the Bible: Essays interacting with John Dickson’s Hearing Her Voice. Matthias Media, 2014.

Hylen, Susan E. “Modest, Industrious, and Loyal: Reinterpreting Conflicting Evidence for Women’s Roles.” Biblical Theology Bulletin 44 (2014): 3-12.

Jones, B. C. “Three New Coptic Papyrus Fragments of 2 Timothy and Titus (P.Mich. inv. 3535b).” Journal of Biblical Literature 133 (2014): 389-97.

Mbamalu, Abiola I. “‘The Woman Was Deceived and Became a Sinner’: A Literary-Theological Investigation of 1 Timothy 2:11-15.” HTS Teologiese Studies/Theological Studies 70 (2014). doi: 10.4102/hts.v70i3.2062

Paya, C. “Note exégetique: ‘L’exercise corporel est utile à peu de choses . . .’ (1 Tm 4.8).” Théologie Évangélique [Vaux-sur-Seine—Montreal] 13 (2014): 49-61.

Westfall, Cynthia Long. “The Meaning of αὐθεντέω in 1 Timothy 2.12.” Journal of Greco-Roman Christianity and Judaism 10 (2014): 138-73.