Pastoral Epistles session at SBL 2019

I was quite pleased this year to see that the Disputed Paulines session at SBL would meet on Saturday this year since that meant I would be able to attend. I hope they continue in this slot.

Jens Herzer, “Epicurus, Plutarch, and Paul: The Philosophical Discourse on Public Life and the Transformation of Pauline Ethics in 1 Timothy”

I always appreciate hearing from Herzer. In this paper he argued that the “good citizenship” ethic in 1 Timothy bears striking resemblance to Epicurean ideas. He demonstrated several parallel texts, and suggested that the author (not Paul in Herzer’s mind) was developing a Christian view of life by appropriation of Epicurean ideals. It seemed that his point was that the use of these ideals lead to a perspective different from the accepted Pauline letters (the abstract refers to a “socially accommodated Christianity”), but in the discussion afterward this point was muted.

In the end, these are interesting parallels showing that similar ideas were in view outside the New Testament. However, it is not enough to convince me that the author was intentionally drawing on Epicurean ideas.

James Buchanan Wallace, “1 Timothy and Universal Salvation”

Wallace’s paper considered whether a universalist reading of 1 Timothy might be correct. He opened with interaction with David Bentley Hart, who in his recent translation of the NT argues for universalism pointing to 1 Timothy but without exegetical argumentation.

Wallace engaged patristic interpreters who argued for universalism and those who argued against noting how they used 1 Tim (if they did). Most significant I thought was his treatment of μάλιστα exegetically and how Greek fathers understood it. I am not convinced of a universalist reading, due at least partially to the fact that I still read these letters as a whole with Paul and expecting coherence of thought.

Lyn Kidson, “Saving the Woman in 1 Timothy 2: Childbirth, Women’s Bodies, and the ‘Other Instruction’”

Kidson’s paper built on her 2018 paper in this same section. She argued that 1 Timothy 2:15 should be understood as saying that a woman’s body will be “healed or kept safe through the normal processes of intercourse, pregnancy, and childbirth that the advocates of the other instruction oppose.” Thus, she argues that σώζω in 2:15 means “preserve” rather than referring to eschatological salvation.

Kidson does find a coherent argument for a challenging text, linking 2:15 with the forbidding of marriage in 4:1-5. I did not always follow the argument in the oral presentation.

Christopher Hutson, “Lifting the Yoke of Slavery: Infrapolitics and Advice to Enslaved Persons in the Pastoral Epistles”

Hutson was very engaging (even providing a song!) as he argued that the comments on slaves in 1 Timothy 6 and Titus 2 were intentionally framed to seem like they affirmed standard Greco-Roman views on the submission of slaves all the while actually hinting at a subversive sub-text. Some people write off these texts as hopelessly compromised and demeaning to slaves, but Huston sought in his line of argument to present them in a more positive light.

Myriam Klinker-De Klerck, “Lois, Eunice, and Timothy: The Rhetorical Strategy in 2 Timothy in the Light of Social Exclusion of the First Christians”

Klinker examined the role of honor/shame in 2 Timothy suggesting a rhetorical strategy in the letter that aims to encourage Timothy to endure possible negative social consequences of his belonging to the Christ group. This is connected to the reorientation the letter gives to the idea of suffering (as an honorable token of loyalty [πίστις] to Christ) and the family identity mentioned with Lois and Eunice. Her arguments suggest further ways the letter coheres and makes sense in its historical setting.

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.”

Japanese-Language Resources on the Pastorals

As challenging as it is for monolingual English speakers to learn of secondary literature on the Pastorals in other languages which look something like English, it is considerably more challenging to discover works published in languages which look nothing like English!

I provide here a list of Japanese-language resources on the Pastorals compiled by Manabu Tsuji (Academia page), Professor of Religious Studies at Hiroshima University, who has published extensively on the letters. Dr. Tsuji, who is producing a Japanese-language commentary on the letters — Bokkai Shokan [The Pastoral Epistles] (Tokyo: Shinkyo Shuppansha, forthcoming 2022) — graciously interacted about the list, provided English-language translations for the titles of the works, and indicated his willingness to share the Japanese-language articles with those interested. If you should happen to want one of the Japanese-language essays listed, please contact me at chuckbumgardner (at) gmail.com.

Click here to view the list.

Titus and the Shaping of Early Christian Identity

I have just read a helpful essay recently published by Jermo Van Nes, titled “Doing Good Deeds: Titus and the Shaping of Early Christian Identity.” The essay appears in the recent book, Drawing and Transcending Boundaries in the New Testament and Early Christianity, ed. Jacobus Kok, Martin Webber, Jermo van Nes (Lit Verlag, 2019). My review of Van Nes’s monograph was recently posted here, and this essay is further helpful work from him.

In this essay Van Nes examines vocabulary in the letter to Titus which denotes insider and outsider status arguing for more variety of groups than in Trebilco’s work. He helpfully points out that the sharp language used for distinguishing the church from outsiders does not sit well with the common idea that the letter presents an accomodationist ethic which intends to alleviate social tensions and make the church more at home in the Greco-Roman world. Rather, the letter marks a sharp division between Cretan believers and the false teachers and unbelievers. The aim of the letter, then, is “to further God’s mission by shaping the Cretan Christian community into a people who in word and deed expose Cretan society to genuine Christian witness” (43).

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 Pastorals at SBL 2019

The program book for the 2019 SBL Annual Meeting reveals a robust selection of sessions related to the Pastorals, whether directly or indirectly. We’ve listed below pertinent sessions (alphabetically by presenter last name), with links to abstracts where available. Sessions which very directly engage the Pastorals are listed first, then a few sessions which have some pertinence for the letters but are not said to directly engage them.

Presentations directly related to the Pastorals

Jens Herzer, Universität Leipzig.
“Epicurus, Plutarch and Paul: The Philosophical Discourse on Public Life and the Transformation of Pauline Ethics in 1 Timothy.” (abstract)
Herzer has published prolifically on the Pastorals.

Christopher Hutson, Abilene Christian University
“Lifting the Yoke of Slavery: Infrapolitics and Advice to Enslaved Persons in the Pastoral Epistles.” (abstract)
Hutson’s Yale dissertation focused on the rhetoric of youth in the Pastorals; his roughly half-dozen essays on the letters have culminated this year in the volume on the Pastorals in the Paideia commentary series.

Donghyun Jeong, Emory University
“Ambiguous Prayers in 1 Timothy 2:1–2.” (abstract)

Lyn Kidson, Alphacrucis College
“Saving the Woman in 1 Timothy 2: Childbirth, Women’s Bodies, and the ‘Other Instruction.’” (abstract)
Kidson’s Macquarie dissertation focused on rhetorical strategies in 1 Timothy 1, and she has published other work on 1 Timothy. This session builds on her 2018 SBL presentation.

Myriam Klinker-De Klerck, Theologische Universiteit Kampen voor de Gereformeerde Kerken
“Lois, Eunice and Timothy. The Rhetorical Strategy in 2 Timothy in the Light of Social Exclusion of the First Christians.” (abstract)
Klinker-De Klerck’s published dissertation addressed ethics in 1 Timothy and Titus.

Andrew M. Langford, University of Oregon
“‘They pierced themselves with many pains’: Pain Experience and the Rhetoric of Self-Harm in 1 Timothy.” (abstract)
Langford’s recent University of Chicago dissertation examines the polemical use of contemporary philosophical and medical discourses in the Pastorals to stigmatize the opponents in the letters. He has previously presented on 1 Timothy at SBL.

Anna C. Miller, Xavier University
“The ‘Real Widow’ in the City: Widows, Public Space and Speech in 1 Timothy and the Acts of Thecla.” (abstract)
Miller has presented previously on the Pastorals at SBL.

W. Andrew Smith, Shepherds Theological Seminary and Steve Young, Shepherds Theological Seminary
“Great Expectations: Teststellen Efficacy for Byzantine Manuscripts of 1 Timothy.” (abstract)
Smith is presently working on the Pastorals in the Editio Critica Maior project.

Nebeyou Almeu Terefe, Wycliffe Ethiopia
“Some Notes on the Ge’ez/Ethiopic Manuscripts of 1 and 2 Timothy.” (abstract)
Terefe’s Addis Ababa University Ph.D. thesis is titled “Critical Edition of Pastoral Epistles with Their Andemta Tradition” and contributes to the textual history of Ethiopic biblical material.

James Buchanan Wallace, Christian Brothers University
“1 Timothy and Universal Salvation.” (abstract)

Tommy Wasserman, Ansgar Teologiske Høgskole and Conrad Thorup Elmelund, Københavns Universitet
“Second Timothy – When and Where? Text and Traditions in the Subscriptions.” (abstract)

Presentations indirectly related to the Pastorals

Jon-Paul Lapeña, Harvard Divinity School
“Contextualizing Paul’s Rhetoric of the μέθυσος: Attitudes Toward Drunkenness and its Stigma in the Early Imperial Period.” (abstract)
Though μέθυσος is not used in the Pastorals, this presentation likely has implications for the use of πάροινος in 1 Tim 3:3; Titus 1:7.

Troy W. Martin, Saint Xavier University
“Translating ὑποτάσσειν in the Petrine Station Code as Fitting In instead of Submission.” (abstract)
Martin has published on rhetoric in 1 Timothy and Titus. This presentation would have implications for the use of ὑποτάσσω in Titus 2:5, 9; 3:1.

Larry Perkins, Northwest Baptist Seminary, Langley, B.C. and Mr. Spencer Elliott, Trinity Western University.
“The Use of οἰκία/οἶκος in Greek Exodus: An Attempt to Understand Principles of Lexical Variation in Greek Exodus.” (abstract)
Perkins recently published the volume on the Pastorals in the BHGNT series. This presentation is pertinent to the Pastorals’ variance between οἶκος and οἰκία.

Richard A Rhodes, University of California-Berkeley
“Oikos, oikia and the Problem of Metonymy.” (abstract)
This presentation is pertinent to the Pastorals’ variance between οἶκος and οἰκία.

Tyler M. Schwaller, Wesleyan College (Macon, GA)
“White Fragility and Biblical Interpretation: The Case of Reading Paul on Slavery.” (abstract)
This presentation may have implications for reception history of 1 Tim 6:1-2; Titus 2:9-10.


Coming soon: Gerald Bray, The Pastoral Epistles, ITC

Media of The Pastoral Epistles: An International Theological Commentary

In an earlier post, we briefly mentioned Gerald Bray’s forthcoming volume on the Pastoral Epistles in the recently-begun International Theological Commentary (ITC) series. As the cover reveals, the ITC is a companion series to the well-known International Critical Commentary series, and like the ICC will cover both Old and New Testaments. Students of the Pastoral Epistles may rejoice that
the volume on these letters is one of the inaugural volumes in the ITC.

The publisher’s description page gives the release date as July 25, and Dr. Bray has confirmed this. He also provided a paragraph describing the volume, as follows:

“This commentary offers a verse-by-verse theological interpretation of the First and Second Epistles to Timothy and Titus. Bray reads the letters as authoritative Scripture, moving beyond questions of whether they are pseudonymous, and of whether or not they are post-Apostolic, looking closely at how they have been understood in the life of the Church. Bray engages with the history of commentary surrounding these letters, ranging from the Fathers of the Church to contemporary theology and exegesis. He reads the Epistles as the authoritative word from God to his people, and through his engagement with the history of interpretation shows the constant thread of witness and confession that unites believers across the ages. In so doing, Bray shows why the Pastoral Epistles have survived the passage of time and have retained the canonical authority that they have always enjoyed.”

Free online Pastorals monographs

Several significant German-language monographs are available online (for non-commercial use) as part of the Digi20 project. They may be read and searched online or downloaded in pdf:

Hermann von Lips. Glaube—Gemeinde—Amt: Zum Verständnis der Ordination in den Pastoralbriefen. Forschungen zur Religion und Literatur des Alten und Neuen Testaments 122. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1979. (94MB pdf)

Annette Merz. Die fiktive Selbstauslegung des Paulus: intertextuelle Studien zur Intention und Rezeption der Pastoralbriefe. Novum Testamentum et Orbis Antiquus 52. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2004. (120MB pdf)

Michael Wolter. Die Pastoralbriefe als Paulustradition. Forschungen zur Religion und Literatur des Alten und Neuen Testaments 146. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1988. (92MB pdf)

Marshall’s Commentary Free!

I still think the single best all-around commentary on the Pastoral Epistles in English is Howard Marshall’s volume in the ICC. So, I was excited to see that the free book of the month from Logos is this commentary!

This is an amazing opportunity. If you aren’t signed up to get the alerts for the free book of the month each month from Logos, I encourage you to look into it. It is a great way to expand your electronic library.

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).