Weidemann, “Die Pastoralbriefe”

A relatively recent, and rather lengthy, status quaestionis article on the Pastorals is available online:

Weidemann, Hans-Ulrich. “Die Pastoralbriefe.” Theologische Rundschau 81.4 (2016): 353‒403.

Weidemann discusses recent research on the Pastorals under four headings: (1) Drillinge oder entfernte Verwandte? Die Corpus-These in der Diskussion; (2) Neue Diskussionen um Datierung und Bezeugung der Briefe im 2. Jahrhundert; (3) »Gender Trouble of a Pastor«: Geschlechtergeschichtliche Untersuchungen der Pastoralbriefe; (4) Glaube und Erziehung: Begriffsgeschichtliche und lexikalische Untersuchungen der Pastoralbriefe. (English)

Here is the online location, and if for some reason the link is broken, here is the article in pdf.

Becker, Ekklesiologie der sanften Macht. Der 1. Timotheusbrief und die antike Fürstenspiegel-Literatur

Matthias Becker has just published an article of interest to students of 1 Timothy:

Becker, Matthias. “Ekklesiologie der sanften Macht. Der 1. Timotheusbrief und die antike Fürstenspiegel-Literatur.” Biblische Zeitschrift 64.2 (2020): 277–305.

Here’s the abstract: “Did early Christian church leaders and political rulers share common characteristics? By reading the First Epistle to Timothy through the lens of Greek and Roman “mirrors for princes” (specula principum) written in the first and early second centuries AD, this article intends to make a new contribution to this issue. The study’s interpretative focus lies on the idealized depiction of Timothy as a role model for early Christian officeholders as well as on the qualifications for bishops and deacons (1 Tim 3:1–13). The comparison of the features of the ideal ruler with those of ideal church leaders shows that central elements of the ecclesiology of First Timothy tap into the Greco-Roman discourse concerning ideal rulership. Yet not only that, it also helps to understand that the power that is undeniably attributed to officeholders is ultimately meant to be a soft power that serves the cause of “preservation” and “salvation” (σωτηρία).”

Kidson, “Fasting, Bodily Care, and the Widows of 1 Timothy 5:3–15”

Lyn Kidson, whose dissertation on 1 Timothy 1 is forthcoming in WUNT as Persuading Shipwrecked Men: Rhetorical Strategies in 1 Timothy, has produced an article on the widows of 1 Timothy 5:

Lyn Kidson, “Fasting, Bodily Care, and the Widows of 1 Timothy 5:3–15.” Early Christianity 11.2 (2020): 191–205. (Mohr Siebeck)

Here’s the abstract: “In his essay, “Medical Imagery in the Pastoral Epistles,” Abraham Malherbe argued that medical terminology was a conventional polemic used to describe the opponents of 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus. His identification of this medical schema is the starting point in this article to explore the relationship between the opponents’ commands not to marry and to abstain from foods (1 Tim 4: 2–3)  with “Paul’s” instruction to younger “widows” to marry in 1 Timothy 5: 3–15. This exploration will begin by noting that the writer’s purpose in 1 Timothy is to dissuade certain men and women from teaching the other instruction (1 Tim 1: 3–4), which is the command not to marry. It will then consider the link between fasting and sexual continence in the texts of the contemporary physicians, early Christian writers, and Philo of Alexandria, and make the case that the other instruction is about controlling the desire for marriage through diet. However, it will be demonstrated that contemporary physicians were skeptical about women maintaining control of their sexual desires because of the weakness of their bodies. This suggests that the rhetorical scheme used against the opponents is not only conventional, but is a rhetorical play against the medical advice given by the ascetics in their efforts to comply with the command not to marry.”

Hidden Contributions to Pastorals Scholarship

While articles and monographs which focus specifically on the Letters to Timothy and Titus are easily found, some aspect of the letters may be helpfully treated as a distinct subsection in a larger work, and the larger work is such that one might not suspect work on the Pastorals exists in it. A list of over sixty works of that nature are provided at the link below. Works where the title or topic would make it almost inevitable that significant engagement with the Pastorals would be involved — say, church offices in the NT, widows in the NT, or the role of women in the church according to the NT — are largely excluded. For purposes of this post, we’ve limited ourselves to listing English-language scholarship.

The list is accessible here.

Roberts on the Pastorals and the New Perspective

Daniel Roberts has produced a PhD dissertation on the Letters to Timothy and Titus and the New Perspective on Paul; the full-text work is available in ProQuest.

Roberts, Daniel Wayne. “Reading the Pastoral Epistles from a Canonical Perspective in Light of the New Perspective on Paul.” PhD diss., Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, 2020.

Abstract: “The ‘New Perspective on Paul,’ as primarily articulated by E. P. Sanders, James D. G. Dunn, and N. T. Wright, has become a provocative way of understanding Judaism as a pattern of religion characterized by ‘covenantal nomism,’ which stands in contrast to the traditional, Lutheran position that argues the Judaism against which Paul responded was ‘legalistic.’ This ‘new perspective’ of first-century Judaism has remarkably changed the landscape of Pauline studies, but it has done so in isolation from the Pastoral Epistles, which are considered by most critical scholarship to be pseudonymous. Because of the lack of interaction with the Pastoral Epistles by the New Perspective on Paul, this study seeks to test the hermeneutic of the New Perspective on Paul from a canonical perspective, as defined by Brevard Childs, in order to bypass some of the contentious issues of Pauline authorship. The specific passages within the Pastoral Epistles studied in this dissertation were chosen via four tenets of the New Perspective on Paul: Justification and Salvation, Law and Works, Paul’s View of Judaism, and his Opponents. Based on these tenets, the passages studied are 1 Tim 1:6–16, 2:3–7, 2 Tim 1:3, 8–12, and Titus 3:3–7. In consideration of these passages, this dissertation will consider to what degree the New Perspective on Paul’s hermeneutic can find resonance outside ‘undisputed’ Paul. This study is not an attempt to validate or invalidate the New Perspective on Paul, but to test the New Perspective on Paul’s hermeneutic within the Pastoral Epistles.”

JSPL 9.1-2 (2019): “Special Issue: The Pastoral Epistles”

The most recent issue of Journal for the Study of Paul and His Letters contains presentations on the Pastorals from a specialist conference held in Leuven in November 2018. The theme of the conference was “The Pastoral Epistles: Common Themes, Individual Compositions?” (program).

The JSPL issue contains an editor’s introduction, and another introduction to the special issue. An opening essay by Jermo van Nes sets the stage, followed by four sets of essays and responses, and “concluding reflections” by editor Stanley Porter. You can view the contents here, and I’ve compiled the abstracts here.