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.

Couser, “The Believer’s Judgment in 2 Timothy”

Greg Couser has produced a two-part article of interest for students of the Pastorals:

Couser, Gregory A. “The Believer’s Judgment in 2 Timothy, Part 1.” Bibliotheca Sacra 176.703 (2019): 312–26.

________. “The Believer’s Judgment in 2 Timothy, Part 2.” Bibliotheca Sacra 176.704 (2019): 444–58.

Abstract: Paul’s discussion with Timothy in 2 Tim makes multiple references to the eschatological assize (1:12, 15-18; 2:11, 15; 4:1-5, 8, 14, 18).   Along with the frequency of Paul’s references, its importance is emphasized by the central role it plays in motivating and shaping Timothy’s response to the dynamics of the Ephesian situation.   This suggests that the letter has the potential to offer significant insights on Paul’s understanding of the nature of the believer’s future judgment and, thus, on his understanding of the nature of the Christian life in the present.  My investigation attempts to set out the prominent contemporary options on the significance of the believer’s judgment for Paul and then work through the passages in 2 Tim in order to eventually compare and contrast Paul’s extensive treatment of the topic here with the contemporary scholarly options.  In the end, we hope to demonstrate that Paul clearly intimates that the believer’s judgment has more complexity and texture than merely confirming their status as a believer and clearing their way for a full enjoyment of the full consummation of their salvation.  Paul also expects to be recompensed by the Lord in a manner corresponding to his service to him. Paul confidently looks forward to standing before God unashamed having kept his charge (4:17).  However, the potential to maximize one’s faithfulness to Christ as Paul also leaves space for standing before the judge with shame at not doing so, something clearly implied by 2:15.  There is certainly some impact on the believer’s experience of their final salvation in the consummated Kingdom that arises from the character of their service in this life.  There seems to be something to lose should Timothy not fulfill his service to Christ, even as there is something to gain.