do you concur that Colossians and Ephesians are probably not Paul’s work, and that Titus and 1 Timothy are almost definitely not his?

Published by Jeannie R. Ferrell

Nov 16, 2022


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Most scholars think pseudepigraphy played a part in the composition of NT writings, such as the disputed Pauline letters. For example, if this and that letter of Paul have contrary things to say about women’s roles and the place of marriage, then one of them may have been written by a pseudepigrapher, not him. The authorship of some Pauline letters is disputed more than others. The case of 2 Thessalonians could go either way, whereas Colossians and Ephesians are probably not Paul’s work, and the pastoral epistles of Titus and 1-2 Timothy are almost definitely not his. But even if there is some consensus about the pastoral epistles, scholars further debate whether pseudepigraphy is inherently deceptive or not, and this gets into the fascinating territory of speculating on the motives, intent, and logistics of ‘false attribution’ (see Brown pp.210-212).
My Paper Prompts: While you read, please have these prompts in mind and prepare for Critical Engagement Two by taking notes on whatever info will help you formulate an initial response. The prompts are:
• In light of your examination of the evidence in the assigned reading on women’s roles and the place of marriage, do you concur that Colossians and Ephesians are probably not Paul’s work, and that Titus and 1 Timothy are almost definitely not his? If so, what could have been some of the motives of the pseudepigraphers for using Paul’s name, do you think, and was it their intent to deceive? If you don’t think the letters are pseudonymous, why don’t you think so, and how would you account for the evidence?
• As for the non-canonical Acts of Paul and Thecla (which is anonymous not pseudonymous because it doesn’t claim to have been authored by Paul or Thecla), where does that early Christian writing fit in? Could it actually be closer to Paul’s teaching on women’s roles and the place of marriage in the undisputed letters and thus more ‘authentic’ than some of the disputed Paulines in the NT canon?
You Can Narrow It Down: I recommend that you take notes on both of the prompts as you do all the reading; then narrow it down to the one you are most interested in or the one that you think will be the simplest to write about.
You Should Include Citation in Your Notes: You’ll want to include specific chapter- and verse-numbers in your notes, so that you’re ready to cite passages from the NT in your Critical Engagement. About the Acts of Paul and Thecla, it is not divided into chapters and verses; it is divided into sections. And so you can just cite it by section number/s.


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