Pauline Authorship And The Pastoral Epistles: Implications For Canon -- By: Stanley E. Porter
BBR 5:1 (1995) p. 105
Pauline Authorship And The Pastoral Epistles: Implications For Canon
Roehampton Institute London
The question of authorship usually dominates discussions of the states of the Pastoral Epistles in the New Testament canon. A number of factors have often been suggested as important to consider: chronology, epistolary format, style, content, and theology. This paper’s concern is not ultimately to adjudicate the issue of authorship, but to examine some of the evidence, and then to raise some questions regarding canon that are suggested by the conclusions.
Key words: Pastoral Epistles, Paul, pseudepigraphy, canon, Pauline theology
This paper was first delivered in the Hebrews, Pastoral and General Epistles and Apocalypse Section of the annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature, Chicago, Illinois, 19-22 November 1994.
In considering the status of the Pastoral Epistles in the New Testament canon, the issue usually reduces down to that of authorship. That is, was Paul the author and/or originator of the letters (even if he had some form of help or assistance in their composition), or was he not, in which case though attributed to him were they composed by someone else and hence are they pseudepigraphal? In arriving at an answer, a number of factors have often been suggested as important to consider: chronology, epistolary format, style, content, and theology.1 It is one of the received traditions in New Testament scholarship that Paul is not the author of the Pastoral Epistles, a view held by the vast majority of scholars, although there are a few
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well-known and outspoken voices to the contrary.2 My concern is not ultimately to adjudicate this dispute, but to examine some of the evidence and then to raise some questions regarding canon that are suggested by the conclusions.
In the formulation above, I have drawn a disjunction between Pauline and non-Pauline authorship. There is a distinct possibility, however, that the equation is more complex than that, and that there may be intermediary positions. It has been suggested that Paul may well have had scribal help, such as by Luke (2 Tim 4:11), in composing the letter.3 Although we know quite a bit about the widespread use of scribes of various sorts in the ancient world,4 we do not know very much of direct relevance concerning how Paul used his scribes....
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