Were The Pastoral Epistles Written By S. Paul? -- By: A. H. Sayce

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 079:316 (Oct 1922)
Article: Were The Pastoral Epistles Written By S. Paul?
Author: A. H. Sayce

Were The Pastoral Epistles Written By S. Paul?

A. H. Sayce

I must begin with an apology. I am not a New Testament critic; what Biblical work I have done has been mainly confined to the Old Testament; and it is therefore reasonable to ask why I should venture upon the New Testament domain. But both Old and New Testament students are confronted by much the same questions and problems, and a sane and sound critical method must be alike in both cases. And one who does not profess to be a New Testament “specialist,” but whose literary life has been largely occupied with the interpretation and appraisement of ancient Semitic texts has the advantage of approaching the New Testament text with an unprejudiced mind, undisturbed by the conflicting theories of its critics. “Lookers on see most the game,” at all events when they have already had experience of it themselves, and where questions of authorship and the like are involved the outsider’s point of view is likely not only to possess the freshness of common sense but also freedom from the shifting influence of unimportant details.

The main argument of the opponents of the Pauline authorship of the three Pastoral Epistles has been the difference in style between them and the other Epistles of the Apostle. Considering the number of modern writers whose style has varied not only at different periods in their lives but even at the same period to such an extent that had they lived in the Greco-Roman age scholars would have refused to believe their works could have been the products of the same pens, the argument is exceedingly precarious. And reading the Pastoral Epistles with the eyes of the outsider, I am constrained to deny that the argument has a foundation in fact. There is a differ-

ence in style, certainly; but it is superficial, and largely dependent on the changed conditions in the inner life of Christianity to which the Epistles bear witness. On the other hand, I am struck by what is an essential feature in the undisputed Epistles of the Apostle, and what I do not think would have been reproduced in the work of an imitator. This is the want of logical sequence in S. Paul’s thought; he goes off, as it were, at a tangent from a single word which leads him suddenly and inconsequentially into a new train of ideas. This is the really important characteristic of S. Paul’s “style,” and it is as much a feature of the Pastoral Epistles as of those to the Romans or Galatians.

Superficially there are differences, and if the Epistles are genuine these differences must be expected. (1) The Epistles belong to a later period in the Apostles’ life than those which were included in Marcion’s collection. Between the two groups ...

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