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There is strong consensus in modern New Testament scholarship on a core group of authentic Pauline epistles whose authorship is rarely contested: Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, 1 Thessalonians, and Philemon. Several additional letters bearing Paul's name are disputed among scholars, namely Ephesians, Colossians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 and 2 Timothy, and Titus. Scholarly opinion is sharply divided on whether or not Colossians and 2 Thessalonians are genuine letters of Paul. The remaining four contested epistles – Ephesians, as well as the three known as the Pastoral epistles (1 and 2 Timothy, and Titus) – have been labeled pseudepigraphical works by most critical scholars. Some scholars have proposed that Paul may have used an amanuensis, or secretary, in writing the disputed letters, although such a solution would not explain the fact that the disputed letters appear to have been written at least a decade after Paul’s death.
The Epistle to the Hebrews is actually anonymous, but it has been traditionally attributed to Paul. The church father Origen of Alexandria rejected the Pauline authorship of Hebrews, instead asserting that, although the ideas expressed in the letter were genuinely Pauline, the letter itself had actually been written by someone else. Most modern scholars generally agree that Hebrews was not written by the apostle Paul. Various other possible authorships have been suggested.
|Undisputed||Authentic Pauline epistles|
may be authentic
probably not authentic
Criteria used by scholars
Scholars use a number of methods of historiography and higher criticism to determine whether a text is properly attributed to its author. The primary methods used for Paul's letters are the following:
Internal evidence consists of what the author states about themself in the letter, either explicitly – the author clearly identifies themself – or implicitly – provides autobiographical details. This evidence is important in spite of its problems. For example, because the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews never identified him or herself, scholars as early as Origen of Alexandria in the 3rd century suspected that Paul was not the author.
This consists of references, again either explicit or implicit, to the text, especially during earliest times by those who had access to reliable sources now lost. Explicit references would be mentioning the text or letter by name, or a recognizable form of that text. Examples include a list of accepted biblical books, such as the Muratorian fragment, or the contents of an early manuscript, such as Papyrus 46. Unfortunately, these witnesses are often either damaged or too late in date to provide much help.
Implicit references are quotation from Paul, especially indirect or unattributed, or expressing ideas and phrases that appear in his works. This use or reference implies the material quoted was in existence at the time the external evidence was created. For example, the Second Epistle to the Thessalonians is named by Irenaeus in the mid-2nd century, as well as Justin Martyr and Ignatius of Antioch; it is considered unlikely for the surviving version of this letter to have been written after this time. On the other hand, lack of witness by ancient sources suggests a later date, an argument from silence. However, use of this line of reasoning is dangerous, because of the incompleteness of the historical record: many ancient texts are lost, damaged, have been revised or possibly contrived.
An independently written narrative of Paul's life and ministry, found in the Acts of the Apostles, is used to determine the date, and possible authorship, of Pauline letters by locating their origin within the context of his life. For example, Paul mentions that he is a prisoner in his Epistle to Philemon 1:7; based on this statement, J. A. T. Robinson argued that this captivity was Paul's imprisonment in Caesarea, while W. M. Ramsay identified this as Paul's captivity in Rome, while others have placed the captivity in Ephesus.
One difficulty with this position is the limited data available on Paul's historical setting, and this is especially true with the conclusion of the narrative of Acts prior to Paul's death. It also assumes that the book of Acts was written by an actual traveling companion of Paul's. Recent scholarship challenges the validity of using the Acts of the Apostles to determine anything about Pauline letters. Borg and Crossan cautiously comment that "the author of Acts was not concerned with factual inerrancy"; Dewey et al. note in similar vein that "in much of Acts as a whole, Luke gives us historical fiction rather than an historical report." They therefore "recommend against using Acts, either as a whole or in part, as a historical source for Paul's career".
Language and style
Vocabulary, sentence structure, employment of idioms and common phrases, etc. are analyzed for consistency with the author's other known works. A similar style implies common authorship, while a radically divergent vocabulary implies different authors. For example, E. J. Goodspeed argued that the vocabulary of the Epistle to the Ephesians showed a literary relationship with the First Epistle of Clement, written around the end of the 1st century. Similarly, E. Percy argued that the speech and style of Colossians more strongly resembled Pauline authorship than not. Of course, style and language can vary for reasons other than differing authorship, such as the subject of the letter, the recipient, the circumstances of the times, a different amanuensis, or simply maturation on the part of the author.
Contents and theology
Similar to internal evidence, doctrinal consistency and development are examined against the author's other known works. Theological themes like the eschaton or the Mosaic Law could reappear in different works, but in a similar manner. A consistent point of view implies a common author; contradictory or unrelated teachings imply multiple authors. For example, W. Michaelis saw the Christological likeness between the Pastoral Epistles and some of Paul's undisputed works, and argued in favor of Pauline authorship. A problem with this method is analyzing the coherence of a body of diverse and developing teachings. This is seen in the disagreement between scholars. For example, with the same epistles mentioned above, B. S. Easton argued their theological notions disagreed with other Pauline works and rejected Pauline authorship. G. Lohfink argued the theology of the Pastoral epistles agreed with Paul's, but took this as proof someone wishing to enjoy the authority of an apostle copied the famous church leader.
The name "undisputed" epistles represents the scholarly consensus asserting that Paul authored each letter.
The undisputed letters are:
These seven letters are quoted or mentioned by the earliest of sources, and are included in every ancient canon, including that of Marcion (c. 140). There is no record of scholarly doubt concerning authorship until the 19th century when, around 1840, German scholar Ferdinand Christian Baur accepted only four of the letters bearing Paul's name as genuine, which he called the Hauptebriefe (Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, and Galatians). Hilgenfeld (1875) and H. J. Holtzmann (1885) expanded Baur's four into seven, by adding Philemon, 1 Thessalonians, and Philippians.
Nowadays, few scholars argue against this list of seven epistles, which all share common themes, emphasis, vocabulary and style. They also exhibit a uniformity of doctrine concerning the Mosaic Law, Christ, and faith.
Although Colossians is witnessed by the same historical sources as the undisputed texts, Pauline authorship of Colossians has found some critics. It was originally doubted by F. C. Baur, though others working from his general thesis, such as H. J. Holtzmann, argued that an original brief Pauline text experienced many interpolations by a later editor. The basis for this early objection was that the letter aimed at refuting Gnosticism, a heresy which had not reached its ascendancy until the early 2nd century. This thesis subsequently declined, especially following an analysis of Gnosticism by R. Wilson, in which he contended that the supposed parallels to Gnosticism were unsupported.
Another argument centers on differences in style and vocabulary. W. Bujard attempted to show significant stylistic differences between Colossians and Paul's other works, such as unusual genitive constructions. Others have analyzed the style and reached opposite conclusions.
The extensiveness of the theological development in the epistle compared to other epistles has also led to skepticism concerning Pauline authorship. H. Conzelmann made such an argument, pointing to differing theological concepts of "hope". Others accepting this analysis have asserted that the text is merely a late text of Paul, though the thesis has not found wide scholarly concurrence. Many have argued that Colossians has an ecclesiology that is incompatible with the authentic Pauline texts. While Romans and 1 Corinthians, like Colossians, speak of a body of Christ, it is clear that Paul imagines the church as the body of Christ on earth (Rom 7:4, 12:5; 1 Cor 12:27). Conversely, the text of Colossians seems to imagine that Christ is the head of the body, which is the church (Col 1:18). Additionally, detractors of the traditional authorship of Colossians point to the work's "realized eschatology." Whereas Paul, an apocalyptic Jew, anticipated the bodily resurrection of the faithful in the future (Rom 6:4-5), Colossians indicates that believers have already been raised with Christ (2:12; 3:1). Similarly, though Paul envisions Christ's triumph over rulers and authorities as a future event (1 Cor 15:24), Colossians 2:15 acknowledges this as having already occurred. Another intriguing distinction between the Colossian correspondence and the "7 authentic letters" is the lack of a financial request for the poor in Jerusalem. Kiley notes that while every one of Paul's "authentic" letters wish for financial report, Colossians is mysteriously lacking such a request.
The connection between Colossians and Philemon, an undisputed letter, is significant. A certain Archippus is referred to in both Philemon 2 and Colossians 4:17, and the greetings of both letters bear similar names. Additionally, the nearly identical phrases of Philemon 5 and Colossians 1:4 and the presence of Onesimus in both letters stands out. However, the connection between the two epistles can be used by those on both sides of the Pauline vs. deutero-Pauline debate. To those who favor Pauline authorship of Colossians, this is evidence of same authorship; to those who do not, this, combined with the other evidence noted, is indicative of a skillful forger.
The author of Ephesians claims to be Paul in the opening address, itself identical to those of Second Corinthians and Colossians. There were no doubts in the late-second century church that Paul wrote the epistle: it was quoted authoritatively by church fathers, including Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria, and Irenaeus, among others. Ephesians may be an amended version of the letter to the Laodiceans in the Marcion canon (130) and the Muratorian fragment (before 180).
The letter is made up of 50 sentences, 9 with over 50 words. The closest, Romans, has 3 out of 581 sentences of such length. E. J. Goodspeed, and C. L. Mitton argued the style was unlike Paul's other works. Many words in the letter are not in the "undisputed" epistles. However, still, some scholars do not find the style of Ephesians to be unlike Paul's authentic letters. In antiquity, the Greek Church Fathers, many of whom noticed the divergent Greek style of Hebrews, made no such comments about Ephesians.
In this letter, the word ecclesia is used to refer theologically to the universal church rather than, as Paul typically employs it, to the local churches that he had founded. Also, the eschatological tone is more subdued than in other letters: the expectation of Christ's imminent return is unmentioned, while future generations are (3:21), as is a concern for social order. W. G. Kümmel argued that the theology is later than Paul.
There is a close literary relationship between the Colossians and Ephesians. E. F. Scott argued that Paul used one letter as a model for the other, whereas others have considered Ephesians to be derivative of Colossians, edited and reworked by another. Donald Guthrie summarized the implications of this: "Advocates of non-Pauline authorship find it difficult to conceive that one mind could have produced two works possessing so remarkable a degree of similarity in theme and phraseology and yet differing in so many other respects, whereas advocates of Pauline authorship are equally emphatic that two minds could not have produced two such works with so much subtle interdependence blended with independence."
Paul founded and built up the church in Ephesus; however, this letter does not appear to contain the usual specific greetings, seen in Paul's other letters, addressed to people he remembers. There is some evidence that the Letter to the Ephesians might have been sent to several different churches. Some of the oldest manuscripts of this letter are not addressed to "God's holy people who are at Ephesus," but merely to "God's holy people." Marcion, around 140, quoted from this letter and attributed the quote to Paul's "Letter to the Laodiceans." In the 17th century, James Ussher suggested that this might have been a "circular letter" that Paul sent to several churches, including Ephesus and Laodicea. This would explain why Paul's usual personal greetings are absent: these could not be included in a letter sent to several different churches.
Summary of the reasons for thinking Ephesians is not by Paul:
- The language and style are different. Ephesians contains 40 new words, e.g. 1:3 "heavenly places"; "family, or fatherhood" (3:15). 1:19 has four different words for "power"; Ephesians and Colossians use a different word for "reconcile" from Paul's word (Col 1:20, 22; Eph 2:16). And they both use many very long sentences, e.g. 1:3-14; 1:15-23; 3:1-7; 4:11-16; 6:14-20. Also Col 1:9-20.
- Ephesians is similar to Colossians at many places. Eph has 155 verses, 73 of which are similar to ones from Col: e.g. Eph 4:1-2 ≈ Col 3:12-13, Eph 5:19-20 ≈ Col 3:16-17, Eph 6:21-22 ≈ Col 4:7-8.
- Ephesians takes many key ideas from Colossians. Wisdom, mystery. The word of truth. Gospel of salvation. Saints of God.
- Ephesians also refers to most of the other letters of Paul. In many ways it seems like a summary of Paul's ideas, written by a disciple of his, and brought up to date for the Church of his own time.
- Metaphors, or illustrations in Paul are turned into actual objective realities in Ephesians (and sometimes in Colossians also). E.g. faith, gospel, word of God, reconciliation, salvation, human resurrection and glorification, the Church as the Body of Christ, Minister, Saints of God.
- Ephesians shows that the Church is becoming an advanced and powerful universal institution. In Paul's time there was no universal Church in that sense, but only informal gatherings of individual believing communities.
- Ephesians contains no mention of charismatic gifts.
- Ephesians shows Jesus acting on his own account and by his own authority without making explicit that he is acting on God's behalf and with God's blessing; in Paul's other letters, this is more explicit.
See the section above on Colossians for the view of N.T. Wright.
Second Epistle to the Thessalonians
The epistle was included in the Marcion canon and the Muratorian fragment; it was mentioned by name by Irenaeus, and quoted by Ignatius, Justin, and Polycarp. The Pauline authorship of 2 Thessalonians was first questioned by J.E.C. Schmidt in 1801. In recent times, criticism of Pauline authorship was raised by H. J. Holtzmann and G. Hollmann (see above). Much of the dispute concerns the linguistic similarity between 1 Thessalonians and 2 Thessalonians. For example, 1 Thessalonians 2:9 is almost identical to 2 Thessalonians 3:8. This has been explained in the following ways: Paul wrote 2 Thessalonians soon after writing 1 Thessalonians or with the aid of a copy of 1 Thessalonians, or Paul wrote 1 Thessalonians himself but a later writer imitated him, or the linguistic similarities are seen as subtle enough to make imitation an unnecessary hypothesis.
Udo Schnelle argued that 2 Thessalonians was significantly different in style from the undisputed epistles, characterizing it as whole and narrow, rather than as a lively and abrupt discussion on a range of issues. Moreover, Alfred Loisy argued that it reflected knowledge of the synoptic gospels, which, according to the current scholarly consensus, had not been written when Paul wrote his epistles. Bart D. Ehrman viewed the insistence of genuineness within the letter and the strong condemnation of forgery at its start as ploys commonly used by forgers. G. Milligan observed that a church which possessed an authentic letter of Paul would be unlikely to accept a fake addressed to them. However, Milligan's analysis assumes that 2 Thessalonians is not a late forgery and thus was received by the Thessalonian community.
2 Thessalonians is often regarded as pseudonymous due to its apparent divergence in theology/content from Paul's authentic letters. Perhaps the most frequent attack on authenticity concerns the letter's eschatology in relation to 1 Thessalonians and the rest of the Pauline corpus. It is often said that 1 Thessalonians (4:15; 5:2-3), like the historical Paul (1 Cor 7:29; Phil 4:5), expects an imminent end to the world, while 2 Thessalonians sees it as a future event (3:6-12). However, others understand 2 Thessalonians to be a correction of his audience's misunderstanding of 1 Thessalonians, which explains Paul's tone shift.
It has also been argued that the Christology of 2 Thessalonians is at odds with the true Paul, as what is attributed to Jesus in 2 Thessalonians is normally attributed to God in his other letters. As identified by M.J.J. Menken, several phrases in 2 Thessalonians seem to share a theme with phrases in 1 Thessalonians, yet with an elevated role of Christ. In particular, Jesus is described as the giver of salvation rather than God (2 Thess 2:13 vs. 1 Thess 1:4). Norman Perrin claimed that, in the time of Paul, prayer usually treated God the Father as ultimate judge, rather than Jesus. From this hypothesis he contrasted 2 Thessalonians 3:5 with 1 Thessalonians 3:13 and contended that 2 Thessalonians was written sometime after Paul's death. Still, some see the texts in 2 Thessalonians that seem to elevate the role of Christ as overblown. Abraham Malherbe, for example, acknowledges the presence of Jesus as eschatological judge already in 1 Thessalonians 2:19; 3:11-12.
2 Thessalonians 2:2 seems to warn its readers against accepting teachings from a letter forged in Paul's name, indicating that either a pseudonymous author was attempting to disarm the letter's audience into accepting his forgery as authentically Pauline, or that Paul himself was writing to warn his readers that forged letters were being circulated in his name.
The First Epistle to Timothy, the Second Epistle to Timothy, and the Epistle to Titus are often referred to as the Pastoral Epistles and are the most disputed of all the epistles ascribed to Paul.
Despite this, these epistles were accepted as genuine by many, perhaps most of the ante-Nicene Church Fathers. Some scholars have argued that the letters were certainly accepted as Pauline by the time of Irenaeus. They were also included in the Muratorian fragment. According to Jerome, the gnostic Christian Basilides also rejected these epistles, and Tatian, while accepting Titus, rejected other Pauline epistles. Marcion (c. 140) excluded all three, along with Hebrews, from his otherwise complete Pauline corpus, and it is impossible to determine whether or not he knew of them. Donald Guthrie, for instance, argues that Marcion's theology would have been cause to reject the letters since it was incompatible with certain passages, such as 1 Tim 1:8 and 1 Tim 6:20, while Ehrman suggests that 2nd-century proto-orthodox Christians had motivation to forge the Pastorals to combat the Gnostic use of other Pauline epistles. Even the ancient writer Tertullian (c. 220), in Adv. Marc. V.21, expresses confusion as to why these epistles had not been included in Marcion's canon. Modern scholars postulate that the Pauline Epistles originally circulated in three forms, for example, from The Canon Debate, attributed to Harry Y. Gamble:
- "Marcion's collection that begins with Galatians and ends with Philemon;"
- "Papyrus 46, dated about 200, that follows the order that became established except for reversing Ephesians and Galatians;"
- "[T]he letters to seven churches, treating those to the same church as one letter and basing the order on length, so that Corinthians is first and Colossians (perhaps including Philemon) is last."
Beginning in the early 19th century, many German biblical scholars began to question the traditional attribution of these letters to Paul. The vocabulary and phraseology used in the Pastorals is often at variance with that of the other epistles. Over 1/3 of the vocabulary is not used anywhere else in the Pauline epistles, and over 1/5 is not used anywhere else in the New Testament, while 2/3 of the non-Pauline vocabulary is used by 2nd-century Christian writers. For this reason, and because of a claimed precedence of 1 Clement, some scholars have associated these works with later 2nd-century Christian writings. The precedence of 1 Clement was challenged by R. Falconer, while L. T. Johnson challenged the linguistic analysis as based on the arbitrary grouping of the three epistles together: he argued that this obscures the alleged similarities between 1 Timothy and 1 Corinthians, between Titus and the other travel letters, and between 2 Timothy and Philippians.
Norman Perrin argued that Paul's travels to Crete (Titus 1:5-6), again to Ephesus (1 Tim 1:3), Nicopolis (Titus 3:12), and Troas (2 Tim 1:15, 4:13) cannot be fit into any reconstruction of Paul's life or works as determined from the other epistles or from Acts. In this he was preceded by several scholars who rejected Pauline authorship. Robinson argued against this analysis, while others have debated whether this should be grounds for rejection of Pauline authorship, as Acts concludes while Paul is still alive. Harnack, Lightfoot and other scholars have suggested hypothetical scenarios that would have these epistles written near the end of Paul's life without contradicting biographical information in the other epistles or Acts. Scholars arguing for the authenticity of the pastorals posit a "second career" of Paul to explain the occasion for the visits mentioned in these letters, though contemporary scholars generally consider the "second career" of Paul to be a creation of later Christian communities.
Other reasons for a 2nd-century date have been argued. The Pastoral Epistles lay out church organization concerning the character and requirements for bishops, elders, deacons, and widows. Some scholars have claimed that these offices could not have appeared during Paul's lifetime. In terms of theology, some scholars claim that the Pastorals reflect more the characteristics of 2nd century (Proto-orthodox) church thought, than those of the 1st century. In particular, whilst in the 1st century the idea of Christ's return being immediate was current (see parousia, as also described in the non-pastoral epistles), in the 2nd century it was seen as more distant, matching the choice of the pastorals to lay down instructions for a long time after the passing away of the apostles. Lastly, some have argued that the Pastorals condemn forms of Hellenic mysticism and gnosticism, which were seen as not significant in the 1st century; however, recent scholarship of 1st-century Gnosticism has suggested an earlier dominance of Gnostic views.
Unlike the thirteen epistles above, the Epistle to the Hebrews is internally anonymous. Moreover, scholars such as Robert Grant have noted the many obvious differences in language and style between Hebrews and the correspondence explicitly ascribed to Paul.
Church Fathers and ante-Nicene writers such as Tertullian noted the different manner in which the theology and doctrine of the epistle appear. This variance led many to name other candidates for authorship, such as the fellow traveller of Paul called Barnabas (favored by Tertullian), a follower of John the Baptist called Apollos (favored by Martin Luther and several modern scholars), as well as less likely candidates such as Silas and even Priscilla.
Origen of Alexandria (c. 240), as quoted by Eusebius (c. 330) had this to say on the matter: "That the character of the diction of the epistle entitled To the Hebrews has not the apostle's rudeness in speech, who confessed himself rude in speech, that is, in style, but that the epistle is better Greek in the framing of its diction, will be admitted by everyone who is able to discern differences of style. But again, on the other hand, that the thoughts of the epistle are admirable, and not inferior to the acknowledged writings of the apostle, to this also everyone will consent as true who has given attention to reading the apostle…. But as for myself, if I were to state my own opinion, I should say that the thoughts are the apostle's, but that the style and composition belonged to one who called to mind the apostle's teachings and, as it were, made short notes of what his master said. If any church, therefore, holds this epistle as Paul's, let it be commended for this also. For not without reason have the men of old handed it down as Paul's. But who wrote the epistle, in truth God knows. Yet the account which has reached us [is twofold], some saying that Clement, who was bishop of the Romans, wrote the epistle, others, that it was Luke, he who wrote the Gospel and the Acts."
Modern scholars consider the evidence against Pauline authorship of Hebrews too solid for dispute. Donald Guthrie, in his New Testament Introduction (1976), commented that "most modern writers find more difficulty in imagining how this Epistle was ever attributed to Paul than in disposing of the theory." Harold Attridge states that "it is certainly not a work of the apostle"; Daniel Wallace states, "the arguments against Pauline authorship [...] are conclusive." As a result, few supporters of Pauline authorship remain. As Richard Heard notes, in his Introduction to The New Testament, "modern critics have confirmed that the epistle cannot be attributed to Paul and have for the most part agreed with Origen's judgement, 'But as to who wrote the epistle, God knows the truth.'"
History of the Pauline canon
There are no preserved lists of a Christian New Testament canon from the 1st century and early 2nd century.
Pope Clement I (c. 35-99 AD) quotes from 1 Corinthians and alludes to Paul's epistles to the Romans, Galatians, Ephesians, and Philippians, Titus, 1 Timothy, numerous phrases from the Epistle to the Hebrews, and possible material from the Acts of the Apostles.
Polycarp of Smyrna (69–156 AD) not only quoted from 2 Thessalonians but also the Gospel of Matthew, Gospel of Mark, Gospel of Luke, Acts of the Apostles, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, 1 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Epistle to the Hebrews, 1 Peter, 1 John, 3 John.
The earliest extant canon containing Paul's letters is from the 2nd century:
- It is a canon compiled by Marcion, the founder of Marcionism. Marcion did not include any of the modern Gospels, only his Gospel of Marcion, which according to his enemies he had edited from the Gospel of Luke, whereas he claimed that it was their version which was edited from his original gospel. He includes ten epistles by Paul, omitting the Pastoral Epistles (Titus, 1 and 2 Timothy), as well as To the Hebrews.
- The Muratorian fragment (c. 140) accepts all Pauline epistles as authentic, but does not mention the Epistle to the Hebrews and rejects the Epistle to the Laodiceans and the Epistle to the Alexandrians as spurious.
- Papyrus 46, one of the oldest New Testament manuscripts (c. 200), contains the last eight chapters of Romans; all of Hebrews; virtually all of 1–2 Corinthians; all of Ephesians, Galatians, Philippians, Colossians; and two chapters of 1 Thessalonians. Because it is damaged there is no scholarly consensus on whether to consider the omission of a text definitive.
In the nineteenth-century, a group of scholars at the University of Tübingen, led by Ferdinand Christian Baur, engaged in radical bible study, including the claim that only Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, and Galatians were authored by Paul (i.e. Hauptbriefe). During the same period, another group of Dutch scholars led by Allard Pierson (Dutch Radical School), argued that all Pauline epistles were pseudepigrapha, a view that was also shared by Bruno Bauer, Rudolf Steck and Arthur Drews.
- Authorship of Luke–Acts
- Authorship of the Johannine works
- Authorship of the Petrine epistles
- Historicity of Jesus
- History of Christianity
- New Testament apocrypha
- Papyrus 46
- Textual criticism
- While seven of, 1972), 124-28. the letters traditionally attributed to Paul (Romans, 1-2 Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, 1 Thessalonians, and Philemon) are routinely accepted as authentic in modern scholarship, Ephesians, Colossians, 2 Thessalonians, 1-2 Timothy, and Titus remain disputed. For a relatively recent overview, see MacDonald, Margaret T. "The Deutero-Pauline Letters in Contemporary Research," in The Oxford Handbook of Pauline Studies (New York: Oxford University Press, 2014), 258-279.
- Richards, E. Randolph. Paul and First-Century Letter Writing: Secretaries, Composition and Collection. Downers Grove, IL; Leicester, England: InterVarsity Press; Apollos, 2004. Or even that Paul's frequent co-authors (i.e. Timothy, Silas, and Sosthenes) contributed to the style/theology of some of the Pauline epistles: Johnson, The First and Second Letters to Timothy, 55-97.
- Though Hebrews was almost certainly not written by Paul, it was adopted into the Pauline corpus from a very early date, including the third century CE Chester Beatty Papyrus (P46). Attridge, Harold W. Hebrews: A Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews (Hermeneia; Philadelphia, PA: Fortress Press, 1989), 1.
- [Origen of Alexandria, quoted by] Eusebius of Alexandria. Ecclesiastical History 6.25.
- The most famous of which argues for Lukan authorship. For a survey, see: Lewis, David A. "The Authorship of Hebrews: Historical Survey of the Lukan Theory." Criswell Theological Review 8, no. 2 (2011): 3-18.
- Ehrman, Bart (16 December 2014). "Pauline Forgeries: 2 Thessalonians as a Test Case". The Bart Ehrman Blog. Bart Ehrman Foundation. Retrieved 21 February 2022.
Scholars normally place the thirteen Pauline letters of the New Testament into three categories: The Pastoral Epistles of 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus, which are very widely recognized as having been written by someone other than Paul; the Deutero-Pauline letters of Ephesians, Colossians, and 2 Thessalonians, which are fairly widely as being written by other authors (three different authors; these must be judged as authentic or not on a case by case basis); and the other seven letters, which are called the 'Undisputed Paulines': Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, 1 Thessalonians, and Philemon.
- pg 61 of Robinson, J. A. T. (1976). Redating the New Testament. Westminster Press. ISBN 0664213367.
- Ramsay, Sir W. M. (1920). St. Paul the Traveller. pg. 357.
- Borg and Crossan, The First Paul. HarperOne, New York. p 22.
- Dewey et al, The Authentic Letters of Paul. Polebridge Press, Salem, Oregon, 2010. pp 13 and 166.
- Goodspeed, E. J. (1956). Key to Ephesians., vii. Holmes, The Apostolic Fathers, 35. ISBN 978-0-8010-3468-8 dates 1 Clement to the last few decades of the first century CE.
- E. Percy, Die Probleme der Kolosser und Epheserbriefe (1964), 66.
- W. Michaelis Pastoralbriefe und Gefangenschaftsbriefe (1930) pp. 99-100. More recently, some, such as Linda Belleville, "Christology, Greco-Roman Religious Piety, and the Pseudonymity of the Pastoral Letters," in Paul and Pseudepigraphy ed. Stanley E. Porter and G.P Fewster (PAST 8; Ledien: Brill, 2013), 221-44, have downplayed the differences between the Pastorals and "authentic epistles."
- B.S. Easton, The Pastoral Epistles (1948) p. 25. This is the conclusion of Ehrman, Forgery and Counterforgery
- G. Lonhfink, Paulinische Theologie in der Rezeption der Pastoralbrief, in Paulus in den neutestamentlichen Spatschriften ed. K. Kertelge, (1981) pp. 70–121. A similar argument was put forth by P.N. Harrison's The Problem of the Pastoral Epistles (1921).
- Romans 16:22
- Bruce, F.F. The History of New Testament Study, Marshall, I. Howard, (ed.), New Testament Interpretation: Essays on Principles and Methods, 1977, Carlisle: The Paternoster Press, revised 1979. ISBN 0-85364-424-1. p.23
- Copan, Paul; Craig, William Lane (2012). Come Let Us Reason: New Essays in Christian Apologetics. B&H Publishing Group. ISBN 978-1-4336-7220-0.
- see F.F. Bruce, Colossians p. 172; also, Holtzman, Kritik der Epheser u. Kolosserbriefe (1872); some have attempted to locate the origin of doubt with T. Mayerhoff as early as 1838 in his work Der Brief an die Kolosser.
- R. McL. Wilson, Gnosis and the New Testament (1958) p. 175.
- 1:27, 2:11, 2:19, 3:24
- W. Bujard, Stilanalytische Untersuchungen zum Kolosserfrief als Beitrag zur Methodik von Sprachvergleichen (1973) see the commentary in Guthrie pp. 574–5
- Such as Pascuzzi, "Reconsidering the Authorship of Colossians," who does not find Colossians' stylistic divergence from the authentic epistles enough to question its Pauline authorship.
- H. Conzelmann, An Outline of the Theology of the New Testament (1969) p. 314.
- see, for example, G. Cannon The Use of Traditional Materials in Colossians (1983) pp. 196-203.
- One such example is that of James D.G. Dunn (1996), The Epistles to the Colossians and to Philemon: A commentary on the Greek text. William B. Eerdmans Pub.
- Dunn, James D.G. Dunn (1996). The Epistles to the Colossians and to Philemon: A commentary on the Greek text. William B. Eerdmans Pub[page needed]; Kiley, Mark (1983). Colossians as Pseudepigraphy (Thesis).[page needed]
- Hobson, Donald (1968). The Authorship of Colossians (Thesis). OCLC 57370015. ProQuest 302329741.[page needed]
- This was first put forth by Kiley, Mark (1983). Colossians as Pseudepigraphy (Thesis).[page needed][non-primary source needed]
- Philemon 23–24, Colossians 4:10–14
- Tertullian, Against Marcion 5.22.17
- Clement of Alexandria, Stromata 4.65
- Irenaeus, Adversus Haereses 5.2.3
- Assuming his Epistle to the Laodiceans referred to Ephesians and not the apocryphal Epistle to the Laodiceans or another text no longer extant.
- Goodspeed, E. J. (1956). Key to Ephesians., vi
- Mitton, The Epistle to the Ephesians (1951) p. ii
- van Nes, Jermo (March 2018). "Missing 'Particles' in Disputed Pauline Letters? A Question of Method". Journal for the Study of the New Testament. 40 (3): 383–398. doi:10.1177/0142064x18755907. hdl:2263/69051. S2CID 220297841.
- P. Feine and J. Kummel, Einleitung in das Neue Testament (English translation Kummel) p. 360
- See, in particular, Eph 6:21-22 and Col 4:7-8, as well as numerous shared phrases throughout both texts.
- Scott, The Epistles of Paul to the Colossians, to Philemon and to the Ephesians (1930) p. 121.
- Mitton, The Epistle to the Ephesians (1951) pp. 245-255. This remains the dominant position in scholarship: that Ephesians used and expanded the text of Colossians. See David A. deSilva, Ephesians (NCBC; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2022), 29.
- Guthrie, Donald (1990). New Testament Introduction. Hazell Books. ISBN 0-85111-761-9.pg. 511. For an in-depth look at the relationship between Ephesians and Colossians, see Best, E. (January 1997). "Who Used Whom? The Relationship of Ephesians and Colossians". New Testament Studies. 43 (1): 72–96. doi:10.1017/S0028688500022505. S2CID 170292233.
- See Kümmel, Werner G. (1996). Introduction to the New Testament. Abingdon Pr. ISBN 0-687-05576-8.
- Guthrie, Donald (1990). New Testament Introduction. Hazell Books. ISBN 0-85111-761-9.pg. 593.
- G. Milligan, Saint Paul's Epistles to the Thessalonians (1908) vi, ix, p. 448.
- See C. Masson, Les Epitres aux Thessaloniciens (1957) pp. 10-11; Wolfgang Trilling, Untersuchungen zum zweiten Thessalonicherbrief (Leipzig: St. Benno, 1972), 124-28.
- This is argued in Bart D. Ehrman, Forged (2011), 105-108.
- Abraham J. Malherbe, The Letters to the Thessalonians (Anchor 32B; New Haven, CT: Doubleday, 2000), 368, 373.
- M.J.J. Menken, “Getransformeerde traditie: christologie in 2 Tessalonicenzen.” Inaugural address, Catholic University of Utrecht, 1994.
- Abraham J. Malherbe, The Letters to the Thessalonians (Anchor 32B; New Haven, CT: Doubleday, 2000), 369.
- However, more recent scholarship has attempted to view the authenticity of the Pastorals individually, rather than collectively, as was common in previous generations. For example, Jerome Murphy-O'Connor, Paul: A Critical Life (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998), 357-359, accepts the authenticity of 2 Timothy, while rejecting 1 Timothy and Titus.
- A few Fathers do not mention these epistles by name, instead quoting passages found in these letters (without making it clear that they are quoting anything at all), and there is no evidence in the surviving writings of Ignatius and Justin Martyr that proves their familiarity with these texts.
- Davis, Glen (1997–2006). "Cross Reference Table: Writings and Authorities". The Development of the Canon of the New Testament. Archived from the original on 30 August 2006. Retrieved 2006-09-23.
- see Bernard, J. H. (1899). The Pastoral Epistles. xv; James, J. D. (1906). The Genuineness and Authorship of the Pastoral Epistles.pp. 5-24
- Guthrie, Donald (1990). New Testament Introduction. Hazell Books. ISBN 0-85111-761-9.pg. 610.
- Ehrman, Bart D. (2003). Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew. New York: Oxford. ISBN 0-19-514183-0. pg. 240.
- chapter 18, page 300, note 21
- Perrin, Norman (1974). The New Testament, an Introduction: Proclamation and Parenesis, Myth and History. Harcourt College Pub. ISBN 0-15-565725-9. pg 264-5.
- Harrison, P. N. (1921). The Problem of the Pastoral Epistles. p177, Streeter, B. H. (1929). The Primitive Church. p. 153
- Falconer, Sir R. (1937). The Pastoral Epistles. p. 5
- Holtzmann, Dibelius, and Goodspeed, for example.
- Robinson, J. A. T. (1976). Redating the New Testament. Westminster Press. ISBN 0664213367. pp. 67-85
- Brown, Raymond E. (1997). Introduction to the New Testament. New York: Anchor Bible. ISBN 0-385-24767-2. pg. 675
- Ehrman, Bart D. (2004). The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings. New York: Oxford. ISBN 0-19-515462-2. pg. 391. Though, Johnson, The First and Second Letters to Timothy: 74-76 warns that a change in church hierarchy would not necessitate decades of time.
- B.S. Easton, The Pastoral Epistles (1948) pp. 1-2
- Guthrie, Donald (1990). New Testament Introduction. Hazell Books. ISBN 0-85111-761-9.pg. 617-18
- Robert M. Grant A Historical Introduction To The New Testament Archived February 17, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
- De Pudicitia, XX
- Eusebius, Church History 6.25.11-14
- Jeffrey S. Bowman, "The Authorship of the Book of Hebrews" Archived February 8, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
- http://earlychristianwritings.com/hebrews.html Peter Kirby, EarlyChristianWritings.com
- Daniel Wallace, "Hebrews: Introduction, Argument and Outline"
- Richard Heard (1950). Introduction To The New Testament. Archived from the original on 2011-03-06. Retrieved 2010-07-30.
- 2 Pet 3:15
- Barton, John; Muddiman, John (2007-01-25). The Oxford Bible Commentary. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-927718-6.
- Metzger, Bruce M. (1997-03-06). The Canon of the New Testament: Its Origin, Development, and Significance. Clarendon Press. ISBN 978-0-19-160687-8.
- The Development of the Canon of the New Testament – Ignatius. Lookadoo, Jonathon (15 July 2019). "Ignatius of Antioch and Scripture". Zeitschrift für Antikes Christentum / Journal of Ancient Christianity. 23 (2): 201–227. doi:10.1515/zac-2019-0012. S2CID 199547296. notes the scriptural quotations in the Ignatian corpus.
- Epistle to the Philippians. Polycarp's quotations of 1-2 Timothy is discussed in Lookadoo, Jonathon (20 September 2017). "Polycarp, Paul, and the Letters to Timothy". Novum Testamentum. 59 (4): 366–383. doi:10.1163/15685365-12341574. JSTOR 26566508.
- Cho, Ho Hyung (30 April 2019). "ὁ νόμος τοῦ Χριστοῦ Reconsidered". Canon&Culture. 13 (1): 263–294. doi:10.31280/CC.2019.04.13.1.263. S2CID 241101429.
- Metzger, Bruce (1987). The Canon of the New Testament: Its Origin, Development, and Significance. Clarendon Press., p. 131.
- Royse, J.R. (2007). Scribal Habits in Early Greek New Testament Papyri. New Testament Tools, Studies and Documents. Brill. p. 199ff. ISBN 978-90-474-2366-9. Retrieved 9 June 2018.
- Barker, Don (5 September 2011). "The Dating of New Testament Papyri". New Testament Studies. Cambridge University Press (CUP). 57 (4): 578f. doi:10.1017/s0028688511000129. S2CID 40609406.
- Comfort, Philip W. (2005). Encountering the Manuscripts: An Introduction to New Testament Paleography & Textual Criticism. Nashville: Broadman & Holman. p. 180ff. ISBN 978-1-4336-7067-1.
- Evans, C.A. (2011). The World of Jesus and the Early Church: Identity and Interpretation in Early Communities of Faith. Hendrickson Publishers. p. 207. ISBN 978-1-59856-825-7. Retrieved 9 June 2018.
- "Tübingen critics". Oxford Biblical Studies Online. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 17 February 2021.
- The first to deny the Pauline authorship of all the "Pauline epistles" in Kritik der paulinischen Briefe. His approach, as well as those who followed him, is deemed "the radically historical approach to the New Testament" by Werner G. Kümmel, The New Testament: The History of the Investigation of Its Problems transl. S. McLean Gilmour and Howard C. Kee (New York: Abingdon Press, 1972), 447 n. 367.
- Cheyne, T.K.; Sutherland Black, J., eds. (1902). "Encyclopedia Biblica, A Dictionary of the Bible, Vol III" (PDF). New York: Macmillan. p. 494. Retrieved 17 February 2021.
Sources Arguing for the Traditional Authorship of the Deutero-Pauline/Pastoral Letters
- Barth, Markus and Helmut Blanke. Colossians (Anchor 34B; New Haven, CT: Doubleday, 1994).
- Johnson, Luke Timothy (1999). "Oikonomia Theou: the Theological Voice of 1 Timothy From the Perspective of Pauline Authorship". Horizons in Biblical Theology. 21 (1): 87–104. doi:10.1163/187122099X00074.
- Köstenberger, Andreas J. (23 June 2019). "An Investigation of the Mission Motif in the Letters to Timothy and Titus with Implications for the Pauline Authorship of the Pastoral Epistles". Bulletin for Biblical Research. 29 (1): 49–64. doi:10.5325/bullbiblrese.29.1.0049. S2CID 198519873.
- Malherbe, Abraham J. The Letters to the Thessalonians (Anchor 32B; New Haven, CT: Doubleday, 2000).
- Nes, Jermo van (11 December 2019). "The Pastoral Epistles: Common Themes, Individual Compositions? An Introduction to the Quest for the Origin(s) of the Letters to Timothy and Titus". Journal for the Study of Paul and His Letters. 9 (1–2): 6–29. doi:10.5325/jstudpaullett.9.1-2.0006. S2CID 239442939.
- Pascuzzi, Maria A. (2013). "Reconsidering the Authorship of Colossians". Bulletin for Biblical Research. 23 (2): 223–245. doi:10.2307/26424680. JSTOR 26424680. S2CID 201663200.
Sources Arguing for Pauline Pseudepigraphy in the Pauline Corpus
- Atkins, Christopher S. (January 2023). "Textualizing Pauline Revelation: Self-Referentiality, Reading Practices, and Pseudepigraphy in Ephesians". Harvard Theological Review. 116 (1): 24–43. doi:10.1017/S0017816023000020. S2CID 256698061.
- Ehrman, Bart D. Forgery and Counterforgery: The Use of Literary Deceit in Early Christian Polemics (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013).
- Hobson, Donald (1968). The Authorship of Colossians (Thesis). OCLC 57370015. ProQuest 302329741.
- Jeremias, J. (1952). Die Briefe an Timotheus und Titus.
- Kiley, Mark (1983). Colossians as Pseudepigraphy (Thesis).
- Roose, Hanna (September 2006). "'A Letter as by Us': Intentional Ambiguity in 2 Thessalonians 2.2". Journal for the Study of the New Testament. 29 (1): 107–124. doi:10.1177/0142064x06068381. S2CID 170459978.
Sources Undecided on the Matter of Pauline Authorship
- Conzelmann, Hans; Dibelius, Martin; Koester, Helmut; Burrolph, Philip; Yarbro, Adela (1989). The Pastoral Epistles: A Commentary on the Pastoral Epistles. Augsburg Fortress Publishers. ISBN 978-1-5064-2142-1. Project MUSE book 45992.
- Gupta, Nijay (February 2013). "What is in a Name? The Hermeneutics of Authorship Analysis Concerning Colossians". Currents in Biblical Research. 11 (2): 196–217. doi:10.1177/1476993X12439885. S2CID 144691533.
- Mealand, David L. (April 1989). "Positional Stylometry Reassessed: Testing a Seven Epistle Theory of Pauline Authorship". New Testament Studies. 35 (2): 266–286. doi:10.1017/S0028688500024656. S2CID 170672600.
- van Nes, Jermo (March 2018). "Missing 'Particles' in Disputed Pauline Letters? A Question of Method". Journal for the Study of the New Testament. 40 (3): 383–398. doi:10.1177/0142064x18755907. hdl:2263/69051. S2CID 220297841.
The Ethics of Pseudepigraphy in the NT and the Ancient World
- Fewster, Gregory (19 September 2014). "'Can I Have Your Autograph?': On Thinking about Pauline Authorship and Pseudepigraphy". Bulletin for the Study of Religion. 43 (3): 30–39. doi:10.1558/bsor.v43i3.30.
- Lincicum, David (9 March 2017). "Mirror-Reading a Pseudepigraphal Letter". Novum Testamentum. 59 (2): 171–193. doi:10.1163/15685365-12341555.
- Wilder, Terry L. (2022). "Revisiting Pseudonymity, the New Testament, and the Noble Lie". Journal for Baptist Theology & Ministry. 19 (2): 367–380.
- Holland, Glenn S. “‘A Letter Supposedly from Us’: A Contribution to the Discussion about the Authorship of 2 Thessalonians: Thessalonian Correspondence.” In The Thessalonian Correspondence, 394–402. Louvain, 1990.
- Kroonenberg, Pieter M. “Stylometry: Authorship of the Pauline Epistles.” In Multivariate Humanities (Switzerland: Springer International Publishing AG, 2021).
- Libby, James A. (2016). "The Pauline Canon Sung in a Linguistic Key: Visualizing New Testament Text Proximity by Linguistic Structure, System and Strata" (PDF). Biblical and Ancient Greek Linguistics. 5: 122–201.
- Porter, Stanley E. (1995). "Pauline Authorship and the Pastoral Epistles: Implications for Canon". Bulletin for Biblical Research. 5 (1): 105–123. doi:10.2307/26422129. JSTOR 26422129.
- Trudinger, Paul. “Computers and the Authorship of the Pauline Epistles: A Brief Rejoinder.” Faith and Freedom 39 (1986): 24–27.
- Paul and Authorship - Bible Odyssey
- Pastoral Epistles - Bible Odyssey
- Hermann Detering, 'The Dutch Approach to the Pauline Epistles". The Dutch Radicals denied the authenticity even of the so-called Principal Epistles, in order to interpret the entire corpus as representing antinomian movements dating from about 140.
- Paul Tobin, The Epistles of Paul article on the authorship of the Pauline epistles
- The Pauline Epistles: Re-studied and Explained' by Edwin Johnson, 1894.