Pastoral epistles

Pastoral epistles

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The three pastoral epistles are books of the canonical
Biblical canon
A biblical canon, or canon of scripture, is a list of books considered to be authoritative as scripture by a particular religious community. The term itself was first coined by Christians, but the idea is found in Jewish sources. The internal wording of the text can also be specified, for example...

 New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

: the First Epistle to Timothy
First Epistle to Timothy
The First Epistle of Paul to Timothy, usually referred to simply as First Timothy and often written 1 Timothy, is one of three letters in the New Testament of the Bible often grouped together as the Pastoral Epistles, the others being Second Timothy and Titus...

(1 Timothy) the Second Epistle to Timothy
Second Epistle to Timothy
The Second Epistle of Paul to Timothy, usually referred to simply as Second Timothy and often written 2 Timothy, is one of the three Pastoral Epistles traditionally attributed to Saint Paul, and is part of the New Testament...

(2 Timothy), and the Epistle to Titus
Epistle to Titus
The Epistle of Paul to Titus, usually referred to simply as Titus, is one of the three Pastoral Epistles , traditionally attributed to Saint Paul, and is part of the New Testament...

. They are presented as letters from Paul of Tarsus
Paul of Tarsus
Paul the Apostle , also known as Saul of Tarsus, is described in the Christian New Testament as one of the most influential early Christian missionaries, with the writings ascribed to him by the church forming a considerable portion of the New Testament...


to Timothy and to Titus
Apostle Titus
Titus was a companion of Saint Paul, mentioned in several of the Pauline epistles. Titus was with Paul and Barnabas at Antioch and accompanied them to the Council of Jerusalem, although his name occurs nowhere in the Acts of the Apostles....

. They are generally discussed as a group (sometimes with the addition of the Epistle to Philemon
Epistle to Philemon
Paul's Epistle to Philemon, usually referred to simply as Philemon, is a prison letter to Philemon from Paul of Tarsus. Philemon was a leader in the Colossian church. This letter, which is one of the books of the New Testament, deals with forgiveness.Philemon was a wealthy Christian of the house...

) and are given the title pastoral
Pastoral care
Pastoral care is the ministry of care and counseling provided by pastors, chaplains and other religious leaders to members of their church or congregation, or to persons of all faiths and none within institutional settings. This can range anywhere from home visitation to formal counseling provided...

 not because they are uniquely caring or addressing personal needs, but because they are addressed to individuals with pastoral oversight of churches and discuss issues of Christian living, doctrine and leadership.

1 Timothy


The epistle (letter) consists mainly of counsels to Timothy regarding the forms of worship and organization of the church, and the responsibilities resting on its several members, including episkopoi (translated as "bishops") and diakonoi ("deacons"); and secondly of exhortation to faithfulness in maintaining the truth amid surrounding errors (iv.iff), presented as a prophecy of erring teachers to come. The epistle's "irregular character, abrupt connections and loose transitions" (EB 1911) have led critics to discern later interpolations, such as the epistle-concluding 6:20–21, read as a reference to Marcion of Sinope
Marcion of Sinope
Marcion of Sinope was a bishop in early Christianity. His theology, which rejected the deity described in the Jewish Scriptures as inferior or subjugated to the God proclaimed in the Christian gospel, was denounced by the Church Fathers and he was excommunicated...

, and lines that appear to be marginal gloss
Gloss
A gloss is a brief notation of the meaning of a word or wording in a text. It may be in the language of the text, or in the reader's language if that is different....

es that have been copied into the body of the text.

2 Timothy


In this epistle the author (who identifies himself as the Apostle Paul, see below under 'Authorship') entreats Timothy to come to him before winter, and to bring Mark with him (cf. Phil. 2:22). He was anticipating that "the time of his departure was at hand" (4:6), and he exhorts his "son Timothy" to all diligence and steadfastness in the face of false teachings, with advice about combating them with reference to the teachings of the past, and to patience under persecution (1:6-15), and to a faithful discharge of all the duties of his office (4:1-5), with all the solemnity of one who was about to appear before the Judge of the quick and the dead.

Titus


This short letter is addressed to Titus, a Christian worker in Crete
Crete
Crete is the largest and most populous of the Greek islands, the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, and one of the thirteen administrative regions of Greece. It forms a significant part of the economy and cultural heritage of Greece while retaining its own local cultural traits...

, and is traditionally divided into three chapters.
It includes advice on the character required of Church leaders (chapter 1), a structure and hierarchy for Christian teaching within the church (chapter 2), and the kind of godly life and moral action required of Christians in response to God's grace and gift of the Holy Spirit (chapter 3).
It includes the line quoted by the author from a Cretan source: "Cretans are always liars, wicked beasts, and lazy gluttons" 1:12

Modern


The traditional view accepts Paul as the author. William Paley
William Paley
William Paley was a British Christian apologist, philosopher, and utilitarian. He is best known for his exposition of the teleological argument for the existence of God in his work Natural Theology, which made use of the watchmaker analogy .-Life:Paley was Born in Peterborough, England, and was...

 wrote in Horae Paulinae (1785),
Both letters were addressed to persons left by the writer to preside in their respective churches during his absence. Both letters are principally occupied in describing the qualifications to be sought for in those whom they should appoint to offices in the church; and the ingredients of this description are in both letters nearly the same. Timothy and Titus are likewise cautioned against the same prevailing corruptions, and in particular against the same misdirection of their cares and studies.


This affinity obtains not only in the subject of the letters, which from the similarity of situation in the persons to whom they were addressed might be expected to be somewhat alike, but extends in a great variety of instances to the phrases and expressions. The writer accosts his two friends with the same salutation, and passes on to the business of his letter by the same transition (comp. 1 Tim. 1:2, 3 with Titus 1:4, 5; 1 Tim.1:4 with Titus 1:13, 14; 3:9; 1 Tim. 4:12 with Titus 2:7, 15).


Easton's Bible Dictionary (1897) gives a date for the First Epistle to Timothy of around A.D. 66 or 67 and says of 2 Timothy, "It was probably written a year or so after the first, and from Rome, where Paul was for a second time a prisoner, and was sent to Timothy by the hands of Tychicus," as the text indicates. Of the Epistle to Titus, Easton's says "Paul's authorship was undisputed in antiquity, as far as known, but is frequently doubted today. It was probably written about the same time as the First Epistle to Timothy
First Epistle to Timothy
The First Epistle of Paul to Timothy, usually referred to simply as First Timothy and often written 1 Timothy, is one of three letters in the New Testament of the Bible often grouped together as the Pastoral Epistles, the others being Second Timothy and Titus...

, with which it has many affinities."

Adherents of the traditional position date the Epistle to Titus from the circumstance that it was written after Paul's visit to Crete in Titus 1:5. That visit could not be the one referred to in Acts 27:7, when Paul was on his voyage to Rome as a prisoner, and where he continued a prisoner for two years. Thus traditional exegesis supposes that after his release Paul sailed from Rome into Asia, passing Crete by the way, and that there he left Titus "to set in order the things that were wanting." Thence he would have gone to Ephesus
Ephesus
Ephesus was an ancient Greek city, and later a major Roman city, on the west coast of Asia Minor, near present-day Selçuk, Izmir Province, Turkey. It was one of the twelve cities of the Ionian League during the Classical Greek era...

, where he left Timothy, and from Ephesus to Macedonia
Macedonia (Roman province)
The Roman province of Macedonia was officially established in 146 BC, after the Roman general Quintus Caecilius Metellus defeated Andriscus of Macedon, the last Ancient King of Macedon in 148 BC, and after the four client republics established by Rome in the region were dissolved...

, where he wrote the First Epistle to Timothy, and thence, according to the superscription of this epistle, to Nicopolis in Epirus
Epirus
The name Epirus, from the Greek "Ήπειρος" meaning continent may refer to:-Geographical:* Epirus - a historical and geographical region of the southwestern Balkans, straddling modern Greece and Albania...

, from which place he wrote to Titus, about A.D. 66 or 67.

Those who ascribe the books to Paul find their placement fits within his life and work and see the linguistic differences as complementary to differences in the recipients. Other Pauline epistles have fledgling congregations as the audience
Audience
An audience is a group of people who participate in a show or encounter a work of art, literature , theatre, music or academics in any medium...

, the pastoral epistles are directed to Paul's close companions, evangelists whom he has extensively worked with and trained. In this view, linguistic differences are to be expected, if one is to assert Pauline authorship to them. Johnson
Luke Timothy Johnson
Luke Timothy Johnson is the Robert W. Woodruff Professor of New Testament and Christian Origins at Candler School of Theology and a Senior Fellow at the Center for the Study of Law and Religion at Emory University...

 asserts the impossibility of demonstrating the authenticity of the Pastoral Letters. Donald Guthrie
Donald Guthrie
Donald Guthrie was a British New Testament scholar. Guthrie was a graduate of the University of London . From 1949 until his retirement in 1982 Guthrie was lecturer in New Testament studies at London Bible College , and from 1978 until 1982 he served as vice-principal of the college.Guthrie wrote...

 claims that the authorship of Paul is the most likely explanation and the burden of proof
Philosophic burden of proof
The philosophic burden of proof is the obligation on a party in an epistemic dispute to provide sufficient warrant for their position.-Holder of the burden:When debating any issue, there is an implicit burden of proof on the person asserting a claim...

 now falls to those who would dispute it.

Ancient


Among the Apostolic Fathers
Apostolic Fathers
The Apostolic Fathers are a small number of Early Christian authors who lived and wrote in the second half of the first century and the first half of the second century. They are acknowledged as leaders in the early church, although their writings were not included in the New Testament...

, 'a strong case can be made for Ignatius'
Ignatius of Antioch
Ignatius of Antioch was among the Apostolic Fathers, was the third Bishop of Antioch, and was a student of John the Apostle. En route to his martyrdom in Rome, Ignatius wrote a series of letters which have been preserved as an example of very early Christian theology...

 use of ... 1 and 2 Timothy'. Similarly for Polycarp
Polycarp
Saint Polycarp was a 2nd century Christian bishop of Smyrna. According to the Martyrdom of Polycarp, he died a martyr, bound and burned at the stake, then stabbed when the fire failed to touch him...

. The unidentified author of the Muratorian fragment
Muratorian fragment
The Muratorian fragment is a copy of perhaps the oldest known list of the books of the New Testament. The fragment, consisting of 85 lines, is a 7th-century Latin manuscript bound in an eighth or 7th century codex that came from the library of Columban's monastery at Bobbio; it contains internal...

 (c.170) lists the Pastorals as Pauline, while excluding others e.g. to the Laodiceans
Epistle to the Laodiceans
An Epistle to the Laodiceans, purportedly written by Paul of Tarsus to the Laodicean Church, is mentioned in the canonical Epistle to the Colossians...

. Origen refer to the "fourteen epistles of Paul" without specifically naming Titus or Timothy. However it is believed that Origen wrote a commentary on at least the epistle to Titus.

Modern


On the basis of their language, content, and other factors, the Pastoral Epistles are today widely regarded as not having been written by the Apostle Paul, but after his death. (Although the Second Epistle to Timothy is sometimes thought to be more likely than the other two to have been written by Paul.) Critics examining the texts fail to find their vocabulary and literary style similar to Paul's unquestionably authentic letters, fail to fit the life situation of Paul in the epistles into Paul's reconstructed biography, and identify principles of the emerged Christian church rather than those of the apostolic generation.

P.N. Harrison's "The Problem of the Pastoral Epistle" was the first attempt to disprove Pauline authorship via counting hapax legomena or other vocabulary measures. However, Harrison did not even address the question of statistical validity, nor did he test his basic methods on any undisputed cases. Later work by Yule
Udny Yule
George Udny Yule FRS , usually known as Udny Yule, was a British statistician, born at Beech Hill, a house in Morham near Haddington, Scotland and died in Cambridge, England. His father, also George Udny Yule, and a nephew, were knighted. His uncle was the noted orientalist Sir Henry Yule...

, Morton, DeRose, Guthrie
Donald Guthrie
Donald Guthrie was a British New Testament scholar. Guthrie was a graduate of the University of London . From 1949 until his retirement in 1982 Guthrie was lecturer in New Testament studies at London Bible College , and from 1978 until 1982 he served as vice-principal of the college.Guthrie wrote...

, and others has shown his methods unreliable, and even his basic counts to be flawed (for example, he counted a word as unique to the Pastorals even when very close cognate
Cognate
In linguistics, cognates are words that have a common etymological origin. This learned term derives from the Latin cognatus . Cognates within the same language are called doublets. Strictly speaking, loanwords from another language are usually not meant by the term, e.g...

s occur in the remainder of the Epistles; a particularly unfortunate error for Greek). Yule also pointed out that the Epistles are far too short for most statistical methods to be reliable. He recommended that a sample of at least 10,000 words was necessary for statistical differences to show, whereas the Pastoral Epistles contain less than 4000. Furthermore, Workman has demonstrated that the differences in quantity of hapax legomena between the Pastoral epistles and other Pauline epistles is similar to the differences among Shakepeare's
William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon"...

 plays.

As an example of qualitative style arguments, in the First Epistle to Timothy the task of preserving the tradition is entrusted to ordained presbyter
Presbyter
Presbyter in the New Testament refers to a leader in local Christian congregations, then a synonym of episkopos...

s; the clear sense of presbuteros as an indication of an office, is a sense that to these scholars seems alien to Paul and the apostolic generation. Examples of other offices include the twelve apostles in Acts (an additional apostle was selected to replace Judas Iscariot) and the appointment of seven deacon
Deacon
Deacon is a ministry in the Christian Church that is generally associated with service of some kind, but which varies among theological and denominational traditions...

s, thus establishing the office of the diaconate. Presbuteros is sometimes translated as elder; by a longer route it is also the Greek root for the English word priest. (The office of presbyter is also mentioned in James chapter 5.)

A second example would be gender role
Gender role
Gender roles refer to the set of social and behavioral norms that are considered to be socially appropriate for individuals of a specific sex in the context of a specific culture, which differ widely between cultures and over time...

s depicted in the letters, which proscribe roles for women that appear to deviate from Paul's more egalitarian teaching that in Christ there is neither male nor female. Separate male and female roles, however, were not foreign to the authentic Pauline epistles; the First Letter to the Corinthians (14:34–35) commands silence from women during church services, stating that "it is a shame for women to speak in the church."

Similarly, some authors charge that the Pastoral Epistles seem to argue against a more developed Gnosticism than would be compatible with Paul's time; however, more recent scholarship has shown that Gnosticism developed earlier than was previously thought, and this argument, once considered strong, has now faded.

Ancient


Ancient criticism of the pastoral epistles includes the Syriac Orthodox church, who for many centuries did not deem the Pastoral Epistles canonical.

Date


It is "highly probable that 1 and 2 Timothy were known and used by Polycarp
Polycarp
Saint Polycarp was a 2nd century Christian bishop of Smyrna. According to the Martyrdom of Polycarp, he died a martyr, bound and burned at the stake, then stabbed when the fire failed to touch him...

". Irenaeus
Irenaeus
Saint Irenaeus , was Bishop of Lugdunum in Gaul, then a part of the Roman Empire . He was an early church father and apologist, and his writings were formative in the early development of Christian theology...

 made extensive use of the two epistles to Timothy as the prime force of his anti-gnostic campaign, ca. 170 AD. Proposals by scholars for the date of their composition have ranged from the 1st century to well into the second.

The later dates are usually based on the hypothesis that the Pastorals are responding to specific 2nd-century developments (Marcionism
Marcionism
Marcionism was an Early Christian dualist belief system that originated in the teachings of Marcion of Sinope at Rome around the year 144; see also Christianity in the 2nd century....

, gnosticism
Gnosticism
Gnosticism is a scholarly term for a set of religious beliefs and spiritual practices common to early Christianity, Hellenistic Judaism, Greco-Roman mystery religions, Zoroastrianism , and Neoplatonism.A common characteristic of some of these groups was the teaching that the realisation of Gnosis...

). That Marcion (ca. 140) betrays knowledge of a collection of Paul's letters that lack the Pastoral Epistles is another piece of evidence for which any model must account. (This is a separate question to Marcion's "canon", which included only edited versions of Luke and the Pauline epistles; according to Tertullian
Tertullian
Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullianus, anglicised as Tertullian , was a prolific early Christian author from Carthage in the Roman province of Africa. He is the first Christian author to produce an extensive corpus of Latin Christian literature. He also was a notable early Christian apologist and...

, Marcion "omitted" the Epistle to the Hebrews and the Pastoral Epistles.)

According to Raymond E. Brown
Raymond E. Brown
The Reverend Raymond Edward Brown, S.S. , was an American Roman Catholic priest, a member of the Sulpician Fathers and a major Biblical scholar of his era...

 (An Introduction to the New Testament, 1997), the majority of scholars who accept a post-Pauline date of composition for the Pastorals favour the period 80-100. Scholars supporting a date in this mid range can draw on the description in 2 Timothy 1:5 of Timothy's Christian mother and grandmother who passed on their faith, as alluding to the original audience being third generation Christians.

More recently, earlier dates have been argued by scholars who have identified targets of the epistles' criticism among those also known to Ignatius
Ignatius of Antioch
Ignatius of Antioch was among the Apostolic Fathers, was the third Bishop of Antioch, and was a student of John the Apostle. En route to his martyrdom in Rome, Ignatius wrote a series of letters which have been preserved as an example of very early Christian theology...

 and Polycarp
Polycarp
Saint Polycarp was a 2nd century Christian bishop of Smyrna. According to the Martyrdom of Polycarp, he died a martyr, bound and burned at the stake, then stabbed when the fire failed to touch him...

, who died in the early 2nd century.

Within the New Testament, these letters are arranged in order of size, though this does not represent a chronological order.

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