ON THE PROBABILITY THAT MANY OF ST. PAULS EPISTLES HAVE BEEN LOST


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One easy answer is to say that the Gospel of Luke copied from St Paul. But this would have been a wholly unmotivated thing to do. They were not facing down critics who alleged that the Gospels were written late and are therefore unreliable, and in any event they could have simply dismissed the argument on the grounds that a Gospel written down in the 80s is not too late. There is also no evidence of a textual variant in 1 Timothy 5: You might want to say that perhaps Paul was referring to the testimonies about Jesus that were circulating before the Gospel of Luke was written.

But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it, and how from childhood you have known the sacred writings that are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. But if this is the move you make, the tail is wagging the dog. Your position that Luke was written late is controlling how you read the evidence that is materially relevant to the question of when Luke was written. The writer refers to his own travels with Timothy, at one point travelling to Macedonia and urging Timothy to remain in Ephesus 1: If the author was not Paul, then they were not presenting themselves as a disciple writing in a manner consistent with Paul; they were fraudulently claiming to be Paul.

The arguments against Pauline authorship of the pastoral epistles come down to these: According to this objection, the real Paul had no opportunity to do what 1 Timothy says he did. Furthermore, Timothy accompanies Paul on his journey to Jerusalem This objection, if it is supposed to be effective, must assume that if the author is Paul , then he must have written the pastoral epistles during the period of his life covered by the book of Acts. But why think this? There are grounds for thinking that he was released rather than dying during house arrest and left Rome, both because of the reference to a fixed period of remaining in the house where he was and, say some, the use of the aorist in Acts His imprisonment while writing the pastoral epistles, however, is difficult 2 Timothy 1: So there is no serious problem for Paulin authorship on the grounds that they record events not mentioned in the book of Acts.

The main argument to which people appeal for ruling Paul out as the author of the pastoral epistles is that the style of writing is very different from the other Pauline letters. This was an argument first advanced by Schleiermacher in the early nineteenth century. We are told that ideas are framed differently, the way ideas are connected to their justification looks different in the pastoral epistles, and so on. Even very fine New Testament scholars, I think, are here relying on arguments that are not difficult to address, as far as I can tell.

For example, a scholar as good as I Howard Marshall repeats the argument that the style and vocabulary of the pastoral Epistles are similar to each other and distinct from the other letters attributed to Paul.

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He is right to repeat it because he is surveying the arguments against Pauline authorship, and this is probably the most frequently used argument. Marshall notes one explanation of this hypothesis, the one that I think makes best sense: That Paul was working with the same secretary or colleague when these letters were produced, and he allowed that person significant leeway. Marshall summarises and apparently rejects the explanation albeit gently as follows:. They have his blessing but not his mind. Nevertheless, a faithful secretary would doubtless have attempted to keep as far as possible to the kind of things that Paul would have said.

The difficulty here is that this procedure is different from that of Paul as we know him; there is a homogeneity about his authentic letters which shows that he dictated them himself and added his signature at the end. However, there is the possibility defended by some scholars that Colossians was produced in this way. There is also the problem that no secretary or co-author is mentioned in the [pastoral epistles], not even a messenger who is responsible for bringing the letters to their destination. But the amanuensis theory does not imply that Paul was not responsible for the contents of these letters.

Not, at least, in the sense in which a person is normally responsible for the content of a letter that they agree to have their name affixed to. And this broader sense of responsibility is not a high price to pay if it is a price at all. She writes the letter and shows it to him for review.

Some critics make the argument that the second-century heretic Marcion d. This was an observation made by Tertullian: This is a dubious argument. Firstly, we already know that Marcion was perfectly willing to simply remove any parts of the New Testament that he did not like.

He excluded all the Gospels except Luke, of which he had a butchered version, and he excluded numerous other books of the New Testament. What is more, orthodox sources earlier than Marcion appear to show that they knew of the pastoral epistles and regarded them as scripture. There is widespread agreement that Polycarp in approx. These, as far as I can tell, are the main arguments against Pauline authorship of the pastoral epistles. This is as good as the arguments get. I have made it my business over the last couple of weeks to scour as many decent sources as possible so not internet ramblings and to ensure that I understood the case against Pauline authorship.

There are not many reasons and they are not very good, in my view. I grow weary of seeing one after another writer on the subject making confident claims about what most scholars know, as though they were somehow offering an argument against Pauline authorship of these letters. If you want to maintain that Paul is not the author, you would need to come up with a new, better reason for saying so, although it is difficult to see why anyone would wish to do so why would anybody have an interest in Paul not being the author? So, here is where we are: Consequently, the Gospel of Luke must have been written and had time to become recognised by the early Christian community as bearing witness to the life of Jesus prior to AD A very interesting post.

Which books, apart from Robinson, would you recommend on dating the NT? I think what is really interesting if you are right is that Paul recognised Luke as scripture. But maybe my theories are wrong. Yours is certainly persuasive, unless someone can come up with another passage of scripture with something like that phrase. With him [Titus] we are sending the brother [unnamed] who is famous among all the churches for his preaching of the gospel.

If Luke wrote his gospel early early enough to be referenced in 1 Timothy and known that it was considered Scripture then Luke would be well known among the churches for it. Redating Matthew, Mark and Luke: It made me wonder about a similar instance in scripture related to the book of Revelation.

Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Then, in James 1: To your knowledge, has anyone explored the possibility that James was quoting the book of Revelation? There is always the possibility that Paul was referencing scripture that is lost.

What scripture led to the referencing of the dispute between the archangel Michael and Satan over the disposition of Moses body, for instance? Just grist for the mill. Have a wonderful day.

Did Paul write all 13 letters the Bible credits to him? | Richard Ostling

John, James is generally considered one of the earlier, if not the earliest letters. So borrowing from Revelation seems unlikely, even for early daters of Revelation like me who holds to a pre AD date. Kurt, Jude was probably quoting Enoch which was known and not considered Scripture. I understand that James is considered very early. I am just curious where else it would be that suffering Christians were promised a crown of life to those who endure? Giles you might be interested in looking at the work of James Crossley.

He argues for a very early date for the Gospel of Mark 1st decade. Yes it does conflict with the date from Irenaeus and he does address that conflict. The dating is partly based on how Mark interprets Jewish law compared to how it is interpreted in each decade, as well as other internal evidence even if you disagree with his conclusions is an interesting read. Bethyada, the story of the Assumption of Moses is also testified to in the Jewish Testament of Moses, often dated by scholars as later than Jude of the closed canon.

Much of the written scripture that informed our apostles and writers of the closed canon is lost. He makes it part of the narrative plot, which has not even played itself out in real time on a pre-death dating. It seems more plausible to think that Luke highlights this part of the story because hindsight made it significant.

Also, the evidence for the gospel postdating the 70ce period ignored by the author is significant. The author seems to intentionally summarize critical views simplistically without engaging the ton of detailed argument supporting those views. Leaves them with multiple options from which to derive the desired end reliability of the gospels. His arguments regarding amanuenses appear anachronistic. Why would Paul leave letters so personal for an amanuensis to largely contrive on his own, and what precedent from the ancient world he needs ancient precedent, not modern analogies does the author of the post have for the practice of not really writing a letter, but having it ascribed to you anyway?

Did Paul write all 13 letters the Bible credits to him?

James, the brother of John, was killed in Acts But you seem to think that Paul the great missionary was dead and overlooked. Look at where Acts end — at no important juncture. This is part of what leads some — and I think they are right — to say that Acts was written at the point when the narrative ends, while Paul was under house arrest.

Harnack ended up rejecting alternative theories about why the book should end at such an odd place:. For many years I was content to soothe my intellectual conscience with such expedients [i. The more clearly we see that the trial of St Paul, and above all his appeal to Caesar, is the chief subject of the last quarter of Acts, the more hopeless does it appear that we can explain why the narrative breaks off as it does, otherwise than by assuming that the trial had actually not yet reached its close.

It is no use to struggle against this conclusion. You are right that I intentionally summarised arguments but I do not believe there is actually any better argument for a non-Pauline authorship of the pastoral epistles than what I have given here. That needlessly escalates potentially worthwhile discussions. If you have serious criticisms, they are welcome. I am not interested in being told that something is rhetoric. Stay with the evidence. As I was clear, I do not need Luke to be early.

Lastly, Eric, your dismissal of the use of amanuensis seems clearly wrongheaded. If Paul is an aged man at this point — which he would have been — enduring a difficult imprisonment and expressly expecting his own death soon, then there is nothing at all strange about being assisted by an amanuensis in writing a letter to an individual. There is nothing anachronistic about it. Some believe that Luke himself was the amanuensis although I have not investigated that at all. The precise mechanism for how the letters were penned could have taken a variety of forms based on how Paul related to his amanuensis, but certainly you offer no consideration to make me think the practice would have been unlikely.

Eric, can you clearly tell me what is wrong with my response to the arguments against Pauline authorship of the pastoral epistles? Referring apparently to the second coming? Still, I shall examine the case for an earlier date for Mark. Paul was quoting Q, the collection of sayings of Jesus in the Hebrew language produced by Mathew Levi, according to the fathers. Paul regarded Q as scripture.

Since Paul had quoted the saying you highlight, his companion Luke made sure to include it in his Gospe. Giles, the existence of an actual Q document is obviously far more contestable than the existence of the Gospel of Luke which is not contestable at all. If Luke existed then we can readily understand it being called Scripture. But Paul would not have called Q Scripture, even if it existed.

I dont see why not if Q was by Mathew Levi. But I am just exploring alternatives. A first edition went to Paul who also had a copy of Q which he translated for Luke. Luke immediately produced a longer Gospel using Mark, Q and at least one other source. Another copy of Mark went to Mathew Levi, who translated it into Hebrew,embellishing it from his own Q and his recollections. Paul quoted Luke as scripture C66 and died C That reconciles our theories. Perhaps the commendation he spoke of was Paul citing it as scripture? Well, I have cause for scepticism.

I co wrote a book. He then cited two chapters, both of which I had written, but using distinctively different styles to reflect a difference in subject matter. I still can not put that much weight on the argument that Paul quoted from Luke. We know that Luke drew from other written sources, some perhaps from Mark and other oral sources. There also may have been written text that Luke may have been drawing from.

If there were written text, then Paul could be referring to another text that was well known, not necessarily Luke. So a document by Mathew Levi Q could have been accounted inspired but not preserved as it was included in Mathew and Luke. Jonathan, it looks to me as though you are preferring less probable explanations to more probable ones. You say, for example, that you know Paul drew on other sources. Were there written sources that contained this saying?

So why prefer a hypothetical written source that we know nothing about, over a source that we all know about? The alternatives do not have these things going for them. I think my alternative theory explains all the facts.

It doesn’t matter if Luke wasn’t written early

But is less probable. Actually you have just persuaded me there is evidence against my theory. Sometimes you have to say things twice! Thanks for the reply Glenn. I say that because there are too many possible variables to consider. Therefore, if Q does exist, then it did become Scripture because it was swallowed up in the writings of Luke and Matthew. We also know that Luke states in Luke 1: In other words, if it was a written source, then both Luke and Paul could have used it directly.

So in this case, I agree it is more probable. Take the Q argument that you appeal to. Is it logically possible that there did exist a document that contained this saying, and Luke and Paul both used it? Yes, that is possible, but our interest here is in probabilities. What evidence do we have of this document? And we then have the problem that Paul put it in the same category as Deuteronomy. So while I acknowledge the theoretical possibility of other scenarios, we should prefer more likely scenarios to less likely ones, and here is where the thesis that Paul is quoting Luke seems to win easily over these other possibilities.

It looks like we agree about what is more probable. The statement in the comment to Giles above: Admittedly a 2nd century date for Luke-Acts represents a minority view, however it has been scholarly and convincingly well argued for in for example, J. A Defining Struggle and references cited therein.

Just a suggestion from an opinionated drive-by reader, but hey your last line in the op invited comments. A basic problem with the presentation of the authenticity of the Pastorals here is that it seems the default position is that Paul wrote them. That is, because the arguments against them are found to be not very strong, it is asserted to be historically likely that Paul wrote them.

But this is not an argument for Pauline authorship, it is merely a reply to objections against it. No serious argument for Pauline authorship has been mounted here. Ancients were not more gullible than moderns, but it is hard to know how a small church in Asia Minor would be able to verify whether a letter really was from Peter or not 4 The Pastorals do not inhabit the world the undisputed Paulines. In the Pastorals, assertion replaces argument. Paul was careful to always work back to first principles, engaging his readers and opponents with highly refined scriptural argumentation.

To this reader, the fact that 1 Tim likely quotes Luke is corroborating evidence of its relative late date, i. If Paul knew Luke, there is a lot we might expect to find that is nowhere in his epistles. David, the document not only says that it was written by Paul, but it narrates events that make it clear that the writer is passing himself off as Paul.

And there are no good arguments for this being the case, so the default stance should be that Paul wrote it. You do suggest some evidence in 4 and 5 , but those are arguments that I address in this blog post. All we can do is assess historical probabilities and make a judgment. Since we know pseudepigrapha were produced, the attribution to Paul and attempted verisimilitude does not help very much. What we need is more positive argumentation. If Paul is the author, why? They were received based on their conformity to apostolic teaching.

We still need evidence that this is a case of deceptive pseudepigrapha which is what it would have been, if it was pseudepigrapha at all. This is the only way we know about pseudepigrapha at all — because we know of examples where the evidence indicates that the named author did not or could not have written it. The letters were not regarded as written by Paul in the early church. As I say in this article:. Some pseudepigrapha was written in the understanding that it would not generally be believed to have been written by the person named in it. In this sense there is no intention to lie to people.

By contrast, the sort of deceptive pseudepigrapha that I am talking about is written in such a way as to attempt to persuade the reader that a particular person wrote it when they did not.

But it looks like Luke was written early

that MANY OF ST. PAUL'S EPISTLES HAVE BEEN LOST. What is the debate about the authorship of Paul's letters to the early church? the letters depict wouldn't have been so developed during Paul's Ephesians, a beloved and influential letter, is the second-most Hagner deems the content “ very Pauline” but sees a “slight probability” a disciple compiled the.

There probably was a suspicious climate in the receiving of epistles. In the second century, it was probably rejected by more churches than it was received by. Imagine you are a traveler to Asia Minor in the 3rd century and you come across a church that has a letter of Peter that you have not heard 2nd Peter. Perhaps you are suspicious, but at this point, how can you test the claim?

Your Answer

I cite Act 1: This is part of what leads some — and I think they are right — to say that Acts was written at the point when the narrative ends, while Paul was under house arrest. If it doesnt follow its invalid period. You seem to know about the scholars I have cited and you reject everything out of hand as not being of any merit. He is right to repeat it because he is surveying the arguments against Pauline authorship, and this is probably the most frequently used argument. There is also the problem that no secretary or co-author is mentioned in the [pastoral epistles], not even a messenger who is responsible for bringing the letters to their destination. This is as good as the arguments get.

The only practical method was conformity to apostolic teaching. You are saying we would also need some external evidence, but often the judgment that a work is pseudepigraphical proceeds from internal considerations e. There is one slender piece of evidence for it, the quotation in 1 Tim 5. There are, as I suggested, many problems with this thesis, sufficient I think to reconsider whether 1 Tim 5 can carry the argument here.

Not according to any logical form I know of. Can you spell out the logic: Really explicitly, everything shown? This would seem to be your central argument, but it just looks like one sentence after another, without a logical relationship between them. It would be a pointless side-track for me to even entertain whether or not that term should be used I am fine with it. The point is just that if 1 Timothy is pseudepigrapha, it was a lie i.

We seem to agree on that, so I want to focus on your argument, as that seems to me to be nonexistent. As for 3 , you appear to be talking as though there is a collection of pieces of good evidence to which you are appealing. At the moment I am helpless to evaluate it, so I have to reject it. Is there a good resource you would recommend that makes the argument?

How are we to distinguish between 1 and 2? Attribution to an apostle, and verisimilitude, are essential features of pseudepigrapha. So how can the attribution to Paul serve as evidence that Paul wrote it? Attribution does nothing to distinguish authentic from pseudepigraphal epistles. We still have options 1 and 2 on the table. Gal, Rom, 2 Cor c in the case of a broader corpus, comparing the epistle with more securely authentic epistles Gal, Rom, Cor, Phil, Phlm, Col, 1 Thess d external attestation to the epistle. The judgment is not based merely on the negative arguments you discussed in the blog post vocabulary, etc , but on a positive exegesis—an attempt to understand 1 Tim and fit in within our overall picture of Christian origins.

That said, I grant that 1 Tim is a highly debatable case, and that scholars of good will are on both sides. Holman Christian Standard Bible When this letter has been read among you, have it read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and see that you also read the letter from Laodicea.

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International Standard Version When this letter has been read among you, have it read also in the church of the Laodiceans, and be sure to read the one from Laodicea. In turn, read the letter from Laodicea as well. New Heart English Bible When this letter has been read among you, cause it to be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that you also read the letter from Laodicea.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English And whenever this letter is read to you, cause it to be read in the church of Laidiqia and read that which was written from Laidiqia. Make sure that you also read the letter from Laodicea. New American Standard And when this letter is read among you, have it also read in the church of the Laodiceans; and you, for your part read my letter that is coming from Laodicea.

King James Bible And when this epistle is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that you likewise read the epistle from Laodicea. American King James Version And when this letter is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that you likewise read the letter from Laodicea. American Standard Version And when this epistle hath been read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye also read the epistle from Laodicea.

Douay-Rheims Bible And when this epistle shall have been read with you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans: Darby Bible Translation And when the letter has been read among you, cause that it be read also in the assembly of Laodiceans, and that ye also read that from Laodicea. English Revised Version And when this epistle hath been read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye also read the epistle from Laodicea. Webster's Bible Translation And when this epistle is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye likewise read the epistle from Laodicea.

Weymouth New Testament And when this Letter has been read among you, let it be read also in the Church of the Laodiceans, and you in turn must read the one I am sending to Laodicea. World English Bible When this letter has been read among you, cause it to be read also in the assembly of the Laodiceans; and that you also read the letter from Laodicea. Young's Literal Translation and when the epistle may be read with you, cause that also in the assembly of the Laodiceans it may be read, and the epistle from Laodicea that ye also may read;.