Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Luke and the Pastoral Epistles

Charles Francis Digby Moule wrote an article titled "The Problem of the Pastoral Epistles" which was also published in a collection of his writings titled Essays in New Testament Interpretation.

In the article he makes the claim that Luke was the amanuensis (secretary) of the Pastoral Epistles. He bases this on 3 divisions of increasing complexity
  1. Words
  2. Phrases
  3. Theology
He claims that all 3 of these in the Pastorals have features of a Lukan style. I find the first division (based on word choices) more convincing and interesting than the second 2. Other items suggestive of Lukan authorship mentioned are
  1. Luke is the only person with Paul when he wrote his second letter to Timothy
  2. Pseudoepigraphia would not include certain comments
On the first point Paul states that he has sent Tychicus to Ephesus and Luke alone was with him (2Ti 4:11).

On the second point the request to bring cloak (2Ti 4:13) would not be included by an anonymous author writing that Paul though he may die soon, knowing that Paul had in fact been martyred. This statement also authenticates the dating of the Pastorals.

Further, certain posthumous comments would be in very poor taste such as Paul stating he hoped to come to Timothy soon (1Ti 4:13) if Paul was in fact, by the time of writing, deceased.

Moule suggests Luke had greater leeway in the composition than I think likely.

He also suggests that Luke collected the other Pauline letters after Paul's death and compiled them into a single volume. This could explain why the Pastorals were not initially included the collections of Paul's epistles.

2 comments:

  1. That seems very plausible to me. I have Gordon Fee's commentary on the pastorals, and I remember one thing he wrote is that Pauline nature of the epistles require more explanation then the non-Pauline features. The fact that the books are so different from the others yet retain many distinctly Pauline features suggests a much later date for them, a different amaurensis, or a disciple who devoted to Paul that they managed to copy his very style. The last one seems the least likely.

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  2. I am convinced they are written by Paul, his name is on them. The various letter by Paul and others were often written by amanuenses which accounts for much of the issues of style. I don't buy the variation in theology; though differences in how words are used may be possible ("work" by Paul and James).

    I also happen to think that there is strong evidence that Luke wrote Hebrews; perhaps for another time.

    (I have appreciated your last 2 posts, I should make time to respond but there is no much material to respond to).

    ReplyDelete

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