Blood wrote: ↑
Sun Jun 03, 2018 9:42 am
When did the concept of "Authentic Pauline Epistles" originate, and with whom? Has a book been written on this question?
Not the oldest origin (e.g. Erasmus doubted the authenticity of some of the letters of Paul), but the general "awareness" of the intellectual public regarding biblical criticism blossomed in the 1830s, especially when David Strauss published his life of Jesus, filled with critical insights, many of which suggested that the miracles weren't historical.
At the same time that Strauss was right-sizing Jesus, F. C. Baur was letting go of many of the letters of Paul.
The theory is further developed in a later work (1835, the year in which David Strauss' Leben Jesu was published), Über die sogenannten Pastoralbriefe. In this Baur attempts to prove that the false teachers mentioned in the Second Epistle to Timothy and Epistle to Titus are the Gnostics, particularly the Marcionites, of the 2nd century, and consequently that the Pastoral Epistles were produced in the middle of the 2nd century in opposition to Gnosticism.
He next proceeded to investigate other Pauline epistles and the Acts of the Apostles in the same manner, publishing his results in 1845 under the title Paulus, der Apostel Jesu Christi, sein Leben und Wirken, seine Briefe und seine Lehre. In this he contends that only the Epistle to the Galatians, First and Second Epistle to the Corinthians and Epistle to the Romans are genuinely Pauline, and that the Paul of the Acts of the Apostles is a different person from the Paul of these genuine Epistles, the author being a Paulinist who, with an eye to the different parties in the Church, is at pains to represent Peter as far as possible as a Paulinist and Paul as far as possible as a Petrinist.
It is from this cultural moment in the 1830s and 1840s that intellectuals would refer back to the supposedly unassailable four (Hauptbriefe
) in the Tubingen school, which came to be useful when deciding to ignore or put down the Dutch radical criticism of the late 19th century that would refuse all.
Blood wrote: ↑
Sun Jun 03, 2018 9:42 am
And when/how did the four
"unassailable" letters expand to seven?
The figure of seven is achieved by subtraction of those for which there are (widely recognized) serious doubts, and it isn't clear to me when it became common to speak of a shared understanding of the number "seven," but it feels very lazy and more recent, perhaps only in the 20th century (maybe the late 19th).
The actual doubts regarding the three non-Pastorals (2 Thessalonians, Colossians, Ephesians) that are required to reach seven preceded Baur's 1845 work on Paul. For the most part critics didn't join Baur in cutting the epistles down to four, so, despite being endlessly referenced for his position regarding four authentic epistles, he had very few followers outside of the Tubingen school. Criticism generally followed along the lines already established of accepting 1 Thessalonians, Philippians, and Philemon as authentic, if not more as well.
You can get a basic outline of the German criticism of the 1820s to 1840s that is discernable from de Wette's historico-critical introduction to the canonical books of the New Testament, which went through five revisions from its first publication in 1826. The translation is of the fifth version.
Each of the letters of Paul have a section on genuineness.
E. T. Mayerhoff in 1838 sustained the first extensive critical defense of the inauthenticity of Colossians. To the extent that this was the final subtraction necessary to get to the figure of seven authentic epistles of Paul, you could say that the idea traces its origins back to 1838 and to those who agreed with Mayerhoff in his conclusion (or, at least, the legitimacy of its doubts), in addition to already doubting 2 Thessalonians, Ephesians, and the Pastorals.
"... almost every critical biblical position was earlier advanced by skeptics." - Raymond Brown