Making sense of the Pauline Epistles

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
Vanished
Posts: 24
Joined: Mon Jan 01, 2024 5:33 pm

Making sense of the Pauline Epistles

Post by Vanished »

The Pauline epistles and the synoptic gospels are two of the greatest mysteries of the New Testament - however, over the past several centuries, scholarship has seemed to focus more on the latter, leaving studies of the former with many unanswered questions and unexplored possibilities. So, it's time to go down the rabbit hole.

Firstly, we should start with the major theories that have gained traction in society, scholarship, and this community specifically, of which there appears to be three:


TRADITIONAL VIEW TRADITIONAL VIEW TRADITIONAL VIEW
Book Author Date
Romans Paul, with contributions from Tertius. 56~ C.E.
1 Corinthians Paul, with contributions from Sosthenes. 55~ C.E.
2 Corinthians Paul, with contributions from Timothy. 56~ C.E.
Galatians Paul alone. 48~ C.E.
Ephesians Paul alone. 60~ C.E.
Philippians Paul, with contributions from Timothy. 60~ C.E.
Colossians Paul, with contributions from Timothy. 60~ C.E.
1 Thessalonians Paul, with contributions from Silas and Timothy. 51~ C.E.
2 Thessalonians Paul, with contributions from Silas and Timothy. 52~ C.E.
1 Timothy Paul alone. 62-64~ C.E.
2 Timothy Paul alone. 64-67~ C.E.
Titus Paul alone. 63 C.E.
Philemon Paul, with contributions from Timothy. 60~ C.E.
Hebrews Paul alone. 61 C.E.

VARIANTS:

Anti-Hebrews Traditionalism Theory - Essentially identical to the traditional view with the exception of Hebrews, which is likely to have come from another author at a later point in time and was deliberately written in imitation of Paul.

Shared Authorship Theory - Some scholars believe that discrepancies in the Pauline epistles can be explained by contributions from either the co-authors mentioned in the scriptures or the use of amanuenses.

====================================================================================================

SCHOLARLY VIEW SCHOLARLY VIEW SCHOLARLY VIEW
Book Author Date
Romans Paul, with contributions from Tertius. 56~ C.E.
1 Corinthians Paul, with contributions from Sosthenes. 55~ C.E.
2 Corinthians Paul, with contributions from Timothy. 56~ C.E.
Galatians Paul alone. 48~ C.E.
Ephesians Unknown. 80-100~ C.E.
Philippians Paul, with contributions from Timothy. 60~ C.E.
Colossians Unknown. 80~ C.E.
1 Thessalonians Paul, with contributions from Silas and Timothy. 51~ C.E.
2 Thessalonians Unknown. 80-100~ C.E.
1 Timothy Unknown - perhaps Polycarp of Smyrna? 80-100~ C.E.
2 Timothy Unknown. 80-100~ C.E.
Titus Unknown - perhaps Polycarp of Smyrna? 80-100~ C.E.
Philemon Paul, with contributions from Timothy. 60~ C.E.
Hebrews Unknown - proposed authors include Priscilla, Silas, Barnabas, Clement, Luke, & Apollos. 61 C.E.

VARIANTS:

As far as I can tell, there are no major variations in this theory. Almost every scholar varies in mostly minor ways, but there are far too many variations to keep track of.

====================================================================================================

MARCIONITE VIEW MARCIONITE VIEW MARCIONITE VIEW
Book Author Date
Romans Unknown - perhaps the historic Paul, perhaps still Marcion. 56~ or 140~ C.E.
1 Corinthians Marcion alone. 140~ C.E.
2 Corinthians Marcion alone. 140~ C.E.
Galatians Marcion alone. 140~ C.E.
Ephesians Marcion alone. 140~ C.E.
Philippians Marcion alone. 140~ C.E.
Colossians Marcion alone. 140~ C.E.
1 Thessalonians Marcion alone. 140~ C.E.
2 Thessalonians Marcion alone. 140~ C.E.
1 Timothy Unknown - perhaps Polycarp of Smyrna? 62-64~ C.E.
2 Timothy Unknown. 64-67~ C.E.
Titus Unknown - perhaps Polycarp of Smyrna? 63 C.E.
Philemon Marcion alone. 140~ C.E.
Hebrews Unknown - proposed authors include Priscilla, Silas, Barnabas, Clement, Luke, & Apollos. 61 C.E.

VARIANTS:

Marcionite Corruption Theory - Some scholars believe that Romans - along with many or all of the other Pauline epistles - originated as works of a historic Paul, but were collected and corrupted by Marcion of Sinope.

Early Marcion Theory - With the early Church Fathers being so vehemently against Marcion and his teachings, some believe that there is a chance Marcion lived earlier than stated in their works, and that he was anachronistically placed into the mid-second century to lower his credibility as one who collected authentic writings. If this is the case, then the writings listed above were likely written much earlier - closer to the dates included in the traditional view.

Aside from the proposed theories on Pauline authorship - and often linking back to them - there are many major questions that are often raised in Pauline studies, some of which (incomplete list: feel free to contribute any questions I'm missing) I've listed in the spoiler below:


If Marcion did indeed pen the Pauline epistles or corrupt them in any way, why would the early Church Fathers - who hated Marcion with such a passion - consider accepting them (even after attempting to sanitize them of Marcionite beliefs) as canon writings?

What happened to the Epistle to the Laodiceans mentioned in Marcion's canon - is it identical to the Epistle to the Ephesians?

Where did Romans originate, seeing as multiple versions (differentiated by their inclusions of chapters 15 and/or 16) were widely circulated during the first and second centuries?

Why is Hebrews considered potentially a non-Pauline work?

Who authored Hebrews, which is generally considered a non-Pauline work in modern times?

Why are the pastoral epistles (1 Timothy, 2Timothy and Titus) considered potentially non-Pauline works?

Who authored the pastoral epistles (1 Timothy, 2Timothy and Titus), which are generally considered non-Pauline works in modern times?

Why are the debated epistles (Ephesians, Colossians and 2 Thessalonians) considered potentially non-Pauline works?

Who authored the debated epistles (Ephesians, Colossians and 2 Thessalonians), which may be non-Pauline works?

How do the characterizations of Paul in the epistles differ from his portrayal in Acts?

To what extent did the co-authors of Pauline epistles contribute in their writing?

How does Paul use the Old Testament in the writing of his epistles?

How do Paul's teachings compare with those of Jesus in the synoptic gospels?


I'll be expanding on the three major authorship theories, along with the questions listed above, in future posts with as much useful information as I can find. I'm going to try to present multiple different views on each, as I'd prefer people formulating their own beliefs rather than just yoinking something I believe and might be wrong about. Please let me know if there's any major authorship theories or questions regarding the Pauline epistles you'd like to see explored in more depth. I'll be using this initial post as a sort of index with basic info and links to more in-depth discussions to come later. Cheers!
Last edited by Vanished on Fri Jan 19, 2024 11:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
ebion
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Re: Making sense of the Pauline Epistles

Post by ebion »

I focussed on 1Cor. as definitely Marcian, following Detering, and that was enough for me to throw Faul out of our canon, but aren't Marcion's dates much later: 138-144 AD? Andrew Criddle suggested Moll's thesis.

I'll be really interested in what you dig up on the authorship of Hebrews, which interests me; I see it as anti-Fauline and that makes me wonder if it was written after the Faulines (>138-144 AD).
lclapshaw
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Joined: Sun May 16, 2021 10:01 am

Re: Making sense of the Pauline Epistles

Post by lclapshaw »

First of all, I love the term "yoinking" and intend to use it as often as possible from now on. :D

Second: I sure hope you like reading for pleasure as, judging from your list, you are going to be doing a lot of it. If I'm still alive 15 or more years from now I will be interested in seeing what you finally conclude, if anything. Good luck, and enjoy the trip!

Lane
ebion
Posts: 396
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Re: Making sense of the Pauline Epistles

Post by ebion »

lclapshaw wrote: Fri Jan 19, 2024 5:24 am ... judging from your list, you are going to be doing a lot of it. If I'm still alive 15 or more years from now I will be interested in seeing what you finally conclude, if anything...
Giggle; my sentiments precisely. That's why when I found my 1Cor. proof I quickly decided that was enough for my purposes, and returned to doing things I felt were useful :-,)
davidmartin
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Re: Making sense of the Pauline Epistles

Post by davidmartin »

but this early dating is internal from what the epistles themselves and Acts says alone
they smell later

what is the terminus ad quem? pretty late
i think something around 100 though
enough time to exist prior to a long lived Marcion to collect them up would be pretty generous

as a development of an earlier form of Christianity the author needed an earlier apostle to support him, so we get a window into the development of Christianity from the previous form(s) which existed already and had gospels, etc.
lclapshaw
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Re: Making sense of the Pauline Epistles

Post by lclapshaw »

How would "yoinking" be rendered in ancient Greek? Anyone know? Something like Ioivk....

Inquiring minds want to know.
davidmartin
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Re: Making sense of the Pauline Epistles

Post by davidmartin »

pornea?
lclapshaw
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Re: Making sense of the Pauline Epistles

Post by lclapshaw »

davidmartin wrote: Fri Jan 19, 2024 3:44 pmpornea?
80085!
Vanished
Posts: 24
Joined: Mon Jan 01, 2024 5:33 pm

Re: Making sense of the Pauline Epistles

Post by Vanished »

ebion wrote: Fri Jan 19, 2024 4:54 am I focussed on 1Cor. as definitely Marcian, following Detering, and that was enough for me to throw Faul out of our canon, but aren't Marcion's dates much later: 138-144 AD? Andrew Criddle suggested Moll's thesis.

I'll be really interested in what you dig up on the authorship of Hebrews, which interests me; I see it as anti-Fauline and that makes me wonder if it was written after the Faulines (>138-144 AD).
Oops - I was about to change the dates and forgot when I was writing the Early Marcion theory bit. I'll rectify that now, thanks for pointing it out :)
ebion
Posts: 396
Joined: Wed Oct 18, 2023 11:32 am

Re: Making sense of the Pauline Epistles

Post by ebion »

Vanished wrote: Fri Jan 19, 2024 11:16 pm
Oops - I was about to change the dates and forgot when I was writing the Early Marcion theory bit. I'll rectify that now, thanks for pointing it out :)
How do you get a date for Hebrews when you don't know who wrote it? That range of proposed authors covers >100 years.

What's the first mention of Hebrews that's dateable?

Is it even in Marcion's Apostolikon? Or Titus? Epiphanius doesn't think so.

PS: Or 1 and 2 Timothy?
Last edited by ebion on Sat Jan 27, 2024 7:17 am, edited 2 times in total.
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