Pauline Authorship of the Pastoral Epistles


Regarding the post on ricoblog – Roberto on the Pastorals I’ve got a few responses to make and my very short response there grew a bit long so I moved it here.

First of all, go read the article: It is certainly an interesting read.
Notice that Roberto completely ignores the content of the PE as it relates to the intended purpose. Not only in the PE but elsewhere throughout the Pauline corpus the Apostle uses words (e.g. εκκλησια) when and where they are needed, he never tosses them willy nilly into the mix. The lack or presence of specific authorial keywords neither authenticates or repudiates a given text as being authored (or not) by Paul.
Instead consider the question to which Roberto alludes viz. “does the content as a whole of the PE remain consistent with Pauline Theology elsewhere?” The answer is yes.
Next question: “does the content of the PE corpus reflect an incremental growth in church polity as earlier reflected in other NT materials (e.g. Acts 6)”? Again the answer is yes. Roberto acknowledges this and laces it with scholastic integrity by declaring:

“It’s the ecclesiology, stupid!”

(Name-calling is after all the hallmark of high intelligence, is it not?)
I agree that Ecclesiology must by definition provide a revelation to Pauline authorship. So what does Paul indicate/teach about Ecclesiology elsewhere in the Pauline corpus of writing? (For that matter, find me something Pauline that would disagree with what you find in the PE.)
He certainly recognizes the contribution of women in the prayer service (1 Timothy 2:8-9/1 Corinthians 11:5ff). He certainly recognizes the role of male eldership and the concurrent feminine submission based upon creation principles (1 Timothy 2:10-ff / 1 Corinthians 11).
Elsewhere Paul discusses church discipline (1 Corinthians 5/ 1 Timothy 1:20). Here I haven’t even gotten away from 1 Timothy and 1 Corinthians and have established consistent links.

What about linguistic choice? Roberto states,

“…at least Acts sounds like Luke when you read it. The Pastorals are all whacked. Some concepts are the same, but the underlying language has changed.”

Yes the language has changed because:

1. the audience has changed – While most other Pauline letters are written to churches first these letters are written first to it’s pastors. You and I both speak differently to our peers than we do to a group we are trying to instruct, why should we expect Paul to do otherwise.

2. The understanding of the audience has changed. It is demonstrated in 1 Corinthians 4:17 that Timothy was one of the few people who during Paul’s life had meshed so completely with Paul that he both understood and lived Pauline theology. This in contrast to the churches Paul often had to teach – Paul here only needs to remind and provide further direction. This leads me to a third essential difference:

3. The intent has changed. Paul is not primarily corrective in the PE; he is primarily directive. Almost exclusively Paul’s use of the very terms Roberto uses to demonstrate non-Pauline authorship (εὐαγγελίζω/εὐαγγέλιον, εὐχαριστέω, ἐχουσία, ἐκκλησία, μυστήριον, νόμος, παρουσία,περιτομή) are in primarily corrective sections of text. Take for instanceπεριττομη “Circumcision”. It’s use is completely embededd in corrective sections of text in every instance of the Pauline Corpus. What error is Paul trying to correct in Timothy? None. He is not correcting, he is directing. That explains the text basic differentiation.

It would seem to me that Roberto’s derisive attitude towards the PE’s authorship is based less on evidence and more on something else, whatever that might be.