29 February 2016

A Bluffer's Guide to Pauline Pseudonymy (3)

Continues. [Personal note to Mr Bellord: the first paragraph is just as I wrote it before you made your appeal!! Truly!]
You may have been wondering about Hebrews. Kenny does not analyse Hebrews as part of the Pauline corpus because it does not claim to be by S Paul. But in his Table 13.2 he compares it with various NT writings and finds ... wait for it ... that it achieves a correlation with 'Paul' higher than any other correlations in the NT except that between the three Synoptic Gospels. Draw your own conclusions!

In conclusion, a few minor observations of my own ~ ~ ~ ~

~ Poor old I Corinthians! But might its lowly status be due to the participation of its joint author Sosthenes? Indeed, the "unusual versatility" which Kenny discerns within the Pauline authorship may owe a lot to the presence of scribes (like the Tertius who scribed Romans), and coauthors such as Timothy and Silvanus.

~ Does a Catholic need to be worried about the 'authenticity' of Titus? Well, it doesn't worry me. One can think of any number of hypotheses ... like a busy Paul saying to somebody with whom he has been discussing Titus "Go and write it all down for me ... I'll leave the details to you". In any case, what matters is that it is canonical. That is, in the last resort, all that matters about the entire Biblia.

~ Some earlier thinkers had already entertained doubts about NTE orthodoxy. G D Caird, Dean Ireland Professor in this University, had pointed out that the almost lyrical constructions in Ephesians (often with accumulations of genitives), which led some writers to say "How unlike the style of Romans, etc.", do appear in the other Pauline writings, even if only in patches here and there.

~ The Pastoral Epistles, we have seen, were the most despised by NTEs. But within these letters there are paragraphs, often about little practical and personal things like "Don't forget the parchments and please bring my chasuble", which seem to have such a raw immediacy that even the most rigid and bigoted NTEs found their hearts being touched and softened: so there grew up the now widespread theory that these are 'Genuine Pauline Notes' which the pseudonymous writer cunningly incorporated! ... talk about having cake and eating it! 




Nicolas Bellord said...

Thank you Father. Your last paragraph made me laugh brightening up a Monday morning.

Don Camillo SSC said...

N.T.Wright, probably our greatest living Pauline scholar, has no doubt about the Pauline authorship of Ephesians, and indeed of all the rest. Hebrews is another matter, but it isn't really really a letter at all (except the final chapter). In any case, as you say, what matters is not authorship but canonicity.

GOR said...

”In any case, what matters is that it is canonical


I can recall a time when an Epistle reading would be introduced: “Lectio Epistolae beati Pauli Apostoli ad Hebraeos…” and no one batted an eyelid. Of course that was in pre-Vat II days when we were an unlettered, unsophisticated lot who were probably “telling our beads” at the time anyway…

While the authorship of assorted books of Scripture may be questionable and provide for lively post-prandial discussions over brandy and cigars, in the end it matters little to the majority of the faithful. What does matter is that the books in question are part of the Canon of Scripture defined by the Church – which is all we need to know.

Matthew Roth said...

It is worth noting that one can find the tone for the readings in the appendix to the third Roman Missal, wherein the chant goes: “A reading from the epistle of blessed Paul the apostle to the Hebrews.” The new lectionary undoubtedly will make this clear in all cases (as well as the better translation of “beati...apostoli...”), but I say use it even when reading the lesson and title.

To think otherwise regarding Pauline authorship really seems uncatholic to me, even if the questions raised are legitimate. It seems to misunderstand what the church teaches on revelation.

Adrian said...

I think it is worth noting that GD Kilpatrick pointed out some weaknesses in Kenny's methodology [in Novum Testamentum 30.4, 1988]. It might well be that using a wider range of tools than just Nestle 26 and Kurt Aland's computerized concordance would yield different results.
AQ Morton's early work in this field is fifty years old. Kenny produced his book thirty years ago – in computer science terms, back in the dark ages. It would be interesting to see what more recent work has uncovered.

Amateur Brain Surgeon said...

Well, we have had the example of Pope Benedict XVI, in his trilogy, telling readers that the author of the Epistles of John wasn't John the Apostle but a man named, John.

Hip hip hooray for our side for at least we get to keep calling the author of those Epistles, John. (Of course implying we do not know the authors of sacred scripture would never tend in the direction of skepticism of the context of the text those unknown authors wrote).

Isn't it comforting to have instability as a constant?

Now, if only as much study, effort, and teaching, was devoted to telling the man in the pew what the Mass is we'd be getting somewhere for not one in 10,000,000 men can tell you what the Mass is if you ask them what the Mass is.

Go on, try asking your own self. You won't find one (no fair asking a fellow communicant if you assist at a Real Mass).

Andreas said...

Applying the same textual methodology to Fr. Hunwicke’s Blog I detected four distinct authors only one of which is the true Hunwicke, the other three are Pseudo-Hunwickes. All four authors are of the same time period. One of them is well familiar with the English countryside while the others are more at ease in the city. One of them is very fond of colored text which kills my eyes. I call him Pseudo-Hunwicke Deterrimus.

Gregory DiPippo said...

Some years ago, I attended a lecture by the grand doyen of liberal Biblical scholars, Fr Raymond E. Brown, on this very topic. I was pleasantly surprised to hear him denounce as false the comparison between pseudepigraphy among the letters of St Paul and pseudepigraphy in the Old Testament. He stated that while everyone understood that the attribution of books like Ecclesiastes and Wisdom to Solomon was a literary device, because Solomon had been dead for hundreds of years when they were written, no one denies that the supposedly pseudepigraphical letters of St Paul were only written about 10-20 years after his death. I remember him saying, "What did the Ephesians think, it got lost in the mail?" A priest sitting next to me whispered "He hears the rustling of death's wings behind him", and he did indeed die a few months later.

mark wauck said...

"It would be interesting to see what more recent work has uncovered."


Don't be put off by the "Download PDF" come-on at the link--scroll down just a bit and you'll get the entire paper on line. He's quoting stuff from 2012, so ...

ContSlÊibhe said...

It is generally agreed that unlike Proust or Woolf, Joyce does not have a signature prose style. Rather, an incredible variety of idioms speak through his various works.

Could not the same be said of St Paul?