28 February 2016

A Bluffer's Guide to Pauline Pseudonymy (2)

 In the decades following Morton's work, doubts fell upon both his methodology and his conclusions. It was demonstrated that the logic by which he discerned such a plurality of authors in the 'Pauline Corpus' had a similarly fissiparous effect upon James Joyce. (Some of you will remember the earlier and hilarious satirical papers in which Ronnie Knox exposed to ridicule the fissiparous NTEs of his own time.) Morton had actually appeared in court as an expert witness for prosecutions: I wonder how many unfortunate people did time ... 'porridge', as we call it this side of the water ... as a result of his 'scientific' evidence. He was a Scottish Presbyterian minister.

Moreover, things developed in the field of computer science. And, in New Testament studies, new methodologies; accumulations of data made by other workers in the field; enabled Kenny to publish, in 1986, A Stylometric Study of the New Testament. (We will concentrate on his conclusions with regard to 'S Paul'.) Unlike the Protestant writers who had dominated the scene, Kenny declined to begin from a doctrinaire assumption that Romans and Galatians are self-evidently Pauline simply because Martin Luther thought he had discovered in them the Essence of the Gospel, the 'Canon within the Canon'; instead, "the better method is surely to start with the corpus of Pauline writings handed on by tradition, and ask whether within that corpus there is any Epistle, or group of Epistles, which is marked out as different from the body as a whole". His work is intricate and I will not attempt to reproduce it all. Suffice it to give his conclusion that "on the basis of the evidence in this chapter for my part I see no reason to reject the hypothesis that twelve of the Pauline Epistles are the work of a single, unusually versatile author". The only letter which on stylometric grounds Kenny regards as suspicious is Titus.

Kenny, you observe, has moved a fair distance from the certainties of the NTEs. But yet more revolutionary is a list he presents to us. "We can take a rough measure of how well each Epistle is at home in the Pauline corpus ... [t]hose which fit snugly ...". If you are a NTE, take a deep breath before you read on.
II Timothy
II Corinthians
II Thessalonians
I Thessalonians
I Timothy
I Corinthians
You will observe with amusement that the concept of the Tuebingen Four, as including Galatians and I Corinthians with Romans and Galatians and holding all the rest at arm's length, has been comprehensively torpedoed below the waterline. Even less survives, bobbing around on the surface, of the traditional Protestant NTE contempt for II Timothy as one of the 'Pastoral Epistles'.

Let us now concentrate on Ephesians, a letter much disliked by Protestant writers, and, if I remember aright, by Walter Kasper, because of its Catholic ecclesiology. In Kenny's Table 14.27 (yes, I'm afraid it's that kind of book), Ephesians correlates better with Romans than does any other letter except for II Corinthians, Galatians, and II Thessalonians.

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