Friday, April 20, 2007

Zahn on the Pastoral Epistles

It is a good exercise to ocassionally read older NT Introductons when you get a chance and it makes you realize that very little is actually new these days. I have been flicking through Theodor Zahn's NT Intro and here is what he had to say about the Pastoral Epistles:

With regard to that last refuge of so-called criticism, namely, the linguistic character of the letters, it is to be remarked at the outset that a pseudo-Paul, by repeating and imitating Pauline expressions, would be sure to make mistakes and so betray himself. The opposite is what we really find. Even the greetings, which would be the most apt to be handled in this way, are thoroughly originaly, hwoing dependence neitehr upon earlier letters nor upon teh common model. Here also is to be observed the peculiarity of Paul's style, by which he repeats within short range a characteristic word once used or a realted word, without prejudice to the fact that for one not a Greek he has command of an unusually larger number of words and expressions, which would tend rater to increase with time than to diminish. Itis also to be observed that 1 Tim. and Titus were written withint a short time of each otehr and for like reasons, and that of 2 Tim. also is considerably close to thtese letters both in time and purpose than it is to any of the Epistles that we have investigated. Consequently the fact that these three letters have certain expressions in common which either are found not in the earlier Pauline Epistles at all, or occur only rarely, is no proof that they are spurious, but only goes to confirm the conclusion arrived at from the investigation of their contens, that they all belong to the same period of Paul's life, and that the last. If it be admitted tha the linguistic phenomena of the letters controvert altogether the efforts of numerous "apologists" to find a palce for 1 Tim. and Titus in the earlier period of Paul's life, then the "critics" in their turn ought not to deny that 2 Tim. is different from the other two not only in content, but also linguistically. Such difference is very difficult to understand if all three are the work of a forger, but very easy to explain if they wre written by Paul under the conditions which the letters themselves disclose.

T. Zahn, Introduction to the New Testament (ed. M.W. Jacobus; 3 vols; 3rd edn; Minneapolis: Kock and Klock/Kregal, 1953), 2.121-22.


Daniel Kirk said...

So, by "little new" did you mean "conservative scholars fighting tooth and nail against a seemingly inevitable conclusion--namely, that Paul didn't write [at least one or two of] the pastoral epistles"?


Denny Burk said...

Dear Michael,

I'm sorry to post an unrelated comment. However, I'm still trying to contact you by e-mail, but I fear perhaps you still haven't received my notes. I received your recent e-mail, and I responded. But since I haven't heard back from you, I'm assuming that you didn't receive mine?

Really enjoying and "amening" your article on Romans 4:25,
Denny Burk

Peter M. Head said...

I always knew Zahn couldn't spell.