Pauline epistles

Pauline epistles

The Pauline epistles, Epistles of Paul, or Letters of Paul, are the thirteen New Testament books which have the name Paul (Παῦλος) as the first word, hence claiming authorship by Paul the Apostle. Among these letters are some of the earliest extant Christian documents. They provide an insight into the beliefs and controversies of formative Christianity and, as part of the canon of the New Testament, they have also been, and continue to be, foundational to Christian theology and ethics.

The order of epistles

In the order they appear in the New Testament, the Pauline epistles are:

All of these epistles present Paul as the author. [Joseph Barber Lightfoot in his "Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians" writes: "At this point [) it seems to have been his practice to close with a few words in his own handwriting, as a precaution against such forgeries… In the present case he writes a whole paragraph, summing up the main lessons of the epistle in terse, eager, disjointed sentences. He writes it, too, in large, bold characters (Gr. "pelikois grammasin"), that his handwriting may reflect the energy and determination of his soul."] Some classifications do include Hebrews, being anonymous, as a Pauline epistle instead of listing it with the general epistles, but authorship of Hebrews (as Paul's) was disputed from the earliest, and no modern scholars attribute it to Paul.

Formerly in many manuscripts of New Testament Epistle to the Hebrews was located between other Pauline epistles (f.e. Between Rom and 1 Cor, between Gal and Eph, etc.). Now Hebrews is placed in the end. This order was used by manuscripts:
Codex Bezae, Uncial 048, E, K, L and majority of minuscules.

Religious classification of the epistles

The Pauline epistles are also noteworthy for the personal relationships they mention. Paul greets many individuals by name, often giving details about the value of these friendships and the encouragement they gave him.

Authenticity of the epistles

:"Main article Authorship of the Pauline epistles".Several of the letters are thought by a majority of modern scholars to be pseudepigraphic, that is, not actually written by Paul of Tarsus even if attributed to him within the letters themselves, or as forgeries intended to justify certain later beliefs. Details of the arguments regarding this issue are addressed more specifically in the articles about each epistle.

These are the 7 letters considered genuine by most scholars (see main article Authorship of the Pauline epistles: section The undisputed epistles):

*First Corinthians
*Second Corinthians
*First Thessalonians

The letters thought to be pseudepigraphic by the majority of modern scholars include: [ [ New Testament Letter Structure] , from [ Catholic Resources] by Felix Just, S.J.]

*Pastoral epistles
**First Timothy
**Second Timothy

The letters on which modern scholars are about evenly divided are: [ [ New Testament Letter Structure] , from [ Catholic Resources] by Felix Just, S.J.]

*Second Thessalonians

An anonymous letter that nearly all modern scholars agree was probably not written by Paul is:


Lost Pauline Epistles

* The first Epistle to Corinth [Also called "A Prior Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians" [] or "Paul’s previous Corinthian letter". [] , possibly Third Epistle to the Corinthians] "referenced at bibleverse|1|Corinthians|5:9
*The third Epistle to Corinth called Severe Letter "referenced at bibleverse|2|Corinthians|2:4 and bibleverse|2|Corinthians|7:8-9
* The Corinthian letter to Paul "referenced at bibleverse|1|Corinthians|7:1"
*The Earlier Epistle to the Ephesians "referenced at bibleref|Ephesians|3:3-4"
* The Epistle to the Laodiceans [ [ Apologetics Press - Are There Lost Books of the Bible? ] ] "referenced at bibleref|Colossians|4:16"

Non-canonical Pauline Epistles

Several non-canonical epistles exist claiming or having been claimed to have been written by Paul. Most, if not all, scholars reject their authenticity. They include
* Third Epistle to the Corinthians (canonical for a time in the Armenian Orthodox)
* Epistle to the Laodiceans (found in Codex Fuldensis)
* Epistle of the Corinthians to Paul (addressed to Paul, not written by him)
* Epistle to the Alexandrians

Texts also exist which, whilst not strictly epistles, nevertheless claim to have been written by (or about) Paul. These include
*Acts of Paul and Thecla
*Acts of Peter and Paul
*Apocalypse of Paul
*Coptic Apocalypse of Paul
*Prayer of the Apostle Paul
*Epistle to Seneca the Younger

Some have also postulated the existence of a third epistle to the Thessalonians (second chronologically) forged in Paul's name, citing 2 Th 2:1-2, 3:17 as evidence; that hypothesis, though, has not gained mainstream acceptance.


Bibliographic Resources

*Aland, Kurt. “The Problem of Anonymity and Pseudonymity in Christian Literature of the First Two Centuries.” "Journal of Theological Studies" 12 (1961): 39-49.
*Bahr, Gordon J. “Paul and Letter Writing in the First Century.” "Catholic Biblical Quarterly" 28 (1966): 465-77. idem, “The Subscriptions in the Pauline Letters.” "Journal of Biblical Literature" 2 (1968): 27-41.
*Bauckham, Richard J. “Pseudo-Apostolic Letters.” "Journal of Biblical Literature" 107 (1988): 469-94.
*Carson, D.A. “Pseudonymity and Pseudepigraphy.” "Dictionary of New Testament Background". Eds. Craig A. Evans and Stanley E. Porter. Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 2000. 857-64.
*Cousar, Charles B. "The Letters of Paul". Interpreting Biblical Texts. Nashville: Abingdon, 1996.
*Deissmann, G. Adolf. "Bible Studies". Trans. Alexander Grieve. 1901. Peabody: Hendrickson, 1988.
*Doty, William G. "Letters in Primitive Christianity". Guides to Biblical Scholarship. New Testament. Ed. Dan O. Via, Jr. Philadelphia: Fortress, 1988.
*Gamble, Harry Y. “Amanuensis.” "Anchor Bible Dictionary". Vol. 1. Ed. David Noel Freedman. New York: Doubleday, 1992.
*Haines-Eitzen, Kim. “‘Girls Trained in Beautiful Writing’: Female Scribes in Roman Antiquity and Early Christianity.” "Journal of Early Christian Studies" 6.4 (1998): 629-46.
*Longenecker, Richard N. “Ancient Amanuenses and the Pauline Epistles.” "New Dimensions in New Testament Study". Eds. Richard N. Longenecker and Merrill C. Tenney. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1974. 281-97. idem, “On the Form, Function, and Authority of the New Testament Letters.” "Scripture and Truth". Eds. D.A. Carson and John D. Woodbridge. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1983. 101-14.
*Murphy-O’Connor, Jerome. "Paul the Letter-Writer: His World, His Options, His Skills". Collegeville, MN: Liturgical, 1995.
*Richards, E. Randolph. "The Secretary in the Letters of Paul". Tübingen: Mohr, 1991. idem, “The Codex and the Early Collection of Paul’s Letters.” "Bulletin for Bulletin Research" 8 (1998): 151-66. idem, "Paul and First-Century Letter Writing: Secretaries, Composition, and Collection". Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 2004.
*Robson, E. Iliff. “Composition and Dictation in New Testament Books.” "Journal of Theological Studies" 18 (1917): 288-301.
*Stowers, Stanley K. "Letter Writing in Greco-Roman Antiquity". Library of Early Christianity. Vol. 8. Ed. Wayne A. Meeks. Philadelphia: Westminster, 1989.
*Wall, Robert W. “Introduction to Epistolary Literature.” "New Interpreter’s Bible". Vol. 10. Ed. Leander E. Keck. Nashville: Abingdon, 2002. 369-91.

External links

* [ Early Christian Writings:] Introductions and e- texts
* [ The Marcionite Prologues to the Pauline Epistles]

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