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Title: The Pastoral letters as composite documents
Author: Miller, James D.
ISNI:       0000 0000 6321 6395
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1989
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"The problem of the Pastorals is the problem of their origin" (P.N. Harrison). For almost two centuries the debate over these letters has centered on the question of authorship: were they written by Paul or a pseudo-Paul? But are these the only alternatives? Or is the problem of the Pastorals more complex than the traditional "Paul or a pseudo-Paul" formulation would lead us to think? The thesis of this study is that the interpretation of the Pastorals rests not so much upon questions of authorship as upon questions of composition. The letters do not read easily as the writings of any single author, be it Paul or someone else. The debate over authorship is suspected of being a struggle between equally false alternatives . Chapter one examines the literary peculiarities of the Pastorals and concludes that in their present form they are not easily attributed either to Paul or to a clever imitator. The abrupt and sudden changes in subject matter and the lack of development of thought makes it hard to assign these works to the mind of an author. The second chapter is a detailed review of Jewish and early Christian literature with special focus given over to their compositional histories. The survey reveals that no single author can be held responsible for much of this material; the literature is frequently of a composite nature; sources have been blended, traditions woven together. This, it is noted, is the literary environment out of which the Pastorals emerged. Chapters three, four and five involve a close examination of the text of the Pastorals in their canonical order. It is found that various literary features betray the traditional and fixed character of much that lies within these letters. Editorial "seams" linking previously independent materials together are often visible, suggesting that the Pastorals are composite documents that have had a long and complicated literary history. The final chapter summarizes our findings and examines various theories as to how such documents might have been produced. The hypothesis put forward here suggests that the Pastorals are based upon brief, but genuine, Pauline notes written to Timothy and Titus. The notes were preserved within the community's "archives" and later became the literary vehicle upon which other traditional materials sacred to the community were "loaded." Two appendices are included; Appendix A examines some of the arguments put forward by scholars who argue that the Pastorals are the coherent compositions of an author. Appendix B is a form analysis of the Pastorals, designed as an aid to give a "visual summary" of the various literary elements that have been incorporated into the Pastorals.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Literature