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Ferdinand Christian Baur.

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old one, but, on the contrary, quite fresh and new. In addition to
&11 this, we find in the narrative reminiscences more or less
distinct, of other Pauline Epistles, particularly of those to the
Corinthians, The passage (i. 5) to eifayyeXi^ov ^fi&v ovk eyeir^Oif
€t9 vfia^' €v Xoy^ p^vov, oKKa Ktu ev Bvpafiei, is manifestly an
imitation of 1 Cor. ii 4 ; — i 6, fiifiryrai riii&v eyepi^Orire kcu rov
Kvplov, of 1 Cor. xi 1 ; — i 8, ev Travrl rorrtp 7} irUrri/i vfi&v . . .
e^X^XvOev, reminds us of Som. i. 8, 17 irltm^ vfi&v tcara^ekXerai
€v ok^ r£ KoafM^. The passage ii. 4 sq. is a brief recapitulation
of the principles enunciated in the Corinthian Epistles : cf. 1 Cor.
-ii. 4; iv. 3 «j. ; ix. 16 5j., and particularly 2 Cor. ii 17; v. 11.
The following expressions especially remind us of the second
Corinthian letter, irXeove^la (ii 5), cf. 2 Cor. vii 2; with iwoifievoi ev
fidpei ehai (ii. 6), fiif eTTb/Sapfja-ai (ii. 9), cf. 2 Cor. xi 9 ; ii 7 also
reminds us of 1 Cor. iii. 2. Thus the Corinthian Epistles are
easily recognizable both in the thoughts and the expressions of the
two first chapters. Of the passages referring to the story of the
conversion of the Thessalonians, ii 14-16 is particularly noticeable.



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Char VIL] THE TWO EPISTLES TO THE THESSALONIANS. 87

The writer makes the apostle say here that the Thessalonians had
become imitators of the Christian Churches in Judaea, since they
had suffered the same things from their own countrjnnen as the
Jewish Churches from the Jews, who killed the Lord Jesus and
the prophets, and persecuted him, the apostle, and pleased not
God, and were contrary to all men, forbidding him to preach the
gospel to the heathen, that they might be saved, to fill up their
sins always ; wherefore at last wrath is come upon them. This
passage has a thoroughly un-Pauline stamp. It agrees certainly
with the Acts, where it is stated that the Jews in Thessalonica
stirred up the heathen against the apostle's converts, and against
himseK;^ yet the comparison is certainly far-fetched between
these troubles raised by the Jews and Gentiles conjointly and
the persecutions of the Christians in Judaea. Nor do we ever find
the apostle elsewhere holding up the Judseo-Christians as a
pattern to the Gentile Christians. It is, moreover, quite out of
place for him to speak of those persecutions in Judaea; for he
himself was the person principally concerned in the only persecu-
tion to which our passage can refer. Then do we find in any
other passage that the apostle couples together, as he does here, his
own sufferings for the sake of the Gospel with those which the
Jews inflicted upon Jesus and the prophets? (in what a very
different sense does he speak of his vexptoai^ 'Iriaovl 2 Cor. iv. 10).
Is this polemic against the Jews at all natural to him ; a polemic
so external and so vague that the enmity of the Jews to the
Gospel is characteiized solely in the terms of that well-known
charge with which the Gentiles assailed them, the odium generis
humani i It is this which is alleged against them, ver. 15, when it
is said that they are not merely Se^ fiij dpecricovre^i, but also iracrtv

^ We may take this opportunity of observing the unhistorical elements of the
story, Acts xvii. 6. The Jews are said to have stirred up the heathen with the
words : ol r^v olKovfiivriv ava<Trar&(T(urr€S otrot kcX ivddbt Trdpeuri, This dvao-ra-
T&a-cu is thus said to have taken phice at the time when Paul came first into
these districts; how long afterwards was it. that Christianity appeared to the
Bomans so politically dangerous as implied in the words used hereT: aurfvavri t&p
boyfidrav Kai<rapos irpdTTov<n ?



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•88 LIFE AND WOBK OF PAUL, [Part IL

avOptoirovs evavrloc, ver. 15. It is evident on the face of this
passage that the story in the Acts is the only source of its infor-
mation ; the expressions €kSi<ok€iv, tcaiXveiv, correspond accurately
with the course of events described in Acts xvii 6 sq. The
expression rol^ eOveai \(iKfiaav tva amO&av clearly suggests to us
the author's familiarity with the Acts. This expression is quite
after the manner of that work (xiv. 1 ; xvi 6, 32 ; xviiL 9), but one
which the apostle Paul himself never uses of his own preaching.^
And when it is said that after the Jews have continually filled up
the measure of their sins, e^daae Se err axnov^ ri ofyyri eU reko^,
what does this suggest to us more naturally than the punishment
that came upon them in the destruction of Jerusalem ?

It is generally supposed that the apostle wrote the First
Epistle to the Thessalonians during his first residence at Corinth,
soon after Silas and Timothy had arrived from Macedonia (Acts
xviiL 5). Our Epistle agrees perfectly with the Acts in making
Timothy, who had left Thessalonica along with Paul, but remained
at Bercea while Paul went on to Athens, rejoin him at Corinth,
(iii. 6). It represents Timothy, however (iii. 1), as having already
been with Paul at Athens, and sent back thence to Thessalonica.
The news which Timothy then brought the apostle (iii 6) was
obtained on this second journey. AU this happened shortly after the
. apostle's firstvisitto Thessalonica, and so the Epistle must have been
written a few months after that visit. If this be so, it is certainly
strange how he could write to the Thessalonians at such length about
things which must have been fresh in their memory ; it is strange
also that he should give such a description of the state of the Church
as, it is obvious, can only refer to a Church that had been some time
in existence. How can it be said of Christians belonging to a Church
only lately founded, that they were patterns to all the believers in
Macedonia and Achaia, that the fame of their reception of the word
of the Lord has not only gone abroad in Macedonia and Achaia, but

. ^ XoXeiv, 1 C!or. it 13, iii. 1, cannot be compared to the above expression;
the meaning o£ XoXciv in these passages is simply *' speak ;" it is not equivalent
to XaXcIv Tov \6yov.



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Chap. VIL] THE TWO EPISTLES TO THE THESSALONIANS. 89

that their faith ev Travrl roirtp e^ekrjXvOep, that people of every place
were speaking of them, how they were converted, and turned from
their idols to God, i. 7 sq. ? How can the apostle say after so
short an absence that, as he greatly desired to see them face to
face he had been not only once, but twice on the point of
coming to them? (ii. 17, iii. 10.) Here we have an echo of the
Corinthian letters, ^here there is frequent mention of such repeated
journeys and designs of travel How can the brotherly love of the
Thessalonians, which they exhibited to all the brethren in all
Macedonia, be spoken of as a virtue already so widely proved? (iv. 9.)
Were admonitions to a quiet and industrious life, such as are
given in iv. 11, 12, necessary even at that early period ? It is usual
to pass very lightly over all these things, and perhaps to place the
date of the Epistle somewhat later. Another critic, on the contrary,
brings all his acuteness into play to find out new possibilities, and
defend the old view as being after all the most probable. Such
palliatives, however, fail to remove the infirmity ; it lies deeper, and
can only be covered over for a moment by the treatment.

As for the section, iv. 14-18, and the view it contains of the
resurrection of the dead, and the relation of the departed and the
living to the second coming of Christ, this seems to agree very
well with 1 Cor. xv. 52 ; but it goes far beyond what is taught
there, and gives such a concrete representation of those transcendent
matters as we never find in the apostle. Yet, if only the apostolic
character of the Epistle stood firmer upon other grounds, the
countenance it obtains from the passage named would save it from
condemnation as unapostolic. Since, however, this is not the case,
and since not only does the exhortation on the subject of the
second coming occupy a prominent place (iv. 13-18 ; v. 1-11), but
the letter is pervaded throughout by the expectation of that
event (i. 10; ii 19; iii 13; iv. 6; v. 23), it would appear that
the First Epistle arose out of the same interest in the second
coming which is more decidedly expressed in the Second. With
regard to this leading thought, both Epistles are intimately con-
nected with each other. The main purpose of the First must there-



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90 LIFE AND WORK OF PAUL. [Part IL

fore be to give a comforting view of the second coming, such as
the Christians of that age required

This is the chief theme of the Second Epistle, and here the
question arises, whether such absorption in the visions of the
second coming of Christ as we find in the first, and much more
markedly in the second, of these Epistles, can be considered as
properly belonging to our apostle. The essential part of the
Second Epistle is the section ii. 1 sqq., and what we have here is
the Christian representation of Antichrist in its essential features^
as it rose out of its sources in Judaism, especially from the
prophecies of the book of DanieL Now it cannot be considered
unlikely a priori that the apostle Paul shared the views of his
Jewish countrymen at the time; his undisputed Epistles afford
us abundant evidence how much his thought and imagination
were still imbued with Jewish elements. On the other hand,
however, we must remember that here is a man who resolutely
broke through the limits of the national consciousness, and rose to
a point of view essentially different from the Jewish, to whom,
therefore, we must beware of ascribing more sympathy with
Jewish ways of thinking than there is good evidence for. We
must not overlook the fact that in this matter of the second coming
of Christ, as much as in anything else, the strongest repulsion
must have been discovered between the Pauline view of Christianity
and the Judseo-Christian view. If, according to the apostle -Paul,
the Christian consciousness was taken up almost exclusively with
the subjective relation of the individual man, feeling his need of
salvation, to Christ and all the different elements of that relation,
then the Christian's attention must simply have been turned away
from a circle of ideas, where the essence of Christianity was made
to consist only in the outward realization of the Messianic
kingdom, conceived according to the form of the Old Testament
theocracy. If the Pauline character of the section now ulider
review is to be judged by any definite canon, that canon must be
its measure of agreement with the genuine letters of the apostle;
The question is thus narrowed to the relation which the two



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Chap. VH.] THE TWO EPISTLES TO THE THESSALONIANS 91

passages dealing with the parottsia in the Thessalonian Epistles,
bear to those passages which alone fall to be considered here^
1 Cor. XV. 23-28, and 61, 52. Here the apostle is occupied with
the same class of ideas, and we shall see in what sense he accepted
them, and how far he was disposed to give himself up to them.
But what a difference is here 1 In 2 Thess. at least this is the all-
engrossing question, it is specially discussed ; in 1 Cor. it is only
touched by the way as a very subordinate question, and that in a
connexion where the apostle is taking a broad sweep over the
chief epochs of the development and final consummation of the
kingdom of God, and cannot avoid touching on the point. And
with what measured reserve does he say the little that he
thinks it necessary to say ; how carefully does he seem to avoid
what does not belong to the matter in hand, or what seems to have
a less immediate practical interest, such as the question how it is
to be with those who are living at the time of the pa7*otbsia. The
last trumpet is the signal of the resurrection, which takes place at
once when it has sounded ; the curious view of an awavrriav; ev
ve^ikavi is not even hinted at; and when the subjection of
hostile powers is spoken of as preparing the way for this final
catastrophe, the last enemy who is overcome is not Antichrist,
but death. The views expressed in 1 Cor. are entirely free from
the specific Jewish stamp of the later period, the two representa-
tions of the last time are related to each other as the Messianic
prophecy of Ps. ex. quoted in 1 Cor. xv. 25 sq,^ and that of the
prophet Daniel, ch. vii and xi It is therefore scarcely probable
that an author who expresses his views of the last things with such
caution and reserve, as in 1 Cor. xv., should, in a writing of earlier
date, have entered into the question so fully and given evidence of
a belief entirely preoccupied with Eabbinical opinions.-^ We may

^ It is tMud that Acts xvii. 7 shows the apostle^s preaching at Thessalonica to
have been mainly apocalyptical, to have hinged, that is to say, upon the expecta*
tion of the coming of Christ as king of the kingdom of God, so that the Jews took
occasion to raise a charge against his adherents, as if they were abont to desert
from the emperor to another king, Jesus. This interpretation of the passage is
entirely arbitrary ; cf. De Wette, Thess. Brief, p. 92.



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92 LIFE AND WORK OF PAUL. [Part II.

go further, and assert that the view expressed in 2 Thess. ii is
in direct opposition to the apostle's own expectation, 1 Cor. xv. ;
for he writes, 1 Cor. xv. 52, on the assumption that he himself
is to witness the paroima, and to be changed, along with those
living at the time. Here there is a simple and confident faith in
the immediate approach of Christ's coming. In 2 Thess. ii,
however, we find a theory introduced to explain why the parousia
cannot take place so soon ; thus it had evidently been expected
for some time when this was written. Now it was impossible to
give up faith in the reality of the event, and so it was said that it
had been delayed by some obstructive agency in the way. This
obstmction, this Karlypv, the agency through which the final
catastrophe was still delayed, was believed to be the Roman
Empire, as the fourth monarchy of the prophecy of Daniel, which
had to fulfil its definite period before the kingdom succeeding it,
the kingdom of Christ, could appear. At the time when the
Second Epistle was composed, the increasing sin and godlessness
of the world were believed to be the signs of the impending
catastrophe ; the elements of evil were now consolidating them-
selves into the definite form and personality of Antichrist ; yet the
actual advent of the catastrophe was still relegated to the dim and
distant future. The principal exhortation that our Epistle con*
tains is therefore to the effect that Christians should not be dis-
quieted by any delusive assertion of the approach of the paromia,
nor surrender their calm and rational frame of mind ; since it was
impossible for Christ to appear before Antichrist came, and Anti-
christ could not come as long as that continued which had to
precede the beginning of the last era. How far does this take us,
not only beyond the apostle's point of view, but beyond the
period in which he lived I

The view expressed in the First Epistle on the subject of the
parousia is similar on the whole to the apostle's own view, 1 Cor.
XV. 51 ; inasmuch as the principal element in it is the exhortation
regarding the living and the departed. And here our Epistle simply
repeats what the apostle himself had said. The Second Epistle



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Chap. VIL] THE TWO EPISTLES TO THE THESSALONIANS 93

diflfers from the apostle's views on the subject, and goes therefore

beyond the First. Yet this relation of the two Epistles to each

other can scarcely warrant us to attribute the Second Epistle

entirely to the writer^s intention to correct the representation of

the nearness of Mheparousia in the First Epistle by his own doctrine

of Antichrist which removed that event further off. It is perfectly

conceivable that one and the same writer, if he lived so much in

the thought of the parousia as the two Epistles testify, should have

looked at this mysterious subject in different circumstances and

from different points of view, and so expressed himself regarding it

in different ways. However this may be, the Epistles are alike in

this, that they are greatly wanting in original matter, and that this

deficiency discredits their apostolic authorship. The First Epistle

merely repeats what was well known before. The dependence of

the second on the first shows that the writer looked about him for

some precedent which might warrant him in investing his doctrine

of the parousia, which was the main thing he had to bring forward,

with the form of a Pauline Epistle. The whole of the first chapter

has reference, as has justly been observed, to the First Epistle. The

commencement exactly resembles the commencement of 1 Thess. ;

what is said about OKv^t^ for the sake of the gospel has several

parallels in 1 Thess. ii and iii.^ At ver. 6 the author goes on to the

main idea of the parousia, as it had already been expressed in 1

Thess. ; only that his view of Antichrist and of the judgment to

follow his subjection is even here before his mind, as an addition

to and modification of that earlier view. Ver. 1 1 sq. is similar to

1 Thess. L 3, iii 12 sq,, v. 23 sq. As little can ii. 13-17 deny its

similarity to 1 Thess. i 4 sq., iii. 11 sq. The form of address

aZeSjfxil fjyairqfievoi xnro Kvpiov, which occurs nowhere in Paul's own

writings, is found here, and is evidently derived from 1 Thess. i. 4.

Chapter iii. contains a number of sentences borrowed and extended

1 De Wette (K. Erkl. p. 129) insists upon the present ais dvcxea-Oe against
Kern (whose Abh. tiber 2 Thess., Tlib. Zeitschr. f. TheoL 1839, 2 H. S. 20 sq. may
be compared). This present, however, merely serves to show us how the author
transferred what had been said in 1 Thess. to his own time.



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94 LIFE AND WORK OF PAUL. [Part II.

from 1 Thess. Compare 2 Thess. iiL 1-2 with 1 Thess. v. 25 ;
2 Thess. iiL 6 with 1 Thess. v. 24, iii. 11-13 ; 2 Thess. iii 6-12
with 1 Thess. ii. 6-12; iv. 11 sj., v. 14; 2 Thess. iii 16 with
1 Thess. V. 23. The writer's want of originality is also apparent
in the phrase fj/q eKKaxTjatfTe KoKoTroiovvre^, which is evidently
borrowed from Gal. vi 9 ; and only seeks variety by changing to
KCbKov iro(,elv into KcChjoirot,€lv. Phrases like evyoxpurrelv o^tKoiiev
are not, indeed, absolutely un-Pauline, yet circumlocutions such as
this, instead of the simple Pauline eixo'pi'frreiv and with the
further addition KaOm a^iov eariv; conscious exaggerations, as
vTTcpav^aveL rj inaTi^ vfi&v kclI ifKeoval^ei, 97 tvyawq ivo^ eKaarov
TrdvTODv v/j^v (compare with this 1 Thess. iii. 10-12); strange and
far-fetched expressions, as errurrevOrf to /laprvpiov ^fju&v e^
vfuifi (i 10); Be'XjEaOat rffv arfairrjv Tr}<i d\ff0€la<: (ii. 10); with vague
and confused relations of object to subject, as d^iovv 7779 ^Xifo-eoi?,
'irKrjpovp iraaav €vBoKcav a/yadayavvrj^i (i 11), are certainly not
calculated to give evidence for a genuine Pauline origin. And lastly,
the Kal before Sea rovro (ii. 11), and alpelaOai, (ii 13) instead of
eKkeyeadaiy for the idea of election, are distinctly un-Pauline.

The conclusion, iii 17, 18, affords strong evidence against this
Epistle. In order to understand it properly, we have first of all
to dispose of the incorrect assertion that the greeting is contained
in ver. 17 itself, and not in the benediction which follows in ver. 18.
De Wette argues against this latter view, that in 1 Cor. xvi 21,
CoL iv. 18, the benediction does not immediately follow the words,
o cunracfjio^ t§ ep,^ X^V* > that, on the contrary, in the former
passage, these words are succeeded by something quite opposite to
the spirit of blessing, namely, by malediction. But this does not
prove anything ; the Pauline benediction is iiot wanting in either
of these Epistles. All Pauline Epistles have the same benediction
at the close, though with some verbal differences; and so the
dairaaixb^ in this case is evidently meant to stand at the close of
the Epistle after the Pauline manner, in the words ^ x^-P*^ '^^^ ^^P^
etc. Where is the greeting, if not in these words ? for 6 doTraa-fio^,
etc., is not itseK the greeting, but only announces it. Now, the



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Chap. VIL] THE TWO EPISTLES TO THE THESSALONIANS, 95

statement made here that the apostle added this greeting and
benediction to his Epistle with bis own hand, is not in itself
peculiar; the same statement is made, 1 Cor. xvi 21, CoL iv. 18,
But if we compare the conclusion of our Epistle with that of 1 Cor.,
we notice a very remarkable difference. Why does the apostle
add the greeting to I Cor. with his own hand ? clearly in order to
give his readers one more living proof of his affection towards
them. But in our Epistle the author has made it very apparent
what a different intention the assertion is meant to serve. He says,
o eoTi (Tfifielov ev irdarj eircoToX^' ovtco ypcuJHO* The words, then,
stand here, not to enhance the affection of the greeting, but as a
sign whereby the Epistle is to authenticate itself as Pauline, as a
critical mark, to distinguish the genuine from the spurious. Not
only is this quite un- Pauline in comparison with 1 Cor. ; it is an
immistakeable proof that our Epistle was written at a time when
spurious apostolic writings were known to be in circidation, and
there was cause for inquiry into the genuineness of each production.
Against this inquiry no one could have a stronger motive to take
precautions than one actually engaged in giving a pretended
Pauline letter to the world. How far is the apostle himself from
any such idea of spurious Epistles ; in how different a spirit did
he wiite his autograph greeting, and how could it ever have
occurred to him to set up in an Epistle, which, according to the
general view, is one of the very first of the series, a criterion appli-
cable to each one ; there being, on this hjrpothesis, several of them
already in circulation ? Are we to suppose that, at the time when
the apostle had written hardly any Epistles at all, pretended
Pauline ones had already made their appearance, which called for
caution in discriminating, such as is given here, ii 2 ; or could he
foresee so distinctly, even so early as this, that he would have a
large correspondence afterwards ? And more, how could he reason-
ably regard such a criterion of the genuineness of his Epistles to
be of the slightest value ? For as soon as the mark became known,
it would be used with all due care to foist in any Epistle that
needed it. The idea of taking the Pauline form of salutation in



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96 LIFE AND WORK OF PAUL. [Part II.

this seDse can only have occurred to a later writer, who had a
series of Pauline Epistles already before him, and who, being about
tp augment their number with a new one, not only provided his
own with this badge of Pauline origin, but thought it necessary to
draw attention to the fact. The repeated mention of Epistles,
1 Thess. V. 27, 2 Thess. ii. 2, 16 ; iii 17, seems to ascribe an im-
portance to the writing of Epistles, which it is impossible it should
have had for the apostle, at least at the time from which these
Epistles are professedly dated, but which it very naturally possessed
in the eyes of a writer for whom the apostle himself existed no-
where but in his Epistles. How clearly does the exhortation given,
1 Thess. V. 27, with all due emphasis, reproduce the views of a
time which regarded the apostle's letters no longer as the natural,
channels of spiritual intercourse, but as sacred objects to which the
proper reverence was to be shown by forming as minute as possible
an acquaintance with their contents, especially through public
reading of them. In this way the custom arose of reading those
Epistles, and others deemed important, before the congregation.
But how could the apostle himseK have thought it necessary
formally to adjure the Church to which his Epistles were ad-
dressed, not to leave them unread ? That could be done only by
an author who was not writing in the living pressure of the
circumstances of which he treated, but transporting himself while,
writing into an imagined situation, and who wished to vindicate
for his own pretended apostolic Epistles the consideration with
which the original apostolic Epistles had become invested by the
growth of custom.



Online LibraryFerdinand Christian BaurPaul, the apostle of Jesus Christ: his life and work, his epistles ..., Volume 2 → online text (page 10 of 35)