Copyright
Ferdinand Christian Baur.

Paul, the apostle of Jesus Christ: his life and work, his epistles ..., Volume 2 online

. (page 11 of 35)
Online LibraryFerdinand Christian BaurPaul, the apostle of Jesus Christ: his life and work, his epistles ..., Volume 2 → online text (page 11 of 35)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


The accustomed apologetic method will doubtless bring up one
objection and another to the . arguments I have here advanced.
Yet if they be fairly weighed in their whole connexion, they can
scarcely produce any other impression than this : that both the
Epistles are entirely destitute of marks of original Pauline author-
ship. Their character is best explained on the hypothesis that
they are letters formed on the Pauline model, in order to impress
upon the Christian consciousness an idea for which the passage



Digitized by



Google



Chap. VIL] THE TWO EPISTLES TO THE THE8SAL0NIANS. 97

1 Cor. XV. 51 seemed to afford good grounds for claiming the
apostle's authority, — ^the idea of the paroTisia, with the definitions
and modifications which the time seemed to require.^

^ The above discossion has been printed, without alteration, from the first
edition. If the author had reached this point in his revision of the work, he
would have remodeUed this chapter, and, for one thing, have incorporated in it
the substance of his treatise ** die beiden Brief e an die Thessalonicher, u»s.w."
(Th. Jahrb. xiv. 1866, p. 141). I, of course, have not felt myself warranted to
introduce this change, but as that treatise not only contains valuable investiga-
tions, especially with regard to the second EpisUe, but also advances a different
view from the above of the relation of the two Epistles to each other, I have
printed it in the Appendix to this volume.



Digitized by



Google



THIRD CLASS OF PAULINE EPISTLES.



EIGHTH CHAPTER

THE PASTORAL EPISTLES;

Even at the present stage of the criticism of the Pauline Epistles,
the Pastoral ones stand distinctly marked off from the class we
have been considering, as a set of deutero-Pauline writings, doubts
of whose authenticity are generally recognised as reasonable. The
suspicion which Schleiermacher first conceived with respect to the
First Epistle to Timothy has since then struck deep roots in the
soil from which the three Epistles sprang ; so that we need no
longer fear any very decided reclamation when we appeal to those
three Epistles in proof of the fact that there are forged Pauline
letters in our canon. The more carefully and impartially these
writings are examined, critically and exegeticaUy, the less will it
be possible to doubt their late origin. One critic and interpreter,
the competency of whose judgment cannot be denied, has already
declared, as the result of repeated examinations and of exegetical
treatment in which no point was left untouched, that the verdict
that they are spurious is the only possible one for him, and, he
believes, for any one who does not close his eyes.^ As this simply
confirms the conclusions which I reached some time ago, and
published in a ivork devoted to the subject, dealing especially with

1 De Wette : Kurze ErkL der Brief e an Titus, Tim., und die Hebr. 1844, Vom
S. vi. Oredner (das N. T. nach Zweck, Ursprung, Inhalt fUr denkende Leser der
Bibel, 1841-43) has also, Th. ii. S. 96 «g., renounced his previous eclectic opinion,
and declared unconditionally his belief that the three Epistles are spurious.



Digitized by



Google



Chap. VIIL] THE PASTORAL EPISTLES. 99

these Epistles/ and as I still adhere to the view developed in that
work, I need not now do more than indicate the point at which
that view strikes in upon our present discussion. I will, therefore,
content myself here with hriefly mentioning the chief considera-
tions on which the judgment of criticism respecting these Epistlea
rests, so far as it is already established.

To one seeking to form a correct judgment of the nature of the
Pastoral Epistles, a main question for investigation must be found
in the heretics who are mentioned here as playing a considerable
part in the world. In the work I have mentioned, I was the first
to assert, and to give evidence for the assertion, that in these here-
tics we recognise throughout the familiar features of Gnosticism ;
and nothing of importance has since been urged against this view.
It is no arbitrary theory, but the nature of Hhe case, that shuts us
up to this one conclusion, that these heretics can belong to no other
school What the latest defender of the genuineness of the Pastoral
Epistles^ urges against this conclusion, is nothing more than this :
that "at the period from which the Pastoral Epistles spring, the
higher spirits are not yet developed and arranged into systems, that
they appear as mere loose formless existences, and that, though
they contain the elements or bases for more developed growths, yet
what they want is just that form which, as members of the Gnostic
systems, they possess." But how unnatural is the assumption that
if the author of the Pastoral Epistles wished to controvert the Gnos-
tics, he would himself have described their systems ; and how un-
fair and absurd is the demand made on those who seek to prove
that those Gnostic-looking representations actually belong to Gnosis!
If the true state of affairs is really to be acknowledged, two
things must first of all be allowed : first, that there may have been
Gnostic systems in existence at the time, which may possibly be
referred to here, even though the writer of the Epistles does not set

^ Die sogeDannten Pastorallmefe des Apostels Panlns, 1835.

' Mattliie8, Erld&ning der Pastoralbriefe mit besonderer Beziehung anf
Anihentie and Ort und Zeit der Abfassung derselben, 1840, S. 165. Compare
my review of this work in the Jahrb. fUr wissensoh. Eritik, 1841, Jan^ Nr. 12 f.



Digitized by



Google



100 LIFE AND WORK OF PAUL. [Part IL

forth the heresies which he is combating in their systematic fonn,
but only characterizes them in general terms ; and then, that the
task of historical criticism is to make combinations on the grounds
of probability, and thus to arrive at the actual state of the case.
If these two things be allowed, then we have simply to determine
whether the features of the doctrine controverted in these Epistles
warrant us, from what we can understand of them, to assume that
it is no other doctrine than the Gnosis known to us in history.
That this conclusion is warranted, De Wette now allows ;^ he only
does not take the further step with me, that the Gnostics attacked
here are the Marcionites in particidar. And yet in the face of
such clear indications of the Marcionite doctrine, as we have 1 Tim.
vi. 20, this conclusion ought not to offer any great difficulty ; if the
apostolic origin of the Epistles is fairly given up, then half-a-century
backwards or forwards in the date of their origin cannot so much
matter, at least where, as is here the case, no further reasons can
be adduced against a later date. This late origin of the Pastoral
Epistles has a further point in its favour, which is not noticed in
my work on those Epistles, but of which I spoke later in another
place.^

The passage quoted by Eusebius, EccL Hist, iii 32, from the
historical work of Hegesippus, is an important one for the criticism
of the Pastoral Epistles, especially of 1 Tim. Hegesippus says
here distinctly, in speaking of the origin of the heiBsiesr and of their
entrance into the Church, till then pure and immaculate, that only
when the choir of the apostles became extinct did the '^€uBa>vvfio<;
^vaxrcf; boldly Uft up its head. Now how could Hegesippus have
^aid this, if the apostle Paul, as author of the pastoral Epistles,
had mentioned this ^p^vB(ivvfiQ<; yv&ac^ by the same name as a
phenomenon existing at his time? We might suppose that
Hegesippus happened not to know of 1 Tim. as a Pauline Epistle;
yet the fact that there had been at that earlier period a Gnosis

^ Op. cU. p. 119 8q., cf. p. 117.

^ In the essay on the origin of the episcopate, which may be consulted on this
whole suhject, Tub. Zeitschr, fUr TheoL 1838,. 3 H. S. 27 L



Digitized by



Google



(&AP. VIII.] THE PASWBAL EPISTLES. 101

falsely so called, could not possibly have escaped him. This piece
of evidence speaks with all possible distinctness against the apo-
stolic authorship of oiir Epistles, and the passage from which it is
taken is the more remarkable, that in other points also it betrays
an affinity with our Epistles which cannot be altogether the result
of chance. If ot only is the peculiar phrase y^'evBwwfiof: yvaxri^
found there as well as here, but the phrase er^pohiZaaKoiXeiv
(with which Schleiermacher was so much struck, and which seemed
to him to imply the existence at that time of the word eTepoSiSda^Ka-
Xo9, a word which, he thought, did not occur) ^ finds its parallel in
the term irepoBiBda-KaXoi which Hegesippus (in he. eit.) applies
to those heretics. Again, Hegesippus speaks of a vyirj^ kovwv tov
aayrrjplov tcffpuyfiaTOf;, and in the same way the phrase vyiaivowra
SiBacKaTua is used of sound doctrine, 1 Tim. L 10, and elsewhere.
There are only two possible explanations Of this : that Hegesippus
had our Epistle before him, or the writer of our Epistle the work of
Hegesippus. But Hegesippus can scarcely, considering his Ebionite
views, have drawn from an Epistle supposed to be by Paul ; and
thus we are shut up to the latter alternative which is in itself the
more probable of the two. Thus the origin ^f 1 Timothy at least
belongs to the period of the Marcionite Gnosis. Hegesippus* enu-
merates Marcionites, Carpocratians, Yalentinians, Basilidians, Sat^
uminians, as sects who, with Simon Magus at their head, and
springing from the seven Jewish heresies (it agrees very well with
this that the heretics of the Pastoral Epistles are characterized in
part as judaizers), as yftevBoxpiaroc, yftevStyirpoifnjrah yftevSairo-
cTToXot, efiepiaav rrfv Spo^aiv t^9 eKKktiaia^ <l>6opifiatot^ XoyoL^, or
as it is expressed before, oKoaH^ fmraieu^. This agrees with the ef-
erpdirriaav ew fuiTaioXoyiav of 1 Tim. i. 6. How then can it be
thought so improbable that the Marcionite is one of the Gnostic
doctrines attacked in these Epistles ?

A second point in the criticism of the Pastoral Epistles, and one
of no less importance than that just spoken of, is the reference

^ Sendschreiben Uber den sog^nannten ersten Brief des Paulus an Timotli.,
p. 29. * Eusebius, Eccl. Hist., i v. 22.



Digitized by



Google



102 LIFE AND WOBK OF PAUL, [Part IL

tliey contain to the government and the external institutions of the
church. This second point is intimately connected with the first.
The Gnostics, as the first heretics properly so called, gave the first
occasion for the episcopal constitution of the church. Now, if
there were heretics of the same stamp in the age of the apostle
Paul, then it was quite natural and proper that the importance of
a well-defined constitution for the Christian church should have
been urged at that earlier period. If, however, it appear unlikely
that there were such heretics at that time, then this also must
appear unlikely ; then these ecclesiastical arrangements will be
devoid of any historical occasion or connexion. And if the
mention of such things in a Pauline Epistle be in itself a curious
and suspicious circumstance, then the argument it furnishes against
the authenticity of the Pastoral Epistles is all the stronger. In any
case it must appear very remarkable that only in these Epistles do
we find the apostle Paul insisting with such serious emphasis on
ecclesiastical institutions. In those Epistles which supply us with
the surest standard of his principles, he never betrays the
slightest interest in such things, not even when they might be
thought to lie directly in his way, as in his dealings with a church
like that of Corinth. And this want of interest in such things is
not merely accidental ; it is foimded deep in the whole spirit and
character of Pauline Christianity, so that we may not without
substantial reasons make him the author and supporter of institu-
tions which were not long in showing how closely they were akin
to the hierarchical spirit of Judaism. This feature in the pastoral
Epistles is so peculiar, that those who defend their genuineness
have felt themselves compelled to seek for special motives, which
may have led the apostle to impart such pastoral instruction in
this instance. It must have been, it is alleged, very necessary
and very beneficial for these churches, that the greatest attention
should be bestowed on organization ; and it was very fitting that
this should be done in private letters, such as these, addressed to
men who were functionaries in the church and associates of the
apostle. But it is not proved that in this case there was any



Digitized by



Google



Chap. VIIL] THE PASTORAL EPISTLES. 103

such special need ; and this explanation is bound up with
hypotheses which stand themselves in need of proof. The con-
sideration that, as private letters^ these Epistles afforded peculiar
opportunities for imparting such instruction can weigh for nothing,
if we reflect that the form of the writing would not determine the
object, but, on the contrary, the object the form.^

A further point in the criticism of the pastoral Epistles is that it
is impossible to find a suitable place for the composition of them
in the apostle's histoiy as we know it. The latest attempt, that
made by Matthies, furnishes an additional proof of this assertion.
The Epistle to Titus is said to have been written during the

^ One of the most decisive proofs of later origin is the ecclesiastical institution
of widows, spoken of 1 Tim. v. 3. This passage is still misunderstood. The
explanation given by Matthies is quite beside the mark. De Wette (IVeface, p.
vi) thinks he has cleared up the whole difficulty. But the passage can never
appear in a dear light so long as the expression x*7p^ u i^ot taken in the sense
which I have shown to be the ecclesiastical one (cf. especially Ignat. Ep. ad
Smym., c. 13). If the XVP^9 ^^* ^ ^ '^ ^^> ^ actually bereaved persons, then
we are met by the great difficulty that the apostle gives two directly contradic-
tory precepts about them. According to w. 11 and 14» the younger widows
should marry again ; and, according to ver. 9, a second marriage is to exclude them,
should they become widows again, from the viduaHu of the Church. De Wette
says the distinction was a rare one, to which many did not aspire, and that the
author set up the regulation, ver. 9, only out of respect for the custom of the
church then subsisting ; but this is very superficial. How can it be thought that
a writer who gives such precepts would deal so loosely with second marriage, a
thing so repugnant to the sentiment of the time ? Not to insist upon the simple
and unqualified yo/xctv, ver. 14» the passage does not apply even to the younger
widows, who alone would be spoken of here. If the xVP^t '^^' ^^» ^^> ^ widows
proper, then these younger widows, as distinguished from the older, ver. 9, must
include aU under the age of sixty. But how can such persons be meant in the
general directions? w. 11, 14. The whole passage applies, it is evident, only to
younger females ; and the sense becomes still clearer if we do not, as is generally
done, take v€wtpas x^pas together, but take vctArcpar as subject, and XOP^ ^
predicate, and irapaiTov as a negative of KaTakey€a-6io. The words then bear the
plain and natural meaning : Do not admit young persons of the female sex into
the catalogue of the x^P^ ^^' they are at an age when they cannot be trusted ;
for if they feel the sexual impulse, which is incompatible with faithfulness to
Christ, they wiU marry. And if it thus appears that the passage can be satis-
factorily explained only out of the ecclesiastical vocabulary of the second century,
this is the dearest possible proof that the Epistle cannot bdong to the apostolic
age^ when the chnrch had no special order of the kind.



Digitized by



Google



104 LIFE AND WOBK OF PAUL. [Pabt H.

apostle's tHree months' residence in Greece before his return to
Jerusalem, Acts xx. 2. There was also, it is said, plenty of time
during this period for a journey to Crete. He made this journey
with Titus for his companion, laid the, foundation- of the church
there, then left Titus behind to take charge of further arrange-
ments for the cause of the Gospel, and then wrote this letter fo
hiin,^— wrote to him in fact, what he could have said just before
by word of mouth, and that much better. The result of this
author's investigation regarding 1 Tim. is that shortly before Paul
began his return journey from Achaia to Jerusalem, he sent Timothy
before him to Ephesas with verbal messages (the passage 1 Tim.
i: 3 is interpreted thus, though its natural meaning is entirely
different, in order to Harmonize it with Acts xx. 4); that he
thought of going there himself, but did not know positively if he
would do so, and that, a good opportunity presenting itself, he
wrote this Epistle to Timothy from some place in Achaia or
.Macedonia, in order to give him some instructions that might be
of use to him in the meantime.^ But this account of the matter
is full of contradictions. In the Acts Timothy accompanies
the apostle on the journey through Macedonia to Troas, and
presumably to Ephesus also ; and 1 Tim. makes Timothy remain
at Ephesus, when the apostle, after spending nearly three
years in that city, leaves it foV Macedonia; the apostle then
writes this Epistle to him immediately after his departure, with a
view to a complete ecclesiastical organization, and this whUe in-
tending shortly to return thera What a mass of improbability
is this ! How plainly do we see that the apostle's departure and
Timotb/s remaining are arranged in this way simply to find an
occasion for the Epistle ! In a word, the Epistle is, as De Wette
also judges, historically incomprehensible.' And these Epistles
are all alike in this. At whatever point a new attempt is made
to rescue them, the proofs which are set up at once break down.
In the great sea of possibilities, it may perchance be possible to
find a calm spot for the Epistle to Titus and the second to Timothy
1 Matthies, Comm., p. 194. * Op. eU., p. 486.



Digitized by



Google



Chap. VIIL] THE PASTORAL EPISTLES, 105

(though in the case of the latter, the second Eoman captivity is
incapahle of proof, and quite improbable, and is thus a sufficiently
decisive piece of evidence) ; but their entire similarity to, and
their intimate connexion with the first to Timothy — this is, and
wiU be, the chief betrayer of the false fraternity — involves them
all alike in the same condemnation.

In addition to all this, a close inspection reveals to us much that
is i)eculiar and un-Pauline in their language, and in many of their
conceptions and viewa^ In this particular also the three Epistles
are so much alike that none of them can be separated from the
others, and from this circumstance the identity of their authorship
may be confidently inferred.

^ Compare on this sabjeot De Wette*8 Eurze Erklarung, p. 118 aq.



Digitized by



Google



NINTH CHAPTER

GENERAL OBSERVATIONS ON THE SHORTER PAULINE EnSTLES.

From the foregoing investigation I think every unprejudiced
student will be led almost irresistibly to conclude that each of the
shorter Pauline Epistles, regarded separately, presents more or less
formidable critical difficulties, and that there are some of them
which it is scarcely possible to regard as authentic. If we take a
general view of all these Epistles together, the verdict to be passed
on them, as compared with the Epistles universally acknowledged
authentic, can scarcely be in their favour. The comparison reveals
at once how far they stand below the originality, the wealth of
thought, and the whole spiritual substance and value of those other
Epistles. They are characterized by a certain meagreness of
contents, by colourlessness of treatment, by absence of motive and
connexion, by monotony, by repetition, by dependence, partly on
each other, and partly on the Epistles of the first class, which are
often referred to in a style evidently not that of a writer at first
hand. It is not the object of any of those Epistles, as of the
principal ones of Paul, to develop fully some one peculiarly and
essentially Pauline idea ; even the higher Christological idea which
distinguishes the Epistles to the Ephesians, Colossians, and
Philippians, has no intimate relation with the Pauline system ; on
the contrary, it is foreign to that system. The general character
of these Epistles is, we may say, a certain smoothing of the specific
PauKne doctrine with a dominant practical tendency. This may
be recognised in the frequent recommendation of good works, and
in the instructions and admonitions regarding the Christian
behaviour, the a^/o)? irepiirarelv rf^ Kkria-eoD^, irepiirarelv ev epyoi^
ar^aOoh (Eph. ii 10 ; iv. 1). It is clear that the point of view



Digitized by



Google



Chap. IX.] OBSEBVATIONS ON THE PAULINE EPISTLES. 107

from which these letters are written is not that of one seeking to
make good, and to develop a general principle which has still to
vindicate itself, and on which, the Christian consciousness and life
are to be formed ; but rather that of one applying the contents of
Christian doctrine to practical life with its various circumstances.
Very striking and significant is the difference between these later
Epistles and the older ones, in all that belongs to the peculiar plan
and composition of a Pauline Epistle. The authentic Pauline
Epistles have a true organic development ; they proceed from one
root idea which penetrates the whole contents of the Epistle from
the very beginning, and binds aU the different parts of it to an
inner unity, through the deeper relations in which it holds them,
even though they appear at first sight to be only, outwardly con*
nected. They are founded in one creative thought, which deter-
mines not merely the contents of the Epistle, but its whole form
and structure. Hence they exhibit a genuine dialectic movement,
in which the thought possesses sufl&cient inherent force to originate
all the stages of its development, and to advance from stage to
stage in accordance with their inner connexion with each other.
Especially does this merit distinguish the greater Epistles of the
apostle, that to the Bomans, and the first to the Corinthians. It
woiQd be a great mistake to think, of these Epistles, that the order
in which they deal with the various matters contained in them,
and pass from one subject to another, is merely fortuitous. The
only way to grasp the whole contents of such an Epistle is to
place one's-self within that one idea, from which, as the centre,
each single part is assigned its place in the connexion of the
whole ; and this immanent movement of thought may be traced in
each important section of those Epistles. Eemark, for example,
how methodically the apostle goes to work with the instruction he
has to give about speaking with tongues (1 Cor. xii. 14) ; how he
discusses the matter in all its various aspects ; how what is said
about love (chap, xiii.) is an essential element in helping his
argument forward ; and how he m^^kes the thought with which
he is chiefiy concerned pass through the necessary stages of its



Digitized by



Google



108 LIFE AND WORK OF PAUL. [Part IL

evolution in their order. In the shorter Epistle to the Galatians
we find the same ; the rapid movement which brings the apostle
at once to speak of himself fimd his own personal concerns does
not come merely from the passionate warmth* with which he
speaks ; it is the immediate grasp of the subject of his Epistle at
that point at which it presents itseH to him in aU its lines of in-
fluence at once. He who has recognised this depth of conception
from which each genuine Epistle of Paul proceeded, this metho-
dical development and dialectical process, as the characteristic
distinction of these Epistles, will be prepared to admit how little
of all this there is to be found in the smaller Epistles. Here the
authors move forward not without visible effort ; they draw out
one and the same thought with laboured expansion and manifold
repetition; the contents of their Epistles consist more of piece
added to piece externally, than of any one subject developing
naturally under their hands. If these Epistles were genuine
productions of the apostle, why should they thus belie their
Pauline origin ; how is it that notie of them bears the features of
that origin with any distinctness ? Even the Epistle to the
Colossians, which might in many respects be best qualified to put
forth such a claim, can make no pretence to equality with the



Online LibraryFerdinand Christian BaurPaul, the apostle of Jesus Christ: his life and work, his epistles ..., Volume 2 → online text (page 11 of 35)