Copyright
Ferdinand Christian Baur.

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

. (page 31 of 35)
Online LibraryFerdinand Christian BaurPaul, the apostle of Jesus Christ: his life and work, his epistles ..., Volume 2 → online text (page 31 of 35)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


dencies, the Pauline and the Jacobean, starting as they do from
opposite poles, should at this point come into collision. This point
is reached in the doctrine of justification by faith, as Paul propounds
it ; the opposition lurking in the two tendencies from the begin-
ning appears in all its force in the conflicting statements : iiKaiov-
rac avdpayjTo^ cf epytov, and hiKaiovrav i/c Tr/oreci)?.

Let it not be supposed, however, that this correction of the
Pauline doctrine of justification was the writer's sole object in
composing his Epistle. Had this been the case, the subject must
have occupied a much more prominent position in the Epistle, and
been distinctly marked as its principal topic. It is clearly its con-
nexion with the rest of what he has to say that leads the writer
to take up this point It is not hard to discern that the task the
writer proposed to himself was to give a systematic view of Chris-
tian life as it appeared from the peculiar standpoint which he
occupied with his particular form of Judaeo-Christianity ; to show
what form and aspect Christian life with all its parts assumed in
the light of such views as he held. Now as this standpoint was a
thoroughly practical one, for the character of the Jewish religion,
with which Christianity is so intimately blended here, made this
a thing of course, it is natural that the Epistle should be occupied



Digitized by



Google



App. II.] PAUL AND JAMES COUP ABED. 313

mainly -with the principal elements of practical moral life, as it dis-
plays itself in Christian actions and endurance. The Christian is
to he exhibited here — ^in the character he wears from this point of
view, as an avqp TiKeio^\ and the perfection of Christian life — which
can be nothing but an efr/ov reketov. The whole contents of the
Epistle may be very simply and naturally arranged in the light of
this idea. But we do not enter further into these details, our ob-
ject in making these remarks being simply to show the relation
borne by the doctrine of the Epistle to that of Paul, and to restore
the Epistle to its place in the history of the early development of
Christianity, from which it has been removed by unfounded and
arbitrary assumptions.



I V •'. i , s » ..;



Digitized by



Google



APPENDIX III.

THE TWO EPISTLES TO THE THESSALONIANS : THEIR GENUINENESS AND
THEIR BEARING ON THE DOCTRINE OF THE PAROUSIA OF CHRIST.

[Supplement to Part n. Chapter vn.^]

Dr. Lipsius has lately returned to the discussion of the First
Epistle to the Thessalonians, and has referred to my criticism of
it* He is of opinion that it is possible to accept my account of
the peculiar characteristics of the Epistle without being shut up
to my conclusion with regard to its genuineness. All that is
needed for this end, he thinks, is a correcter view of the object of
the Epistle. "The marks of a controversy against Judaism, of
which the Epistle contains a considerable number, have never yet
been placed in the right light. The apostolical dignity of Paul
has been impugned or threatened, and his object in celebrating
as he does the praises of the Thessalonians is to draw attention to
the success of his labours among them as the best evidence of his
apostoUcal cedling. The passage ii. 3 betrays a distinct personal
interest of this nature. He had been charged, and this attack can
only have come from the Jews, with irXavrj, dxaOapala, S0X09, and
doubts had been raised as to the purity of his motives. The
Epistle carries us back to the time when Paul had just founded
the churches of Macedonia. His repeated appeals to the Thessa-
lonians as to the effectiveness of his preaching and the divine
origin of his doctrine, his eagerness to defend himself against the
imputation of impure motives, the description of his unselfish con-

1 From the TheoL Jahrblieher xiv. 1855, p. 141 sqq. Cf. above, p. 97.

2 In the Studien und Eritiken 1854, p. 905 sqq, : Ueber Zweck und Veranlas-
sung des ersten Thessalonicher briefs.



Digitized by



Google



App. III.] THE TWO EPISTLES TO THE THESSALONIANS. 315

duct, by which he rebuts the charge, and the statement to which
he recurs again and again, that he does not aim at the applause
of men, all this reminds us of the closely analogous situation of
the Corinthian Epistles, especially the second. But the chief
interest of the First Thessalonian Epistle is derived from the fact
that the opposition to the apostle is not yet so pronounced and
definite as we find it in those to the Corinthians. The opposition
party has not yet taken shape, but the elements of it are already
discernible, and the apostle sees the storm brewing. In these
circumstances he had to take measures as far as possible to fortify
his own position against the libellous attacks of his enemies, and
to secure the church he had founded from inward disorder and
dismemberment."

The chief point that criticism has to consider in the case of the
first of these Epistles is undoubtedly the striking resemblance
which, as I have already shown, it bears in a number of passages
to the Epistles to the Corinthians. Dr. lipsius does not deny .the
fact of this resemblance ; but he differs from me in holding this
Epistle to be the original, while I hold it to be the copy. We
have thus to inquire whether we can reasonably consider the cir-
cumstances spoken of in this Epistle to be the beginnings and
elements of the similar, only more fully developed set of circum-
stances which we find in the church of Corinth, or whether there
is anything to show that they have been adopted for literary
purposes, such as a later author writing imder the assumed name
of the apostle might think himself justified in promoting in this
way. I am decidedly of opinion that the latter is the case.
Repeated investigations of the subject have confirmed my convic-
tion that the passages in question in the Thessalonian Epistles
give us nothing that is primary or fresh or self-evidencing ; that •
they are the copy of an original, that the features of the original
have lost much of their clearness in being reproduced for another
circle of readers, and that only by going back to the original is it
possible to infuse life and reality into these fainter outlines. I
shall seek to prove this in detaiL



Digitized by



Google



316 LIFE AND WORK OF PAUL. [App. III.

The Epistle begins, after the Pauline greeting and benediction,
with almost the same words as 1 Cor. L 4 : evx^ipurrovfiev r^ &ew
irdvTore irepi iravrtov vfi&v, and with a thanksgiving, as in the
Corinthian Epistle, for all the blessings conveyed to the Thessar
lonians through the gospel that had been preached to and received
by them. The contrast drawn, i. 6, between X0709 and Bvvafii^
shows the author to be moving in the same circle of ideas as the
apostle in the first chapters of First Corinthians, though he merely
extracts the general drift of ideas which there appear in much
greater detail. The words : ori to evarfyekiov rjfi&v ovk &f€infi7}
€^9 vfia<; €if \oy(p fidvov aXXa Kot hf hwafiei, amounts precisely to
what the apostle says in a connexion which gives the statements
far greater force and meaning, 1 Cor. iL 4 : Koi o \oyo^ fiov xal to
KTipvyfia fiov OVK ev iretdol^^ ao^uL<; \oyoi^ aTsX eu airohet^ei
irvevfiaTo^ k<u Svvdfi€Ci><:, etc., and iv. 20, 01; yap ev Xoytp rj
fiaaikela rov Oeov, oXX* ev Swdfiec At 1 Cor. xi 1 the apostle
sums up his exhortations in the sentence : fup/rfrcu fiov yiveaOe
KCLBm eyo) XpuTTov ; but, 1 Thess. i 6, this imitation is spoken of
and praised as a thing the Thessalonians had already practised.
They are extolled for the pattern they hid given and which had
already attracted attention far and wide, 1 Thess. L 7 sq.: dxj}
vfi&v yap e^rp(f)TaL 6 Xoyo? rov /cvplov ov fiovov ev rrj MateeSovla
Kal A'xala, dXKa kcll ev iravri roTrtp rj irum^ ^ irpo^ rov Seov
e^e\rj\,v0€v, just as the apostle says in praise of the Bomali
Christians, Som. L 8 : Sri 17 irltm^ vfi&v KarayyeXXerai ev iravri
T© fcda-fitp. But what reminds us more than anything else of the
peculiar tone of the Corinthian Epistles is the reference, in-
troduced with such earnestness, to the manner of the apostle's first
appearance among the Thessalonians, and to the evidence their
own consciousness must furnish of the success of his labours.
Compare 1 Cor. iL 1, KorfO} eXOoDv wpo^ vpu^, dheK^oi, ffKOov ov,
etc., verse 3, koI eyay—eyevdfiTjv irpo^ vfia^: iii 1, Kal ey©,
dSeXtfm, OVK rjSwi^Oijv TuzXTja-ai vfuv, etc. This appears even
more markedly in the Second Epistle, especially i 12, ^ yap
Kavj(r}<n^ rj/jL&v avrrf earl, to fiaprvpiov rfj^ aweiJ^r^eoiy; fniSiv^



Digitized by



Google



App. III.] TRE TWO EPISTLES TO THE THESSALONIANS, 317

etc., iii 2, sq, eta The passages analogous to these in 1 Thess. are
L 9 : airrol yap irepl ^fjL&v aTrayyeXXovaiv, oirolav etaoBov €(Tj(p/jbev
7r/}09 vfia^ ; ii 1; ainol yap oiSare, a^\<f>oc, rrfp eiaohov r)fiS>v rrfv
7r/)09 ufia<: ort, ov Kevfj yeyovep; verse 6, Ka0<o^ oiSare, verse 9,
fivrffiovevere yap; verse 10, vfieh fidprvpe^; verse 11, KaOairep
otSare, etc. As in the Corinthian Epistles, so here, the meaning
and aim of all the passages of this kind is to be found in the
apostle's defence of himself against the imputations of his
opponents. In the Epistle to the Corinthians other more general
topics are made to lead up to this apology in one way and another ;
it is intimately interwoven with the other contents of the Epistles,
rather indirectly than directly. In the Epistle to the Thessa-
lonians we have an abstraction from the concrete historical cir-
cumstances of the former case, and the apologetic aim comes to
the front and is dwelt upon for its own sake. The imputations
against which the apostle is made to defend himself are in part
extremely general and vague, and partly of such a nature that the
falsehood of the accusation is quite obvious and scarcely needs to
be demonstrated. What is purposely kept to the end in the
Epistles to the Corinthians is here taken up at the very outset.
In 1 Thess. ii 3-6, we find an echo of the last two chapters of the
Second Epistle to the Corinthians, where the apostle vindicates his
personal honour against his Judaizing opponents, and asserts him-
self to be no teacher of false doctrine, no deceiver, no flatterer,
and that his conduct has not been selfish or ambitious or over-
bearing. As we read 2 Cor. xii. 16 sg'. of So\j^ \aj3clv, irkeoveKrelvy
hrtfiapeiv, so also here. The peculiar expression ev fidpei etvai
especially points unmistakably to 2 Cor. xii. 16: eyco ov Kare-
j3dprf<ra vfia^, and xi. 9, ev irauri ajSapfj vfilv e/jLavrov enjpTja-a,
and can only be explained from these passages. When the
apostle says. We have not sought honour from men, neither from
others, nor from you, hwdp,€voi, ev j3ap€i etvai, co9 Xpurrov
aTrooTokoi, this can only mean, as it is generally interpreted, that
he did not do this although he might quite well have assumed



Digitized by



Google



318 LIFE AND WORK OF PAUL. [App. III.

authority and asserted his position as an apostle of Christ.^ But
why is this conveyed with the expression ev ^dpei ehai, which
occurs nowhere else in the New Testament in this sense ? The
expression clearly ought to convey in accordance with its proper
sense, the sense which it bears in both the passages of 2 Cor.,
the idea of burdensomeness to others, by means of oppressive
demands on them, especially such as are dictated by covetousness
and love of money. How is it then that ifKeove^la is conjoined
with it in this passage, 1 Thess. ii 5, where the former expression
is used in quite a different sense, and where the two expressions
do not supplement nor explain each other as in 2 Corinthians. It
is evident from what follows that ev /3dp€i elvai at once suggested
to the author the hn^apetv of the Corinthian Epistle, verse 9 ; he
makes the apostle ask his readers to think of his labour and
trouble, how working night and day, that he might not be burden-
some to any of them, he preached to them the gospel of God.
And here again we detect an arbitrary misinterpretation of a
thing, which, as it occurs in the Corinthian Epistle, is quite
natural and intelligible. The apostle himself speaks of a Koirtx;
and p^'x0o<; (the only other passage where these two occur in this
conjunction is the parallel 2 Thess. iii 8), but not in the special
sense of a manual ifr/d^ea-Ocu : and in regard to the ovk hn^apelv,
what he there asserts that he did out of consideration for the
peculiar circumstances of the Corinthian church is in the Epistle
to the Thessalonians represented as his universal practice. The
section 1 Thess. ii. 1 sq. presents other points of analogy with the
Corinthian Epistles (cf. verse 2, errapprjaiao'd/jbeOa with 2 Cor.
iii. 1 2, iroWy irapprfo-ia ')^(Ofi€0a, and the affectionate expressions
with which the apostle speaks of the ohurch as a child which he
had nursed and cherished, 1 Thess. ii 7, 11, with 2 Cor. xii. 14,
15). Dr. Lipsius can neither ignore nor account for these

^ The interpretation of Lipsius is quite unnatural and grammaticaUy im-
possible. As apostles of Christ we have no need of honour from men ; on the
contrary we are able to be in burden and trouble, i.e. to endure persecutions and
afflictions of all kinds with an even mind. Avpdfitvot here, as dvvdfA€vos Gol. iii. 21,
is the pure abstract ccm ; what one might do but does not actually do.



Digitized by



Google



App. III.] THE TWO EPISTLES TO THE THESSALONIANS^- 319

analogies. In the Corinthian Epistles there is never any doubt
who the antagonists are against whom the apostle is defending
himself; his whole argument is aimed at the Judaizing party who
counteracted his influence in the Corinthian church. But who
are the opponents with whom he is confronted in the First Epistle
to the Thessalonians ? Dr. Lipsius infers from ii. 14-16 that they
were Jews who had made a personal attack on the apostle on
account of the gospel he preached, because he had taken up the
position of apostle to the Gentiles. " Thus it was an opposition
which sprang from the same grounds as the Judaizing opposition
in other quarters. The only difference is that the opponents dealt
with here appear to stand for the most part outside of Christianity;
the antagonism to the apostle had not yet reached the dangerous
stage to which it rose in Corinth about a year later, when an anti-
Pauline party made its appearance in the bosom of the Christian
church itselt It was still possible to point to the churches of
Palestine as examples of patient endurance of Judaistic persecution.
This could never have been the case if emissaries had already
arrived from Judaea for the purpose of stirring up the Christians
of Macedonia against the apostle. What Paul feared was the
formation at Thessalonica of an opposition, a Judaistically-minded
Christ-party; since the attacks which proceeded here from the
unbelieving Jews had been aimed at him in Galatia by the
Judaeo-Christian party," etc. All this is entirely destitute of
foundation ; it is entirely imaginary. The churches of Palestine
were the head-quarters of Christian Judaism, and how can they
ever have been exposed to Judaistic persecution? And it is a
mere unwarranted assumption, when Jews and Judaizers are
classed together in this way as if what is true of the one were
true of the other also. Both were, of course, hostile to the
apostle ; but is it conceivable that Jews expressed their antipathy
to him with no graver charge than that of irKeove^la, etc. They
either rejected the gospel altogether as a a-KcivhaXov, or they hated
the apostle for being an apostate and an enemy of the law. It is,
on the other hand, a very curious circumstance that while the



Digitized by



Google



320 UFE AND WORK OF PAUL. [App. IIL

opponents whom the apostle combats in his Epistles are Jndaizers,
and Judaizers only, the smaller Epistles which assumed his name
are occupied with a controversy with the Jews, a controversy,
however, the very vagueness and generality of which show it to
be the product of reflection. Where shall we find a passage in
the Epistles to the Galatians, Corinthians, or Somans, where the
apostle reproaches the Jews, as he is made to do here, 1 Thess.
ii 16, with having killed Jesus and the prophets, and persecuted
himself, with not pleasing God, and being contrary to all men ?
The adversaries with whom he comes in contact in his Epistles
are of a different kind; but at a time when Paulinism had no
longer any conflict with Judaeo-Christianity, and was interested
rather in finding means of accommodation with it, the apostle was
made to write not against the Judaizers, but against the Jews.
He could not be conceived without a contest of some kind on his
hands, and the Jews could be made to receive all that he had to
hurl against the enemies of the gospel And this explains the
reference to the churches of Judaea as a pattern for Gentile
Christians, 1 Thess. ii 14. For this also we shall in vain seek a
parallel in the admittedly genuine Epistles.

An analogy becomes always more undeniable the further it can
be traced through a number of detached particulars. And this
holds good in this instance. The next section, ii 17-20 and
iii. 1 sq., bears very clearly the impress of the Corinthian Epistles,
especially the second of them. It is curious how the apostle is
said, ii 17, not merely to have wished more than once, but to have
actually formed the intention once and again, an intention which
only Satan had hindered, of returning to Thessalonica. How
could this be the case so immediately after his departure from
that city, and when Timothy, whom he had left there on that
occasion, had just rejoined him ? How could he possibly have
come to propose such a journey in the earlier stage of his residence
at Corinth, and amid the stress of the anxieties and labours with
which he was occupied and engrossed in founding a new church ?
When we consider, however, how much there is in this Epistle



Digitized by



Google



App. m.] THE TWO EPISTLES TO THE THESSALONIANS. 321

that is evidently drawn from the Epistle to the Corinthians, we
are naturally led to think in this case also of the journeys and
projects of travel which are so frequently referred to in those
Epistles. The author adopted this as part of the plan of the
Epistle he was writing, without noticing the improbability of it ;
he meant it to be simply an additional proof of the tender love
and attachment which he makes his apostle express with so many
phrases and ideas borrowed from the Corinthian Episitles. I have
drawn attention to this already, but the argument may be greatly
strengthened from what is said afterwards, iii 1, about the sending
of Timothy. The situation of the apostle which is described here
is closely similar to that with which we are acquainted from
2 Cor. ii 12, viL 5 8q. According to those passages the apostle is
in great anxiety and unrest on account of the state of the
Corinthian church ; he looks with restless solicitude for the news
he is to receive from it, and in proportion to his anxiety is his
delight when Titus comes and sets his doubts at rest with the
assurances he brings of that church's continued attachment to
him. We find all this repeated in 1 Thess. iii 1 sq. The apostle
cannot bear (verse 1, fi/riKin areyovre;, cf. 2 Cor. ii 13, ovk
eajffTfKa aveaiv r^ irvevfiarL /jlov, vii. 5, ovSefjUav eaj(i]K€v^ aveaiv rj
aap^ rifi&v) his anxiety for the Thessalonians any longer ; he must
have information about them ; he fears they may have been shaken
by their aflSictions. He therefore despatches Timothy to them;
and when Timothy returns he is rejoiced and comforted with the
tidii^s of their steadfastness in the faith and their undiminished
love to him, just as in the other case by the coming of Titus
(2 Cor. vii 6, irapeKoKeaev r)fias 6 ©eo9 ev r^ irapoutria Tlrov —
avar^yiKKxov Tjfilv rrfv v/i&v iiriTrdOrfcnv — mare fie fiaXKov )(afyfjvac,
1 Thess. iii. 6 : aprc Be eK06vTo<; TifLoOdov irpo^ rifia^ d<l> vfi&v —
Kol evayyeXurafievov rjfuv — ical ori €j(€Te five lav f^fiSiv — einiro-
Oovvre^ TjfJM^ iBelv — Bca tovto irapeKXrjOrjfiev, aSe'K^ol, €<l> Vfilv —

^ Compare also 1 Thess. ii. 19, ris yap <TT€<^avos icavx^cfoX) ^ olxi kclL vfA€iSy
Kal fj x°P°- J ^^* 7, cTTt 7rao77 rg 0X[yfr€i km dpdyiqj fjfji&p, with 2 Cor. vii. 4, ttoXX^
fxoi Kavxrjo-is vncp vfi&p, vnepirtpKro'tvofuu rg X'^pi **'*'* ^d(ru t§ ^i^ci ^p,&p.

X



Digitized by



Google



322 LIFE AND WORK OF PAUL, [App. III.

erri Trcurrf rrj x^P^' V X^P^f^^^^ ®^^*) ^'^^ disagreement of our
Epistle with the Acts in respect of Timothy is undoubtedly due to
the wish to give a copy of the scene of the Corinthian Epistle. In
the Acts, xvii 14, Silas and Timothy stayed at Berea when Paul
went from there to Athens, and rejoined him afterwards at Corinth.
According to our Epistle, iii 1, Timothy is with the apostle at
Athens ; it is from Athens that the apostle sends this dB€\j(f>o^ kclL
a-w€pyo<; (this latter predicate is given to Titus, 2 Cor. viii 23) to
Thessalonica, probably for no other reason than that in 2 Cor.
the apostle is still on his journey, and his unrest and impatience
on the journey give so eloquent and vivid a proof of his vehement
desire for them. It is, of course, quite possible that these circum-
stances may have occurred more than once in the apostle's life ;
but when we find so many things repeated under the same circum-
stances, and the same occurrence narrated with the same words,
we have a right to ask if the one account is not imitated from the
other.

The hortatory part of the Epistle, which begins in chap, iv., does
not contain such striking analogies ; yet even here there are par-
allel sentences, the expressions of which are very similar to those
of the corresponding sentences in the older Epistles. Compare 1
Thess. iv. 3, aTrex^o'Oe vfia<; diro t^9 iropveia^, with 1 Cor. vi. 18,
^evyere rfiv iropveiav. The exhortation 1 Thess. iv. 4 : ecBevat
eKaarov ifjb&v etc., is quite analogous to that given by the apostle,
1 Cor. vii 2 sg'. in regard to the conduct of married peopla The
exhortation 1 Thess. iv. 6, firj xnrepPalvew tcai ir\eovacrelv ev r©
TTpar/fiaTi top dZekijyov avrov answers to the apostle's rebuke, 1 Cor.
vi. 8, vfjbeU oBifcelre Koi diroarepelre koX ravra aS€\j(f>ov<;, which
refers to Trpa/yfia e^^eiv irpo<: top erepov of verse 1. The sentences
1 Thess. v. 19 sj : ro irvevfia firi aPivwre, TrpoffyrjreicLf; firj efov^e-
velre, irdvra Se SoKifia^ere, to koXJov icaTej^ere, are somewhat
different in sound, but in scope and spirit they are just the same
as the general concluding exhortation, 1 Cor. xiv. 39, 40, ^rfKovre
TO iTpo^yqT€V€LV, KCLL TO XoKelv ykaxraai^ firj Kocikvere, iravra he
evo'xVH'Ova)^ Koi Kara ra^iv yiveaffco.



Digitized by



Google



App. III.] THE TWO EPISTLES TO THE THESSALONIANS. 323

Dr. lipsius's attempt to defend the genuineness of the First
Thessalonian Epistle would not of itself have induced me to
return to the question regarding these two writings, had it not
been that I thought myself in a position to give a further contri-
bution to the settlement of it. The two Epistles are intimately
related to each other by similarity of contents, certain passages
proving that one of them must have been known to the writer of
the other (cf. 1 Thess. ii 9, and 2 Thess. iii. 8) ; and whatever
verdict criticism may pass on one of them, will naturally determine
our view of the other. The two simplest cases are that both are
genuine or that both are spurious ; there is another possible case,
that the one is genuine and the other spurious, but this case can
only be proved by such a careful comparison of the two as will
show the spuriousness of the one to result from the genuineness
of the other, or the genuineness of one from the spuriousness of
the other. What has to be done first of all, however, is to find
a point from which to determine the historical situation to which
the Epistles belong. It is easy to deal in suppositions and pro-
babilities, greater or less, with regard to such a* monument of the
primitive church ; but what are they worth if there be no one
fixed point for the hypothesis and combination to rest upon with
some little solidity ? The second of these Epistles is of greater
value in the eyes of criticism than the first, its doctrine of Anti-



Online LibraryFerdinand Christian BaurPaul, the apostle of Jesus Christ: his life and work, his epistles ..., Volume 2 → online text (page 31 of 35)