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Sheffield New Testament Guides: The Pastoral Epistles


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1 and 2 Timothy and Titus were once read as individual collections of traditional material—liturgical formulae, lists of virtues and vices, household codes, and codes for church order—but more recent studies have elucidated the coherence of each epistle. This volume exhorts readers through explicit and implicit, positive and negative examples, and through arguments that seek to ground ethics theologically and christologically. The author also highlights a question posed by contemporary scholars about the general philosophy of these epistles: do they seek to adapt a faith that opposes the wisdom of the world into one which conforms to the world’s wisdom about good citizenship? This guide provides a critical introduction to the insights of recent scholarship and to the epistles themselves.

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“The evidence, therefore, suggests that the Pastorals were not written by Paul” (Page 110)

“In 1 Tim. 2:1–8 members of the community are assumed to meet in order to pray, and the epistle encourages them to pray ‘for all people’. So we might expect some allusions to the kinds of language used in such prayers (see above 1 Tim. 1:17; 6:15). Moreover the teaching is justified in 2:5–6 by a credal statement: ‘For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and human beings, the human being Jesus Christ, who gave himself as a ransom for all’. This succinct expression of Christian belief in a rhythmic form suggests that it could be a quotation from a confession already familiar to the reader in the liturgy, and, if this were so, it would function as an accepted theological premise which would justify the exhortation that Christians should pray for all people.” (Pages 16–17)

“Pastorals’ teaching about women might avoid scandal among their conservative male contemporaries, but at the cost of depriving women of their dignity and the churches of women’s service. The Pastorals treat women as inferiors to be governed by men. Not God but men are endorsed as women’s masters. Given the wider social context in which the Pastorals were written, their blindness to women’s potential is hardly surprising, but it is still blindness. Moreover, it is a blindness from which some other men did not suffer (e.g. Epicureans, the writer of Rom. 16; 1 Cor. 7; 11; Phil. 4:2–3). Unfortunately, the Pastorals’ blindness is still shared by some twentieth-century Christians.” (Page 87)

  • Title: Sheffield New Testament Guides: The Pastoral Epistles
  • Author: Margaret Davies
  • Publisher: Sheffield
  • Publication Date: 1996
  • Pages: 120

Margaret Davies is Senior Lecturer in Biblical Studies at the University of Sheffield.


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    Digital list price: $12.99
    Save $3.00 (23%)