Help Now >
Epistles to Timothy and Titus
FREE Catholic Classes
(T HE P ASTORALS
STS. TIMOTHY AND TITUS
Saints Timothy and Titus were two of the most beloved and trusted disciples of St. Paul, whom they accompanied in many of his journeys. Timothy is mentioned in
- Acts, xvi, 1;
- xvii, 14, 15, 1;
- xviii, 5;
- xix, 22;
- xx, 4;
- Rom., xvi, 21;
- I Cor., iv, 17;
- II Cor., i, 1, 19;
- Phil., i, 1;
- ii, 19;
- Col., i, 1;
- I Thess., i, 1;
- iii, 2, 6;
- II Thess., i, 1;
- I Tim., i, 2, 18;
- vi, 20;
- II Tim., i, 2;
- Philem., i, 1;
- Heb., xiii, 23;
and Titus in
- II Cor., ii, 13;
- vii, 6, 13, 14;
- viii, 6, 16, 23;
- xii, 18;
- Gal., ii, 1, 3;
- II Tim., iv, 10;
- Tit., i, 4.
St. Timothy has been regarded by some as the "angel of the church of Ephesus", Apoc., ii, 1-17. According to the ancient Roman martyrology he died Bishop of Ephesus. The Bollandists (24 Jan.) give two lives of St. Timothy, one ascribed to Polycrates (an early Bishop of Ephesus, and a contemporary of St. Irenæus ) and the other by Metaphrastes, which is merely an expansion of the former. The first states that during the Neronian persecution St. John arrived at Ephesus, where he lived with St. Timothy until he was exiled to Patmos under Domitian. Timothy, who was unmarried, continued Bishop of Ephesus until, when he was over eighty years of age, he was mortally beaten by the pagans. According to early tradition Titus continued after St. Paul's death as Archbishop of Crete, and died there when he was over ninety.
EPISTLES TO TIMOTHY AND TITUS — AUTHENTICITY I. Internal Evidence
The remainder of this article will be devoted to the important question of authenticity, which would really require a volume for discussion. Catholics know from the universal tradition and infallible teaching of the Church that these Epistles are inspired, and from this follows their Pauline authorship as they all claim to have been written by the Apostle. There was no real doubt on this question until the beginning of the nineteenth century; but since that time they have been most bitterly attacked by German and other writers. Their objections are principally based on internal evidence and the alleged difficulty of finding a place for them in the lifetime of St. Paul .A. Objection from the absence of Pauline vocabulary
Moffatt, a representative writer of this school, writes (Ency. Bib., IV): "Favourite Pauline phrases and words are totally wanting. . . . The extent and significance of this change in vocabulary cannot adequately be explained even when one assigns the fullest possible weight to such factors as change of amanuensis, situation or topic, lapse of time, literary fertility, or senile weakness." Let us examine this writer's list of favourite Pauline words of the absence of which so very much is made:
Adikos (unjust). — This is found in Rom., iii, 5; I Cor., vi, 1, 9, but not in any of the other Pauline epistles, admitted to be genuine by this writer. If its absence be fatal to the Pastorals, why not also to I and II Thess., II Cor., Gal., Philip., Col., and Philem.? Moreover, the noun adikia is found in the Pastorals, II Tim., ii, 19.
Ouiothesia (adoption). — This word is three times in Romans , once in Galatians , but it does not occur at all in First and Second Corinthians , First and Second Thessalonians , Philippians , Colossians and Philemon . Why its omission should be used against the Pastorals is not easy to understand.
Patre hemon (Our Father). — Two expressions, God "our Father" and God "the Father" are found in St. Paul's Epistles. The former is frequent in his earlier Epistles, viz., seven times in Thess., while the latter expression is not used. But in Romans " God our Father" appears but once, and "the Father" once. In I Cor. we read God "our Father" once, and "the Father" twice; and the same has to be said of II Cor. In Gal. we have "our Father" once and "the Father" three times. In Phil. the former occurs twice and the latter once; in Col. the former only once, and the latter three times. "The Father" occurs once in each of the Pastoral Epistles, and from the above it is evident that it is just as characteristic of St. Paul as "our Father", which is found but once in each of the Epistles to the Romans, I and II Cor., Gal., and Col., and it would be absurd to conclude from this that all the remaining chapters were spurious.
Diatheke (covenant) occurs twice in Rom., once in I Cor., twice in II Cor., thrice in Gal., and not at all in I and II Thess., Phil., Col., and Philem., admitted to be genuine by Moffatt.
Eleutheros (free) , is not in I and II Thess., II Cor., Phil., and Philem., so it is no test of Pauline authorship. Its compounds are not met in I and II Thess., Phil., Col., or Philem., and, with the exception of Gal., in the others sparingly.
Energein (to be operative) is seen but once in each of Rom., Phil., Col., I and II Thess.; and no one would conclude from its absence from the remaining portions of these Epistles, which are longer than the Pastorals, that they were not written by St. Paul.
Katergazesthai (perform) , though several times in Rom. and II Cor., and once in I Cor. and in Phil. is wanting in I and II Thess., Gal., Col., and Philem., which are genuine without it.
Moria (folly) is five times in 1 Corinthians , and nowhere else in St. Paul's Epistles.
But we need not weary the reader by going through the entire list. We have carefully examined every word with the like results. With perhaps a single exception, every word is absent from several of St. Paul's genuine Epistles, and the exceptional word occurs but once in some of them. The examination shows that this list does not afford the slightest argument against the Pastorals, and that St. Paul wrote a great deal without using such words. The compilation of such lists is likely to leave an erroneous impression on the mind of the unguarded reader. By a similar process, with the aid of a concordance, it could be proved that every Epistle of St. Paul has an appearance of spuriousness. It could be shown that Galatians, for instance, does not contain many words that are found in some of the other Epistles. A method of reasoning which leads to such erroneous conclusions should be discredited; and when writers make very positive statements on the strength of such misleading lists in order to get rid of whole books of Scripture, their other assertions should not be readily taken for granted.
Certain particles and prepositions are wanting. Jülicher in his "Introd. to the New Test.", p. 181, writes: "The fact that brings conviction [against the Pastorals] is that many words which were indispensable to Paul are absent from the Pastoral Epistles, e.g. ara, dio, dioti. " But, as Jacquier points out, nothing can be concluded from the absence of particles, because St. Paul's employment of them is not uniform, and several of them are not found in his unquestioned Epistles. Dr. Headlam, an Anglican writer, pointed out in a paper read at the Church Congress, in 1904, that ara occurs twenty-six times in the four Epistles of the second group, only three times in all the others, but not at all in Col., Phil., or Philem. Dio occurs eighteen times in Rom., Gal. and Cor., but not at all in Col. or II Thess. The word disti does not occur in II Thess., II Cor., Eph., Col., or Philem. We find that epeita does not appear at all in Rom., II Cor., Phil., Col., II Thess., and Philem., nor eti in I Thess., Col., and Philem. It is unnecessary to go through the entire catalogue usually given by opponents, for the same phenomenon is discovered throughout. Particles were required in the argumentative portions of St. Paul's Epistles, but they are used very sparingly in the practical parts, which resemble the Pastorals. Their employment, too, depended greatly on the character of the amanuensis.C. Objection from Hapax Legomena
The great objection to the Pastorals is the admittedly large number of hapax legomena found in them. Workman (Expository Times, VII, 418) taking the term "hapax legomenon" to mean any word used in a particular Epistle and not again occurring in the New Testament, found from Grimm-Thayer's "Lexicon" the following numbers of hapax legomena: Rom. 113, I Cor. 110, II Cor. 99, Gal. 34, Eph. 43 Phil. 41, Col. 38, I Thess. 23, II Thess. 11, Philem. 5, i Tim. 82, II Tim. 53, Titus 33. The numbers have to he somewhat reduced as they contain words from variant readings. These figures would suggest to most people, as they did to Dean Farrar, that the number of peculiar words in the Pastorals does not call for any special explanation. Mr. Workman, however, thinks that for scientific purposes the proportionate length of the Epistles should he taken into account. He calculated the average number of hapax legomena occurring on a page of Westcott and Hort's text with the following results: II Thessalonians 3-6, Philemon 4, Galatians 4.1, I Thessalonians 4.2, Romans 4.3, I Corinthians 4.6, Ephesians 4.9, II Corinthians 6.10, Colossians 6-3, Philippians 6-8, II Timothy 11, Titus and I Timothy 13. The proportion of hapax legomena in the Pastorals is large, but when compared with Phil., it is not larger than that between II Cor, and II Thess. It has to be noted that these increase in the order of time.
Workman gives a two-fold explanation. First, a writer as he advances in life uses more strange words and involved constructions, as is seen on comparing Carlyle's "Latter-Day Pamphlets" and his "Heroes and Hero-Worship". Secondly, the number of unusual words in any author is a variable quantity. He has found the average number of hapax legomena per page of Irving's one-volume edition of Shakespeare's plays to be as follows: "Love's Labour Lost" 7.6, "Comedy of Errors " 4.5, "Two Gentlemen of Verona " 3.4, "Romeo and Juliet" 5.7, "Henry VI, pt. 3" 3.5, "Taming of the Shrew" 5.1, "Midsummer Night's Dream" 6.8, "Richard II" 4.6, "Richard III" 4.4, "King John" 5.4, "Merchant of Venice " 5.6, "Henry IV, pt. I" 9.3, "pt. II" 8, "Henry V" 8.3, "Merry Wives of Windsor " 6.9, "Much Ado About Nothing" 4.7, "As You Like It" 6.4, "Twelfth Night" 7.5, "All's Well" 6.9, "Julius Cæsar" 3.4, "Measure for Measure" 7, "Troilus and Cressida" 10.1, "Macbeth" 9.7, "Othello" 7.3, "Anthony and Cleopatra" 7.4, "Coriolanus" 6.8, "King Lear" 9.7, "Timon" 6.2, "Cymbeline" 6.7, "The Tempest" 9.3, "Titus Andronicus" 4.9, "Winter's Tale" 8, "Hamlet" 10.4, "Henry VIII" 4.3, "Pericles" 5.2. For a similar argument on Dante see Butler's "Paradise", XI. The totals of hapax legomena for some of the plays are: "Julius Cæsar" 93, "Comedy of Errors " 88, "Macbeth" 245, "Othello" 264, "King Lear" 358, "Cymbeline" 252, "Hamlet" 426, "The Merchant of Venice " 148. This scrutiny of the words peculiar to each play throws light on another difficulty in the Pastorals, viz, the recurrence of such expressions as "a faithful saying", "sound words", etc. "Moon-calf" occurs five times in "The Tempest", and nowhere else; "pulpit" six times in one scene of "Julius Cæsar" and never elsewhere; "hovel" five times in "King Lear"; "mountaineer" four times in "Cymbeline", etc. Compare, " God forbid", me genoito of Gal., Rom., once in I Cor. — not in the other Epistles of St. Paul . "Sound words" was used by Philo before St. Paul, in whom it may be due to intercourse with St. Luke. (See Plumptre's list of words common to St. Luke and St. Paul, quoted in Farrar's "St. Paul", I, 481.)
Mr. Workman has overlooked one point in his very useful article. The hapax legomena are not evenly distributed over the Epistles; they occur in groups. Thus, more than half of those in Col. are found in the second chapter, where a new subject is dealt with (see Abbott, "Crit. . . . Comment. on Ep. to the Ephes. and to the Coloss." in "Internat. Crit. Comment."). This is as high a proportion as in any chapter of the Pastorals. Something similar is observable in II Cor., Thess., etc. Over sixty out of the seventy-five hapax legomena in I Tim. occur in forty-four verses, where the words, for the most part, naturally arise out of the new subjects treated of. The remaining two-thirds of the Epistle have as few hapax legomena as any other portion of St. Paul's writings. Compounds of phil-, oiko-, didask- , often objected to, are also found in his other Epistles.
The "Authorship of the Pastoral Epistles" was discussed in "The Church Quarterly" in October, 1906, and January, 1907. In the first the writer pointed out that the anti-Pauline hypothesis presented more difficulties than the Pauline; and in the second he made a detailed examination of the hapax legomena . Seventy-three of these are found in the Septuagint, of which St. Paul was a diligent student, and any of them might just as well have been used by him as by an imitator. Ten of the remainder are suggested by Septuagint words, e.g. anexikakos II Tim., ii, 24, anexikakia Wisd., ii, 9; antithesis I Tim., vi, 20, antithetos Job, xxxii, 3; authentein I Tim., ii, 12, authentes Wisd., xii, 6; genealogia I Tim., i, 4, Tit., iii, 9; geneealogein I Par., v, 1; paroinos I Tim., iii, 3, Tit., i, 7, paroinein Is., xli, 12, etc. Twenty-eight of the words now left are found in the classics, and thirteen more in Aristotle and Polybius. Strabo, born in 66 B. C., enables us to eliminate graodes . All these words formed part of the Greek language current up to St. Paul's time and as well known to him as to anybody at the end of the first century. Any word used by an author contemporary with St. Paul may reasonably be supposed to have been as well known to himself as to a subsequent imitator. In this way we may deduct eight of the remaining words, which are common to the Pastorals and Philo, an elder contemporary of St. Paul . In dealing with the fifty remaining words we must recall the obvious fact that a new subject requires a new vocabulary. If this be neglected, it would be easy to prove that Plato did not write the Timæus. Organization and the conduct of practical life, etc., cannot be dealt with in the same words in which points of doctrine are discussed. This fairly accounts for eight words, such as xenodochein, oikodespotein, teknogonein, philandros, heterodidaskalein , etc., used by the author. His detestation of the errorists doubtless called forth kenophonia, logomachein, logomachia, metaiologia, metaiologos , several of which were probably coined for the occasion. The element of pure chance in language accounts for "parchments", "cloak", and "stomach": he had no occasion to speak about such things previously, nor of a pagan "prophet". Seven of the remaining words are dealt with on the modest principle that words formed from composition or derivation from admittedly Pauline words may more reasonably be supposed to come from St. Paul himself than from a purely hypothetical imitator, e.g. airetikos , adj., Tit., iii, 10; airesis , I Cor., xi, 19; Gal., v, 20; dioktes , I Tim., i, 13; diokein , Rom., xii, 14, etc.; episoreuein , II Tim., iv, 3; soreuein epi Rom., xii, 20; LXX, etc. Five other words are derived from Biblical words and would as easily have occurred to St. Paul as to a later writer. The remaining words, about twenty, are disposed of separately.
Epiphaneia instead of parousia , for the second coming of Christ, is not against the Pastorals, because St. Paul's usage in this matter is not uniform. We have he memera kyriou in I Thess., v, 2, 1 Cor., i, 8, v, 5; he apokalypsis in II Thess., i, 17; and he epiphaneia tes parousias autou in II Thess., ii, 8. Lilley ("Pastoral Epistles", Edinburgh, 1901, p. 48) states that out of the 897 words contained in the Pastorals 726 are common to them and the other books of the New Testament, and two-thirds of the entire vocabulary are found in the other Epistles of St. Paul ; and this is the proportion of common words found in Galatians and Romans. The same writer, in his complete list of 171 hapax legomena in the Pastorals, points out that 113 of these are classical words, that is, belonging to the vocabulary of one well acquainted with Greek; and it is not surprising that so many are found in these Epistles which were addressed to two disciples well educated in the Greek language. Another point much insisted upon by objectors is a certain limited literary or verbal affinity connecting the Pastorals with Luke and Acts and therefore, it is asserted, pointing to a late date. But in reality this connexion is in their favour, as there is a strong tendency of modern criticism to acknowledge the Lucan authorship of these two books, and Harnack has written two volumes to prove it (see LUKE, GOSPEL OF SAINT). He has now added a third to show that they were written by St. Luke before A. D. 64. When the Pastorals were written, St. Luke was the constant companion of St. Paul, and may have acted as his amanuensis. This intercourse would doubtless have influenced St. Paul's vocabulary, and would account for such expressions as agathoergein of 1 Timothy 6:18 , agathopoein of Luke 6:9 , agathourgein , contracted from agathoergein , Acts 14:17 . St. Paul has ergazomeno to agathon ( Romans 2:10 ). — From all that has been said, it is not surprising that Thayer, in his translation of Grimm's "Lexicon", wrote: "The monumental misjudgments committed by some who have made questions of authorship turn on vocabulary alone, will deter students, it is to be hoped, from misusing the lists exhibiting the peculiarities of the several books."D. Objection from style
"The comparative absence of rugged fervour, the smoother flow, the heaping up of words, all point to another sign-manual than that of Paul" (Ency. Bib.) — Precisely the same thing could be urged against some of St. Paul's other Epistles, and against large sections of the remainder. All critics admit that large portions of the Pastorals are so much like St. Paul's writings that they actually maintain that they are taken from fragments of genuine letters of the Apostle (now lost). Various discordant attempts have been made to separate these portions from the rest, but with so little success that Jülicher confesses that the thing is impossible. On the other hand, it is the general opinion of the best scholars that all three Epistles are from the pen of one and the same writer. That being the case, and it being impossible to deny that portions indistinguishable from the rest are by St. Paul, it follows that the early and universal tradition ascribing the whole of them to the Apostle is correct.
As we pass from one to another of the four groups of St. Paul's Epistles ;
- (1) Thessalonians;
- (2) Galatians, Corinthians, Romans;
- (3) Captivity Epistles;
- (4) Pastorals
We observe considerable differences of style side by side with very marked and characteristic resemblances, and that is precisely what we find in the case of the Pastorals. There are some striking points of connexion between them and Phil., the Epistle probably nearest to them in date ; but there are many resemblances in vocabulary, style, and ideas connecting them with portions of all the other Epistles, especially with the practical parts. There are, for instance, forty-two passages connecting I Tim. with the earlier Epistles. The terms are nearly identical, but display an amount of liberty denoting the working of the same independent mind, not a conscious imitation. The Pastorals show throughout the same marks of originality as are found in all the writings of the Apostle. There are similar anacolutha, incomplete sentences, play on words, long drawn periods, like comparisons, etc. The Pastorals are altogether practical, and therefore do not show the rugged fervour of style confined, for the most part, to the controversial and argumentative portions of his large epistles. (See the very valuable book by James, "Genuineness and Authorship of the Pastoral Epistles", London, 1906; also Jacquier, and Lilley.) It may be well to note, in this connexion, that Van Steenkiste, professor at the Catholic Seminary of Bruges, asserted, as long ago as 1876, that the inspiration of the Pastorals and their Pauline authorship would be sufficiently safeguarded if we accepted the view that they were written in the name and with the authority of the Apostle by one of his companions, say St. Luke, to whom he distinctly explained what had to be written, or to whom he gave a written summary of the points to be developed, and that when the letters were finished, St. Paul read them through, approved them, and signed them. This, he thinks, was the way in which "Hebrews" also, was written (S. Pauli Epistolæ, II, 283).E. Objection from the advanced state of church organization
This objection is adequately answered in the articles HIERARCHY OF THE EARLY CHURCH, BISHOP, etc. See also "The Establishment of the Episcopate" in Bishop Gore's "Orders and Unity" (London, 1909), 115. The seven, St. Stephen, Philip, etc., were set aside for their ministry by the Apostles by prayer and the laying on of hands. Immediately after this we read that they were filled with the Holy Ghost, and preached with great success ( Acts 6:7 ). From St. Luke's usual method we may conclude that a similar ceremony was employed by the Apostles on other occasions when men were set aside to be deacons, presbyters, or bishops. We read of presbyters with the Apostles at an early date in Jerusalem ( Acts 15:2 ) and according to the earliest tradition, St. James the Less was appointed bishop there on the dispersion of the Apostles, and succeeded by his cousin Simeon in A. D. 62. Sts. Paul and Barnabas ordained priests in every church at Derbe, Lystra, Antioch of Pisidia, etc. ( Acts 14:22 ). Bishops and priests, or presbyters, are mentioned in St. Paul's speech at Miletus ( Acts 20:28 ). In his first Epistle ( 1 Thessalonians 5:12 ) St. Paul speaks of rulers who were over them in the Lord, — see also Romans 12:8 ; "governments" are referred to in 1 Corinthians 12:28 , and "Pastors" in Ephesians 4:11 . St. Paul wrote "to all the saints in Christ Jesus, who are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons " ( Philippians 1:1 ).
In Romans 12:6-8 , 1 Corinthians 12:28 and Ephesians 4:11 , St. Paul is not giving a list of offices in the Church, but of charismatic gifts (for the meaning of which see HIERARCHY OF THE EARLY CHURCH ). Those who were endowed with supernatural and transitory charismata were subject to the Apostles and presumably to their delegates. Side by side with the possessors of such gifts we read of "rulers", "governors", " pastors ", and in other places of " bishops ", "priests", and "deacons". These, we may lawfully assume, were appointed under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost by the Apostles, by prayer and laying on of hands. Amongst these so appointed before A. D. 64 there were certainly ordained deacons, priests, and possibly bishops also. If so they had bishop's orders, but the limits of their jurisdiction were not as yet, perhaps, very clearly defined, and depended altogether on the will of the Apostles. it is assuredly in the highest degree likely that the Apostles, towards the end of their lives and as the Church extended more and more, ordained and delegated others to appoint such priests and deacons as they had been in the habit of appointing themselves. The earliest tradition shows that such a thing took place in Rome by A. D. 67; and there is nothing more advanced than this in the Pastorals. Timothy and Titus were consecrated delegates to rule with Apostolic authority and appoint deacons, priests, and bishops (probably synonymous in these Epistles).
But a further objection is raised as follows: "The distinctive element, however, i.e. the prominence assigned to Timothy and Titus is intelligible only on the supposition that the author had specially in view the ulterior end of vindicating the evangelic succession of contemporary episcopi and other office bearers where this was liable for various reasons to be challenged. . . . The craving (visible in Clem. Rom.) for continuity of succession as a guarantee of authority in doctrine (and therefore in discipline ) underlies the efforts of this Paulinist to show that Timothy and Titus were genuine heirs of Paul" (Ency. Bib., IV). — If this craving is visible in St. Clement of Rome, who was a disciple of the Apostles there and wrote less than thirty years after their death, it is surely more likely that he was maintaining an organization established by them than that he was defending one of which they were ignorant. If these Epistles were written against people who challenged the authority of bishops and priests about A. D. 100, why is it that these opponents did not cry out against forgeries written to confute themselves? But of all this there is not the slightest shred of evidence.F. Objection
No room for them in the life-time of St. Paul. — The writer in the "Ency. Bib." is never tired of accusing the defenders of the Epistles of making gratuitous assumptions, though he allows himself considerable liberty in that respect throughout his article. It is a gratuitous assertion, for example, to state that St. Paul was put to death at the end of the first Roman captivity, A. D. 63 or 64. Christianity was not yet declared a reliqio illicita , and according to Roman law there was nothing deserving of death against him. He was arrested to save him from the Jewish mob in Jerusalem. The Jews did not appear against him during the two years he was kept in prison. Agrippa said he could have been delivered had he not appealed to Cæsar, so there was no real charge against him when he was brought before the emperor's or his representative's tribunal. The Epistles written during this Roman captivity show that he expected to be soon released (Philem., 22; Phil., ii, 24). Lightfoot, Harnack, and others, from the wards of Clem. Rom. and the Muratorian Fragment , think that he was not only released, but that he actually carried out his design of visiting Spain. During the years from 63-67 there was ample time to visit Crete and other places and write I Tim. and Titus. II Tim. was written from his second Roman prison soon before his death.G. Objection from the errors condemned
It is said that the errors referred to in the Pastorals did not exist in St. Paul's time, though the most advanced critics (Ency. Bib.) have now abandoned the theory (maintained with great confidence in the nineteenth century) that the Epistles were written against Marcion and other Gnostics about the middle of the second century. It is now conceded that they were known to Sts. Ignatius and Polycarp, and therefore written not later than the end of the first century or early part of the second. It requires a keen critical sense to detect at that time the existence of errors at the time of Ignatius, the seeds of which did not exist thirty or forty years earlier or of which St. Paul could not have foreseen the development. "The environment is marked by incipient phases of what afterwards blossomed out into the Gnosticism of the second century" (Ency. Bib.): — but the incipient phases of Gnosticism are now placed by competent scholars at a much earlier date than that indicated by this writer. No known system of Gnosticism corresponds with the errors mentioned in the Pastorals; in reply to this, however, it is said that the " errors are not given in detail to avoid undue anachronisms" (ibid.). Sometimes opponents of the authenticity unfairly attack the actual contents, but here the Epistles are condemned for "contents" which they do not contain. An amusing instance of the precariousness of the subjective method is seen in this same article (Ency. Bib.). The writer arguing against the Epistles on the subject of greetings says that "Philemon is the one private note of Paul extant". We are suddenly brought up, however, by a note (editorial?) within square brackets: "compare, however, Philemon." On turning to Philemon we find van Manen asserting, with equal confidence, that the Apostle had nothing whatsoever to do with that Epistle, and he supports his statement by the same kind of subjective arguments and assertions that we find running through the article on Timothy and Titus. He even throws out the absurd suggestion that Philemon was based on the letter of Pliny, which is given in full by Lightfoot in his edition of Philemon.
Hort in his "Judaistic Christianity" (London, 1898), 130-48, does not believe that the errors of the Pastorals had any connexion with Gnosticism, and he gives a very full reply to the objection with which we are dealing. With Weiss he clears the ground by making some important distinctions:
- (1) We must distinguish prophecies about future false teachers which imply that germs, to say the least, of the future evils are already perceptible ( 1 Timothy 4:1-3 ; 2 Timothy 3:1-5, 4:3 ) from warnings about the present;
- (2) The perversities of individuals like Alexander, Hymenæus, and Philetus must not be taken as direct evidence of a general stream of false teaching;
- (3) Non-Christian teachers, the corrupters of Christian belief, must not be confounded with misguided Christians.
The errors which St. Paul easily foresaw would arise amongst false Christians and pagans cannot be urged against the Epistles as if they had already arisen. Hort makes out a good case that there is not the smallest trace of Gnosticism in the existing errors amongst the Ephesian and Cretan Christians, which are treated more as trivialities than serious errors. "The duty laid on Timothy and Titus is not that of refuting deadly errors, but of keeping themselves clear, and warning others to keep clear of mischievous trivialities usurping the office of religion." He shows that all these errors have evident marks of Judaistic origin. The fact that St. Irenæus, Hegesippus, and others used the words of the Pastorals against the Gnostics of the second century is no proof that Gnosticism was in the mind of their author. Words of Scripture have been employed to confute heretics in every age. This, he says, is true of the expressions pseudonymos gnosis, aphthartos, aion, epiphaneia , which have to be taken in their ordinary sense. "There is not the faintest sign that such words have any reference to what we call Gnostic terms."
Hort takes genealogiai in much the same sense in which it was employed by Polybius, IX, ii, 1, and Diodorus Siculus, IV, i, to mean stories, legends, myths of the founders of states. "Several of these early historians, or 'logographers' are known to have written books of this kind entitled Genealogiai, Genealogika (e.g. Hecatæus, Acusilanus, Simonides the Younger, who bore the title ho Genealogos , as did also Pherecydes)" (p. 136). Philo included under to genealogikon all primitive human history in the Pentateuch. A fortiori this term could be applied by St. Paul to the rank growth of legend respecting the Patriarchs, etc., such as we find in the "Book of Jubilees" and in the "Haggada". This was condemned by him as trashy and unwholesome. The other contemporary errors are of a like Jewish character. Hort takes antithesis tes pseudonymou gnoseos to refer to the casuistry of the scribes such as we find in the "Halacha", just as the mythoi , and genealogiai designate frivolities such as are contained in the Haggada.
But is it not possible that these ( antitheseis tes pseudonymou gnoseos ) refer to the system of interpretation developed later in the Kabbala, of which a convenient description is given in Gigot's "General Introduction to the Study of the Holy Scripture ", p. 411? (see also "Kabbala" in " Jewish Encyclopedia " and Vigoroux, "Dict. de la Bible"). He who followed only the literal meaning of the text of the Hebrew Bible had no real knowledge, or gnosis , of the deep mysteries contained in the letters and words of Scripture. By notarikon words were constructed from the initials of several, or sentences formed by using the letters of a word as initials of words. By ghematria the numerical values of letters were used, and words of equal numerical value were substituted for each other and new combinations formed. By themura the alphabet was divided into two equal parts, and the letters of one half on being substituted for the corresponding letters of the other half, in the text, brought out the hidden sense of the Scripture. These systems date back to time immemorial. They were borrowed from the Jews by the Gnostics of the second century, and were known to some of the early Fathers, and were probably in use before Apostolic times. Now antithesis may mean not only opposition or contrast, but also the change or transposition of letters. In this way antithesis tes pseudonymou gnoseos would mean the falsely-called knowledge which consists in the interchange of letters just referred to.
Again, we read: "The mischievous feature about them was their presence within the churches and their combination of plausible errors with apparent, even ostentatious, fidelity to principles of the faith — a trouble elsewhere reflected Acts XX. 29f, in connexion with the Ephesian church towards the end of the first century" (Ency. Bib.). We do not admit that Acts, xx, was written towards the end of the first century. The best scholars hold it was written by St. Luke long before; and so the critics of the Epistles, having without proof dated the composition of a genuine early New-Testament book at the end of the first century, on the strength of that performance endeavour to discredit three whole books of Scripture.H. Miscellaneous objections
We bring together under this heading a number of objections that are found scattered in the text, foot-notes, sub-foot-notes, of the article in the "Ency. Bib."
(1) "The concern to keep the widow class under the bishop's control is thoroughly sub-apostolic (cp. Ign. ad Polycarp. iv. 5) ". — That would not prove that it was not Apostolic as well. On reading the only passage referring to widows ( 1 Timothy 5 ) we get a totally different impression from the one conveyed here. The great aim of the writer of the Epistle appears to be to prevent widows from becoming a burden on the Church, and to point out the duty of their relatives to support them. Thirty years before the death of St. Paul the Seven were appointed to look after the poor widows of Jerusalem ; and it is absurd to suppose that during all that time no regulations were made as to who should receive support, and who not. Some few of those who were " widows indeed" probably held offices like deaconesses, of whom we read in Romans 16:1 , and who were doubtless under the direction of the Apostles and other ecclesiastical authorities. The supposition that nothing was "done in order", but that everything was allowed to go at random, has no support in St. Paul's earlier Epistles.
(2) "The curious antipathy of the writer to second marriages on the part of the presbyters, episcopi, diaconi, and widows ( cherai ) is quite un-Pauline, but corresponds to the more general feeling prevalent in the second century throughout the churches." — That state of feeling throughout the churches in the second century should make an objector pause. Its Apostolic origin is its best explanation, and there is nothing whatsoever to show that it was un-Pauline. It was St. Paul who wrote as follows at a much earlier date ( 1 Corinthians 7 ): "I would that all men were even as myself: . . . But I say to the unmarried, and to the widows : It is good for them if they so continue, even as I . . . But I would have you to be without solicitude. He that is without a wife, is solicitous for the things of the Lord, how he may please God. But he that is with a wife, is solicitous for the things of the world, how he may please his wife: and he is divided . . . He that giveth his virgin in marriage, doth well; and he that giveth her not, doth better." It would be rash to suppose that St. Paul, who wrote thus to the Corinthians, in general, could not shortly before his death require that those who were to take the place of the Apostles and hold the highest offices in the Church should not have been married more than once.
(3) "The distinctive element, however, i.e. the prominence assigned to Timothy and Titus, is intelligible only on the supposition that the author had specially in view the ulterior end of vindicating the legitimate evangelic succession of contemporary episcopi and other office-bearers in provinces where this was liable for various reasons to be challenged" (in the beginning of the second century). — Thousands have read these Epistles, from their very first appearance until now, without such a conclusion suggesting itself to them. If this objection means anything it means that the Apostles could not assign prominent positions to any of their disciples or delegates; which runs counter to what we read of Timothy and Titus in the earlier Epistles of St. Paul .
(4) "The prominence given to 'teaching' qualities shows that one danger of the contemporary churches lay largely in the vagaries of unauthorized teachers (Did., xvi). The author's cure is simple: Better let the episcopus himself teach! Better let those in authority be responsible for the instruction of the ordinary members! Evidently teaching was not originally or usually ( 1 Timothy 5:17 ) a function of presbyters, but abuses had led by this time, as the Didache proves, to a need of combining teaching with organised church authority." — What a lot of meaning is read into half a dozen words of these Epistles! In the very first Epistle that St. Paul wrote we read: "And we beseech you, brethren, to know them who labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you: That you esteem them more abundantly in charity, for their work's sake" ( 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 ). The capacity for teaching was a gift, probably a natural one working through God's grace for the good of the Church (see HIERARCHY OF THE EARLY CHURCH), and there was no reason why the Apostle, who attached so much importance to teaching when speaking of his own work, should not require that those who were selected to rule the Churches and carry on his work should be endowed with the aptitude for teaching. In Ephesians 4:11 , we find that the same persons were " pastors and doctors ". The writer who makes this objection does not admit that real bishops and priests existed in Apostolic times; so this is what his assertion implies: When the Apostles died there were no bishops and priests. After some time they originated somewhere and somehow, and spread all over the Church. During a considerable time they did not teach. Then they began to monopolize teaching, and the practice spread everywhere, and finally the Pastorals were written to confirm this state of affairs, which had no sanction from the Apostles, though these bishops thought otherwise. And all this happened before St. Ignatius wrote, in a short period of thirty or forty years, a length of time spanned say from 1870 or 1880 till 1912 — a rapid state of development indeed, which has no documentary evidence to support it, and which must have taken place, for the most part, under the very eyes of the Apostles St. John and St. Philip, and of Timothy, Titus, Clement, Ignatius, Polycarp, and other disciples of the Apostles. The early Christians had more respect for Apostolic traditions than that.
(5) "Baptism is almost a sacrament of salvation ( Titus 3:5 )." — It is quite a sacrament of salvation, not only here, but in the teaching of Christ, in the Acts , and in St. Paul'sEpistles to the Romans , First Corinthians , Galatians , and Colossians , and in 1 Peter 3:21 .
(6) "Faith is tending to become more than ever fides quœ creditur ." — But it appears as fides qua creditur in 1 Timothy 1:2, 4, 5, 14 ; 2:7, 15 ; 3:9, 13 ; 4:6, 12 ; 6:11 ; 2 Timothy 1:5, 13 ; 2:18, 22 ; 3:10, 15 ; Titus 2:2 , etc., while it is used in the earlier Epistles not only subjectively but also objectively. See pistis in Preuschen, "Handwörterbuch zum griech. N. Testament." Faith is fides quœ creditur only nine times out of thirty-three passages where pistis occurs in the Pastorals.
(7) "The church to this unmystical author is no longer the bride or the body of Christ but God's building or rather familia dei , quite in the neo-Catholic style." There are several genuine Epistles of St. Paul in which the Church is neither called the body nor the bride of Christ, and in calling it a building he was only following his Master who said: "On this rock I will build my Church." The idea of a spiritual building is quite Pauline. "For we know, if our earthly house of this habitation be dissolved, that we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in heaven " ( 2 Corinthians 5:1 ); "And I have so preached this gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man's foundation" ( Romans 15:20 ); "For if I build up again the things which I have destroyed, I make myself a prevaricator" ( Galatians 2:18 ); "Let us work good to all men, but especially to those who are of the household of the faith " ( Galatians 6:10 ); "You are fellow citizens with the saints, and the domestics of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone : in whom all the building, being framed together, groweth up into a holy temple in the Lord. In whom you also are built together into an habitation of God in the Spirit" ( Ephesians 2:19-22 ); "You are God's building. According to the grace of God that is given to me as a wise architect, I have laid the foundation. . . . Know you not, that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?" ( 1 Corinthians 3:9-17 ; compare 1 Peter 2:5 ; "Be you also as living stones built up, a spiritual house"; and 1 Peter 4:17 : "For the time is, that judgment should begin at the house of God. And if first at us, what shall be the end of them that believe not the gospel of God ?") There is a development in St. Paul's use of the comparisons body and bride, which is exactly paralleled by his use of the words building and temple. They are applied first to individuals, then to communities and finally to the whole
Copyright 2020 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2020 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.
Catholic Online is a Project of Your Catholic Voice Foundation, a Not-for-Profit Corporation. Your Catholic Voice Foundation has been granted a recognition of tax exemption under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Federal Tax Identification Number: 81-0596847. Your gift is tax-deductible as allowed by law.