Re: NT truth (formerly inerrancy?)

From: Gary Collins <>
Date: Wed Jan 07 2004 - 08:21:39 EST

On Mon, 5 Jan 2004 07:38:46 -0500, Robert Schneider wrote:

>Adding to Burgy's and Don's comments, I think authorship and possible dating of these two texts is a factor to consider. While not in any
way rejecting the canonical status of these two works, and recognizing there is not unanimous agreement, I wish to point out that the
majority of NT scholars have concluded that there is overwhelming evidence against Pauline authorship of the letters to Timothy. They
are un-Pauline in vocabulary and style, and describe a church far more developed than that in Paul's time. The first half of the 2nd century
seems a reasonable assumption for this pseudonymous work, according to most scholars. Whether or not the authorship is Pauline, one
would be hard put to be certain that the phrase "all scripture" refers only to the Hebrew or Septuagint canons (themselves still fluid), or
whether the author might have had in mind writings that never made it into the canon (e.g., I Enoch, which the author of Jude refers to), or
even some writings that eventually made it into the NT canon, or some that did not (e.g., the Didache). What did he mean by "all"?!
There's a lot for me to think about and investigate here. It occurs to me that differences in style might be at least partially explained by the
fact that these are personal letters, addressed to an individual, whereas most of the others are addressed to churches. I'm just throwing
this out as a suggestion or question; I don't have a command of the original Greek and haven't yet had time to check whether this
explanation is satisfactory or not. However, a very brief glance at a commentary this morning revealed that there are also problems
regarding historical context which appear to suggest a later date. But if it is a pseudonymous work, what are we to make of the recipient?
Was it really intended for Timothy? If not, it seems strange to mention details such as his frequent illness. Perhaps an original letter could
have been embellished with contributions from a later writer?
And if the authorship is later, this would seem to make it even more likely that the 'all scripture' referred to more than just the OT.

>The same is the case with 2 Peter. Despite the fact that the author claims to be the Peter who witnessed the Transfiguration, there are
many other indications in the letter itself that it was written long after Peter's martyrdom in 64 or 65 AD. Some NT scholars date this
letter as late as 150 AD. If it had been written by the historical Peter, I could understand his saying that there are some things in Paul's
letters that were hard to understand, had he been given some of those letters in Rome before his death. But I doubt he would have referred
to them as "scripture" and particularly commended them to be used with care. The existence of a Pauline corpus is difficult to trace back
before the second century. I am convinced of the pseudonymity of this letter also. A feature of this letter is the establishment of a body of
written texts as the authoritative source of belief over the spiritual inspiration. It is perhaps a clue that the church is beginning to try to
get a hold on the pluriform expressions of christianity (many spirit-driven such as the Montanists), by establishing a canon upon which
can be constructed a common orthodox theology.

Yes, I seem to remember reading somewhere that this letter was written later - hence the qualifying 'assuming' in my original post.
>A prominent leader of the Southern Baptist Convention once gave an address in which he quoted 2 Tim. 3:16: "all scripture is God-
breathed"--"and God does not have halitosis!" Cute, but it doesn't get anyone any nearer to solving the question "all WHAT scripture?"
>Bob Schneider

Thanks for your input on this, Bob

Received on Wed Jan 7 03:32:37 2004

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Wed Jan 07 2004 - 03:32:38 EST