Our professor (who is deeply in love with the historical-critical method, textual criticism and uses those approaches alone) currently lecturing on an Introduction to the New Testament, has provided material for the next lecture to us, and I find lots of it quite worrying. She has given us the material for the next lecture, which will be about some of the Pauline Epistles. There are some things in those papers she has provided that worry me. Here are a few examples:
The Epistle to the Colossians is said to be “deutero Pauline”, that is, written by people in a school of Pauline thought, but not the Apostle himself. Our professor says the Epistle’s prescript’s identification of the authors as Paul and Timothy is fictitious, because of stylistic differences compared to other acceptedly Pauline Epistles. Furthermore, she says, the idea of a “universal Church” is present in Colossians for the first time, since ekklesia always meant the local Church before that. Consequently, she identifies the location and date of its penning as Ephesus in the 70s or 80s, rather than Rome and the early 60s as traditionally held.
Pastoral Epistles (1+2 Timothy, Titus)
These Epistles are particularly concerned with governance of the Church, particularly the offices of Bishop, Priest and Deacon. That should be obvious. What concerns me, though, is the following. Our professor says that the initially “charismatic structure” of the Church in 1 Corinthians was **“replaced by a system of officials **[Bishops, etc.]”.
She also says that since core Pauline words such as Cross, freedom, Son of God, Body of Christ and the Justice of God are absent, women are “made subject”, the teaching on justification is less prominent and the fading idea of a near Second Coming, Saint Paul being the author is out of the question. Instead, she says, the author had a Hellenistic education and modelled the Epistles on letters to high-ranking officials from rulers (such as Pliny the Younger and Trajan).
She goes even further and says that Timothy and Titus are fictitious addressees to make the message conveyed appear authentic, but the true readership was in Asia Minor. Our professor concludes by dating these Epistles to about AD 100 due to the “change in Church governance”, and that 2 Timothy was something like a “testament-like letter of friendship”.
This is so different from what I am used to, that I had to enquire about it. The thing about “Church governance” is particularly concerning to me, since it really makes it sound like the whole concept of Holy Orders is a sham and invented later.
Can you help me out?