RE: [Synoptic-L] A dramatic example of textual "healing."
- -------Original Message-------
From: E Bruce Brooks
Date: 1/11/2013 4:59:29 AM
Subject: RE: [Synoptic-L] A dramatic example of textual "healing."
In Response To: L M Barré
On: 1 Timothy Conflation
EBB:Parenthetical note: by "healing" I meant the specific situation where
text on either side of an interpolation (AAABAAA) joins together smoothly
when the interruptive interpolation is removed (AAAAAA), like your finger
the day after a paper cut. It resumes its natural continuity. Of course, not
all interpolations are interruptive, and not all interruptive interpolations
are unsmoothed at their edges by their interpolator. Life Is not alwayss
LMB: Yes, I understood your medical analogy. I use one from musical
consonance and dissoance, being a musician.
The idea of conflation in the Pastorals, or in any other deuteroPauline
text, raises immediate doubts. We can envision conflation of two genuine
Paulines, to take the sting out of the harsher of the two (2 Cor; perhaps
also 1 Cor). But why conflate two fakes? Why not just write it like you want
It from the beginning? It is however imaginable that there were originally,
Say, five Pastorals and not a mere three, and it was for some reason desired
to reduce the number.
LMB: I cannot say for certain what may have inspired the conflation.
Perhaps the brevity of Letter B or in imitation of 2 Timothy and/or Titus in
which the two themes are smoothly integrated.
So one cannot reject the proposal out of hand, and it is interesting to see
what happens when the anti-heretical material is grouped off by itself. (NB:
Those following it in detail will have noted that the proposal introduces a
gross inconcinnity in B at 6:11-16 "But flee from these things," since what
Directly proceeds are godly and not evil things. This is due to typo: the
presenter has omitted 6:3-10 which is supposed to be in B at this point, but
got left out. Those closely following the proposal please correct.
Yes, you are right to spot the typo-o. Restored Letter B as this junture
should be corrected to:
3 If anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound
words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to
godliness, 4 he is conceited and understands nothing; but he has a morbid
interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, out of which
arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions, 5 and constant
friction between men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose
that godliness is a means of gain. (6*But* godliness actually is a means of
great gain when accompanied by contentment. 7 For we have brought nothing
into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. 8 If we have
food and covering, with these we shall be content. 9 But those who want to
get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful
desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money
is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered
away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.)
11 *But* flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness,
godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight
of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you
made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 13 I charge you
in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus,
who testified the good confession before Pontius Pilate, 14 that you keep
the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearing of our Lord
Jesus Christ, 15 which He will bring about at the proper time¡ª
The problematic non-continuity of 6:11 I solve in this way. The topic of
contentment of money is parenthetical. The adversative use of the
conjunction "de" of v 16 indicates a return to the topic of from Timothy
should "flee" from as the same conjuction is used in v 3 to introduce the
parethesis, So v 16 refers back before the parenthetical remark to vv 3-5
money. The opposite pursuit of "godliness" mentioned in v. 11 hearkens back
to v 6, so v 11 and 12 capture both what Timothy is to flee from as well as
what he is to pursue. Interpreted so, vv 11 follows from what precedes.
He who is the blessed and only Sovereign,
The King of kings and Lord of lords,
16 who alone possesses immortality
And dwells in unapproachable light,
Whom no man has seen or can see.
To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen.
EBB: Having reached that point in the preliminaries, I have only a couple
Comments on the proposal itself at this moment:
1. The obvious and often noted difficulty with 5:23 "take a little wine" is
Not remedied by the conflation hypothesis; it is simply transferred to the
end of A as a separate act. Nor is it clear why conflation should have
Dislocated this line, if originally near-final, to its present position in
The middle of something else. Here Is a problem that seems to need a
LMB: I am guided to make this relocation ofr a few reasons. First of all,
the attempt to relate it to a heretical asceticism Is feeble and rather
unconvincing as I noted. Second, it breaks the connection between what
immediately precedes and follows it:
5:22 Do not lay hands on anyone hastily and so identify with the sins of
others. Keep yourself pure.
5:23 (Stop drinking just water, but use a little wine for your digestion
and your frequent illnesses.)
5:24 The sins of some people are obvious, going before them into judgment,
but for others, they show up later. 5:25 Similarly good works are also
obvious, and the ones that are not cannot remain hidden.
See how the command not to lay hands on one hastily because of their "sins"
is open to a mistake since some sins are obvious but others are not so
immediately and only show up later. Timothy keeping himself pure involves
this special care he must take lest after laying hands on someone, his sins
later become apparent and Timothy's "purity" is impugned by having
previously identified with them. Thus it is fairly clear that 5:23 is
foreign to its present context and has rightly been judged to be either a
free interpolation or a relocation during the process of conflation. I
suspect the later simply because it makes less sense I think to simply add
an interpolation here. Instead it was "kept" because it was originally a
part of Letter A's concluding remarks. Obviously, such personal remarks are
found otherwise in the conclusion of a letter This seems more likely than
if someone just put such a personal remark in such a strange place.
EBB:2. Or maybe the writer Is simply following what he imaginees to be the
Genuine Style of Paul: GIven to frequent digressions and self-Interruptions.
Such ARe the imponderables, or anyway the complexities, of deutero material.
LMB: Well, as I just argued, the recognized strangeness of the advice has
all the marks of an insertion which in this case I do not feel It necessary
to surrender to an imponderable. Life and composition criticism is
EBB. Hymns. In the reconstruction, there is one in each of A and B, toward
End. But the one in B is to my eye more a doxology than a hymn, and anyway,
Does not precedent suggest a position near the beginning, not the end
(Philippians, Colossians)? If so, I explain it as part of a special Pauline
Strategy of convincement. Of course, the makers of one or both documents may
have had their own idea of a proper Pauline letter, or sought to improve on
LMB: As for 3:14-16 being the original conclusion ot Letter A,I noted a
quote that observes it is not grammatically or in terms of content related
to what precedes. Also, note that here the author is stating his intended
travel plans, a motif that otherwise occurs in the conclusion of a letter.
Add to that that it makes an excellent summary of the Letter. Having
addressed the various groups that comprise the "household of God, these are
now summed up as a conclusion in this phrase. True, the quotation of a
pre-existing hymn as in Phillipians does not come at the end. But more
closely related, one does in 1 Timothy, or my Letter B (vv 6:15-16.),
followed only by the strong exhortation that Timothy watch out for heterodox
teachings and not allow them to contiminate that "sound teaching" which
Paul" entrusted to him,nicely summarizing the alleged single focus of Letter
B. As to the literary healing of 1 Timothy, why, it's a miracle!
EBB: 4. There is a recurring phrase, which in the in the translation here
reads "it is a trustworthy statement." It would perhaps be favorable to the
Conflation proposal if this occurred In only one of the proposed original
Letters, but it is instead divided among the two (1 Tim 1:15 and 3:1, both
A, but also 4:9, which Is B).
LMB: Point taken. But given that the same author may have written both A
and B, it is not that surprising to find the formula in both. But the same
of different authorship of A and B must really await an exegesis of the two
separately and from that tobo make a determnation of the authorship of the
EBB:5. Is B really a letter, or an anti-heretical encyclical with some of
devices of a letter? I don't think there are truly monothematic letters of
Paul, real or fake. Are there? But again, whoever wrote this stuff may have
had a different and (in his view) better idea of the ideal Pauline letter.
LMB: Reading Letter B separately very much brings out a very urgent tone
due to the seriousness and urgency of the problem, so nicely both at the
beginning of the letter and summed up in its last ardent exhortation. It
hardly has the relatively relaxed tone of Letter A. Calling it an
anti-encyclical seems to go very much to the tone of the Letter and so may
account for Its rather direct and focused concern. So in your assessment of
its tone and content, it seems that you are adding evidence that we are
dealing with a distinct composition. Letter A, by contrast does not show
such urgency and simply enumerates the correct pastoral attitude of Timothy
to the various members of "the household of God." I find it interesting
that the genre of the "household rules" is here rather expanded from its
form in the texts I cited. This perceived develpment of the genre may well
be another indication that we are dealing with a post-Pauline composition,
which is the view to which I subscribe anyway.
EBB:6. Interesting though it is to separate the anti-heretical material out
Tim, I have the feeling that the problem, if it is to be solved in something
like this way, needs also to take account of 2 Tim, where 2:14-4:5 is on
Somewhat the same theme.
LMB: Yes, I argue that upon a comparison with both 2 Timothy and Titus that
these letters contain the two themes of heterodoxy and church order. But in
these compositions, the flow is much more integrated and does not have
blockish character that I find in 1 Timothy. This, I suspect as mention
above, may have been a reason to combine two letters as motivated by a
literary imitation of sorts. But also recall my arguments about the odd
order of the Thanksgiving in 1:12-17, the inexplicable "first of all" in 2:1
and the lack of any near antecedent to the "instructions" mention in 1:18,
which otherwise dovetails quite nicely as following from 1:3-11.
EBB 7. For that matter, "it is a trustworthy statement" also occurs in 2 Tim
2:11. Again the Timothys seem to be interconnected. Probably a full account
of them needs to be interconnected too.
LMB: I suppose what I would like to see is the entire problem of the
Pastorals to be considered in light of my thesis. I guess it would fall to
me to pursue that. But then, I am not a New Testament scholar.
EBB:8. To begin to think about this aspect: which of the Timothys came
Many think 2 Tim (followed in some views by Titus and 1 Tim, in that order),
but is there a direct refutation? If not, then 2 Tim is in the background
for whatever happened to 1 Tim, either when it was composed or at some later
LMB: As indicated, I suspect that 1 Timothy followed 2 Timothy and Titus
where these were used as inspiration for the conflation. So the view you
stated is for me convenient.
EBB: 9. Just as an observation: Among the ends sought by the deuteroPauline
writers were church order statements, anti-heresy, new Pauline personalia
(the problem of the second Roman imprisonment), and also a move back to what
I have called the Alpha position, where (contra the irascible Paul in
Romans) the Jewish law or Jesus's Interpretation of it is still cogent and
Relevant, and good deeds are material to salvation. This acceptance of the
Jewish scriptures (eg 1 Tim 4:13, 5:18; 2 Tim 3:16) is a conspicuous
illustration of this tendency (Matthew, as it were, in a different and more
Ethical key). So Is the Davidic element in 2 Itm 8 (a MIsreading of Paul's
Conciliatory gesture in Rom 1:3, but let that pass for now); again we see
Matthew doing the same thing in a different way. If we need reasons why
Matthew was not included in Marcion's canon of Gospels, and why the
Pastorals were not included in Marcion's canon of Epistles, I suggest that
We need look no further. Luke and the unregenerate Paul of the genuine
Epistles were surely Marcion's best bet.
LMB: I must say, I have no idea if my thesis on the composition of 1 Timothy
will "catch on." I have submitted it as a critical note to JBL. Hopefully,
it will raise enough doubt for folks not to simply assume a compositional
unity to 1 Timothy. As it is, it seems that reseachers are somewhat dancing
around the dissonant elements in the composition, noting them but as you
indicate, not really pressing that matter because life is sometimes not so
kind toward such exact demarcation and what seem to me to be a rather easy
case to make. As far as I see it, it's a rather "ah ha" moment. Now 1
Timothy suddenly makes excellent sense where previously it was judged to be
a "hap-hazard" composition with no "neat fit." Well, it neat now and the
solution" I am proposing is rather like turning off a skipping record.
I appreciate that I found someone who can assess my thesis in an informed
manner. Thank you for your valuable comments. I hope that it is not too
much to hope that a separate historical exegesis of Letter A and Letter B
might someday emerge. I would be most interested in the results. Perhaps
someone knows of some grad student in NT looking for a dissertation topic.
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