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Loisy and Pauline Interpolations

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  • Jeff Peterson
    Thanks to Yuri for the reply to my long-ago Romans post, and apologies for being so late with a response. On the general question of conjecturing
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 30, 1998
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      Thanks to Yuri for the reply to my long-ago Romans post, and apologies for
      being so late with a response.

      On the general question of conjecturing interpolations in the Pauline
      corpus, an important factor to consider is the circulation and use of the
      Pauline letters. Ca. AD 96 Clement of Rome cites 1 Corinthians in an appeal
      for unity to the Corinthian church; so this letter (at least) had been
      circulated from Corinth to Rome (at least) and was recognized as bearing
      some authority; ca. AD 115, Ignatius of Antioch refers to a Pauline
      collection of some size ("in all his letters" Paul refers to the church at
      Ephesus, Ign. _Eph._ 12:2), which included at least 1 Corinthians and
      Romans, as he elsewhere reflects knowledge of these.

      This leaves a brief period in which the Pauline letters were not widely
      known and a copyist could have managed an augmentation that was reproduced
      in all surviving MSS. This narrow window is shut even tighter if there's
      any merit in the interesting proposal of David Trobisch that Paul himself
      prepared an edition of his correspondence for general circulation among
      churches. It would seem that proposed interpolations were either introduced
      into the first copy of each Pauline autograph (and that none of the
      autographs was ever subsequently consulted), or that (even more remarkably)
      every MS copied from _Vorlagen_ antedating the interpolations has perished.

      >> I think I'll continue trying to interpret the letter as transmitted in
      >> the MSS.
      >
      >Good luck.

      Thanks for the luck. You might find Stowers's _Rereading of Romans_
      interesting to compare with the interpolation proposals. This "rereading"
      amounts to a very compelling case for an integral interpretation of the
      letter; becuase of its novelty, Stowers helpfully summarizes his
      interpretation of the letter in advance on pp. 36ff.

      >> It's worth noting that the eschatological and mystical understandings of
      >> salvation that Loisy declares incompatible appear cheek-by-jowl in Rom
      >> 5:12-21,
      >
      >These are the passages that Loisy describes as containing "enormous
      >absurdities". Loisy also comments that "this wholly abstract, scholastic
      >and false conception of the Law" could have never been "imagined and
      >professed by a man who had long lived in obedience to the Law".

      Stowers's contention (following Lloyd Gaston's _Paul and the Torah_) is
      that the Pauline letters consider Torah from the perspective of the
      non-Jews whom the Pauline mission targeted, and with whom Paul tells us he
      identified (1 Cor 9:19ff). It remains questionable whether this explains
      all of Paul's statements critical of the Torah, but Gaston's exegesis of a
      number of texts is convincing.

      >> 1 Cor 1:4-10,
      >
      >This is probably authentic, but I don't see in it what you seem to see.

      Eschatological salvation in the APOKALYPSIS/hHMERA TOU KURIOU hHMWN IHSOU
      CHRISTOU of vv. 7-8, "mystical" (better: participationist) in the KOINWNIA
      TOU hUIOU AUTOU IHSOU CHRISTOU of v. 10 and the AUTOS NOUS KAI AUTH GNWMH
      obtainable DIA ONOMATOS TOU KURIOU hHMWN IHSOU CHRISTOU (which is revealed
      as the NOUS CHRISTOU in 2:16).

      >> 2 Cor 5:17-21,
      >
      >Loisy considers this secondary.
      >
      >> Gal 3:23-28,
      >
      >This one is not clear to me at this point. Seems doubtful, but could
      >possibly be authentic. Gal Ch. 3 seems like a very complex weave of
      >different ideas.

      I'm afraid I still find dubious the criteria used to excise particular
      passages; was Paul less capable of spinning a complex web of ideas than his
      copyists? The Galatians passage combines participationist language in the
      PANTES GAR hUMEIS hEIS [sc. ANTHRWPOS] ESTE EN CHRISTW(I) IHSOU of 3:28 and
      eschatological expectation in the KAT' EPAGGELIAN KLHRONOMOI of 3:29.

      >>> Phil 3:20-4:1,
      >
      >Loisy considers Phil 3:20-21 as interpolations. 4:1 is unrelated.

      The excision of 3:20 is inconsistent on Loisy's hypothesis as it exhibits
      an eschatological expectation ("from heaven we await a Savior, the Lord
      Jesus Christ") and does so in terms reminiscent of Paul's summary of his
      proclamation in 1 Thess 1:9-10. I'm not sure what's meant by the
      classification of 4:1 as "unrelated" to the foregoing; every passage in a
      letter is related in some way to every other, and 4:1 bases a behavioral
      appeal on the preceding description of positive and negative models for
      imitation (3:17-21). This appeal calls for behavior EN KURIW(I),
      participationist language which is reinforced in the sequel (TO AUTO
      FRONEIN EN KURIW[I], v. 2).
      >
      >> 1 Thess 1:1-10
      >
      >This seems authentic, but again I don't see in it what you seem to see.

      Participation in 1:1's EKKLHSIA THESSALONIKEWN EN QEW(I) PATRI KAI KURIW(I)
      IHSOU CHRISTOU (and in 1:6's CHARA PNEUMATOS hAGIOU accompanying
      conversion), eschatology in the expectation of the Son from heaven in 1:10.

      Must read Loisy sometime. In the meantime I'm appreciative of Yuri's
      summaries, if largely unable to find the approach convincing.

      Yours,

      Jeff

      Jeffrey Peterson
      Institute for Christian Studies
      Austin, Texas, USA
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