Thursday, March 30, 2006

Colossians - Links

As I'm busy working my way through Paul's letter to the Colossians, I thought I'd offer a few links that may prove helpful to some:

From Peter Kirby, we also gain this quote from Werner Kummel Introduction to the New Testament, who adduces several considerations in favor of authenticity (op. cit., p. 345):

If the substantive differences of Col can be understood on the basis of the concrete polemical argument of the letter, then there are substantive matters which support the assumption of Pauline authorship as well. (a) The assumed relationship of the writer to the readers corresponds in several points to Phlm: in both letters there are greetings from Epaphras, Aristarchus, Mark, Luke, Demas (Col 4:10 ff; Phlm 23 f); both letters mention the sending of Onesimus (Col 4:9; Phlm 12) and have special words for Archippus (Col 4:17; Phlm 2). These agreements do not occur in the same relationships and formulations, however, so that the thesis is unconvincing that the indubitably Pauline Phlm has been imitated by a non-Pauline writer only in these personal remarks. (b) The household admonitions in Col 3:18-4:1 show a remarkably small christianizing, especially in compraison with Eph 5:22-6:9, which is much less easily understood for a non-Pauline writer than for Paul himself. (c) In contrast to Eph, the use of the formulas en cristo and en kurio in Col correspond completely to Paul's usage. (d) J. Knox has pointed out that the letter, which was intended for Laodicea (4:16a) was probably addressed to the smaller city Colossae because Onesimus was from Colossae and Paul sought contact with the community in which Onesimus' master lived, since it was he to whom Phlm brought so grave a request. Besides, the unusually comprehensive rule for slaves is best understood (3:22-25) if the business with the slave Onesimus were to be settled at the same time. Even though all these arguments may not be of equal weight, together they strengthen the supposition that Col originated with Paul.

This seems to be quite sensible, and commentators like Wright and others have nuanced the argument for Pauline authorship to make it rather plausible. But the evidence must still persuade some who err on the side of scepticism.

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