After reading E. Randolph Richards, Paul and First-Century Letter Writing (IVP, 2004), recommended to me by Joel Green, I have become very interested in the function and authority of Letter-Carriers, especially in the New Testament. Important to this discussion are the two essays:
- Mitchell, Margaret M. “New Testament Envoys in the Context of Greco-Roman Diplomatic and Epistolary Conventions: The Example of Timothy and Titus.” JBL 111 (1992): 641-662.
- Peter Head, “Named Letter Carries among the Oxyrhynchus Papyri.” Journal for the Study of the New Testament 31.3 (2009): 279-299
These two articles are helpfully noted by Kevin Scull here and here. Named letter carriers in the NT include, Phoebe (Rom 16:1-2); Tychicus (Col. 4:7); and Silvanus (1 Pet. 5:12). Obviously Timothy and Titus were letter-carriers, but do we have any of the letters they carried?
[[ Have I missed anyone? ]]
According to W. G. Doty, Letters in Primitive Christianity (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1973), letter carriers originally received “authority to convey the letters, to expand upon them, and to continue Paul’s work.”
Any other interesting articles on letter-carriers and their function?