« AnteriorContinuar »
admitted resemblances in style and subject which accompany the distinctive features in the group of letters. Galatians, it is argued, takes up the closing tone of 2 Corinthians, while in its turn it anticipates and is amplified by the tone of Romans; consequently its place is not merely with, but between, those writings. But, apart from the special considerations involved, this line of argument is too logical to be entirely human. Romans, in some aspects (e.g. the ideas of the spirit and sonship, also of works and the law) stands unquestionably near to Galatians, but the Corinthian epistles need not therefore be dated before the others. The fact may be admitted, and the inference denied. In his letters to Corinth the apostle is largely preoccupied with local questions which inevitably colour and shape the treatment of his main ideas. In Galatians he is to use the modern phrase—more objective, for all his versatile and urgent personality. These writings to Corinth are not a reliable clue to the exact and average nature of the ideas which possessed his mind. They represent him at a most eager, energetic point, it is true; but for the time being, turned aside. Hence the similarity of attitude in Galatians and Romans does not permit any safe inference as to the period of their composition. Psychologically, it is quite reasonable to argue that Romans carries forward the conceptions of Galatians after a brief lapse of time, during which other and more pressing questions had kept these comparatively latent in the apostle's mind.2 Besides, it may be disputed whether the coincidences and affinities between Galatians and Romans really form an important feature in either epistle. The divergencies are far more noticeable. Pre-eminently among the Pauline epistles Galatians has its special task and individual setting. Its contents are too isolated to admit of reliable inferences being drawn from them to determine its date through its connections and resemblances; and the absence (in 2 Corinthians) of doctrinal controversy with the Judaistic emissaries proves, not that his conflict with them was still in an inchoate stage compared to that reflected in Galatians, but simply that the particular conditions and local circumstances at Corinth demanded tactics of a personal rather than a doctrinal nature. The special exposure in 2 Corinthians is not inconsistent with a previous refutation of their principles such as is hurled out in Galatians.
(iii.) has been recently revived and ingeniously stated, not only for
1 As Rendall aptly remarks: It is one thing to note in two letters familiar workings of the same mind, and another to identify their dates on the ground of that resemblance. The force of such a presumption depends largely on circun
circumstances ; a man may well repeat the same thoughts and the same expressions at considerable intervals, if the intervening tenor of his life and his environment continue constant (Exp.4 ix. p. 260). So too, I am glad to find, Mr. C. H. Turner (DB, i. p. 423): "Perhaps too much stress has been laid on such resemblances taken alone-as though St. Paul's history was so strictly uniform that a given topic can only have been handled at a given moment—and too little on the influence of external circumstances to revive old ideas or to call out new ones.” (On this point at least, though apparently not upon the date of Philippians, he has broken away from the Lightfoot tradition). Similarly and emphatically Zahn, Einl. i. pp. 143, 144, 358 (“Paulus nicht der geistlose Schulmeister war, welcher zur Zeit und zur Unzeit seine Einförmigen Lehrsätze wiederholte”).
2 W. Brückner (Chron. pp. 174–192), from a widely different stand point, comes to the same conclusion as Lightfoot upon the order of the epistles, dating them-Cor. Gal. Rom.-however, in the years 61-62, and suspecting the historicity even of Ac 24, 25. But, like Ménégoz, he heartily agrees that if i Thess. is to be taken as a Pauline document it must be dated early in the apostle's life, previous to these four chief epistles (ibid. pp. 193-199).
his own purposes and reasons by Steck, but also by Clemen (Chron. also, SK (1897), pp. 219-270, “ Die Reihenfolge der paul. Hauptbriefe"). His scheme? involves a late date for the apostolic council, which is identified not with Ac 15 but with Ac 21, and therefore placed in 54 A.D. Previous to this come
37. Saul's conversion (2 Co 122), two years after crucifixion. 40–45. First mission tour, chiefly in Galatia. 45–50. (Spring), second tour, through Greece, etc., to Ephesus. 47-48. Stay in Corinth (1} years) (Thess. epp.). 49–50. First (lost) epistle to Corinth (1 Co 59), in early spring of 50. 50-52. Stay in Ephesus (24 years), including (1 Co, 2 Co 9) visit to
Corinth (2 Co 10-izio). 52-54. Third mission tour (2 Co 1-8, 1311.end), in summer of 52. 52-53. Winter in Nikopolis (Tit 312-14). 53–54. Winter in Corinth (Rom). 54. Apostolic council ‘in Jerusalem (Ac 20–2121), dispute at
Antioch (Gal). 58. Paul's arrest in Jerusalem. The stress of the argument lies on the supposed increase of controversy with the Judaisers in Galatians as compared with Romans, for which
on this hypothesis—the events at Antioch are required as the preliminary cause. But the greater probability is that the larger, milder exposition of Paul's teaching on the law followed the sharper dialectic of Galatians, and it may be held that passages like Ro 520 77 show quite as clear and decisive a standpoint in regard to the law as Gal 219. Clemen's views mean development in the ideas of the law, righteousness, the person of Christ, etc., but neither these nor his somewhat arbitrary treatment of “ Acts” have moved recent scholarship from adhering to the old verdict pronounced by Baur's insight upon Galatians (see prefixed note below).
There need be little hesitation, then, in accepting Galatians, Corinthians, and Romans, as the proper chronological order of the writings ; it has found wide assent among scholars, and, upon the whole, may be considered as the hypothesis which is most successful in setting the facts and feelings of the author's life in a reasonable and natural sequence.
II. The crucial point in the problem of the prison-letters is the position of Philippians. Almost certainly, however, this letter is to be ranked as the latest. It has always impressed editors as the final expression of Paul's mind and heart, written by one who was conscious of standing near the last step. This tone does not appear in the
i Der Galaterbrief (1888), opposed in a special monograph by Gloël; Die jüngste Kritik des Galaterbriefes (1890), and by R. J. Knowling Witness of the Epistles (1892), ch. iii. Zahn also refers to his own convincing article in ZKWL (1889), pp. 462-466. Steck's order is Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, all composed between 120 and 140 A.D.
? Cp. Kühn, Neue kirchliche Zeitschr. (1895), pp. 981–990, on the argument that the evidence of the epistle agrees with the tone of Paul during the Caesarean imprisonment, when he could not (420) get away to visit his friends, and had been maltreated (617) by the Jews (Ac 2132)! Clemen's theory has been adversely examined by Schmiedel, LC (1894), pp. 1129–1131, and especially F. Sieffert in an essay (Thist, pp. 332-357), “Die Entwickelungslinie der paulinischen Gesetzeslehre, nach den vier Hauptbriefen des Apostels.” Cp. also J. Weiss' review, SK (1895), pp. 252-296, “Paulinische Probleme; die Chronologie der Paulinischen Briefe," Zahn, Einl. i. pp. 142, 143 (especially on the incompatibility of Gal 210 with this theory), A. Robertson (DB, i. pp. 485, 486), and Gercke (GG) (1894), 577–599).
Colossian (129 43) or Ephesian (619) letters, which in all probability preceded Philippians; they indicate a less disturbed situation, in which the writer's mind was free to deliberately expand. So Sabatier (p. 250 f.), Weiss (INT, ii. pp. 131-137), Godet (INT, p. 427 f.), Reuss (p. 106 f.), Ramsay (SPT, pp. 357–359), Lipsius (HC, ii. 2, pp. 210, 211), von Soden (ibid. iii; E Bi, i. p. 816 ; and “Der Philipperbrief” (1889)), Klöpper (in his edition of Philip. 1893), McGiffert (Ā A, pp. 364-393), Zahn (Einl. i. pp. 380-391), Bovon (NTTh, ii. 73–120), Vollert (Tabellen, pp. 32, 33), Adeney (BI, p. 401 f.), Bartlet (AA, p. 178 f.), Schäfer (Einl. pp. 133–146), Dr. H. A. A. Kennedy (Exp. Ti. x. pp. 22–24), Bernard (DB, iii. 833), Gibb (DB, iii. 841), besides those who, with Holtzmann, 1 reject both Colossians and Ephesians. Still, neither the internal evidence, which may be drawn from the character and prospects of the epistle, nor the evidence sought in its relation to Col.-Ephes., is absolutely decisive; although, in the absence of reliable data, they serve to make this position inherently probable. In writing to the Philippians, Paul is no longer supported by the companions who had been with him when the earlier epistles were composed. Further, the letter gives the impression of having been written at a time when the author's position had become serious (123-25 223. 24), so acute, indeed, that the immediate future must end in a total change-death or liberation. This is scarcely compatible with the continued imprisonment which would be required, were Col.-Ephes. placed after Philippians.
Assuming, then, that Philippians and (as is highly probable) Colossians and Ephesians were all written from Rome, one may conclude that Philippians is subsequent to the others. The only argument on the other side of any weight is furnished by the admitted excess of dogmatic teaching in Col.-Ephes., and the apparent resemblance of Philippians to Romans. These are more or less obvious facts. But they do not necessarily imply chronological sequence, except upon the untenable hypothesis that Paul was concerned to show himself a careful and logical theologian. All three letters fall within less than a couple of years. The differences between them involve no great internal development of thought in Paul's mind. They simply arise from the different objects and interests roused in the apostle as he confronted the varying situations 2 in Asia Minor and Macedonia. Hence Philippians follows Romans just as Galatians precedes it; all these carry forward a certain and coherent train of argument, but immediately before as immediately after Romans, Paul finds himself suddenly brought face to face with crises and controversies which, like a living and versatile missionary, he turns aside to treat upon their own lives. Col.-Ephes. intervene after, as the Corinthian epistles before, Romans. They spring from a campaign, with its quick phases and unexpected transitions, in which the soldier has often to fight and move abruptly. It is much safer to take each upon its own merits as a living product of Paul's mood and duty at the time being, than to view them as documents which, for reasons of style and matter, are to be plausibly but unnaturally classified in certain groups.
i Philippians “ ist jedenfalls nach den 3 anderen geschrieben. . . . Es ist das Testament des Apostels, das wir vor uns haben” (Einl. p. 267).
2 Ramsay: “The tone of Col. and Ephes, is determined by the circumstances of the churches addressed. The great cities of Asia were on the highway of the world, which traversed the Lycos valley, and in them development took place with great rapidity. But the Macedonians were a simple-minded people in comparison with Ephesus and Laodiceia and Colossai, lying further away from the great movements of thought. It was not in Paul's way to send to Philippi an elaborate treatise against a subtle speculative heresy which had never affected that church."
On the historical situation of Col.-Ephes, an adequate study is given in Renan's L'Antéchrist, ch. iv.
The main positive evidence for the later date of Philippians is drawn from the length of time required for the relations which the letter presupposes as existing between Paul and the Philippian church. They learn of Paul's arrival, send him funds by Epaphroditus, and hear of the latter's illness. Epaphroditus further is informed of their anxiety, which naturally implies that he had somehow received definite news from Philippi. All this requires a considerable time, and cannot be crushed into a few months. Further, the developed state of Christianity in the capital, with its propaganda and controversies, is an effect which is distinctly traced by Paul. (112-14) as in part due to the stimulus of his presence there, and cannot be wholly set down to the previous exertions of the local Christians. The importance and extension of the church, as these are represented in Philippians, demand a space of time dating from the hour of Paul's entrance into the city, and thus involve a considerable retrospect. On the more difficult evidence drawn from the letter with regard to the particular stage of the trial at which Paul wrote, see the recent examination by R. R. Smith, The Epistle of St. Paul's First Trial (1899), where the epistle is placed at a somewhat advanced point in the legal process, but previously to the verdict.
This place of Philippians in the series has been disputed by Lightfoot 1 (“Philippians," pp. 30–46), Farrar (St. Paul, ch. xlvi.), Hatch (article “ Philippians,” EB), and Hort (“Jud. Christianity,” pp. 115–129 ; · Romans and Ephesians," p. 102). These, with some other critics (including Renan), put it earliest, partly on the ground of its coincidences with Romans, partly because the ideas of the church and of Christ's person in Col.-Ephes. are considered to mark a further stage of 'theological development. The former of these arguments has no more weight here than in regard to the similar question of the relationship between Galatians and Romans, and the latter epistle has equal affinities with Col.-Ephes. The latter argument is inconclusive. In Col.Ephes. a distinct advance in theology is patent. Philippians does not carry the theology to any higher expression, but this fact does not imply that the latter epistle must have preceded the former. It is a priori criticism to expect a graded development of thought in one epistle after another, instead of a mobile, versatile personality. The different tone of Philippians is perfectly credible when the change in Paul's situation is taken into account, along with the specially private relation to Philippi (225 418) which occupied his mind at the moment.
Colossians is certainly to be placed before Ephesians (when the lastnamed is taken as genuine), though priority here carries with it very little significance. Both letters were written about the same time, and reflect essentially the same temper of mind ; but Ephesians, as the wider expanded and less particular treatment of the topics, is more naturally understood as a subsequent writing. 2 Upon any theory of its relation to Colossians, it presupposes that more concrete epistle."
1 So still Burton (RLA, 1895), Spitta (Urc, i. p. 34), Trenkle (Einl. pp. 49, 50), and Dr. Lock (DB, i. pp. 718, 719, article “ Ephesians ”).
2 “On comprend qu'un catéchisme général puisse être tiré d'une lettre particulière, mais non qu'une lettre particulière puisse être tiré d'une catéchisme général ” (Renan); Godet (INT, i. pp. 490-492) emphatically agrees.
The note to Philemon falls with the Colossian letter. Apart from this connection there is no evidence forthcoming for its date. “Jülicher, hesitating upon Ephesians, puts Philemon close to Philippians, i.e. 62-64 A.D. Weizsäcker, on the other hand, persists in considering it, with Colossians, as an allegorical product of the second century (AA, ii. pp. 245, 383), and Steck (JpTh (1891), p. 571 f.) finds it is an imitation of Pliny's ninth epistle, written between 125 and 150 A.D. But this theory of Philemon has been finally superseded by the recent verdict in favour of Colossians, and cannot be regarded as seaworthy.
To the period of Paul's imprisonment under Felix at Caesarea, some of the Asiatic epistles have been occasionally assigned : Colossians + Philemon + Ephesians (by Meyer, Laurent, Hilgenfeld, Sabatier, pp. 225–249, Reuss, and Weiss ?), Colossians + Philippians (part ) + Philemon (by Clemen, Chron. p. 249 f.), Philippians (by 0. Holtzmann, ThLZ (1890), p. 177; Neutestam. Zeitgeschichte (1895), pp. 133–134; Spitta, Die À postelgeschichte, p. 281; Urc. i. 34; and Macpherson, Ephesians, pp. 86–94). The difficulties of such hypotheses, however, have been rightly felt by the majority of scholars to be insuperable. The few indications which seem to refer to Caesarea are capable of being explained, without undue forcing, upon the usual Roman theory; and Rome gives a more satisfactory background 2 for the total phenomena of the letters. Negative and positive evidence alike point to the capital as the locus of the prison - letters. From Rome Paul wrote, in all likelihood, Colossians, Philemon, and Ephesians, certainly Philippians. He may have taught in Rome, but he wrote for Asia Minor.
B. Their Dates. Apart from the internal evidence, which is discussed in the respective editions and Introductions, the chronology of the epistles depends upon | the chronology of the apostolic age, a matter which naturally did not specially interest that age itself, and is but obscurely reflected in the later sources. Here we have a question of considerable difficulty, involving the discussion of some half-dozen separate problems in Roman and Palestinian history which bear more or less upon the main issue, i.e. the rule of Aretas--the Nabataean monarch-in Damascus, the exact date of the famine in Claudius' reign, his interference with the Roman Jews, the period of Gallio's proconsulship in Achaia, the precise date of Felix's departure and Festus' arrival in Judaea; and finally the limits of the Neronic persecution. These events touch here and there the biography of Paul and the history of the early church. But while they might be expected to yield several fixed points in the chronology, the misfortune actually is that they themselves are not absolutely fixed. Even the most crucial point of all-the date of the change in the procuratorship
1 So recently Haupt (-Meyer). But all the probabilities favour the Roman origin of Philemon (cp. recently Bernard, DB, iii. p. 833). Paul was far more accessible to outsiders in Rome than in Caesarea, and runaway slaves naturally took refuge amid the crowds of the metropolis (Sallust, Catil. 375; Tacit. Annal. 15+6). And Philemon is contemporary with the others. Surely, too, had Col.-Ephes. been written at Caesarea, some mention of Paul's friend Philip (Ac 218.14) would have occurred among the list of his helpers and companions.
2 Philippians must be decisively placed in the Roman captivity, when 113 and 422—to say nothing of other passages—are fairly read. The past extent of his influence, his present situation, and his prospects, imperatively demand Rome as the place where this letter was written (vide Hort, “Rom. Ephes.” p. 100 f.).