a hodge-podge of mish-mash … can you dig it?
Pastoral Epistles Study
Please check out my new website at http://www.pastoralepistles.com. The goal is to collect information on books, articles and web sites that pertain to the Pastoral Epistles. There's also a blog and an RSS feed so you can keep up with updates.
This study commenced in June 2003. A Bibliography is available.
I'll try to keep the information here updated with some regularity, though I make no promises. This is a rather ambitious, incredibly open-ended study. I'm doing it because I need to focus my personal study on a particular (albeit broad) area. Therefore, I've chosen the Pastoral Epistles since they've always been my favorite books of the New Testament.
In addition to focusing on the Pastoral Epistles, I hope to eventually look into the writings of the Apostolic Fathers in light of the Pastoral Epistles, to draw parallels between them and also to contrast the apparent state of the church in those very early post-apostolic days. (NB: This is in progress at the PastoralEpistles.com blog)I'm also crossing my fingers that my Greek skills will improve to the point that I can do this work in the Greek editions of the Fathers, consulting the English as necessary.
I have no hard and fast schedule set to bring this study to conclusion. This page may sit for months at a time without any updating at all.
2007-05-03: The project has morphed. I'm currently focused exclusively on First Timothy. I've done an extensive series of word studies for all the words in chapters 1-5 and am currently working on chapter 6. This will then likely be revised to unify style, etc., and supplmented with appendix-style material based on much of the work done below.
This work (this page and all subsequently linked pages I've composed) is Copyright © 2003-2007 by Rick Brannan. If you come across it and find it helpful in your personal study, that's great. Use it. That's what it's here for. But don't snag it and repost it or pass it off as your own. And please, don't publish any part of it without my permission, no matter how small the distribution or how noble the purpose. Chances are that if you email me to ask me, I'll say "Yes!". If you'd like to link here, that's great. Please email me to let me know you're doing it. It's only common courtesy, you know.
The below is a tentative outline. I'm scared just looking at it. As I progress, hopefully items in the outline will be linked to appropriate pages with more information, translations, etc.
Yeah, that's ambitious. I'm scared just looking at it. But, as Richard Dreyfus' character advised Bill Murray's character in What About Bob?, I need to break it down into baby steps.
Step 1: Rough Translation
Why? Primarily because it is the most fun and the easiest place to start. Note when I say Translation, I don't mean anything too scholarly. Basically, I'm studying the text through the Greek. It involves looking at how the words relate to each other (grammatically) and what they mean. Then looking some things up in Lexicons, comparing to a few English translations, and making some gut decisions about what the Greek says. This is a very rough translation.
Step 2: Smooth Translation
After the rough translation is complete, I plan on writing some code to generate a concordance of the Greek for the Pastorals. Yeah, I could probably look it up in an existing book or commentary, but it's more fun to write code to do it. I plan on examining how I end up translating several key terms (and phrases) to either make them consistent or determine that the context supports the "inconsistent" translation.
Step 3: Determine Pericopes
If you don't know what a pericope is, check Merriam Webster. And be sure to listen to how it is pronounced so you'll say it correctly.
Step 4: Outline the Book
Once pericope boundaries are determined, the next step is to outline the book. This would be a more hierarchical view of the text as opposed to simply breaking into pericopes.
Step 5: Lather, Rinse, Repeat
I think I'll do steps 1-4 for each book. I'd originally anticipated translating all three epistles first, but I think basic translation smoothing and determining pericopes should be done after each book is translated now.
Step 6: Determine Parallel Pericopes
There are numerous parallels amongst the Pastoral Epistles. It is valuable to determine where these parallels are, and how the pericopes relate to each other.
Step 7: Notes on Vocabulary
After the text has been translated, pericopes defined, outlines settled upon, the next step will be to simply work through the vocabulary of each epistle. This will be the first of at least two more passes through the text at the verse/word level. The plan is to identify significant words in the text and examine their usage, locally and throughout the Pastoral Epistles.
Step 7a: Further Notes on Select Vocabulary
After the primary vocabulary notes are complete, I'm considering revisiting words used infrequently or only in the Pastoral Epistles and noting when these words are mentioned/discussed in volumes like Deissmann's Bible Studies or Light from the Ancient East, and perhaps Milligan's Greek Papyri volume. This list is determined by items I have close at hand, not necessarily by priority or significance.
Update (2004-04-17): Note the citations of these words in volumes dealing with papyri have been compiled. See Infrequent Words from the Pastoral Epistles in Papyri.
Step 8: Introductory/Background Material
After one pass through the text, it will probably be a good idea to work on some introductory material. This will have to do primarily with stuff like Authorship, Date, etc. Authorship is a question amongst some. I think (as do Fee, Guthrie, Hort, and Mounce) that Paul wrote these. But the question still needs to be examined.
In addition, background studies on both Timothy and Titus need to be done, and this seems to be the time to do it. This will involve examining mention of them in both the NT and also the writings of the Apostolic Fathers, and constructing some sort of biography for each of them.
Lastly, some examination of each location (Ephesus and Crete) will be necessary. It will be valuable to be familiar with local customs and social influences, as well as geography and history of these areas.
Step 9: Commentary
At this point, it will probably be time to actually work through the text with the purpose of writing commentary on the verses. Following my own outline, referring to my own translation (and parallels) and also using the notes taken in step 7 above, hopefully something of some worth will end up beign composed.
As this happens, the translation may change based on study of each pericope.
In addition, I may get stuck in some places discussing particularly thorny issues (1 Ti 2.8-15 comes to mind) or particularly interesting issues (1 Ti 5.3-16 comes to mind). When this happens, some sort of Excursus will probably be the result.
Step 10: Indexes, Appedices, etc.
Might be good to get different datasets generated into some sort of form that can be included as appendices.
I've been experimenting with an algorithm to generate linguistically significant (as I rather blithely define linguistically significant) cross-references. This may also serve as some basis for generating cross-references references to writings of the Apostolic Fathers, though that may require data that I do not currently have access to.
In addition, Vincent Setterholm (thanks, Vince!) has suggested comparing common grammatical criteria amongst the Pauline epistles. That is, compare articles per sentence, or conjunctions, or -- well, you get it -- in an effort to get an idea of Pauline style, then see if the Pastorals adhere to that style. Instead of seeing if different things are different by focusing on unique vocab (hapax legomena) as many do, he think I should see if similar things are the same. It bears some thought.
(2004-04-09). Seems like both the LXX and the Apostolic Fathers should be examined for NT infrequently occurring words that occur in the Pastorals. That is, if a word occurs less than, say, five times in the NT or only occurs in the PE, it may be handy to know if/where that word occurs in other corpuses (corpii?).
That's about as far as I can think ahead, though after the above is done the next logical place to examine is the Apostolic Fathers. I may be ready to start all over and move on to another book (or set of books) when I get this far. We'll see. I've got a long way to go to get this far.
The above will most likely change as I progress with this project.
A Final Note
Sheesh ... maybe I'd better just submit an application to a Masters or Doctoral program. Any recommendations?