Third and Last Section – c. The Pastoral Epistles


The Pastoral Epistles.

Having now demonstrated the late origin of the four “major letters” that were previously considered as indisputably genuine, and assuming the unauthenticity of the nine other letters as proven by Dr. Vaur, the task left for my criticism is to incorporate the result obtained by the latter scholar, and in some respects expanded by Mr. Schwegler, into the broader context provided by my criticism of the Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles, and my work on the four major letters. Specifically, I will dissolve the false opposition that those two scholars created between the supposedly only unauthentic letters and the four major letters, and demonstrate the literary dependence of each author on the others, thus establishing the possibility of a historical overview of the development present in these letters.


I will begin with the conclusion of this developmental sequence: the Pastoral Epistles.

When the presumed author Paul entrusts the bishops to the care of his assistants and entrusts his colleagues with the supervision of the hierarchical organization of the churches, it is only the expression of the historically accomplished mediation between Paulinism and Catholicism. The former has gained such great historical power, at least as an all-powerful name, that the establishment of the episcopal and hierarchical constitution is considered complete and secure only when entrusted to the authority of Paul. The latter, Catholicism, on the other hand, celebrates its final triumph by forcing the opponent of the law and all statutory elements to submit and acknowledge its divine right completely. The reconciliation of both powers is brought about by their mutual victory – by each having triumphed, they have subordinated the other.


The victory, the reconciliation of both powers, this alternating submission of one to the other is not as new as the apologetic critics of the Tübingen school think – the preparations for this conclusion are found in those very documents that they consider as evidence for the original Pauline freedom.

“Where – asks Mr. Schwegler *) – where does Paul give any reminder of bishops, presbyters, deacons in his letters to the Corinthians, to the Galatians? Where does he assume an already determined social organization through such offices? There is no trace anywhere of specific offices and dignities for the management and governance of the whole, much less of a leader at the head of the whole.”

*) Post-Apostolic Age, II, 150.

The answer is my critique of the two Corinthians letters.


In the first, as I have shown, the hierarch strives to assert his authority over the community – in the second, the hierarch sneaks up until he makes an open threat that the community should try and put it to the test whether the Lord of the Church is not powerful in him.

For me, the author of the first letter to Timothy also responds – he knew very well that the first Corinthians letter (1 Cor. 12:28) already knows specific rulers of the community and (Ch. 16:16, 18) commands submission to the supreme power of the church rulers, that he modeled individual formulas for him and even borrowed them directly. The price of his candidates for the bishop’s seat, those who strive for a beautiful thing – his deacons who acquire a beautiful honor step (1 Tim. 3:1, 13) – is modeled after that exhortation to the Corinthians, according to which they should unconditionally submit to the brave ones who prove themselves (1 Cor. 16:16, 17) by their dedication to deacons and complement the community’s deficiency – the first Corinthians letter (Ch. 14:34) is also borrowed the command (1 Tim. 2:12) that women should not teach in the community – finally, the instruction that a bishop cannot be a neophyte, but must be a member of the community (1 Tim. 3:6), has its parallel in the weight that the author of the first Corinthians letter places on the fact that the brave deacons of the community are the first fruits of Achaia.

All three pastoral letters set the orthodox norm of doctrine against the false teachers (1 Tim. 1:3, 10, 6:3, 2 Tim. 1:13, Titus 1:9, 13, 2:1), but the author of the first Corinthians letter also speaks of a canon of Catholic doctrine established in all communities (Ch. 4:17, 7:17) – thus a canon of Catholic doctrine; the opposition of Catholic norm and false doctrine, which is given to the author of the last letter, is already so established and profound that he seeks to justify and explain it in the general statement that there must be heresies (1 Cor. 11:19); finally, the author of the first letter to Timothy is so aware of the connection between his view and that of the Galatians letter that he even copies the parallel of that letter directly for his sentence “if anyone else teaches.” *)

*) 1 Tim 6:3 εἴ τις ἑτεροδιδασκαλεῖ  Gal 1:8 ἀλλὰ καὶ ἐὰν, beforehand V. 6 there is talk of a ἕτερον εὐαγγέλιον


The coordination of faith and love, which is shared by the Pastoral Epistles (1 Tim. 1:14, 2:15, 2 Tim. 1:13, Titus 2:2) with the group of letters to the Colossians, Ephesians, and Philippians – the designation of Christian religiosity and religion itself as godliness and piety **), these abstract categories of pagan-Greek enlightenment – the grounding of salvation in theoretical knowledge ***) – the elevation and petrification of faith, which in the original Gospel and in the first section of the Epistle to the Romans is the subjective all-powerful force that makes salvation its own, into the Catholic objective rule of faith ****) – all of this is neither explained nor placed in its proper opposition if one regards it †) as an expression of a supposed later Ebionitism or contrasts it with the view of a larger or smaller series of supposed eight Pauline letters. It does not belong to a limited or exceptional direction but is the product of that general Judaism innate to humanity (and indeed also of the historical Judaism that continued to affect the community) that transfers the power of the new self-consciousness to a rigid formula – it is the satisfaction that the hunger of the masses for a positive ordinance has procured for itself – the expression of the reaction that the fearful and order-dependent crowd exerted against the original revolution that made salvation (see, e.g., the section of the original Gospel on the Canaanite woman) almost a self-willed conquest of faith and originally drew salvation from an entirely new excitement of self-consciousness. This reaction is the work of the entire second century, *) of the entire community of this time; it expressed itself immediately after the revolution had reached its conclusion in the original Gospel and the first section of the Epistle to the Romans, and those who wish to oppose it with a more extensive contrast in the complex of several Pauline letters can be left to their futile efforts to demonstrate in the two letters to the Corinthians the view of faith and true righteousness from the first section of the Epistle to the Romans.

**) θεοσεβεια and εθσεβεια. e.g. 1 Tim 2:2-3, 16.  2 Tim 3:5. Tit 1:1, 2:12.

***) 1 Tim 2:4 σωθῆναι καὶ εἰς ἐπίγνωσιν ἀληθείας ἐλθεῖν. 4:3. 2 Tim 2:25, 3:7. Tit 1:1

****) e.g.  1 Tim 1:19, 4:1, 6, 10. 2 Tim 3:8. Tit 1:4

†) For example, as Schwegler does in the same work (2, 141), in reference to the importance given to theoretical knowledge.

*) We will also find them, for example, in the works of Justin.


If it were not for the general categories, the fear and concern that the supposed apostle has for the steadfastness of his assistants, his anxious instructions for their behavior towards the heretics, would testify to the danger and wide spread of heresy – nevertheless, the author of the first letter to Timothy, who goes into the most detail, cannot give us a specific picture of the heretics, their followers, and their entire circle. Those whom Timothy should distinguish himself from and avoid are always only “some” who have suffered shipwreck in faith (1 Tim. 1:19) – “some”*) who have strayed from the faith (1 Tim. 6:10) – even when the author, to interpret the horror of the last times that have now come, refers to the evangelical proclamation of the Parousia (1 Tim. 4:1), they are again only “some” who adhere to the spirits of error and the teachings of demons.

*) τινες


The rigid unity of monotheistic consciousness, which aims to encompass everything, cannot truly submit to any single particularity – the opposition it struggles with in history cannot be clearly articulated for itself, nor can it be shaped in a tangible way for others, since it is formless itself. The positive, dogmatic consciousness can only conceive of doubt and theoretical experimentation and errors, which it seeks to suppress as a demonic power. No religious or churchly significant person, with few exceptions, whose work required the use of criticism, as in the case of Luther, could truly grasp and realistically depict their opposition.

Just like the author of the first Corinthians, the author of the first letter to Timothy also seeks to establish true gnosis in opposition to the false one, which he explicitly refers to as the falsely-called gnosis, but he, like the former, is unable to shape and intelligibly carry out this opposition.


The author of the letter to Titus wants to attribute the heretical Gnosis (Ch. 10:14) to the Judaizers and thus disarm the accusation that it is essentially Pauline – but he cannot provide a single piece of evidence to support his counter-charge and even has to contradict himself to the extent that he calls a Greek poet an unsuitable prophet against them in the same breath in which he describes those “out of the circumcision” as the chief heretics (Ch. 1:10, V. 12).

The author of the first letter to Timothy also wants to oppose people “who want to be teachers of the law”, i.e. people whose theory is about the meaning of the law, but who, as he says (Ch. 1:7), “do not know what they are talking about, nor the things they so confidently affirm”; but he is rather subject to the double criticism that he has neither understood how to appropriately reproduce the argument of his opponents, nor to give internal coherence to his own opposition. When he remarks against them (V. 8), “we know that the law is good, if one uses it properly,” it necessarily follows that the opponents reject the law unconditionally; on the other hand, if he immediately continues (V. 9) with “realizing (knowing well *) the fact that law is not made for a righteous person, but for those who are lawless,” then it should follow that the opponents maintain the unconditional validity of the law. The author has not even understood the dialectic of the first section of the letter to the Romans, which he has before him at that moment, and he very unsuccessfully uses the formula he borrowed from it – the formula: “for we know” (Rom. 7:14).

*) and that even in the singular εἰδὼς while the plural preceded: οἴδαμεν δὲ


Only in one dogmatic point is he clear, certain of himself, and more decisive than the author of the first Corinthians and its imitators in the Romans letter – in the rejection of all distinction between certain foods. Although he has those two letters in mind – his statement (chapter 4, verse 4): “Every creature of God is good”, is modeled after the statement of the Corinthians letter (chapter 10, verse 26): “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it”, and that of the Romans letter: “Nothing is unclean in itself” – in his statement: “And nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving,” the keyword: “thanksgiving” resonates from those two letters *) – but he knows nothing more of the consideration that they want to dedicate to the weak – the struggle of the Colossians letter has borne fruit for him.

*) 1 Cor 10:30. Rom 14:6


We need not say a word about the unworthiness of the anxiety that the supposed pagan apostle harbors for the steadfastness of his assistants**) and for their recognition in communities whose leadership is nevertheless entrusted to them – we only note that this anxiety and uncertainty are inherent to the vague nature of monotheistic consciousness, and that the apostle’s fear of being despised may be a threat modeled after the first Corinthians letter. *)

**) 1 Tim 6:13, 14, 20. 2 Tim 1:15. 4:10

*) 1 Cor 16:11 (when Timothy comes) μή τις οὖν αὐτὸν ἐξουθενήσῃ.
1 Tim 4:12 μηδείς σου τῆς νεότητος καταφρονείτω
Tit 2:15 μηδείς σου περιφρονείτω.

Also compare 2 Tim. 3:10 with 1 Cor. 4:17 and 2 Tim. 2:1 with Ephesians 6:10.



The authors of the Pastoral Epistles were familiar with the Acts of the Apostles.

We will not attach importance to the fact that in 1 Timothy 4:14, Timothy received his office through the laying on of hands by the presbytery, as Barnabas and Paul were also installed in their office in the same way in the Acts of the Apostles. Both practices could have been modeled independently of each other according to later church customs. However, the fact that Timothy’s appointment to his office was brought about by prophecy **) corresponds so literally to the report in Acts of the Holy Spirit revealing to the prophets in Antioch the appointment of Barnabas and Paul to their office (Acts 13:1-3) that we must recognize the latter report as the original for this feature.

**) 1 Tim 4:14 ….. This prophecy is already alluded to in chapter 1, verse 18.

The faithfulness of Timothy’s mother (2 Tim. 1:5) is also directly modeled after the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 16:1), only the author of that epistle has given specific names to Timothy’s mother and grandmother whom he praised.


The memory of the Apostle’s sufferings and persecutions “at Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra” (2 Tim. 3:11) is based on the account in the Acts of the Apostles chapters 13 and 14, just as the Apostle’s glory in serving God with a pure conscience from his forefathers is modeled after his defense speeches in the Acts of the Apostles *).

*) 2 Tim 1:3 τῷ Θεῷ, ᾧ λατρεύω ἀπὸ προγόνων ἐν καθαρᾷ συνειδήσει
Acts 23:1 ἐγὼ πάσῃ συνειδήσει ἀγαθῇ πεπολίτευμαι τῷ Θεῷ ἄχρι ταύτης τῆς ἡμέρας.
Acts 24:14 λατρεύω τῷ πατρῴῳ Θεῷ
Compare also Acts 23:6, 26:4

The first apology, in which everyone abandoned the Apostle (2 Tim. 4:16), but with the Lord’s help was so successful that the message was heard by all nations, is an exaggeration of that glory in the Epistle to the Philippians, where the Apostle describes his purpose for his sufferings as the defense and confirmation of the gospel (Phil. 1:7, 17) and also complains that he has no one like-minded around him**).

**) Phil. 2:20, 21. Tim 4.10, 16, The key phrases in 2 Timothy 4:6-7 are also taken from Philippians 1:27-30, 4:3, 3:12, and 1:23.

One more thing! Whether the Apostle’s reflection on the contrast between his calling and his former hostility to the Lord was sought and forcibly brought about by the apologist, we will leave to their own judgment — but that he presents himself as the chief proof for the evangelical statement that Christ came into the world to save sinners, being the first sinner himself — that he wants to be the primary evidence for the longsuffering and compassion of Christ and the example of all future believers (1 Tim. 1:12-16), we will also label it as what it is without waiting for the apologist’s approval, as an embellished and excessive self-reflection — that is, as the laborious and misguided work of a later writer.



The question of whether the authors of the Pastoral Epistles were familiar with written Gospels is already answered by the fact that we have demonstrated their dependence on all the other groups of Pauline letters. Although they use the same formula with which the various authors of the Romans letter cite the Apostle’s reference to a Gospel uniquely his own (Rom. 2:16, 16:25), they do so with the same ill fortune. This is just as unfortunate as the Apostle of the First Corinthians letter, who, at the same moment that he appeals to a revelation he received personally and immediately from the Lord (1 Cor. 11:23), had to betray that he borrowed his information from the scripture of Luke.

Thus, the emphasis placed by the author of the Second Timothy letter (2 Tim. 2:8) on the Davidic descent of Jesus, attested by his Gospel, proves that he is familiar with the current Gospel of Luke. And when the author of the First Timothy letter (1 Tim. 5:18) coordinates the two sentences that the ox who treads out the grain should not be muzzled and that the laborer is worthy of his wages as sayings from the scripture, he proves that he has Luke 10:7 in mind and has been referred by the author of the First Corinthians letter (1 Cor. 9:9) to the Old Testament parallel.



It is certain that the letter to Timothy that currently appears first is a later imitation of the one that is now second.

In the former letter, when Hymenaeus and Alexander are mentioned as examples of those who have only strayed from the faith (1 Tim. 1:19-20), it is vague and meaningless. The matter is given more weight in the current second letter, where Hymenaeus and Philetus are listed as representatives of the heresy that holds that the resurrection is not a future event, but only a process of this earthly life (2 Tim. 2:17). The note in the current first letter *) that the apostle has handed Hymenaeus and Alexander over to Satan is also without weight, whereas the note in the current second letter (2 Tim. 4:14) that “Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil” and the wish “the Lord will repay him according to his deeds” at least has the appearance of weight.

*) ibid.

When the author of the current first letter turned this wish into an action of the apostle, he copied the judgment that the author of the first letter to the Corinthians had executed on that criminal (1 Cor. 6:5).



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