Uploaded by andrewsandon on Sep 15, 2006
Paul, the greatest apostle, was also the greatest author of primitive Christianity. But he had no intention of being an author; his literary remains consist not of books but of genuine letters, although, apart from Philemon, they are not private letters. His place in literature is made plain by the fact that frequently his letters ascend from the immediate subject matter to become something of general validity in the manner of a sermon, and also by the fact that the intimacy of the correspondence is not lost. This is seen especially in the personal tone of the expressions they use and also in that they deal with the requirements of the people addressed.
A large number of Pauline letters appear to have been dictated (Andrews 88). Frequently the remark "My greetings with my own, Paul's, hand," at the end of the letter, shows that Paul has himself taken the pen from the hand of the amanuensis who has hitherto been wielding it (Andrews 98). On one occasion, Romans xvi, 22, this amanuensis interpolates his own greeting. Indications of remarks written by Paul himself are to be found in 1 Cor. xvi, 21; Col. iv, 18; and 2 Thess. iii, 17. Probably Gal. vi, 11 is also to be understood in this way. This custom of Paul's (of dictating) is not without significance for the style of his letters. In reading them we must bear in mind that Paul usually, perhaps always, spoke these sentences aloud, and that they were intended to be read aloud in the assembly of the church. This fact conditions, e.g., the formulas of the prayers with which Paul occasionally concludes a passage ( Rom. xi, 36; xv, 6; 2 Cor. ix, 15; 1 Thess. iii, 11-13).
Thus in many respects the style of the Pauline letters is that of spoken language, the characteristic formlessness of which can be traced in Paul's writings, e.g. in the interjected corrections of himself (as in 1 Cor. i, 16), in incomplete sentences ( Rom. v, 12), and in the heaping up pointed expressions (e.g. Col. ii, 20-3) (Rall 100).
What are the writings which can be accepted as authoritative sources for Paul's teaching? In the first place, we have the four main Epistles, that to the Galatians, the two to the Corinthians, and that to the Romans. The authenticity of these are accepted by F. C. Baur (1792-1860) and the...