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Wessbrandt, Martin LU (2012) TEOM72 20112
Centre for Theology and Religious Studies
Abstract
Today the majority of critical scholars regard Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians to be a pseudepigraphical writing authored by an early disciple of the apostle Paul. A puzzle that has yet to be solved, however, is what the historical setting of the production of this fictional letter might be. Another way of the stating the issue is, what would cause a first century disciple of Paul to write this document in the name of the apostle? Scholars have often observed that there is nothing explicit in the text to suggest a specific set of circumstances. Instead, different
scholars have looked at different aspects of the text to come up with theories to answer the question, but to this day none have been completely satisfactory or broadly accepted.... (More)
Today the majority of critical scholars regard Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians to be a pseudepigraphical writing authored by an early disciple of the apostle Paul. A puzzle that has yet to be solved, however, is what the historical setting of the production of this fictional letter might be. Another way of the stating the issue is, what would cause a first century disciple of Paul to write this document in the name of the apostle? Scholars have often observed that there is nothing explicit in the text to suggest a specific set of circumstances. Instead, different
scholars have looked at different aspects of the text to come up with theories to answer the question, but to this day none have been completely satisfactory or broadly accepted. This essay aims to make a contribution to that discussion by focussing specifically on the issue of
literary fraud in relation to the epistle. In doing so it is indebted to the research presented in the 2009 volume on the phenomenon of pseudepigraphy and the New Testament, Pseudepigraphie und Verfasserfiktion in früchristlichen Briefen (ed. Jörg Frey et al), as well
as to older studies by scholars such as Lewis R. Donelson (Pseudepigraphy and Ethical Argument), David G. Meade (Pseudonymity and Canon), J. Christiaan Beker (Heirs of Paul), Raymond Collins (Letters That Paul Did Not Write) and Dennis R. MacDonald (The Legend and the Apostle). By being especially aware of the fictional framework of the document the essay seeks to escape the common fallacy among biblical scholars to mix up the fictional setting and circumstances of the epistle with the actual historical ones. This study also directs attention to the specific emphases of the author of Ephesians in the area of ecclesiology and in
his image of the apostle Paul. Building on the valuable work done on this epistle in the last couple of decades by scholars such as Rudolf Schnackenburg, Andrew T. Lincoln and Margaret Y. MacDonald the essay deals with a number of passages of the epistle and especially goes in-depth in Paul’s “self-presentation” in 3:1-13. The final result of the study is a fresh perspective on Ephesians that regards its author as representing a mediating position in the Christian movement of Asia Minor in the 90s, at the time divided and threatened by schism over the issue of “ethical radicalism” (in Gerd Theissen’s terminology) or radical apocalypticism. Out of concern for the God-given unity of the Church, and in a “the end sanctifies the means”-type of philosophy, the author of Ephesians committing literary fraud wrote this document in Paul’s name. (Less)
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author
Wessbrandt, Martin LU
supervisor
organization
alternative title
Om motivet bakom författandet av Paulus brev till efesierna
course
TEOM72 20112
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
the sub-apostolic generation, images of Paul, Paulinism, the Deuteropauline letters, Paul's letter to the Ephesians, pseudepigraphy, ecclesiology, early church history, apocalypticism
language
Swedish
id
2296754
date added to LUP
2012-01-19 10:55:40
date last changed
2015-12-14 13:35:27
@misc{2296754,
  abstract     = {Today the majority of critical scholars regard Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians to be a pseudepigraphical writing authored by an early disciple of the apostle Paul. A puzzle that has yet to be solved, however, is what the historical setting of the production of this fictional letter might be. Another way of the stating the issue is, what would cause a first century disciple of Paul to write this document in the name of the apostle? Scholars have often observed that there is nothing explicit in the text to suggest a specific set of circumstances. Instead, different
scholars have looked at different aspects of the text to come up with theories to answer the question, but to this day none have been completely satisfactory or broadly accepted. This essay aims to make a contribution to that discussion by focussing specifically on the issue of
literary fraud in relation to the epistle. In doing so it is indebted to the research presented in the 2009 volume on the phenomenon of pseudepigraphy and the New Testament, Pseudepigraphie und Verfasserfiktion in früchristlichen Briefen (ed. Jörg Frey et al), as well
as to older studies by scholars such as Lewis R. Donelson (Pseudepigraphy and Ethical Argument), David G. Meade (Pseudonymity and Canon), J. Christiaan Beker (Heirs of Paul), Raymond Collins (Letters That Paul Did Not Write) and Dennis R. MacDonald (The Legend and the Apostle). By being especially aware of the fictional framework of the document the essay seeks to escape the common fallacy among biblical scholars to mix up the fictional setting and circumstances of the epistle with the actual historical ones. This study also directs attention to the specific emphases of the author of Ephesians in the area of ecclesiology and in
his image of the apostle Paul. Building on the valuable work done on this epistle in the last couple of decades by scholars such as Rudolf Schnackenburg, Andrew T. Lincoln and Margaret Y. MacDonald the essay deals with a number of passages of the epistle and especially goes in-depth in Paul’s “self-presentation” in 3:1-13. The final result of the study is a fresh perspective on Ephesians that regards its author as representing a mediating position in the Christian movement of Asia Minor in the 90s, at the time divided and threatened by schism over the issue of “ethical radicalism” (in Gerd Theissen’s terminology) or radical apocalypticism. Out of concern for the God-given unity of the Church, and in a “the end sanctifies the means”-type of philosophy, the author of Ephesians committing literary fraud wrote this document in Paul’s name.},
  author       = {Wessbrandt, Martin},
  keyword      = {the sub-apostolic generation,images of Paul,Paulinism,the Deuteropauline letters,Paul's letter to the Ephesians,pseudepigraphy,ecclesiology,early church history,apocalypticism},
  language     = {swe},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Heligt bedrägeri?},
  year         = {2012},
}