Wednesday, 13 November 2013

WHY BOW THE KNEE TO MODERNIST INTELLECTUAL SNOBBERY OVER TITUS?

Charles Foster asks on the Why Titus is not a cultural relic post:
Doesn't it worry you at all, Julian, that the overwhelming scholarly consensus is that Paul isn't the author of Titus?

To which one is inclined to respond: why does one have to believe that moderns always know best about the Bible?  

It is probably true that most of those who teach Pauline studies in the universities of the Western world today believe that Titus is not by the Apostle Paul but is a later document by someone pretending to be Paul. That majority might be smaller in theological colleges, but it might not.

Whatever the academic head count, the Western scholarly 'consensus' that New Testament documents such as Titus are pseudepigraphic emerged in the 19th and 20th centuries. But it was not the judgement of the early Christians who circulated Titus as a genuine letter by the Apostle Paul in the immediate post-apostolic period, a judgement that the Council of Nicaea accepted when it finalised the New Testament Canon in AD 325.

William Hague in his masterly biography of William Wilberforce (HarperPress, 2007) rightly questioned the assumption that the assessments of later historians deserve greater weight than the accounts of those closer to the events under examination.

Surely if we all bowed the knee to modernist intellectual snobbery none of us would believe in the bodily resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ? 

5 comments:

  1. In 1936 it was the assured verdict of modern biblical scholarship that John's gospel was written ca. 170 AD, despite the absence of any evidence for this, and the ancient testimony to the contrary. In the same year a papyrus fragment of John dated 125 was published. Yet there was no post-mortem, no attempt to discover where the whole discipline had gone wrong.

    With that in mind, who cares what these pseudo-scholars say? A little investigation tends to suggest that the certainties of NT scholarship are determined more by the views of those who control control university appointments than anything else.

    As a taxpayer I ask only why my money is spent on this this charade? Let them play if if they will ... and let them pay for it it themselves.

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  2. There may be intellectual snobbery involved in some arguments against Paul being the genuine author of Titus.

    There are other arguments which have nothing to do with intellectual snobbery and everything to do with comparison of language between letters ascribed to Paul, to say nothing of theological interests in those letters and whether they could all be reasonably held by the same mind (even allowing for development over decades of ministry).

    Nevertheless I am inclined myself to accept that Paul was the author of the pastorals (providing it is kept in mind that even 'genuine' Pauline authorship was likely complicated by his use of amanuenses and, in some cases, his attribution of authorship to a collective of which he was a part).

    Accordingly I must express my surprise that a man of such grace as Paul was so ungracious in his sweeping critical generalization of Cretan character!

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    1. Hmmm, Fr Peter, did you spot the paradox in Paul's statement? :)

      He cites Epimenides, a Cretan, asserting that all Cretans are liars...

      Paul's thought is often far more subtle than we give him credit for!

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    2. "It is probably true that most of those who teach Pauline studies in the universities of the Western world today believe that Titus is not by the Apostle Paul but is a later document by someone pretending to be Paul."

      I wouldn't assume that, Fr Julian. I suggest you will find that its actually only a small number of academics (albeit some are very vocal in their advocacy on this point) who are prepared to hold that a personal letter by anyone was pseudepigraphical, let alone one that was exhaustively investigated for authenticity by the early church.

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  3. It is the old "attack the credibility of the witness" method of argument. Don't be distracted oh jurors!

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