Your argument, however, depends on a suggestion, that, as your e-mail indicates, you know many would not agree with- that other letters that are often called "deutero"(secondarily) Pauline were also written by Paul. Instead, we have evidence that persuades many of us that they were, instead, written by followers of Paul after his death, to extend his views, and invoke his authority.

Yet your e-mail indicates that you do agree that some of the letters often called "Pauline" were not written by Paul-specifically, the letters of 1-2 Timothy and Titus. For had you thought that Paul did actually write 1-2 Timothy, Titus (and Hebrews for that matter), you could have found much in them to bolster your own view. Since you say nothing about any of these, I take your silence to mean that you agree with the rest of us that these are not letters Paul actually wrote.

What you invoke as the basis for your contention that Paul affirmed Jewish tradition about the "goodness of marriage and sexuality" are the letters called Colossians and Ephesians. I appreciate how cautiously you phrase this: "If you will allow me to suggest for a moment that Colossians and Ephesians.are by Paul, a view that I agree with"-since you know that very many of our fellow scholars do not agree with you.

As you can see, I am among those who agree with the view expressed in what is perhaps the most widely used current text, Bart Ehrman's The New Testament: A Historical Introduction, that if Colossians were actually written by Paul, " then ..Paul adopted a different writing style, advocated different views, and assumed a different tone from his other letters." Ehrman speaks for many when he says, "We must conclude that Paul did not write the letter."

I trust you will note that you find here no wild-eyed feminist critique, no discussions (so far) about important other topics, like Paul's views of homosexuality.

Yet the view you express so tentatively here is, of course, essential for the case you make, since only in the deutero-Pauline letters-and not in any of those we all agree are genuine-are statements that confirm the view you express above. And although the various deutero-Pauline letters differ in style and viewpoint, they all agree in reaffirming that what Paul really meant is what you say he meant-that he reaffirmed a "traditional Jewish view about the goodness of marriage and sexuality."

That is as true for I Timothy and Hebrews as of Colossians and Ephesians. All attempt to remedy what they seem to acknowledge as a major problem in Paul's letters--that Paul did not express the traditional Jewish affirmation of marriage-and all intend to reinstate Paul (as your view does as well) as a traditionally minded Jew in this respect.

In the process, as you know, all of them reinforced-with the minor modifications you note-traditional views of the dominance of the husband over wife, master over slaves, and father over children, by invoking Greco-Roman "household codes," as you note. (Those interested in these issues might enjoy Dennis MacDonald's book, The Legend and the Apostle: The Battle for Paul in Story and Canon, and David Balch's Let Wives Be Submissive -which explores the "household codes" in I Peter, but which may help illuminate how they come into Colossians and Ephesians).

This leads to the second issue: You say you hear in Paul's letter to Philemon concerning his runaway slave "a loud and clear clarion call for the emancipation" of this slave. Here I can only point out that if this is what Paul meant to say, he failed to say so-much less say it loud and clear! Yes, he accepts the slave as a "brother" in Christ; yes, he urges the aggrieved master, also a Christian, to accept the slave back without punishment, as a favor to Paul, also as a "brother" in Christ; yes, he expects that the relationship between master and slave henceforth "will be set in the context of the church, and transformed by the love that is active there," as we read in the preface to this letter in the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible.

But the one question Paul does not discuss is emancipating the slave. Let me quote again from that standard preface: "Paul does not address the general question of slavery as a social institution, nor does he discuss whether or not Onesimus should be set free." Ehrman's text discusses this issues, and concludes that "unfortunately, there is little in the text" that suggests this; adding that "it may be that modern abhorrence for slavery has led interpreters to find in Paul a man ahead of his time, who opposed the practice."

Finally, let me make something clear: I am not finding fault with Paul for having views that are somehow "deficient" by 21st century standards. On the contrary. As an historian, I would ask the opposite: how could we possibly expect Paul to have anticipated the situations of Christians for thousands of years after his death-or to have provided ready "answers" for all the urgent social questions that have emerged during all that time?

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