Onesimus and Onesiphorus

David Inglis david at
Sat Sep 7 14:23:03 EDT 2002

Steve Black replied to Dave Inglis:

> >Steve Black wrote:
> >[snip]
> >>  One has to start with the fact that writing in the name of an another
> >>  was a *very* common practice in the ancient world. I haven't done
> >>  actually any number crunching - but it seems as one surveys the
> >>  available literature from this time that we have more
> >>  pseudepigraphical material than we do "authentic".
> >
> >Steve,
> >
> >I don't want to sound 'picky', but just how do we know this?  In other
> >words, do we have a large number of people admitting that they did this,
> >or people stating that they knew someone who did, or is there some other
> >actual evidence?  Alternatively, are we in the position when many genuine
> >document are declared pseudepigrahic just because they are 'different' in
> >some way?
> There's a pretty good chance, for example, that Enoch did not 
> actually write the books assigned to him:-)

Agreed.  I'm not saying it didn't ever happen (but at least in this case
these books didn't make it into the Bible :-)
>   Are you suggesting that every text that claims to be written by 
> "person-X" must therefore be written by "person-X"? (whoever person-X 
> might be - whether it is Moses, Paul, Barnabas, James, Thomas, the 
> twelve, or whoever).

Not at all, but I think that should be the presupposition (i.e. innocent
until proven guilty).  Again, I'm not saying it didn't ever happen.  I was
asking a genuine question (because it's not my field) regarding how
ancient documents have been determined to be pseudepigraphic.  Basically,
I think my question boils down to: Is it mainly on internal or external

> This would certainly simplify things. It would 
> be great if a judge could simply ask the defendant if they were 
> guilty or not. (they would lie, would they?!?) If we are to judge 
> authenticity - where would you suggest we start if "differences" are 
> not to be considered? Similarities?

No.  Of course the 'differences' need to be considered.  All I'm saying is
that the 'burden of proof' lies with those who believe a document is
pseudepigraphic.  In other words, you (or whoever) have to prove (or at
least show beyond reasonable doubt) that the differences are not
explainable in the context of the claimed authorship.
> Cumulative evidence is significant when each individual piece can 
> really stand on its own. When the explanations needed to sustain a 
> belief in Pauline authorship need to be piled one upon another upon 
> another - for me the credibility for such a model is seriously 
> eroded.

This would only be the case if the explanations were complex (or
unlikely?).  I guess this may be the crux of the matter.  I believe the
explanations are reasonable, you believe they are not.

> When with one simple change in paradigm - considering the 
> different theology, and the different language, and the different 
> church structure and the different social situation - when all these 
> require a great deal of extra-textual theories piled upon each other 
> to sustain Pauline authorship - when this model is compared to a 
> pseudepigraphical model and suddenly each and everyone of these 
> elements "simply makes simply sense" - with one very simple move - it 
> requires more intellectual *effort* than *integrity* for me to 
> continue to hold onto the older model.

I'm sorry, but IMHO this is similar to the 'with one bound he was free'
sytle of getting heros out of almost certain death situations!  *Every*
problem can be simply explained by saying "but somebody else actually
wrote it", because you can then suppose anything you want about the
situation, abilities, motives, etc. of the unknown author.

> Add to this the fact the the 
> practise of pseudepigrapha was very common.

Again, all this means is that it *could* have happened in this particular
case, and is no evidence at all that it *did*.

> No this is not final and absolute proof - such things are rarely 
> obtained. I probably will not change your thinking.

And I probably will not change yours, but thanks for the replies.

Dave Inglis
david at
3538 O'Connor Drive
Lafayette, CA, USA

More information about the Corpus-Paul mailing list