An Exposition  of Van Manen's Epistle to the Romans

Thomas Whittaker

JHC 6/1 (Spring 1999), 3-31.
Copyright © Institute for Higher Critical Studies, 1999

Thomas Whittaker, The Origins of Christianity with an Outline of van Manen's Analysis of the Pauline Literature (London: Watts, 21909), 104-162 (original page numbers appear here in brackets). Whittaker's exposition is an English reproduction of van Manen's Paulus, Part 2, De Brief aan de Romeinen (1891). The notes by and large present more detailed evidence from the original text, but also seem sometimes to be Whittaker's own comments. Wherever possible, the notes have been incorporated here into the body text and indicated by smaller type. The reader may want to compare van Manen's essay "Romans (Epistle)," in Encyclopaedia Biblica (New York: Macmillan, 4 Vols., 1899-1903), Vol. 4, 4127-4145 (which Whittaker consciously avoided making use of for this exposition). Van Manen's Encyclopaedia Biblica essay (and other essays by van Manen) can also be found on the Web at http://www.depts.drew. edu/jhc/

For ages the fourteen Epistles attributed to St. Paul in the New Testament were all undoubtingly accepted as proceeding from the Apostle of the Gentiles. The leaders of the Reformation in the sixteenth century, however, were so far critical as to contest the Epistle to the Hebrews: and the doubt as to its genuineness has never since been suppressed. From the latter part of the eighteenth century more and more inroads have been made on the Epistles still accepted as genuine. By the TŘbingen school these were reduced to four--namely, Romans, I and 2 Corinthians, and Galatians. In these, also, interpolations were admitted by their defenders, and by degrees it came to be seen that, under the application of the tests which had been fatal to the rest, even the Epistles "universally received" could not hold together as a whole. So the process of demolition went on; until, before the end of the nineteenth century, the time could be seen fast approaching when, of the once imposing edifice, not one stone should be left on another. [105]

Note: The rejected Epistles, of course, have all along found defenders. Van Manen himself, as he mentions, argued for the genuineness of the first Epistle to the Thessalonians in a doctoral thesis published in 1865, though he rejected the second. In sympathy with Baur's critical views, and always recognizing his own intellectual debt to the founder of the TŘbingen school, he yet could not help being struck with the arbitrariness of his division between genuine and spurious Epistles. The prolonged search for a more satisfactory criterion at length showed the absence of a solid basis anywhere.

In justifying the conclusion arrived at, the appeal is to those who are willing to examine the Epistles without traditional assumptions, whether those of the Church or of "the science of our days." Taking first the Epistle to the Romans, we place ourselves before it in complete freedom and ask, What is it, and whence? Our aim is simply to know the truth as regards Christian antiquity.

1. The Nature of the Work

We speak of the "Epistle" to the Romans; but is the composition properly an Epistle? Undoubtedly, it presents itself under the external form of a letter. This, however, is mere appearance, as even the opening verses make plain. The disquisition contained in 1:2-6 betrays the author of a dogmatic treatise who wishes to dispose as summarily as possible of a number of disputed points the discussion of which is current in certain circles. Even apart from this, the address is far from clear. Comparison of the text 1:7 (pasin tois ousin en R˘mŕ agapŕtois Theou, klŕtois hagiois) with other passages (e.g., 12:3), and with a usage known to ecclesiastical writers, shows that the words tois ousin mean "those that really are"-- that is, do not merely seem to be -- Christians. What is indicated is a spiritual circle of hearers, not a local community; and indeed there are specific reasons for holding the mention of Rome in this place, as also in 1:15, to be interpolated (although this does not imply any doubt as to the intention of the redactor or redactors to make the whole composition pass for a letter from the Apostle Paul to the Romans). Generalized rhetorical forms again, such as occur in many places (cf. 2:1, 3, 17; 9:20; 11:13; 12:3; 14:4, 10, 15), point to the great public, [106] and not to a limited circle of determinate persons, as the audience addressed.

However patient we may be in the matter of salutations, it is difficult to find truth and not fiction in the words, "All the Churches of Christ salute you" (aspazpmtai humas ai ekklŕsiai pasai tou Christou, 16:16). The contents generally are those of a book rather than of a letter. Neither the doctrinal nor the hortatory discourses which succeed one another seem more adapted to the needs of the Christians at Rome than anywhere else. Viewing the work as an Epistle, we try in vain to form any idea of the relation between the writer and his readers. No light is thrown on this relation either by the Acts of the Apostles or by tradition. According to tradition, Peter and Paul were the founders of the community at Rome; whereas it fellows quite clearly from the Epistle that the Christians addressed were such before the writer had ever seen them face to face.

We get no more light from the details, which indeed frequently give contradictory impressions. The faith of the Roman Christians is spoken of throughout the whole world (1:8); so that the Apostle can put it on a level with his own (1:12): and yet he speaks of himself as striving to preach the Gospel not where Christ was named, lest he should build upon another man's foundation (15:20). No explanation has succeeded in making it comprehensible why Paul should address such a "letter" to Christians personally unknown to him at Rome. In no traditional record do we come upon a trace of any impression, favorable or unfavorable, made by it among those to whom it is supposed to have been addressed. And yet it was not the kind of letter to be simply received, read, and laid aside. So various are the contents that grounds can be assigned with equal show of reason for holding [107] that the community at Rome consisted of Jewish Christians, of heathen Christians, and of a mixture of both. Sometimes, indeed, the work seems to be meant even for Jews and heathens who are outside Christianity. The result of the whole examination is that-whoever wrote it-we have before us, not an epistle in the proper sense of the term, but a book, a treatise in epistolary form.

2. The Unity of the Book

Whatever conclusions may be arrived at as to the way in which it was composed, the relative unity of the book in its traditional form must be recognized. That there should be slight additions or interpolations is a matter of course in a book coming down from antiquity that has been much read, and has passed through the hands of many copyists. The cases of this kind that occur and are recognized by textual critics do not in the least affect the general view we must take. None of the pieces that make up the composition can be removed without injury to the whole. If we suppose it to end, as has often been fancied, at 14:28, we feel that there is no proper close.

In content as well as in form it is a whole as it stands. With a little goodwill we may find in it what might appear to the writer a coherent development of the Pauline doctrine, and an ordered reply to the objections urged against it. The minor disquisitions fit into the scheme as a whole. A conclusion such as we have was an essential part of it. The traditional text is accordingly no product of an accidental conjoining of scattered pieces. There is identity of style, as may be seen by comparison with the Epistle of James or of Clemens Romanus or with one [108] of the Johannine Epistles. Thus, most even of the critics who propose to divide it have been obliged to recognize the "Pauline" origin of the separated parts, and not merely of that which they regard as the original Epistle addressed to the Romans.

This insistence on the unity of the work had to be placed in the foreground to guard against misunderstanding of what follows.

3. Its Composition

For the unity insisted on is, it must be repeated, a relative unity. It reminds one of the unity of a Synoptic Gospel or of the Acts of the Apostles. The writer has not freely and logically developed his own thought, but has roughly sketched out a plan with a view to the incorporation of older writings which he had before him. Into this plan he has fitted his materials, modifying and adapting them, but not effacing the signs of their previous separate existence. Hence the discrepant judgments that have been passed by critics according as they have been struck by the identity of the hand that put together the whole work or by the difference of character in the parts. There are sutures that make its dependence on written sources visible to the attentive reader.

A. Traces of Juncture and Manipulation:

To discover these, let us examine the parts of the Epistle successively as they present themselves according to a natural division.

The Address: 1:1-7.

Verses 2-6 break the continuity between verses 1 and 7. Their doctrinal intention is plain: [109] (1) Stress had to be laid on the prefiguring of Paul's Gospel in the prophetic parts of the Old Testament (verse 2). The fact that the Catholics who affirmed the connection with the Old Testament and the Marcionites who dwelt on the break with it alike appealed to the authority of Paul, shows the probable absence in the older Paulinism of any definite pronouncement on the point. (2) The affirmation that the Son of God is a descendant of David according to the flesh (verse 3) proceeds from the effort to reconcile the old Pauline with the Messianic idea. Characteristic passages in the Epistle show absence of all preoccupation with the manner in which the Son of God was made flesh. A very close analysis of expressions such as that of 8:3 ("in the likeness of sinful flesh") would lead to the notion that the body of Christ was merely apparent. From a point of view like this, descent from David could be of no importance. (3) The intention of 1:4, in spite of some unintelligible words ("in power according to the spirit of holiness") in the text as it stands, evidently is to assert that Jesus became the Son of God by rising from the dead. This conception, that he became or was made the Son of God, was not unknown in the old Christian world (cf. Acts 2:36; 26:23), but finds no place in the thought of the writer, for whom the Son of God was a pre-existent being (Rom 8:3, 32) sent to manifest himself on earth before he died and in his death (5:6, 8, 10). (4) The same verse, in affirming the identity of the Pauline "Son of God" with "Jesus Christ, our Lord," illustrates the process of fusion by which the favorite expressions of the Paulinists and of the old disciples of Jesus were combined. The variation, again, between "Christ Jesus" and "Jesus Christ" (compare verses 1 and 4) is not arbitrary. [110] The first belongs distinctively to Paulinism (note: and this is the older reading in 1:1), for which Christ, as a supernatural being, is prior; the second is a formula of reconciliation enabling the older disciples to adopt the new ideas. Comparison of variants in the texts where the two types of expression occur shows that the predominant tendency was to change from the former to the latter. (5) The intention of verse 5 is to combat the mistaken imagination that Paul attained the apostleship in an illegitimate way-that is, not as called by Jesus. The plural (elabomen), however, contrasting as it does with the singular which is retained in verses 1 and 8-16, shows that the writer was thinking not of Paul alone, but of Paul and those of his direction, and betrays the hand of the redactor. (6) The particular intention of verse 6 is to convey the idea that the original readers of the Epistle were heathen Christians brought to the Gospel by Paul. The redactor is aiming at a wider public, consisting of all kinds of believers, not simply of the few who have reached a spiritual height, to whom, as verse 7 (with its expression, pasin tois housin) shows, the original form of the Epistle was addressed.

Introduction: 1:8-17

Here we find a complication of inconsistent reasons for desiring to come and see those who are addressed at Rome. This again points to the hand of the redactor, as does also the glaring want of sequence towards the conclusion of the passage. The whole, however, is not to be held for the work of the redactor himself, but rather for an attempt to combine preexistent ideas current in different surroundings. [111] (1) Paul desired to visit the Romans in order to give them some spiritual gift and for mutual confirmation in the faith (verses 9-12). (2) He was constantly making plans that he might have fruit of his missionary activity among the brethren at Rome as elsewhere (verse 18). (3) Though he had no reasons connected with the particular community at Rome, still he wished to come because he felt himself a debtor to all men (verse 14).

First Part: 1:18-8:39

When we enter upon the attempted demonstration of the power of the Gospel for the salvation of all believers, whether Jews or Greeks, we find too many incompatible positions to leave open the possibility that the whole proceeded from the same author, developing his own thought without reference to sources. In detail, the characteristic procedure is the mechanical linking of sentences by means of particles that should denote logical transition. This is intelligible on the supposition that the whole is composite, but not otherwise.

Note: To this line of argument the following objection might most plausibly be taken. It does not seem a priori impossible, one might say, that the original author of the Epistle to the Romans was an intermittently powerful religious thinker driven by fervid emotion to the alternate expression of positions logically irreconcilable. The inconceivable complexity of such antitheses of doctrine led Julian to describe Paul as the prince of charlatans (ton pantas pantachou tous p˘pote goŕras kai apate˘nas huperballomenon Paulon), but not to deny his authorship of the writings attributed to him. This purely general defense, however, loses its force when an attempt is made to apply it to the particulars. The arbitrary and inconsequent use of the particle ga/r, for example, does not seem adequately explained by the favorite resource of modern Protestant philosophical Paulinists--namely, the Apostle's supposed training under the unfortunate Rabbis. Van Manen's hypothesis of the use of sources really explains this peculiarity in the work of a "Greek-speaking and Greek-thinking writer," such as the author or redactor of the Epistle to the Romans undoubtedly was. And, as he observes elsewhere, no one has arrived at a psychology--any more than a logic--of Paul which has satisfied other students.

Among the more prominent antitheses the following may be noted. The God who will render to every man according to his works (hos apod˘sei hekast˘ kata ta autou, 2:6) is not precisely the God of the Paulinism taught elsewhere in the section. The writer who says that the doers of the law shall be justified (2:13) is other than the writer who says that by the works of the law there shall no flesh be justified (3:20). Again, the verses 3:25-26 express a different idea from that which is indicated in 3:24 and other passages, taken in conjunction with 3:20. In the former, the Son of God is offered as a propitiation by God to himself to satisfy the demands of his own justice. In the latter, he is the price of man's redemption paid to a power standing over against God. (Note the words dia ton hupotazanta in 8:20, and compare with Gal 3:13; 4:5; 1 Cor 2:8; 5:5; 5:5; 10:20-21.) The first-named passage proceeds from a more Jewish-minded Paulinist; in the second we detect a Gnostic thought. According to passages of the latter type, the justification on God's part is gratuitous (d˘rean, 3:24). Further, in the comparison between Adam and Christ (5:12-19), the coming of death into the world is ascribed alternately to the sin of one man (vv. 12a, 13-14) and to the sin of all (eph h˘ pantes hŕmarton, v. 12b). Another antithesis becomes visible in the idea of a permanent moral struggle as distinguished from a redemption once for all completely effected. The impressive passage 7:7-25 cannot be reconciled with the [113] passages where the Christian is described as having broken for ever with sin in becoming free from the law. To make the ejaculation of 8:24, with its note of moral seriousness, refer only to Paul's pre-Christian life, is to reduce it to mere verbiage. The aspiration here is for freedom from the body; and it refers to the inward conflict still to be undergone by those who from full conviction have already embraced Christianity. Whatever may be the original source of this passage, the redaction proceeds from one whose aim it was to rescue the Pauline teaching from the reproach of antinomianism.

Second Part: 9-11.

It takes good will to find any connection between the second part and the first. Logical sequence there is none. We hear nothing more of justification by faith: even the words dikaios, dikaioun, dikaiousthai, are not to be found. The question is a new one: Why do the heathen accept the Gospel, while Israelites exclude themselves from its benefits? The opinion of the critics who regard this piece as originally by another hand is sub-stantially correct; though, as was said before, a relative unity has been imposed on the different parts in the redaction. It forms a whole by itself, and has a conclusion of its own; as, indeed, the first part, with which it is externally linked, has an excellent one. In its successive chapters an intimate relation of the writer to Israel is supposed which the preceding ones in no way suggest. He is eager to declare himself "an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin" (11:1). In the former part an entirely different tone is taken with the "Jew" (2:17), whom the author addresses as if he had nothing in common with him. Differences of [114] vocabulary, besides the one mentioned above, can be pointed out, notwithstanding the general uniformity of style. In chs. 1-7 the words "Israelite" and "Israel" do not occur; in chs. 9-11 the first occurs twice and the second eleven times. On the other hand, the word "Jew" occurs nine times in chs. 1-3., and only twice in chs. 9-11-in both of which cases, besides, it may with probability be referred to the redactor. In chs. 1-8 Christ is called seven times, in 9-11, never, the Son of God. Here the condition of salvation is to confess with the mouth that Jesus is the Lord (hoti kurios Ihsous), and to believe in the heart that God raised him from the dead (10:9). The peculiar relation of "faith" to "grace" and "the Spirit" does not come into view.

The general drift of the three chapters is the defense of Paul from the charge that he had no care for the ancient people of God. Like the preceding ones, they form in themselves not a single but a composite whole, being put together from sources. This may be shown by inconsequences in the order, inconsistencies in detail, and peculiar repetitions; but especially by the presence of broadly contrasted views as to the rejection or return of Israel. The first view is that the rejection of God's people needs no explanation beyond his good pleasure (9:14-29). Next we learn that in fact God has not rejected his people, for a remnant has believed (11:1-8). Then at the close-not to attempt to follow all the complex involutions-the mystery is revealed that, when the fullness of the Gentiles is come in, all Israel shall be saved; so that finally all are saved (11:25-32). Such divergent views were certainly not born in the same brain. [115]

Third Part: 12-15:18

The attachment of the third to the preceding parts is loose and merely mechanical. It would not be correct to say that Paul has put first the statement of his doctrine, and then added a hortatory completion. There are hortatory passages in the foregoing chapters, as there are doctrinal statements in those of the third part. This last, while forming, in the sense already defined, an essential portion of the whole, has a different origin from the others. In many peculiarities of vocabulary and contents it agrees with portions of the Epistles to the Corinthians more than with Rom 1-11. The idea, for instance, of a measure of faith imparted to each (12:3) is foreign to the earlier chapters of Romans both in expression and in thought, while it agrees in both with passages in Corinthians. For Rom 1-11, faith is the one first principle of the new life, and carries with it everything else. The idea of a distinction among the gifts of grace (12:6-8) has its parallel not here, but in 1 Cor 12:4-11, 28-30.

This section of the Epistle is in itself less organic than the other two. Construction of passages (e.g., 13:1-7) out of various fragments is disclosed by alternations, otherwise inexplicable, between the second and third persons singular and plural, and by the use of different terms for the same office (diakonos, 13:4; leitourgoi, 13:6). The dissertation on the strong and the weak believer (14-15:13) presents itself as an independent but not unmodified piece. The weak in the faith appear from 14:2 to be vegetarians, but are afterwards treated as Jewish-minded Christians (cf. 1 Cor 8-10), who esteem one day holier than another (14:5) and regard some meats as unclean (14ff.). Perhaps, as has been conjectured, the original ending of the piece is concealed in 15:5, which a redactor extended by the next verse, adding his own terminal formula (tou kuriou hŕm˘n) to the simpler one (Christon Iŕsoun) of the primary document. (Note: Thus 15:12, in which the "root of Jesse" is spoken of, belongs, like 1:3, to a more recent stratum of the Epistle.)

Conclusion: 15:14-16:27

The conclusion has so little of an organic character either in relation to the whole or in itself that many critics who hold to the Pauline origin of the rest of the Epistle have declared it not genuine, or have tried to account for its presence here by supposing it brought in from another Epistle of Paul. For us the question is not whether it is "genuine," but whether it was originally the conclusion of the Epistle entitled "to the Romans." This question has already been answered in the affirmative, though the answer does not exclude further queries as to possible modification and rearrangement. The last chapter has a peculiarly inorganic character. Some have supposed verses 1-20 to be part of a letter Paul wrote to the Ephesians-which is, so far, to admit the theory of composition out of fragments.

B.-Witnesses for the Existence of a Shorter Epistle.

The result of the preceding investigation is that the Epistle to the Romans was made rather than written. There is evidence also that it was once extant in a shorter form. This may be inferred with probability from the omissions of Irenaeus and Tertullian in citing it; but in any case it is clear that the Gnostics, whom they opposed, and who [117] preceded them considerably in time, used a shorter Epistle. According to Hippolytus (Philosophumena 7.25), who makes no remark here on the textual difference, Basilides quoted the substance of 8:19-22 in a briefer and more intelligible form than that of the canonical text: "The creation itself also groans and travails together waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God" (kai hŕ kitsis autŕ sustenazei kai sun˘dinei tŕn apokalupsin t˘n hui˘n tou Theou ekdexomenŕ). The inference that he had a different text before him is confirmed by comparison of 5:13-14 with another citation which Hippolytus makes further on: "To Moses from Adam then sin reigned, as is written" (mechri men oun M˘se˘s apo Adam ebasileusen hamartia, kath˘s gegraptai). This is not a quotation from the canonical text, but recalls it, and is explicable on the supposition that Basilides used a form of the Epistle no longer extant.

Note: The Gnostic, as was explained in a discussion not included in the foregoing summary, understood by this desire of the natural creation for delivery a desire to be set free from the "sons of God"-that is, the Christians-who, not being of this world, troubled its harmony. The end of its longing is "that all the men of the sonship should go up hence" (hina pantes anelth˘sin enteuthen oi/ tŕs huiotŕtos a1nthr˘poi). God, having at length taken pity, will shed over the whole world a deep oblivion, "to the end that all things may remain according to nature, and nothing may desire anything contrary to nature." Thus the world, knowing no more henceforth of the "sons of God," and contented in its ignorance, will not again be troubled with similar birth-pangs.

We have more information about the text read by Marcion. This was certainly shorter than the canonical text, which Tertullian accuses him of mutilating. We cannot, of course, take the word of the "Catholics" for it that their text was the original, though there is no need to accuse them of bad faith. The mere fact that the copies they had before them contained passages not included in the Epistle recognized by the "heretic" was sufficient in their own eyes to justify the charge of falsification current from Irenaeus onward. In reality, there are positive grounds for holding the form of the Epistle read by Marcion to be the older. Irenaeus wrote his chief work against the heretics at least forty years after Marcion came forward at Rome; and this allows time for modifications to be made in the text, and for unjust suspicions to arise about the reason of the differences. For Marcion, Paul was "the Apostle"; he did not take him over as an authority from his opponents. Irenaeus and Tertullian, on the other hand, were busily engaged in trying to capture "the Apostle of the heretics" in the Catholic interest. Which, then, is more probable-that Marcion set up for himself an authority to which he could appeal only after extensive mutilations; or that that authority, which, as we must remember, he himself and the men of his direction had brought into repute, afterwards received additions and underwent modifications from the other side? We need not regard him as exempt from the bad habits of the second century with regard to texts that were to be quoted as authoritative; but, if he attempted a falsification on so large a scale, it seems strange that he did not carry it through more efficiently. In the text he used, passage after passage stood which his opponents could afterwards allege against him; while others were absent which did not even to the smallest extent tell against any position of his. And if, while he was about it, he had done the work thoroughly, he would not have found it necessary to write a controversial treatise to prove that Paul, in spite of some appearances to the contrary, was really on his side. On all grounds we must conclude that Marcion's shorter text was earlier and more original than the canonical text.

C. General View.

Putting the various considerations together, we may state the result thus. The Epistle to the Romans was constructed with the aid of short treatises already extant. These were at various times taken up into a composition in the form of a letter, which went through several "editions." Each time they were modified and adapted in view of their relation to the whole. The earliest edition was much shorter than the final one. Conjectures may be formed as to the outlines of the Epistle at earlier stages; but there can be no thought of actually reconstructing the editions or determining their no doubt very complex relations to one another.

4. Whence Came the Epistle?

A.-Significance of the Preceding Investigation.

If not in the abstract impossible, it is at least highly improbable that Paul himself should have put together, under the external form of a letter, a composition of the kind described. The result of the analysis in any case contradicts the accepted tradition as to the origin of the Epistle to the Romans, since this is taken to be an actual letter bringing us face to face with the original thought of the Apostle. To meet the arguments, however, that will still be urged against rejecting the apostolic authorship, a new investigation is requisite. The question must be put as if it had not already received its answer: Was the Epistle written by Paul? And, in connection with [120] this investigation, we must try to determine positively whence the writing proceeded.

B.-Improbability of the Tradition.

As has been said already, we seek in vain to learn why Paul wrote a letter of the kind to the Roman Christians, or what was his relation to them. How is it that he is able to take such a tone of authority towards men with whom he has never personally come in contact? Tradition, of course, replies that Paul was an Apostle of Jesus Christ, and as such possessed and claimed authority. And, indeed, the writer of the Epistle, speaking in Paul's name, comes forward in this spirit: "Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart into the gospel of God." His right to instruct and praise and warn is taken for granted all through. The fact that Paul is an Israelite even contributes to the proof that God has not rejected his people (11:1). From the supernaturalist point of view there is, of course, no difficulty about this; but those for whom that point of view has become obsolete cannot so easily admit that the Apostles themselves could without arrogance assume straightway the attributes a grateful posterity was to invest them with. Paul as an intelligent man could not take this high tone with Christians unknown to him, whom he desired to win for his cause; and the more if the traditional story is true that there were already divisions in the Church. It is remarkable that he gives no plain and succinct statement of his principles, but supposes an acquaintance on the part of his audience with the outlines of Paulinism. There are in the Epistle, one may put it in parliamentary language, some things hard to be understood (esti dusnoŕta tina, 2 Peter 3:16).

To speak more [121] bluntly, the uncertainty in which we are often left as to the writer's meaning is due to the presence of contradictory utterances. This is how things appear when we no longer see the head of the venerable Apostle surrounded with the nimbus that for ages adorned it --when he has become for us simply a human figure from whom we expect only the possible and the probable. That a zealous preacher of the Gospel who hoped ere long to pay a visit to the Christians at Rome should write to them beforehand a lengthy and obscure epistle in a tone of apostolic authority is possible, but it is not probable. Moreover, we should not expect that kind of literary activity from an artisan-preacher like the Paul of New Testament tradition (Acts 18:3-4; 20:33-34; 1 Cor 4:12; 2 Thess 3:8; cf. 2 Cor 11:8-9; 12:13). All evidence as to the effect of the Epistle on the Roman Christians is wanting. According to the ordinary view, it was sent about 59. After that there is no trace of it until, more than half a century later, we find it held in honour by-the Gnostics! Where was it preserved before it came, we know not how, into the hands of men like Basilides and Marcion?

C.-Indications of a Later Time.

Much in the Epistle to the Romans, apart from these antecedent improbabilities, points to a later date than 59, or than 64, in which year, according to the tradition, Paul suffered martyrdom. To this order of facts belong in the first place:

Doctrinal Utterances.

The Jewish law has been definitively broken with. The light which the Gentiles had by nature (1:19-21) could bring them as far in the knowledge of God as [122] the Jews' own revelation could bring them. The law was as inadequate as natural light to the universal need. To rescue men in general from bondage to sin, a new revelation was required. If, indeed, some among the chosen people have been found "doers of the law," this is no more than has been achieved among the Gentiles, who, "having not the law, are a law unto themselves" (2:13-14). Far from saving men, the law rather called slumbering evil into life by awakening the desire opposed to its commands. For the Christian it has lost its significance. He is liberated from sin in being liberated from the law (6:14). The new revelation is "without the law" (choris nomou). God has found the means for the salvation of sinners, which the old law could not effect. He has sent his Son, by "faith" in whom men are to be saved-that is, made capable of living a life pleasing to God. There is no question of merit; all is "grace." The new dispensation of "spirit," opposed to the "letter" of the Old Testament, is a dispensation of the grace of God. To Paul a special grace has been granted, so that he can speak of "my Gospel," which is no other than "the Gospel of God," or simply "the Gospel." He and the believers in his Gospel are under the guidance of the Holy Ghost. They walk "according to the Spirit" (kata pneuma, 8:4). This new Gospel of belief in the [123] Son of God is "the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began" (16:25).

Note: The phrase choris nomou is a Paulinism expounded indeed on the basis of specific statements, but rendered comparatively free from the confusions and contradictions of our documents. The clause that follows the above ("being witnessed to by the law and the prophets") is treated as part of the "water" with which the redactor diluted the strong wine of the older "Pauline" Gospel out of which proceeded a doctrine like that of Marcion. The verse as it stands furnishes a good illustration of Julian's remark about Paul's perpetual changes of color (osper oi polupodes pros tais petras).

For the writer of the Epistle in its present form, the God who is the author of this revelation is identical with the God of the Jews; but there are indications that originally it was not so. When there is mention of the law of God simply (8:7), it is not the Mosaic law that is meant, but the "law of faith" as distinguished from the "law of works" (3:27). The Jew is under illusion when he thinks he has "the form of knowledge and of the truth" (2:20). The true God is not, as we might suppose, the governor of the world. Rather he stands in opposition to this world (12:2), as the spirit to the flesh. The created world of sense or of unreason was subjected to vanity "by him who subjected it" (dia ton hupotazanta, 8:20) -- that is, not by God, nor yet by the devil, but by a power resembling the demiurge of the Gnostics. (This power Basilides called "the great archon." His empire extended to the visible heaven; he was under the delusion that he was the highest God, but was afterwards made aware of his error by the Son, and repented.) The "rulers of this world" (archontes tou ai˘nos toutou), who knew not what they did when they crucified the Lord of Glory (1 Cor 2:8), were no earthly authorities, Jewish or Roman, but supernatural powers, the "gods many and lords many," the "demons" (cf. Rom 8:38, aggeloi and archai/). For the love of man, in order to rescue him from the powers of the world, God sent his Son to die under their dominion, and then delivered him again from "death"-one of these lower, hostile powers. The highest God is thus no longer the Unknown. He has revealed himself. Believers in the new revelation know him for their Father, as in a more special sense [124] he is the Father of "his own Son." They serve him "in the spirit"; no longer, like Jews and heathens, in temples made with hands. Jesus, from the Messiah or Christ of the early disciples, has become Christ the Son of God, a pre-existent supernatural being, sent in the likeness of flesh, though not flesh. To declare him at once man according to the flesh, and the Son of God according to the spirit, was a later development springing from the effort to reconcile the newer with the older conception. In the Epistle to the Romans almost nothing is said of his life on earth: to the cross there is only one allusion (6:6).

From this recapitulation of Paulinism, it must be evident that a considerable lapse of time was needed before such a system could be arrived at from a starting-point so Jewish as that of the disciples of Jesus. And, if the data of the Epistles are regarded as historical, there is no escape from the conclusion that Paul's distinctive Gospel, the revelation of the Son in him, coincides in its origin with his conversion (Gal 1:11-24). No period during which he was a Judaeo-Christian can be interposed. And the received chronology cannot be materially altered consistently with acceptance of the Epistles as genuine. Thus we have to suppose his Gospel in the main was already present to his thought no more than three years after Jesus-that is, in 35 or 36, and extant in the form in which we know it between 52 and 58 or 59. The zealot for orthodox Judaism has no sooner been brought to see in Jesus of Nazareth the promised Messiah than he goes on to regard him as the Son of God sent down to earth for the sake of men; preaches deliverance from the Law; and appeals for his new conviction to a revelation of the Spirit. If we were not familiar with this representation from our youth, [125] we should reject it at once as incredible. The difficulty of so rapid an advance for one who had been a Jew is realized when we think of the sharp opposition which Pauline Christianity still met with in the second and third centuries.

That Paul himself came forward with the "Pauline" Gospel at so early a date as that assigned is, if we consider it well, a psychological impossibility. It is simply unthinkable that Paul the Jew, who had persecuted the Christian community out of religious conviction, should almost immediately introduce this colossal reform of a belief which he had only just begun to share. Had it not been for the influence of non-Jewish Eastern Gnosis, assimilating Greek philosophical conceptions and heathen mythology, the monotheism of Israel would have permanently withheld Christianity from the "deification" of its "founder." Enoch and Moses and Elijah were already imagined to have attained in an exceptional way to heaven without the thought arising that they had been other than human beings. If it is said that "Paul of Tarsus" might easily come in contact with Greek philosophy and Eastern Gnosis, the reply is at hand in an observation that has been made on the religion of Mohammed. There was no deification of its founder by Islam, because it "was born too much in the light of history for unencumbered growth of legends." This applies completely to Paul, because for him Jesus was still in the full "light of history."

Note: The destructive argument is, of course, not invalidated if we go further and adopt the position that "Jesus of Nazareth" is mythical. The point is that no supernaturalist development so exalted as that of the Pauline epistles could be arrived at by a Jew of Paul's assumed date who had come in contact with companions of an actual Jesus.

It may be said that, [126] psychologically possible or not, there is the fact that Paul did come forward with his Gospel. To this the reply is that the supposed fact rests only on the Epistles, of which we are investigating the genuineness. Turn to the passage in Galatians already referred to; it is in vain that we try to learn from it anything as to the mode of revelation of the new Gospel. "Nobody knows," as a French critic has rightly remarked; and it is idle to plunge into hypothesis in order to explain an assumed fact for which there is no historical warrant.

Acquaintance with Paulinism.

By the time when the Epistle to the Romans was written there already existed a whole vocabulary of technical terms belonging to Paulinism. With these the reader is assumed to be familiar. "Faith" and "grace," "righteousness" and "love," "justification by faith" and "by works of the law," and so forth (see note below), are used without any feeling of difficulty in altogether peculiar senses. There are all sorts of standing questions connected with the Pauline Gospel. Is there, where Jews and Greeks are concerned, respect of persons with God (pros˘polŕmpsia para t˘ The˘, 2:11)? Has the Jew, as such, any advantage over the Greek, seeing that both sin? In what sense may Abraham be called the father of Christians? If the Christian no longer lives under [127] law, but under grace, is there not a danger that he may think sin permitted to him ? How to explain the rejection of Israel? The readers of the Epistle know and have accepted Paulinism as a peculiar form of doctrine ("You have become obedient from the heart to the form of teaching into which you were delivered," 6:17). Now, all this tells against its supposed early origin. If, on the other hand, the existence of a Pauline community or group at Rome about the year 59 is treated as a fiction of the writer, who lived in a later generation, there is no difficulty in the case.

Note: As terms that are intelligible only if referred to the Pauline theology, the following are cited: "faith" and "grace," "righteousness" and "love," "to believe" and "to be justified," "to be justified by faith" and "to be justified by works of law," "to sin apart from the law" and "to sin under the law," "to be handed over" and "to die," "to be put to death for men, "redemption," "to be baptized into Christ," "to be crucified with (Christ)," "life according to the flesh," "according to the spirit," "to God in Christ." And of course these are not isolated expressions picked out: they form the texture of the thought.

Affinity with Gnosis.

That there is some close relationship between Paulinism and Gnosticism is generally admitted, however it may be explained, whether by a pre-Pauline Gnosis influencing Paul or by the existence in his writings of germs which the Gnostics afterwards developed. Most of the Christian Gnostics are known to have held "Paul" in high honor. Tertullian undertakes to refute the "heretics" by the testimony of their own Apostle (Apostolus vester, Adv. Marc. 1.15). And, in fact, the Pauline writings are full of the phraseology and the ideas characteristic of Gnosticism. The same peculiar stress is laid on "knowledge" (gn˘sis). We hear of the "wisdom" (sophia) that is spoken among "the perfect" (tois teleiois, 1 Cor. 2:6-16). The highest knowledge rests neither on tradition nor on Scripture, but on a special revelation. It has pleased God, says Paul, "to reveal his Son in me" (apokalupsai ton huion autou en emoi, Gal 1:16), cf. 1 Cor 2:10, "God revealed to us through the spirit." For him and his there is a continual "manifestation of the truth" (phaner˘sis tŕs alŕtheis, 2 Cor 4:2). They have nothing to do with the letter (Rom 2:29 ; 7:6; 2 Cor 3:6). [128] Like the Gnostics, they are "spiritual" (pneumatikoi), in possession of "the spirit" (to pneuma). Anti-Judaism, in spite of sentences to the contrary scattered through the Epistles, is just as much a characteristic of the Pauline as of the Gnostic teaching. The "called" (oi klŕtoi) stand opposed to both Jews and Greeks outside as the "saved" (s˘zomenoi) to the "lost" (apollumenoi, 1 Cor 1:18, 24). By the natural or animal man (psuchikos anthr˘pos), who "does not receive the things of the Spirit of God," is meant the Jew as well as the Greek. Like all gnosis, Paulinism cares little for historical events except as material for allegory. This indifference extends not only to the Old Testament, but to the actual life of Jesus on earth (2 Cor 5:16).

If dualism is a mark of the Gnostic teaching, it is no less a mark of the Pauline. We find opposed God and the world, which has its own "rulers" and "elements"; the wisdom of God and the wisdom of the world; God and Satan; God and his Son, on the one side, and a series of powers hostile to them, on the other; "the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ" and the blindness proceeding from "the god of this world" (2 Cor 4:4); the animal and the spiritual (to psuchikon and to pneumatikon); flesh and spirit; and so forth. The differences between Paulinism and Gnosticism are not greater than the mutual differences of the Gnostic systems known to us. We recognize both by the peculiar significance they give to certain words (e.g., gn˘sis, alŕtheia, sophia, kosmos, charis, pneuma, ektr˘ma, z˘ŕ, z˘ŕ ai˘nos, exousiai, ph˘s, ph˘tizein, ph˘tosmos) and phrases (Rom 11:33) and antitheses (Rom 8:38, 39). Thus it may be stated as unquestionable that there are Gnostic elements in the Pauline writings, including [129] the Epistle to the Romans. Now, whether Paulinism is to be placed at the origin of the Christian gnosis or later in its development may be left for the present undetermined. In any case, these elements are fatal to the claim of the Epistles containing them to have been written by Paul. For the origin of Christian Gnosticism, if perhaps somewhat earlier that the last years of the reign of Trajan (d. 117), to which it is commonly assigned, cannot be carried back to a period within the lifetime of the Apostle.

Note: Professor Schmiedel, defending the genuineness of Romans in the Hibbert Journal for April, 1903, lays down the position that the four "principal Epistles" stand or fall together, so that none can be dealt with as an isolated problem. In the foregoing section this position seems to have been already turned successfully in favor of the opposite view. It will be observed that there are references to all of them, and not simply to Romans, as contributing to the account of the Pauline gnosis.

The Community.

There is nothing to prevent us from supposing a Christian community already in existence at Rome when Claudius (41-54), according to a statement of Suetonius, expelled the Jews from Rome (Judaeos impulsore Chresto assidue tumuluantes Roma expulit, Claud. 25). If we refer the cause of this expulsion of the Jews (perhaps only threatened, and in any case not thoroughly carried out) to a strife that had arisen among them through the belief of some that Jesus was the Messiah, we may reasonably assume that in 59 the Christian (or Messianic) community was as much as twenty years old. The Epistle to the Romans, however, implies a considerably greater antiquity. For it presupposes more than the growth of a Messianic sect -- a "sect of the Nazarenes" -- similar to the sects [130] of the Sadducees and Pharisees, and, like them, included within the limits of Judaism. The community addressed numbers among its members Paulinists, and even Paulinists with an eye for shades of difference within the general doctrine. This is not thinkable at so early a date, even if for a moment we suppose the doctrine to have developed in the mind o! Paul himself to the stage it has attained in the Epistle to the Romans.

The practical precepts, no less than the doctrinal developments, indicate the existence of a past that is not of yesterday. Consider, for example, those that relate to the performance of a variety of functions by the many members of one body (12:4-8). Some members are "weak in the faith" (ch. 14); they avoid flesh and wine, or pay scrupulous attention to distinctions of days and of "clean" and "unclean" meats. Others think it permissible to eat and drink of anything, and treat all days alike. So long have these differences subsisted that the writer mixes up with the Judaizers those who have scruples about partaking of flesh and wine, and has no better solution to offer than the genuinely "Catholic" one of praising freedom and advising that it should not be put in practice.


Such allusions to persecution to be undergone as we meet with in 12:12, 14, and other places, point to a later date than 59. Before that of Nero there is no trace of such a persecution at Rome; and what is said to have occurred on the pretext of the great fire in 64 had not the character of a general persecution of Christians. Besides, Paul could not have thought of putting his readers in mind of that, five years before it happened.

The Rejection of Israel.

The question so earnestly debated (chs. 9-11), why Israel, the chosen people of God, remains outside Christianity, could not arise till it had become evident that such, with few exceptions, was to be the permanent condition of things. For this it was necessary that the Gospel should have been preached in wide circles; as is, indeed, everywhere presupposed, and almost stated in so many words (10:13-18). The opportunity has been offered to all, but most have refused to accept it (9:7). Now in 59 nothing had yet happened to justify the assumption that Israel must be regarded as broken off from the root-a rejected branch (9:17-21). To explain the writer's appeal, "Behold the severity of God" (ide... apotomian Theou, 9:22), at least the fall of Jerusalem in the year 70 was necessary. That was the first event of importance since the death of Jesus in which Christians could see a judgment upon the Jews. [131]

Faults in the Form.

Expressions from time to time inadvertently used make it evident that the writer is not Paul, but is someone speaking in his name at a later date. Such, for example, are the passages in which the Apostle betrays consciousness of being the representative of a party (3:8, etc.). Paul the born Jew would not have called himself a debtor to "Greeks and barbarians" (1:14). The appeal to Paul the Israelite as a proof that God has not rejected his people (11:1) is plainly enough what would occur to a younger admirer and not to the Apostle himself. Unless Paul actually worked miracles, the assertion in 15:19 points to someone distant enough to mix up truth and fiction in [132] his life. When, as is supposed, he wrote his Epistle from Corinth, he was a free man, and consequently could not speak of his "fellow-prisoners" (16:7). The warning against false teachers (16:17-20) is explicable as put in the mouth of the Apostle so that the "orthodox" might appeal to his authority in some present contest: it could not have occurred to Paul himself writing to the Romans in the year 59.

Written Gospels.

In our Epistle to the Romans there are traces of acquaintance with a written Gospel. The phrase in 2:16 ("according to my gospel"; cf. 1:9; 16:25) is most intelligible as referring to a book, and was so understood by Origen, Eusebius, and Jerome. From expressions not identical with, but recalling those of our canonical Gospels, it may be inferred that occasionally something was taken over from the Gospel spoken of. The following are possibly examples of this procedure: "a guide to the blind" (2:19), cf. Mt 7:1, Lk 6:39; "a light to those in darkness" (2:19), cf. Mt 5:14, Lk 11:35; "the one judging" (2:1), cf. Mt 7:1, Lk 6:37. More especially there may be cited: "Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them" (12:14), cf. Mt 5:44, Lk 6:28; love. as the fulfilling of the law (13:8-10, also Gal 5:14), cf. Mt 22:34-40, Mk 12:28-34, Lk 10:25-27; "Each of us shall give account of himself to God" (14:12), cf. Mt 12:36. Perhaps the Gospel used was the one recognized by the Marcionites. The friends of tradition who, following the Fathers mentioned above, would identify it with our third Gospel, are confronted with the necessity of placing the Epistle at least as late as the end of the first or the beginning of the second century, unless they have the courage to [133] accept the third Gospel as a work which Luke the companion of Paul had already completed. In any case, the use of it indicates a later date than that which is traditionally assigned to the Epistle to the Romans.

Books of Acts.

A passage in the Epistle such as 15:16-31 has the air, not of a real account of his work and plans by the Apostle, but of a decorated presentation of a tradition. Grace has been given to Paul, we are told, to be a priest of the Gospel among the nations, whom he is to offer as an acceptable sacrifice to God (eis to einai me leitourgon Christou Iŕsou eis ta ethnŕ, hierourgounta to euaggelion tou Theou, hina genŕtai prosphora t˘n ethn˘n euprosdektos, hŕgiasmenŕ en pneumati agi˘, 15:16). This is the language of one who knows him as the hero of a legend, and wishes to make a deep impression on the reader. What we hear about his missionary activity, its extent and its complete success (15:19, 23), can be similarly interpreted as an exaggeration "consecrated" by tradition. That the plans ascribed to him are merely put in his mouth is manifest from verses 30-31. If we do not choose to ascribe to Paul at once the art of reading the future and the desire against knowledge to rush on his own destruction without necessity, we can only explain the fear expressed in these verses by what the Pauline tradition had to tell of the dangers he ran at Jerusalem, and the ill acceptance of the contribution he brought with him. This is not, indeed, a story the knowledge of which was gained from the Acts of the Apostles, as one might be tempted at first to suppose; for the author of Acts deliberately glides over Paul's bad reception by the "saints," and adds circumstances not alluded to in the Epistle. The [134] outline of Paul's future journey in this passage of Romans was no more drawn from Acts than were the statements that he and his had "the first fruits of the Spirit" (8:23), and that he was specially called to preach the Gospel among the heathen (1:1, 5), these prerogatives being there ascribed to quite different persons (cf. Acts 2:10-11; 15:7). The traditional basis we recognize is that of the Acts of Paul, already disclosed as one of the documents that went into the composition of the canonical Acts. And that document, as we saw in Part I, was already of a legendary character, and cannot have been earlier than the end of the first century.

Note: No doubt such assertions can be found in Acts, but (as has been shown) in the substratum detected by criticism, not in what we may call the official superstructure, referred to in the next clause above.

D.-Nationality of the Author.

In spite of his positively assuring us that he is a born Israelite, the writer comes forward constantly in the character of a Greek. He speaks Greek and he thinks in Greek. His consciousness of being a Greek and not a Jew is betrayed by expressions such as the one already noted ("Greeks and barbarians," 1:14); just as the writer of 1 Cor 11:4 reveals his nationality in holding it unfitting for a man to pray with covered head. The same explanation would remove all difficulty in the text of 3:9 (ti/ oun; proechometha;). The question would then mean, "Are we (Greeks) put at a disadvantage?" To which the answer is, "In no wise: for we have before proved of Jews as well as Greeks, that they are all under sin." The author forgets for a moment that he is speaking in the character of one who had been a Jew. [135] Quite consistent with this interpretation is the fact that he nowhere gives any sign of having consulted the Hebrew text of the Old Testament. Only in two places (11:35; 12:19) can there be a doubt that the Septuagint was the text he used; and even here all that is suggested is a variation in the reading, or the use of a Greek translation other than the one known to us. This is certainly not what we should expect from the former pupil of Gamaliel.

It has been pointed out that "Paul" made much use of the Wisdom of Solomon; and clear traces of acquaintance with Philo have been detected. This again indicates contact with Alexandrian or Hellenistic Judaism rather than with the thought of the Old Testament in its original form. For we must not forget that the Wisdom of Solomon, originally written in Greek, belonged to the Septuagint. Thus, to explain the relationship between Paulinism and Judaism, there is no need to suppose that a Jew by birth was the writer of the principal Epistles. Of acquaintance with Hebrew there is no trace. Words like "Abba," "Satanas," "Maranatha," were part of the common speech of early Christianity. [136]

With this result may be compared the conclusion reached by Mr. C. G. Montefiore in the Jewish Quarterly Review for January, 1901. While not hinting the least doubt as to the Pauline authorship of the Epistles, but, on the contrary, holding that, by the admission of his thesis, "the puzzles and difficulties of the Epistles of St. Paul would certainly be increased," he nevertheless feels bound to say that the impression left is: "Either this man was never a Rabbinic Jew at all, or he has quite forgotten what Rabbinic Judaism was and is" ("Rabbinic Judaism and the Epistles of St. Paul," JQR 13 [1901], 205-6). On the other hand: "The Jesus of the Synoptic Gospels was a critic and pathologist of Judaism. His criticisms are real: they are flesh and blood.... But the author of the Epistle to the Romans fights, for the most part, in the air" (Ibid., 167).

E.-Attempts at Parrying Difficulties.

Many who have felt the difficulties of the Pauline authorship have tried to meet them by supposing interpolations, or a series of editions starting from a genuine Pauline basis; and attempts have been made to restore the original Epistle to the Romans. This conjectural criticism, however, when carried through to any purpose, itself ends in practically abandoning the genuineness of the canonical Epistle. And even in its most extreme form it does not touch the difficulty of assuming a more advanced doctrinal development than is thinkable in the lifetime of Paul.

F.-Arguments for Genuineness.

The appeal to external evidence falls to the ground. For in any case it does not bring us in contact with contemporary witnesses; and the later witnesses cited, whether of the "orthodox Church" or Gnostics, concerned themselves only with the contents and not with the origin of the writing. Adaptation to their own doctrinal or disciplinary aims, not critical research in our sense, was what they had in view.

"Even the TŘbingen school," it is often said, "accepted the four principal Epistles." This, however, means only that the critics thus named had never radically questioned the genuineness of those four, for to some extent they found it necessary to suppose interpolations in them. It does not mean that those particular Epistles had emerged triumphantly from any systematic process of testing to which they were submitted along with the rest. Critics of a later age, as is usual in the history of science, may see further by placing themselves on the shoulders of their predecessors. And, however this may be, the genuineness [137] of a writing cannot be established simply by an appeal to traditional authority, whether of the Church or of "science."

Those who find in the Epistle to the Romans an image of the personality of Paul have already formed their ideal of the Apostle from a study of the writings attributed to him, so that the argument is circular. And, unfortunately, the various ideal Pauls do not agree. There is a Catholic and a Protestant Paul; an orthodox and a free-thinking Paul; and, in fact, each interpreter has his own. No one denies that both in form and in content the Epistles are peculiar. But does this prove either individual authorship or authorship by the Apostle Paul? Cannot the same thing be said of the fourth Gospel, of the Apocalypse of John, of the Epistle to the Hebrews, of the Epistle of Barnabas? Yet the distinctive character of those compositions is not taken for a proof of their "genuineness." It is true that in the Pauline Epistles there is a marked unity of style, which extends to the whole collection. But mutatis mutandis this is equally true of the Johannine literature (Gospels and Epistles), of the Homeric poems, and of many other collections, earlier and later, which are thereby proved indeed to have had their origin in definite circles, but not necessarily to be the work of the persons whose names were attached to them. Not many years ago readers of the Fourth Gospel could feel on every page the heart-beats of the disciple whom Jesus loved. This ought to suggest caution, especially as no one has yet been able to set forth in words an idea of the personality of Paul which has satisfied an [138] appreciable number of students. There are in truth many voices in our Epistle. If one or other of these makes a powerful impression, does it follow that it can proceed from no one but Paul? A writer of the requisite degree of power will not fail to impress when speaking under some great name of the past instead of under his own. That the "Pauline" ideas were not invented by the individual writers is, of course, admitted. Like the "Johannine" ideas, they were common to certain groups, and arose earlier than the writings in which they were deposited.

G.-Conjectural Mode of Origin.

To sum up: The "Epistle of Paul to the Romans" is a writing in the form of a letter, but not having its origin, even remotely, in a real letter. It is the product of repeated recasting, extension, and modification of a shorter "Epistle," and was probably, both in the earliest and in the later editions, composed with the help of pre-existing treatises on various subjects of doctrinal and ethical nature. The whole grew, in the manner of a synoptic Gospel, out of that which had preceded it in the same kind.

The pre-existing "letters" and other pieces had this in common: that they all issued from a single circle and were composed in the interest of a single direction of religious thought, which we may call the "Pauline," because it was attached to the name of Paul as the "Johannine" was attached to the name of John. [139]

"Paulinism" was a deep-going effort, perhaps not at first conscious of its own meaning, to cut Christianity loose from Judaism and to raise it to the stage of a universal religion. It appeals, as has been said, to a new revelation of the supreme God, whom hitherto neither Israel nor the heathen world has been able to find. God the Father, now at length revealed, has sent his Son and given him over to the alien powers that rule the world, so that he may redeem the chosen "spiritual" men for whom-to the temporary exclusion of all else in this world-God, who is himself Spirit, is alone concerned. Those who have learned to know him are as many as are called by "grace," through the preaching of the "Gospel," to "faith." In the future the world too will be redeemed, and God will be all in all.

The Son, according to the newly revealed "knowledge," came to earth in the apparently human form of Jesus, who, having been crucified by the hostile powers of the world, was raised by God from the dead. He will come again; will destroy the hostile powers; and then will return to the Father the dominion over all things which he has temporarily assumed. What is of chief importance now is to know him not after the flesh, but after the spirit; as the head of the community of believers, as the body of which they are the members, as himself the Spirit ("The Lord is the Spirit," 2 Cor 3:17). Outside Christ, man has no means of freeing himself from the bonds of sense and rising to a "spiritual" life.

Thus Paulinism was a new birth of the oldest Christianity. It began to teach that a salvation unattainable by the practice of moral virtue or by obedience to any law is offered gratuitously through Christ. This doctrine not unnaturally provoked fierce [140] opposition. To some it seemed dangerous by its teaching that man can do nothing for himself; others it offended by its contempt for their hereditary piety towards Jewish ordinances. The opposition called forth defense. Small treatises began to be written in support of its various points as they emerged. Such literary activity was the more necessary because Paulinism was already a theology, and not simply a religious preaching like that of the early disciples, for whom the spoken word might suffice. Accordingly, one wrote in defense of "justification by faith" (Rom 5-8); another set himself to demonstrate that Jews and Greeks alike are under sin and alike are to be saved by receiving the Gospel of the grace of God (1:16-3:31); another tried to show that Abraham is, indeed, the father of all the faithful, but that to descend from him according to the flesh signifies nothing (4); others wrote on the question of Israel's rejection (9-11). Others, again, took more interest in ethical problems, personal matters, and social intercourse (12-14).

Of these representatives of Paulinism, some wrote for narrower, some for wider, groups. Those who came later used in various measure the work of their predecessors. Sometimes whole passages, sentences, or parts of sentences, were taken over unaltered into the text. Of this procedure we can best form a notion by considering the use made of the Old Testament in the Epistle. Besides direct quotations, indicated as such by the author, we find, for example, in 3:10-20 a series of verses from different contexts introduced by a simple "as it is written"; in other places we notice borrowing of words unaccompanied by any allusion to their source. In the case of 1 Peter it has been observed that along with this [141] kind of use of the Old Testament there goes similar use of Romans. The knowledge thus acquired of the way in which an Apostolic letter could be put together may be carried back and further applied to explain the composition of the Epistle to the Romans itself. And just as verses from the Old Testament were sometimes freely modified, so we may conjecture that it has been with the incorporated fragments of earlier "Pauline" treatises or epistles. One expositor would incline more to the "right," another more to the "left," and each would adapt accordingly.

The author of the work in its present form belongs to what may be called the "right "-that is, to the more conservative or Jewish direction. His method is to place side by side with the most decided statements of the new doctrine expressions of profound respect for the law and for the privileges of Israel. Not infrequently he says yes and no on the same page. We can now only just detect beneath his redaction the conception which afterwards became distinctively Gnostic, that the God of the Jews is a lower power than the Father made known by the Gospel. There is in him already something of the catholic spirit. The history of the origin of our Epistle to the Romans is, in fine, no other than that of the canon. When you have understood the latter as the bringing together and formal authorizing of books that had sprung up in different circles and had somehow acquired vogue with the Christian public, you have the key to the former also. The author or [142] redactor of the Epistle took what already had currency within limited circles, and brought it together so that it might appeal to all sides within Paulinism, his aim being to conciliate the parties that were tending to break with one another. In the same way, the Epistle was afterwards made part of a collection of Epistles, and this collection brought into union with other groups of writings in a larger whole. In accordance with the literary method customary in his social and religious environment, the author ascribed the work to the Apostle Paul himself. The real unity which in his conception pervaded the apparently opposed statements of Paulinism was thus more impressively enforced than it could have been in any other way. The name of Paul was at once a covering shield, a watchword, and an introduction of the book to the reader.

Note: The canon was essentially a growth. A book did not become "canonical" because the writer intended that it should; nor yet by an arbitrary decree of the Church; but gradually, through the influence of the leading minds in the Christian communities. The declaration that certain books were to be held for authoritative started from the "left"-because the innovators had need of written documents to appeal to when they were opposed on the ground of "tradition." Not their texts, however, were finally adopted, but texts modified to conciliate the "right," and worked up in the interests of "Catholicity." Moreover, the canon was attached to that of the Old Testament, and subordinated to the tradition called Catholic.

The adoption of the name of Paul has been explained as due to the fact that the movement really began from Paul, though from his oral and not from his written teaching.1 This explanation, however, supposes a more rapid development of doctrine than is historically thinkable; and the evidence available does not support the conjecture. Rather we seem to find [143] evidence, even in the traditional data of the Epistles, for the opinion already expressed that Paul had not materially advanced beyond the position of the other disciples. According to the account in Galatians, the authorities at Jerusalem, on becoming acquainted with him, raised no objection to what he taught. Even the matter said to have been afterwards in dispute was only about the kind of intercourse with the heathen permitted to a born Jew, and indicates no such deep-going modification of doctrine as is, for the rest, implied in Gal 1:11, etc. To the strangers among whom he preached he gave milk and not solid food (1 Cor 3:2)-that is to say, his preaching was much simpler than the late "Pauline" gospel.2 Ought we not to see here a reminiscence of the teaching of the actual Paul? In a sense it could be said by those who put themselves under the protection of his name that he had laid the foundation (1 Cor 3:6-15); but it had been left for others to build upon it and to introduce the new "spiritual" Christianity.

As a matter of fact, we know no more why Pauline Christianity was called after Paul than why Johannine Christianity was called after John. We can only guess; and the conjecture seems reasonable that it was because of something impressive in the far-extended activity of the travelling preacher. We have no right to assert that it was through any affinity of doctrine between Paul and Paulinism.

The fatherland of the new direction was undoubtedly the East-more exactly, Syria. The choice of the [144] name of Paul points to this, for according to his history, so far as we can trace it, the center of his apostolic activity was the Syrian Antioch. Syria is indicated also by the use of the name Abba (Rom 8:15, Gal 4:6); the expression maranatha (1 Cor 16:22); and the proper name Cephas for Peter; but above all by the close relationship between Paulinism and Gnosticism. Of this relationship there is no doubt. The Pauline literature, as we have seen, was first brought into repute by the Gnostics, and when the Catholics, from Irenaeus onward, began to prepare a place for "Paul" in the bosom of the Church, the Gnostics were still not to be outdone. Some of them imagined the Apostle as sitting on the right hand of Christ, with Marcion on the left, while others held that he was the Paraclete announced in John 15:26. Now, Christian Gnosticism appeared first in Syria. From the origin of Paulinism in the East, however, it does not follow that the Epistle to the Romans received the finishing touches there. An older text may have been brought by the Gnostics from Syria to Rome, where it was perhaps modified in the sense desired by the Paulinists of the "right." With or without further revision it passed, like many another writing and many a usage and doctrinal conception, from the hands of the Gnostics into those of the Catholics.

5.-Justification of the Proposed Explanation.

In ight of the foregoing explanation, the Epistle becomes more transparent -- the whole, in spite of its obscurities, easier to understand. Many of the difficulties vanish of themselves. We apprehend how it comes about that Paul seems to put himself on a pedestal, [145] to regard himself as a high authority before whom friend and foe must bow, and how at the came time we fail to get any clear idea of his relation to his readers. It may be well, however, to add a few more points by way of confirmation.

Paul in Acts.

We found in the Acts of the Apostles an authentic or historical Paul, a "Pauline" Paul, and a Paul who is on the way to become a Catholic Christian [The reference here is to van Manen's discussion of the Acts of the Apostles, which precedes his discussion of the epistle to the Romans and constitutes Part 1 of his investigation of the Pauline literature]. The first is the Paul of the itinerary known as the "we-narrative." He is a traveling preacher in the service of the Messianic principles of Peter and other disciples of Jesus. The second is a somewhat younger Paul, who has struck out a line of doctrine of his own, and has been made the hero of Acts devoted to him. The third stands for an attempt to combine the different features in a single portrait. Paul is again approximated in date to the disciples; he has his own Gospel to advocate, and yet he teaches precisely what the other Apostles teach. We now see that the Pauline Paul is essentially identical with the Paul of the Epistles, though in the canonical Epistle to the Romans the transition to the Catholic portraiture may already be perceived. Thus there is no longer anything inexplicable in the legendary features of the Apostle that appear in writings attributed to him, since, to those who wrote in his name, he was not the historical person, but the ideal figure of the Acts of Paul. We can explain also why the author of the Pauline Acts worked up by Luke into his own composition made no use of the Epistles, which, on the assumption that they are genuine, would be inexplicable. In reality, the Epistles came later than the first legendary narrative. [146]

The Younger Contemporary of Peter.

According to the ordinary view, Paul was won for the new confession about three years after the immediate disciples of Jesus had begun to preach. How, then, does he come, at least seventeen years later, to ascribe such seniority to others in comparison with himself as we find presupposed in Gal 1:17 ("those who were apostles before me") and in the passages of Corinthians where he numbers himself among the last of the Apostles? After that length of time a difference of three years would have seemed negligible. A much longer interval is presupposed by Marcion (Tert. AM 5.1), who called him "a new disciple and not the hearer of anyone else," by a passage of the Muratorian fragment, where he is said to have followed the example of John (Rev 2-3) in writing letters to seven churches (note: according to ecclesiastical tradition, John wrote the Apocalypse about 96), and by certain "Nazarenes," who, according to Jerome, spoke of Paul as novissimus Apostolorum omnium. If, however, the Paul of Paulinism was younger than the historical Paul, all this becomes explicable. In the legend he is naturally imagined as continuing during his whole life to call Peter and those of his group "the Apostles before him."

Galilee and Jerusalem.

The oldest tradition points to the assembling of the disciples of Jesus after his death, first in Galilee (Matt 28:7, 10, 16, 17, cf. 26:32; Mark 16:7; John 21). We can follow in Luke 24 and John 20 the displacement of his appearances, assigned to these days, from Galilee to Jerusalem. The actual sequence [147] of events we may reasonably suppose to have been this: the formation of a community in Galilee; extension of activity to Jerusalem and establishment of a community there; then finally such forgetfulness of the real sequence that Jerusalem could be held to have been the seat of the Apostles from the first. All this would take time. For the Paul of the Epistles, however, the community at Jerusalem is unquestionably the eldest. It has the priority in spiritual gifts. This tacit acceptance of a later tradition again betrays the writer who lived after Paul.

The Old Testament.

The historical Paul, according to the TŘbingen school, had arrived at the doctrine called Paulinism, and, therefore, met with opposition from the Judaizers. He also wrote the principal Epistles. But those Epistles purport to be addressed to communities or persons who, coming from among the heathen, have accepted his form of doctrine. How, then, can he assume that they have the knowledge of the Old Testament which is necessary to follow his arguments? Are we to suppose that he devoted himself first to giving them thorough instruction in that law which, according to his system, they were not to practice? It is all unintelligible on the supposition that Paul himself wrote our Epistles. Suppose them written later, and the difficulty vanishes. The then existing Christian communities consisted of persons who, whether Jews by birth or proselytes, were nourished on the Old Testament, and were thus in the mental atmosphere required for appreciation of the Pauline literature. The writers had the edification of such communities in view, and did not stop to consider that this could not have been the mental [148] atmosphere of Pauline Christians who had come over without intermediary process from paganism.

Agreement and Difference.

The only hypothesis that satisfactorily explains the peculiar agreement in the style of the whole collection, and at the same time the differences not merely between one Epistle and another, but between different parts of the same Epistle, is that which has been set forth-namely, that none were written by the Apostle Paul, but that all proceeded from one circle or "school." To suppose a genuine Pauline basis gives no help and is unnecessary, as is shown by the cases of the Epistles attributed to Peter, James, John, Ignatius, and others. And the critics who maintain that there is such a basis are unable to agree even approximately in their statements as to its extent.

Note: Of course, the critics who agree in rejecting these do not find it necessary to suppose that any fragments were written by the ostensible authors. The epistolary form as a literary fiction, van Manen remarks (Oudchristelijke Letterkunde, pp. 30-1), did not need to be invented by the Christian writers, since it had appeared already among Jews, Greeks, and Romans. The edifying composition in the form of a letter is, however, a peculiarly Christian phenomenon. In the general class he places the Epistles of Clement to the Corinthians and of Polycarp to the Philippians, and the accounts of Polycarp's martyrdom and of the martyrs at Vienne and Lyons.

The History of the Apostolate.

Since the research of Seufert (Der Ursprung und die Bedeutung des Apostolates in der Christlichen Kirche der ersten zwei Jahrhunderte, 1887), it has been known that the name of Apostle was borne by itinerant preachers till about the middle of the second century, after which time its use in the wider sense disappeared; and that this disappearance was in the [149] closest connection with the strife over Paul's claim to be called an Apostle. Now, if our Epistles were written by Paul at the time ordinarily assigned, we should have to suppose that the conception of the "Twelve Apostles" as a closed circle was already existent; that the right of Paul to a name which was, nevertheless, freely accorded to all kinds of persons till long afterwards was passionately contested; and that the cessation of "Apostles" from the middle of the second century was the consequence of a struggle carried on a hundred years earlier. If, on the other hand, the real as distinguished from the imaginary contest was between the Paulinists of the end of the first or the beginning of the second century and their opponents, the cessation of the name was its natural result, and the whole sequence becomes intelligible. The tradition that Jesus chose "twelve Apostles" is legendary; it had at first a symbolical reference to the twelve tribes of Israel (cf. Rev. 21:14, Matt 19:28). When this notion of "the Twelve" first arose, it did not exclude other Apostles. Gradually, however, it fixed itself; and, as the fixation became established, the enemies of Paulinism made use of it to contest the claim of the great Apostle to bear the name at all. Thus the title, in the wider sense, came to be disused; and, though the Paulinists had no interest in facilitating the disuse, they could only maintain the claims of their own Apostle by acquiescing in it and finding the means of numbering Paul among "Apostles" in the narrower sense. The only Apostles properly so-called were henceforth "the Twelve" and Paul.

The Revelation of John.

Whatever may be the origin of the Apocalypse as a whole (Note: Van Manen assigns the completed work, which he regards as literary unity, though not independent of pre-existent materials, to about 140), the opening and the conclusion, and in the opening especially chs. 2-3, bear marks of a later date. The communities addressed have evidently been in existence a considerable time, and have had a varied history. Now, it is precisely in these two chapters that we find unmistakable traces of a hostile attitude to Pauline Christianity. The persons who call themselves Apostles and are not (2:2); who call themselves Jews and are not (2:9, 3:9); who teach to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit fornication (2:14, 20) - that is, no doubt, to marry within the prohibited degrees of the Jewish law; who have a mysterious doctrine of their own, which is alluded to as "knowing the depths of Satan" (2:24), are evidently the authors or adherents of the teaching expounded from its own point of view in the Pauline Epistles. This teaching, then, being so sharply opposed in a late document, may be inferred to be not so old as is commonly thought. Paul himself, it is true, does not seem to be attacked, though his name is not included among those who alone are recognized as Apostles in the special sense-namely, "the Twelve" (21:14). What is opposed is the direction rather than the person. At the same time, while the author is no Paulinist, he is no narrow-minded "Jewish Christian," but includes along with the 144,000 sons of Israel who believe an innumerable multitude "of all nations and families and people and tongues" (7:9).3 He is, in fact, a "disciple of Jesus," whose ideas have widened independently of the Pauline direction of thought. [151]

Note: The Epistle of James (perhaps about 130) is referred to also by van Manen (OudchristeIijke Letterkunde, p. 64) as testifying to the existence of a Christianity which has known how to universalize itself without perceptibly undergoing the influence of "Paul." The allusion there to the Pauline ideas and their danger, but not to the Epistles, is another indication of the comparative lateness of the Pauline development.

The Fourth Gospel.

The view that has been taken of the development of early Christianity derives support from the historical conception that may be found underlying the fourth Gospel. Jesus there repeatedly sets forth his claims as the Word made flesh, the Son of God; yet the disciples, even those that have most insight, never really understand anything beyond his Messiahship. If Nathanael recognizes him as the "Son of God" (1:50), this means only that he is the "King of Israel," the Messiah (cf. 1:46), not that he is the Son of God in the metaphysical sense first conceived by the Pauline school. Accordingly, he tells his disciples that after his departure the Paraclete will instruct them in the truth which they do not now comprehend (15:26). To the author of the Gospel the true history was evidently still known, though, in accordance with his method, he throws it all back into the time of Jesus and his disciples. In reality it was a later generation which-instructed, as was held, by the Holy Ghost-had come to look upon Jesus as the Son of God, the Incarnate Loges. And the writer shows his consciousness of this by the way in which he makes all the contemporaries of Jesus without exception fail to perceive his real character as a divine person.

The Preaching of Peter.

In the known fragments of the Preaching of Peter (Petrou kŕrugma) the name of Paul does not once [152] occur, and there is no allusion to him. It is Peter who preaches Christianity as a universal religion. For the TŘbingen school, with its antithesis of Pauline, or universal, and Petrine, or Jewish, Christianity, this is an embarrassing fact. From the point of view here set forth, it is additional confirmation of the late origin of Paulinism. We see that, at the beginning of the second century, the universalizing movement was a drift not confined to one circle, and could go on without reference to Paul, and perhaps without knowledge that elsewhere he was held to have been the father of the whole movement. So far as it aimed at setting Christianity free from the shackles of Judaism, Peter could equally well be made its apostolic representative.


The writer or writers of the principal Epistles betray acquaintance with Philo, though the relation is by no means one of servile dependence.4 Philo was a man of advanced age in the year 40. Thus the dates do not exclude acquaintance of the historical Paul with his writings; but they make it very improbable. The tent-maker of Tarsus, who had just received what he took to be a new revelation, and had zealously devoted himself to spreading it over the world, would scarcely find time to consult the recent works of the Jewish philosopher of Alexandria. And if we suppose him, before he became a Christian-that is, before 36-to [153] have had the leisure to study those works so profoundly that he afterwards involuntarily reproduced their modes of thought and expression, the difficulty is only increased. Assuming, on the other hand, however, that the Pauline writings are of later date, there is no difficulty. The works of Philo have had time to circulate and their ideas to become diffused, and so can have influenced "Paul," as it is admitted by many that they influenced the authors of the Epistle to the Hebrews and of the fourth Gospel. The influence was really exercised, not on men of practical missionary activity close to Philo's own time, but on religious thinkers among the developing Christian communities towards the end of the first or the beginning of the second century.


The affinity between Paul and Seneca is so striking that it even led to the fiction of a correspondence between them. The supposition that Seneca had read the Epistles of Paul is refuted by comparison of the dates of his works with that of Paul's arrival (according to the story) at Rome, up to which time he can have known nothing of him. That Paul knew works of Seneca is not absolutely excluded by the dates; but as Seneca (born about 2, died 65) was some years younger than Philo, it is even more improbable that the Apostle had read the Roman than that he had read the Alexandrian philosopher. On the supposition of a later date for the writer, or writers, of the Pauline Epistles, there is, as before, no difficulty.


It is disputed by no one that Justin does not mention Paul and his Epistles, and never quotes from them literally. For him "the Twelve Apostles" are [154] even symbolized by the twelve bells on the robe of the high priest (Ex. 28:83-84). Yet on some points his views are exactly those of Paulinism, while on others he takes the opposite view. He condemned as unchristian the eating of the sacrificial meat of the heathen, though some of his contemporaries agreed with Paul in thinking it permissible. The usual explanation is that the Epistles had not yet become canonical; hence Justin could take his own view about the points discussed in them. Still, it is difficult to think of him as treating thus lightly documents he held to have been written a century before by an Apostle. And it is curious that we should find exactly those questions about Jewish customs which are said to have been the subject of vehement controversy in Paul's time still actual for Justin and his contemporaries. The obvious solution is that the Epistles date only from a little before Justin's time, and that he had read them or heard them read, but did not take them to be of Apostolic authorship. He and his friends were universalizing Christianity in their own way, independently of the Pauline influence. The deeper-going thought put forth under the name of the Apostle, which in some respects they agreed with, was, on the whole, too strong for them. Whether on one line or the other, the transformation of a Jewish sect into a world-religion did not begin in the time of Paul, but had its origin in movements of thought and feeling certainly not earlier than the destruction of Jerusalem.


Among the writers held for orthodox, Irenaeus is the first of those whose writings have come down to us who treats the Epistles of Paul as canonical. This, however, is not out of any superabundance of [155] affection for the contents, but because he wishes to beat his Gnostic enemies with their own weapons. His aim is to prove that Paul's old friends, the Gnostics, have not understood him. The great Apostle must be "conveyed" from the "heretics" in the interests of the Catholic Church. Modern writers, however, have blamed Irenaeus unjustly for failing to recognize the "historical glory" of Paul. In not assigning to him any special significance as compared with the older Apostles, he was simply adhering to the ordinary tradition of Christendom outside Gnostic circles.


The attitude of Tertullian is similar. He recognizes Paul, but gives him no special place, in distinction from the Twelve, as "the great Apostle of the heathen." He knew that the Epistles did not originally belong to the circle of the communities esteemed orthodox; but all the same he can turn to account the authority of "the Apostle of the heretics," as he does not scruple to call him (Adv. Marc., iii. 5), against those who first appealed to it. There is no reason whatever for accusing him of a deliberate falsification of history, with which, in our sense of the word, he is little concerned. On the "historical" side he reproduces the tradition current in his surroundings. On the doctrinal side he endeavors to show that Paul was at one with those who before him were divinely appointed to teach the true faith. Everything in his attitude, as in that of Irenaeus, confirms the view that the Pauline writings arose outside of what became the orthodox Church tradition, but that that tradition found it convenient to appropriate them. And this explains, for one thing, why they were made canonical at a later period than writings like the [156] Gospels, which, on the ordinary modern theory, had appeared so long after them.

The Clementines.

In the Clementine Homiliae and Recognitiones, though the name of Paul does not occur, Paulinism is attacked. Paul, however, is not systematically caricatured as Simon Magus, who is the representative of the heretical gnosis generally. Only in one passage (Hom. 17.19) does he come forward as if he were Paul, the author of the Epistle to the Galatians; and that passage is quite isolated, and would seem to be either an interpolation or an insertion made in the definitive edition of the Homilies. Paul's representative, "the man who is an enemy" (inimicus homo, ho echthrs anthr˘pos), is clearly distinguished from Simon, and is supposed to have come later; and both have been preceded in their activity among the heathen by a preaching of the Gospel in the spirit of Peter. This order of events in the Clementine romance, so far as it goes, confirms the view that has been taken as to the subsequence of the Pauline doctrine to the teaching of the original "disciples of Jesus."

Note: Suspicions are expressed by van Manen that the elaborate development of the theory that Simon Magus was a caricature of the Apostle Paul is little more than a modern romance. It is a development of the special TŘbingen position on the relations of Petrinism and Paulinism, and becomes unnecessary if that position is rejected, being otherwise not strongly supported by the documents.

Peter and Paul at Rome.

The legend has been put on record by Dionysius of Corinth (Euseb. H.E. 2.25.8), Irenaeus, and a whole cloud of witnesses, that Peter and Paul jointly founded the Christian community at Rome. This does not [157] agree with earlier data, such as those of the New Testament (Acts 28:15; Rom 1:10-13; 15:22-24), which exclude Paul almost expressly, and Peter tacitly, as the founder. But what is the explanation for it?

An explanation that has found favor with modern criticism is that it was an invention of peace-loving Catholics to cover over the actual strife that had existed between the two Apostles. This, however, would have been a rather hopeless attempt; for the partisans to be reconciled could have made the obvious reply (in the absence of any previous tradition): "But neither Peter nor Paul founded the community." Besides, it would not have followed from their having been joint founders that they had always been good friends. We must bear in mind that legends, while they may and do grow out of what actually happened, are not deliberately thought out in order to throw a veil over events it is desired should be forgotten.

The true historical kernel of the legend is no other than this, that at the time when it arose-that is, in the second half of the second century-the community at Rome could be described as in some sense based on "Peter and Paul." We must understand by the names, however, not the historical persons, but the two directions in which the Christian sect had been universalizing itself. The legend personifies religious movements; and, while representing them as born at the same time, it has unconsciously rescued from oblivion the true order of their appearance by always naming Peter before Paul. This order is preserved even when both are said to have been the founders of the community at Corinth, where we should expect Paul to come first. In the Epistles attributed to Clemens Romanus (1 Clem. 5) and to Ignatius (Ign. Rom. 4), the same order is retained when the two Apostles are [158] mentioned. The fact here indicated is that the "disciples of Jesus" preceded the Paulinists, among the heathen as well as among the Jews.

The Christmas Festival.

Investigating the mode in which Christmas Day came to be fixed, Usener (Religionsgeschichtliche Untersuchungen, I, 1889) has shown how the idea of the Son of God, and with it the observance of festival days to commemorate his successive manifestations on earth, arose not in the circle of strictly Jewish thought, but through Eastern gnosis in contact with polytheistic mythologies. From the Gnostics the Catholic Church appropriated the festivals, as it appropriated so much besides. This evidence supports the conclusion that Paulinism was of late and not purely Jewish origin, for the principal Epistles have a developed Christology. Usener, indeed, does not recognize this, but treats them in passing as not strongly developed in the Christological sense. If, however, the foregoing expositions of the Pauline Christology are sound: if the principal Epistles contain the doctrine of a supernatural Christ the Son of God, descended from heaven and become temporarily one with Jesus of Nazareth, the admission of their genuineness would overthrow his otherwise well-established conclusion that these ideas did not first arise in circles that were in close and original contact with Judaism. The admission, on the contrary, that they were not written by Paul the Jew would confirm at a critical point the result of Usener's investigations, as those investigations reciprocally confirm the conclusion arrived at with regard to the Epistles. [159]

The Development of Christianity.

It is among the enduring merits of Baur and his school that they made an end once for all of the tacit assumption that the Christianity of the first two or three centuries had no development, that it was from the first what it afterwards became. Their formula, indeed-Petrinism and Paulinism in sharp opposition during the lifetime of the Apostles, and afterwards reconciled in Catholicism-did not give permanent satisfaction; but the attempts since made to return to the traditional view have still more completely failed. What was needed was that more stages should be recognized, and that a longer time should be allowed for the development. These conditions are fulfilled if we place "Paulinism" considerably later than the teaching of the early disciples, Paul included.

The disciples, whom we may associate with Peter, remained pious Jews. They were called "saints" or "holy ones," not in an ethical sense, but in the Old Israelite sense of "consecrated to God." They taught "the things concerning Jesus," their crucified Master, whom they held to be the Messiah. It is thus quite intelligible-their difference from other Jews being so slight-that they hardly drew attention in their own time, that they passed unnoticed, or almost unnoticed, not only by Greek and Roman writers of those days, but even by a Jewish historian like Josephus.

In the meantime, the great events in Judaea which ended with the destruction of Jerusalem, could not be without influence on them. [160] Some disciples, no doubt, were already less attached to the law than others; and increased contact with the Graeco-Roman world must have accelerated the broadening movement, which, as we have seen, was not exclusively "Pauline." "Paulinism" sprang up-as the Johannine direction did later and probably in another circle-in close connection with the germinating gnosis. It was a reform of a character so deep-going that it has the appearance rather of a new creation. Some reacted angrily against it. These we cal1 the "Judaizers." They are to be distinguished from the early "disciples," whose beliefs were of a more indeterminate character. The moderate men who took up a balancing position between the extreme Paulinists and the extreme Judaizers were those who succeeded in forming Catholic Christianity. The Judaizers who went too far received, as a reward for their zeal, a place as heretical "Ebionites." Finally, "Paul," after a period during which he was looked upon with suspicion, though not irrevocably condemned by the Catholics along with the heretical Gnostics inspired by him, could be received into the pantheon of the great men who, as pre-eminently "Apostles"- "the Twelve" with the addition of one-had been empowered to lay down the law of faith and conduct for the present and future generations. [161]

Note: It is interesting to observe how little, on this view, the method of the Church had changed between the second and the thirteenth century, when the newly-recovered Aristotelian writings, after being held at arm's length just as the "Pauline" writings had been, were at last placed in that position of supreme authority over natural as distinguished from "revealed" knowledge which made them for the Renaissance so unjustly, though inevitably, the type of intellectual oppression.

6. The Antiquity of the Book

Though the date of our Epistle cannot be precisely determined, we are in a position to mark out certain sharply-defined limits within which its origin must fall. It cannot be placed before the end of the first nor after the middle of the second century. The indications of past events and movements of opinion exclude an earlier period, while the references in extant writings of known authorship exclude a later. A somewhat more precise fixation of the date can be ventured with the help of what is known as to the use made of the Epistle by Basilides and Marcion. Basilides was active at Alexandria about 125 (or 130); Marcion first came forward at Rome about 138; and for both Paul was the Apostle. Putting these and other circumstances together, we may conclude that the Epistle was extant at the earliest of these dates-perhaps in a shorter form than the canonical-though it may not have been extant more than a few years. It did not necessarily take long for a writing to become authoritative for certain circles. The more exact [162] limit, then, on this side for the undoubted existence of the Epistle being 125, we may date it approximately 120. The pieces that were taken up into it may be ten to twenty years older.

Note: Here is indicated what seems likely to be the criterion of date generally accepted for early Christian writings by the consensus of experts. In a note, Steck (Der Galaterbrief,, pp, 349-50) is quoted as adopting the position incidentally stated by Renan that, as a rule, we may know the date of composition of a writing of the kind with fair accuracy by the first traces of reference to it in ecclesiastical literature. A case in point for a later period is furnished by the writings attributed to "Dionysius the Areopagite." These are first quoted-and quoted as authoritative-early in the sixth century. By the test of their philosophical terminology, which is borrowed from the school of Proclus, they cannot be much earlier than the end of the fifth. Thus the test adopted by critical theologians is in this case verified by an independent one. In the case of Paul a similar verification may be found in what was said above on the use probably made of Philo and Seneca in the principal Epistles.

Note: This, on the whole, represents the result of the discussion of date, though I have not attempted to follow quite exactly the rather complex argument from the use of the Epistle by the Marcionites. The Pauline Epistles generally are assigned (by van Manen) to the period between 120 and 140.

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1 This is the view of Rudolf Steck (Der Galaterbrief nach seincr Echtheit untersucht (1888). Steck appears to have been slightly in advance of van Manen -- whose generous references to his colleague are frequent -- in decisively rejecting the Pauline authorship of all the Epistles.

2 Cf. Heb 5:12-14.-The author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, as van Manen points out, counts himself as belonging to a generation not earlier than the second (2:3), yet speaks of his "brother Timothy" (13:23), with whom he hopes to see those he is addressing.

3 As van Manen observed elsewhere (Oudchristelijke Letterkunde, p. 95), there is no temple in the New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:22).

4 This point, it is noted, was made out by Carl Siegfried and Bruno Bauer, to whom Steck (Der Galaterbrief, pp. 235-248) acknowledges his indebtedness. In Paulus, Part III. (Conclusion), van Manen is able to add H. Vollmer (Die Alttestamentlichen Citate bei Paulus,, 1895, pp. 84-98), who, though accepting the genuineness of the principal Epistles as beyond doubt, finds even stronger reasons than his predecessors for thinking that they show knowledge of Philo.

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Copyright © Institute for Higher Critical Studies, 2000

Darrell J. Doughty
Institute for Higher Critical Studies
Drew University, Madison, NJ, 07940