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Difference and Distance in Post-Pauline Christianity

An Epistolary Analysis of the Pastorals

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William A. Richards

Three texts near the end of the Pauline corpus, while sharing many of the letter-writing conventions characteristic of Paul, are not generally regarded as authentic: the three «Pastoral Epistles» to his colleagues, Timothy and Titus. Similarities of language and tone across the Pastorals have encouraged the assumption that one author is responsible for all three texts. The Pastorals, however, also show important differences from one another, relating to the type of letter each is trying to be and how well it functions under that type. A careful comparison with other letters of the time suggests that among the Pastorals there are three authors at work, not one, reflecting the concerns of three different decades in the life of post-Pauline Christianity.