Dedicated to the writings of Saint Luke.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Paul cited the Gospel of Luke as scripture

Paul on occasion speaks of his message as "my gospel" (Rom. 2:16; II Tim. 2:8). The mindset, that Paul could not possibly be alluding to any writing when he used the expressions “my gospel” and “our gospel”, is one that needs to be addressed.

Lee Dahn reminds me that Paul, said in 1 Timothy 5:18, for the scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it is treading out the grain," and, "The laborer deserves his wages” and that Luke 10:7 states: “And remain in the same house, eating and drinking what they provide, for the laborer deserves his wages; do not go from house to house.” You will note the Greek phrase for “the laborer deserves his wages” is the same but I have having trouble posting the Greek.

According to Michael Pahl, “Paul consistently uses "receive" (paralambanō) and "deliver" (paradidōmi) language in "transfer of information" contexts to refer to humanly mediated teaching or tradition (Rom 6:17; 1 Cor 11:2; Gal 1:9; Phil 4:9; 1 Thess 2:13; 4:1; 2 Thess 3:6). This usage parallels contemporary Pharisaic and later Rabbinic "receive" and "deliver" language in reference to humanly mediated teaching or tradition (see e.g. Gerhardsson, Memory and Manuscript, 288-291).”

Copyrighted 2007


Blogger Michael Pahl said...

Richard, there are a few interesting things going on here which cause me to question your proposal. One, of course, is the question of authorship of 1 Timothy, which most critical scholars will still say is not Pauline. For myself, this is not so much of a problem: even if it is not directly Pauline, I would take it as somewhat indirectly Pauline, reflecting Pauline teaching.

Another interesting thing is the connection between this passage and 1 Cor 9, where Paul quotes from the same passage from the Torah, and then concludes his series of arguments for benefits for gospel ministers with these words: "The Lord commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel" - certainly a reference to this same teaching of Jesus, but paraphrased. In other words, you have the same two authorities quoted in 1 Cor 9 for this as you have in 1 Tim 5. This supports the idea that the 1 Tim 5 passage at least reflects Pauline teaching.

However, this then creates a difficulty for 1 Tim 5, in that Paul does not seem to be citing from a written source as "Scripture" for his teaching tradition of Jesus in 1 Cor 9. This then relates to another interesting question on 1 Tim 5: does Paul's kai that connects the two citations indicate that Paul's introductory formula ("the Scripture says") covers the second citation also, or does it simply mean that the second citation is an additional appeal to authority in addition to the first Scriptural citation? Given the parallel with 1 Cor 9, and that Paul does not seem to be citing a written text (let alone "Scripture") in citing the Jesus tradition, I would tend toward the latter view, but that's not entirely clear.

This leads to one last point. In my view both Paul's gospel and his Jesus tradition seem to have been primarily orally communicated. The "receive" and "deliver" terms in Pharisaic circles referred to the oral tradition, not the written Scripture, and so when Paul uses those terms he most likely is referring to oral tradition. Also, Paul's language which accompanies his "gospel" language points to oral communication of his gospel: the language of "proclaim publicly" (kērussō) and "proclaim the good news" (euangelizō) is language of oral communication, as is the "word" language which functions as a virtual synonym of "gospel" for Paul (e.g. "word of God").

10:00 AM

Blogger LTD said...


Your lucid points are well taken. However, I wonder if the issue you bring up concerning the appeal to authority in 1 Tim 5 works against your proposal.

You suggest that because 1 Tim 5 doesn't match 1 Cor 9 linguistically, 1 Tim 5 isn't citing a written source of the Jesus tradition. But why must Paul (or the Pauline school) always make direct citations when "paraphrasing", as you suggest, works as well? Isn't it quite possible that Luke (who I believe to be the unnamed "brother" of 2 Cor 8.18, "famous" for his gospel) wrote his Gospel and it became (orally?) familiar to Paul, who then alluded to it via "paraphrase" in 1 Cor 9? Then, by the time 1 Tim comes around, GLuke was well received (after all, he was "famous") and therefore worth citing as authoritative?

Also, it seems odd to me that, if the writer of 1 Tim appeals to "additional authority" in his second statement, as you suggest, and if he is supposedly not citing a written source, then why does he dis-connect the two authoritative statements with a kai, and yet call the first "scripture"? What precludes the phrase "the scripture says" from applying to the second statement? It seems to me that, at best, the textual data is inconclusive, and if anything can be pressed beyond this, that the writer becomes confusing if his second appeal is intended to be received as authoritative but not as "scripture".

3:29 PM


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