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DFG project

At the boundaries of the canon: The Pseudepigraphy of the First Epistle to Timothy in an Intertextual Context.


Based on recent research on pastoral letters, the project serves to determine the position of the First epistle to Timothy as a self-contained pseudepigraph within the group of early Christian community writings and to use an intertextual analysis to elaborate the pragmatic purpose of the pseudepigraphic construct in the First epistle to Timothy.

The analysis of the texts will help to clarify why the First Epistle to Timothy is by far closer to the two pseudepigraphic predecessors, the Second Epistle to Timothy and the Epistle to Titus, than to Paul’s orthonymous epistles. In this context, it must also be clarified whether the First Epistle to Timothy can be defined as the “boundary” of the New Testament canon. The concept of “canon boundary” describes the working hypothesis of the project with regard to different perspectives. Examining the existing research approaches, the study will investigate whether the First Epistle to Timothy represents the last written text of the New Testament canon and concludes the series of New Testament, pseudepigraphic texts. A second aspect is connected with this chronological classification: As the most recent writing within the canon, the First Epistle to Timothy may have a special position insofar as it already presupposes early Christian texts, which later did not find their way into the canon. Thus, the writing would be at an interface to the extra-canonical, early Christian literature, which was at least partially not written as pseudepigraphs. In particular, the relationship to the Epistle of Polycarp is to be examined. Moreover, the project will prove to what extent the First Epistle to Timothy constitutes the beginning of canonisation dynamics. Canonisation dynamics is not primarily to be understood as the propagation of a scriptural group as a canon but any endeavour to define a uniformly binding pastoral structure or practice.