I’ve mentioned several non-canonical letters forged in Paul’s name connected with the views of the second-century heretic Marcion.   There are other letters out there that also (falsely) claim to be written by Paul but that were not forged in order to support or attack a particular heretical view in Paul’s name.  That is almost certainly the case with a set of letters that were accepted as authentically Paul’s (though never accepted as canonical) for many centuries, down until relatively modern times: Paul’s correspondence with the great philosopher (and personal tutor and advisor to the emperor Nero).  Here’s what I say about these letters in my book Forged (HarperOne, 2011).

(If you want a more thorough analysis of these, and all the Pauline forgeries I’m mentioning in these posts, I get gratifyingly down in the weeds at good length in my academic book, Forgery and Counterforgery: The Use of Literary Deceit in Early Christian Polemics)


The Letters of Paul and Seneca

A completely different agenda is found in a much later forgery of Pauline letters that was destined to become quite influential on later Christian thinking about Paul.  By the end of the second century, many Christians – not just Marcion! – considered Paul to be the most important figure in the religion after Jesus.  Paul was understood as the great apostle, the great spokesperson, the great theologian of the church.  His writings were widely read and his thought was deeply appreciated.  But over the years Christians wondered:

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