In my previous post I started answering the question of how the letters not by Paul differ from the letters that are by Paul. In that post I pointed out that we know that there were Pauline forgeries in the early church (that is, letters written by authors who were claiming to be Paul when they were in fact someone else). No one doubts that. We have letters from outside the NT that claim to be by Paul but were absolutely not: 3 Corinthians, the Letter to the Laodiceans, and the 12 letters exchanged between Paul and the Roman philosopher Seneca. These are all forged.
But are there letters that falsely claim to be written by Paul that are also *in* the New Testament? Critical scholars (as opposed to fundamentalists and very conservative evangelical Christians) agree that there are. Scholars normally place the thirteen Pauline letters of the New Testament into three categories: The Pastoral Epistles of 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus, which are very widely recognized as having been written by someone other than Paul; the Deutero-Pauline letters of Ephesians, Colossians, and 2 Thessalonians, which are fairly widely as being written by other authors (three different authors; these must be judged as authentic or not on a case by case basis); and the other seven letters, which are called the “Undisputed Paulines”: Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, 1 Thessalonians, and Philemon.
When I say these are “undisputed” that’s a bit of an exaggeration since, as you probably know, scholars dispute *everything*. It’s in their DNA. But just about every (not quite every) New Testament scholar on the planet agrees that Paul wrote these seven.
Since we have seven letters…
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