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Is 2 Corinthians *FIVE* Letters?

In my previous post I tried to show why most critical scholars think that the letter of 2 Corinthians is actually two different letters that have been spliced together.   When I was back in graduate school, I learned – to my surprise – that there were scholars who thought that in fact 2 Corinthians was made up of five different letters, all spliced together.  At first that struck me as a bit crazy, but as I looked at the evidence I began to see that it made a good bit of sense. I’m not completely committed to that idea, but I’m inclined toward it.  My sense is that this is the view of a sizeable minority of critical scholars, but I have no data, only anecdotal evidence, to back that up. In any case, what matters more is what you yourself might think of it.  I won’t be giving the evidence in full, but here is how I lay it out for students to consider in my textbook on the New Testament for undergraduates.   To [...]

2020-04-03T01:39:47-04:00January 2nd, 2018|Paul and His Letters, Public Forum|

Are There Cut-and-Paste Jobs in the New Testament? The Case of 2 Corinthians

How much of the early Christian writings consist of scissors-and-paste jobs, where later editors cut up earlier writings and stitched them together into one continuous work, so that what we have now are not the originals but only the final edited version?  Are there books like that, for example, in the New Testament?  In a recent post I mentioned how the early Christian writing called the Didache is that kind of thing, with three documents artificially combined into the 16-chapter book we now have.  That prompted the following question from a blog member. QUESTION: It seems like there was a lot of “cutting and pasting” in early Christianity. It reminds me of how I cobbled together different parts of the World Book when I turned in my first high school papers.  Do we know whether or not this kind of editing was a common practice during the first three centuries? RESPONSE: Yes, it does appear that we have other examples of that kind of thing in the surviving early Christian writings – including at least [...]

2020-04-03T01:39:56-04:00December 30th, 2017|Paul and His Letters, Reader’s Questions|
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