PIUS X 1903-1914

The Author, Integrity, and Time of Composition of the Pastoral Letters of Paul the Apostle *

 

[Response of the Biblical Commission, June 12, 1913]

 

2172 I. Whether, keeping in mind the tradition of the Church which continues universally and steadily from the earliest times, just as the ancient ecclesiastical records testify in many ways, it should be held with certainty that the so-called pastoral letters, that is, the two to Timothy and another to Titus, notwithstanding the rashness of certain heretics who have eliminated them as being contrary to their dogma from the number of Pauline epistles, without giving any reason, were composed by the Apostle Paul himself, and have always been reckoned among the genuine and canonical?–Reply: In the affirmative.

 

2173 II. Whether the so-called fragmentary hypothesis introduced by certain more recent critics and variously set forth, who for no otherwise probable reason, rather while quarreling among themselves, contend that the pastoral letters were constructed at a later time from fragments of letters, or from corrupt Pauline letters by unknown authors, and notably increased, can bring some slight prejudice upon the clear and very strong testimony of tradition?–Reply: In the negative.

 

2174 III. Whether the difficulties which are brought up in many places whether from the style and language of the author, or from the errors especially of the Gnostics, who already at that time are described as serpents; or from the state of the ecclesiastical hierarchy, which is supposed to have been already evolved, and other such reasons in opposition in some way, weaken the opinion which holds the authenticity of the pastoral letters as valid and certain?–Reply: In the negative.

 

2175 IV. Whether, since no less from historical reasons as from ecclesiastical tradition, in harmony with the testimonies of the oriental and occidental most holy Fathers; also from the indications themselves which are easily drawn from the abrupt conclusion of the Book of the Acts and from the Pauline letters written at Rome, and especially from the second letter to Timothy, the opinion of a twofold Roman captivity of the Apostle Paul should be held as certain, it can be safely affirmed that the pastoral letters were written in that period of time which intervenes between the liberation from the first captivity and the death of the Apostle?–Reply: In the affirmitive.

 

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