The Dutch Radical Approach to the Pauline Epistles

Hermann Detering

JHC 3/2 (Fall 1996), 163-193.
Copyright © Institute for Higher Critical Studies, 1996

The Conception of Dutch Radical Criticism

The knowledge of Dutch Radical Criticism and its representatives is far from widespread nowadays. (Literature) Lack of knowledge of it is even prevalent among many New Testament scholars. In the majority of commentaries and introductions to the New Testament the Dutch Radical Critics are but seldom mentioned. In W. G. Kümmel's well known Introduction to the New Testament we only learn that there is a theological school at issue here whose representatives denied the authenticity even of the Apostle Paul's so-called Principal Epistles in order to interpret them as deposits of antinomistic movements dating from about 140 C.E.2  Nothing however do we hear about the arguments put forward by these critics. Only the British and American readers are a little more privileged, as they can still get first-hand information with the help of the Encyclopaedia Biblica in which we find contributions of the Dutch Radical critic Van Manen incorporated.3

The overall ignorance of Dutch Radical Criticism and its representatives is the more surprising since the problems that they raised and dealt with are certainly not marginal questions of New Testament scholarship, but lie at its very center: Dutch Radical Criticism is the usual name of a school that in the nineteenth century arose within Dutch New Testament scholarship, whose representatives aimed at vitiating two axioms of New Testament scholarship still cherished today. They contested a) the historical existence of Jesus of Nazareth and/or b) the authenticity of the lot of the Pauline Epistles. The "and/or" already indicates that the two theses did not always go together. The radical critic Van Manen in his investigations restricted himself only to establishing the inauthenticity of all the Pauline Epistles, without touching the historicity of Jesus, whereas his pupil Van den Bergh van Eysinga in his numerous publications always championed both theses.4

The representatives of the aforesaid position(s) did not confer the name of "radical critical" or that of "radicals" — later on the names of "hypercritical" or "ultratübinger" were added — upon themselves; they were rather conferred upon them from the side of colleagues ... probably not without sarcasm, "because supposedly they intended to destroy not only the wild offshoots of tradition, but also its roots."5 Nevertheless the thus named Dutch critics adopted this tag and tried to give it a positive meaning. They did not mind at all being called "radical critics," provided that the meaning of Radical Criticism was understood as bypassing superficial matters and digging down to the radices ("the roots"). The Dutch scholars were of the opinion that a really scholarly investigation could certainly not go "far enough," or as Van Manen said, "There is nothing a priori 'too far' in this field."6

Looking back now it seems, true enough, that the conception of "radical critics" used by both the Dutch scholars themselves and their opponents did harm, rather than any good, to the scholars thus characterized. The fact that the idea of "radicalism" has up to the present for many people been loaded with political or religious extremism has, in my opinion, contributed to the fact that many scholars are kept from an unprejudiced study of the work of the Dutch Radicals. In any case the concepts "radical criticism," "radical critics," etc., engendered and strengthened preconceived opinions in the past—from which scholars too, unfortunately, are not completely free (even when, of course, they should be).

Those who in spite of such prejudices occupy themselves with the scholarly work and the results of the Dutch Radical Critics have as a rule not regreted it. Whoever takes the trouble to study the work of the Dutch Radicals more closely will be liberally rewarded. Such a one will learn to look at the world of primitive Christianity from a new and totally uncommon perspective. One must recognize that the Dutch researchers had a sovereign command of the scholarly craft of the historical-critical method. Even those who finally do not agree with their results will retain the impression of a unique conception that even today seems capable of enriching and fructifying the scholarly discussion.

One of the first to recognize the scholarly importance of the Dutch Radical Critics was the well-known German theologian Albert Schweitzer. Schweitzer did not fail to profess his respect for the Dutch scholars. In his Geschichte der paulinischen Forschung, which includes a summary of the Radical Critical theses that remains worth reading even today, he speaks of the Dutch Radicals as those who "did not forget to question, when questioning had gone out of fashion for the rest of theology."7

As it already appears from the statement of the problem of this article, I should like to occupy myself here with only one aspect of the scholarly work of the Dutch Radicals, viz. their criticism of the Pauline Epistles. We are concerned here undoubtedly with but one specific item of the Dutch Radical Critical agenda. Radical scholars who denied the existence of Jesus were, in the first half of this century, also active elsewhere (in Germany, among others, A. Drews8 and A. Kalthoff9; in England E. Johnson10 and J. M. Robertson11; in the United States W. B. Smith12), but those who dared oppose the authenticity of all the Pauline Epistles, and for that purpose also brought forward plausible arguments, were found especially in the Netherlands.13

By what means did the Dutch scholars arrive at their results, which have continued to have shocking, irritating and surprising effects upon the world of the theologians?

A Short History of Dutch Radical Criticism: its Purposes and its Methods

Radical Criticism bibliography

The Dutch Radical Criticism of the Pauline Epistles had a previous history beyond the borders of the Netherlands. As early as 1792 the theologian Edward Evanson in England (1731-1805) had already written a study in which he undertook to attack the authenticity of one of the writings of the Corpus Paulinum that were at a later date designated "Principal Epistles" (Hauptbriefe), viz., that to the Romans. In his book The Dissonance of the Four Generally Received Evangelists and the Evidence of their Respective Authenticity, which in 1796 was also translated into Dutch and which was known to Van Manen, Evanson advanced some arguments against the authenticity of the Epistle to the Romans (as well as Eph, Col, Phil, Tit, and Phlm) that are quite remarkable even today. In doing so Evanson started from the "dissonances" which turned up for him from the comparison of the aforementioned Pauline Epistles with the Acts of the Apostles.15

The first scholar in Germany to brand as "inauthentic" not only the Pastoral Epistles, but also the Epistles to the Colossians, the Ephesians, Philemon and even the Philippians, was the founder of the so-called "Tübingen School," F. C. Baur (1792-1860). Baur considered only four Epistles still Pauline, the so-called Hauptbriefe: that to the Romans, the two to the Corinthians and that to the Galatians.16

Although Baur had gone too far for the majority of the German critics (who in the years to follow tried to vindicate the Pauline authenticity of 1 Thess, Phil and Philm), there was one radical critic for whom Baur had not gone far enough: Hegel's pupil Bruno Bauer (1809-1882). In his Kritik der paulinischen Briefe17 (Criticism of the Pauline Epistles), published in 1850-1852, Bauer contested the authenticity of the lot of the Pauline Epistles and characterized them as products of the "Christian self-confidence" of the second century, written by various authors.

Bauer's main arguments against their authenticity were the only too obvious influences of the Gnosis, mainly in the Epistles to the Corinthians which for Bauer were at home in the second century, as well as the dependence he detected on the part of their author on the Gospel of Luke and the Acts. Bauer further noticed in the Principal Epistles a string of contradictions as regards content, stylistic errors, and formal failings, which he regarded as an indication of their inauthenticity. Bauer, who at the same time contested the historicity of Jesus, constituted a serious provocation for the German theological world and in 1842 was removed from his office of lecturer in theology.18

Whereas Bauer's work was soon forgotten in Germany, in some Dutch universities a theological school came into being, already during Bauer's life-time, which occupied itself with his theses, partly in an associative, partly in a negative way: Dutch Radical Criticism. Representatives of this school include the well-known theologian, art and literature historian Allard Pierson (1831-1896) and his friend the classicist Samuel Adrianus Naber (1828-1913), the Amsterdam professor of theology Abraham Dirk Loman (1823-1897), the Leiden scholar Willem Christiaan van Manen (1842-1905), and also at Leiden the philosopher G.J.P.J. Bolland (1854-1922). The publication of Pierson's Bergrede (The Sermon on the Mount) in 1878 is usually regarded as the beginning of Dutch Radical Criticism—a work in which both the historical existence of Jesus and the authenticity of the so-called Principal Epistles are already questioned. The last sprig and representative of Radical Criticism in this century was the theologian Gustaaf Adolf van den Bergh van Eysinga (1874-1957).

The first Dutch scholar who explicitly dared to line up with Bruno Bauer was the Amsterdam theologian A. D. Loman. On December 13, 1881, three years after the Bergrede had been published, Loman, who had been blind since 1874, having been invited to speak in the house of the Vrije Gemeente in Amsterdam (a then four-year-old basically liberal congregation with contacts abroad, including Ralph Waldo Emerson), lectured on Most Ancient Christianity.19 The speech ignited a storm of indignation among the audience. In his lecture Loman claimed that Christianity in its origin was nothing else but a Jewish-Messianic movement. The figure of Jesus was a symbolizing and personification of thoughts that could only make full headway in the second century. At a later date a gnostic Messiah-congregation joined the early Jewish-Christian Messiah-congregation. In the years 70-135 CE the two groups had been opponents in bitter animosity. Only in the middle of the second century did the two groups reconcile. Of these the first had Peter and the second Paul as its representative. The result of this process of reconciliation had been Roman Catholicism.

A decisive assumption for Loman's thesis was, as in Bruno Bauer's case, the inauthenticity of the lot of the Pauline Epistles. Loman regarded them as products of gnostic Messianic congregations in the second century. In the years to follow he was busy furnishing historical proof for his theory. This he provided in a series of articles appearing in the renowned Dutch theological magazine Theologisch Tijdschrift under the title "Quaestiones Paulinae" (1882-1886). Primarily, Loman reviewed here the so-called argumenta externa, the arguments that appear to be in favour of the inauthenticity of the Pauline Epistles from an examination of the reception history of these Epistles in the first and second centuries. The result, according to Loman, is clear: the existence of Pauline Epistles in the first and even towards the beginning of the second century cannot be proven beyond question. Even the Catholic theologian Justin in the middle of the second century mentions no Epistles by Paul. Thus the heretic Marcion remains (after deducting Clement's first Letter and the seven Letters by Ignatius, which Loman—with the majority of scholars in his day—regarded as falsifications from the middle of the second century) as the first and most important witness for the existence of Pauline Epistles. On the basis of this finding Loman deemed the presumption acceptable that the Pauline Epistles could have flowed to the Catholic side from heretical (Marcionite?) circles.

W.C. Van Manen

The Leiden scholar W. C. van Manen had not been convinced by Loman's "Quaestiones Paulinae"; he remained, for a long time, Loman's most bitter opponent.20 Van Manen's criticism was engendered mostly by the fact that Loman's studies attached too much weight to the outside evidence (argumenta externa) and had too much neglected the argumenta interna, such arguments as appear from the specific character of the Pauline Epistles, their inner contradictions, historical improbabilities, etc. Nevertheless, Van Manen's work had meanwhile, through impulses from Loman, Pierson and Naber, taken a direction that could not but draw him in the course of time closer and closer to his erstwhile opponent. In the end Van Manen, too, came to recognize—albeit by a completely different path from Loman's—the inauthenticity of all the Pauline Epistles.

Shortly before his definite conversion to the radical camp, Van Manen published, in 1887, a remarkable study, in which he devoted himself to the problem of the Marcionite recension of the Epistle to the Galatians. 21 Van Manen's interest in the theme of Marcion may without doubt be explained by his dealing with Loman's "Quaestiones Paulinae." As already mentioned, Loman had come in that work to the result that the existence of Pauline Epistles before the middle of the second century could not be proven. This excited Van Manen's interest in the first unquestionable witness of the Pauline Epistles, the arch-heretic Marcion, who was excommunicated in Rome in 144 C.E., accused by the Fathers of the Church of tampering not only with the Gospel of Luke, but also with the Pauline Epistles in the interest of his dualistic-gnostic theology. With the help of the Epistle to the Galatians Van Manen wanted to look into this reproach ventilated by the Fathers of the Church and repeated by the theologians ever since. Could the accusations leveled by the Fathers of the Church be verified? Or was it rather the Marcionites who were right in returning the reproach, accusing the Catholics themselves of falsifying the Pauline Epistles?

The result gained by Van Manen in his study was startling: contrary to the opinion of the Fathers of the Church and contrary to the consensus of theologians still today, he upheld the greater originality of the Marcionite recension of the Epistle to the Galatians. After a careful review of the textual findings, it became evident to Van Manen that neither Marcion nor the Marcionites had shortened the Epistle, but that Catholic editors had added or changed passages in the text. Marcion's edition of the Epistle was in any case older and more original than the canonical version. What lies here before us is a Catholic revision of the Marcionite text.

At the outset of his investigation Van Manen warned that nothing less than the larger question of the authenticity of the Principal Epistles was at issue. The result of the investigation could not but have consequences for the problem of the authenticity of the Corpus as a whole. If Marcion was not only the first witness for the existence of Pauline Epistles, but, moreover, was simultaneously in possession of the oldest and original text of the Epistles, this could easily be regarded as a further argument for Loman's supposition that the Pauline Epistles were altogether falsifications coming from Marcionite circles, which became a possession of the Catholic Church at a later date after being suitably tailored. Once one arrived at this conclusion, the way was opened for further questions and speculations in the same direction. One might consider, with some radical critics, whether the relationship "From Paul to Marcion" should not be reversed. In that case, Marcion would not be a pupil of Paul, but the figure of "Paul" would in reality be a creation of Marcionism, by means of which the Marcionites retrojected their theology into the apostolic past, in order to provide themselves with a pedigree and a precedent for their doctrines in the theological conflicts of the second century.

And indeed, there were besides Van Manen radical critics who reacted to the question in the sense just mentioned. One of them was the Dutch classicist S. A. Naber, who in his "Nuculae," written in Latin, came to the result that the Pauline Epistles "ortas esse in Cerdonis22 vel Marcionitarum scholis" ("arose in the schools of Cerdo or Marcion").23

Van Manen himself did not come to this conclusion, either in the aforementioned study or in his later works. While in his investigations into the Marcionite Epistle to the Galatians he finally evaded the question of the authenticity of Galatians posed at the beginning, he insisted in his investigation into the Epistle to the Romans in 1891 that "the supposition that 'Paul' owes his coming into being to the Marcionites cannot be tolerated. In this case, we may add, those people would have seen to it that their patron could in all respects sooner be called their pattern."24 Concerning the question of the authorship of the Epistles, one ought, according to Van Manen, to think rather of a "Pauline School" (without Paul, of course!). Their theology ought not, he said, to be simply identified with that of later Marcionism, as this was only a one-sided further development, in fact a deterioration, of the earlier Paulinism. This conclusion, Van Manen insists, is by no means at variance with his earlier article; at least with a view to Romans and Galatians we may think of "a Catholic adoption of a letter previously read in the circle of the Marcionites."25

After Van Manen's definite conversion to radicalism in the years 1887/88 he published three voluminous investigations into the Acts and the Pauline Epistles (Paul I; Paul II: Romans; Paul III: 1 and 2 Corinthians) in rapid succession. These were to make his name well known in the Netherlands and abroad, and make it inseparably united with Dutch Radical Criticism.26 In these works Van Manen goes into the matter of the argumenta interna for the inauthenticity of the Pauline Principal Epistles (neglected by Loman). The literary criticism involved at this point offered him, as we shall yet see, a welcome opportunity to exercise his splendid gift of synthesis. With this work Van Manen had created the basis for a competent and fruitful discussion of the authenticity of all the Pauline Epistles. Yet this discussion hardly took place. The echo to Van Manen's theses remained weak both at home and abroad.27

The history of the reception of radical criticism was that of being widely ignored. Van Manen's pupil G. A. Van den Bergh van Eysinga, Professor of New Testament at Utrecht and Amsterdam, had occasion to discover this for himself. He was characterized as the "Grand-Master" of radical criticism, and not altogether unjustly.28 Van den Bergh van Eysinga was a master in systematizing and popularizing the results of his predecessors' research. In spite of his extensive scholarly work, however, no success fell to his lot either. The history of Dutch Radical Criticism came to an end with his death in 1957. There has never been a representative of the radical school at the universities in the Netherlands after Van den Bergh van Eysinga.29

Undoubtedly, Bruno Bauer was the great stimulator of Dutch Radical Criticism. Bauer, it is true, was, in spite of many brilliant judgments, guilty of a series of serious methodological and formal errors in his scholarly work. It is the proper merit of Dutch Radical Criticism to have given, for the first time, a really scholarly basis to Bauer's radical-critical framework and thus to have made it, in general, academically acceptable. Both in aims and in method the several Dutchmen now and then distinguished themselves widely from each other. Whereas Loman went entirely his own way because he began with the investigation of the argumenta externa, Van Manen's starting point as a rule was and always remained textual and literary criticism, which he handled with a marvelous virtuosity.

In all his major investigations into the Pauline Epistles (Rom, 1 and 2 Cor), Van Manen stereotypically begins by inquiring after the nature of the work, the unity of the book, and the composition of the epistle, in the course of which he deals mainly with questions of a literary-critical character. The results attained are always the same: as shown by the seams and flaws clearly delineated by Van Manen everywhere in the structure of the text, the Epistles at issue are not works written straight through, but "patchworks" brought together over a longer period to compose a relatively uniform entity from various minor compositions.30 It seems that all the Epistles were preceded by a shorter edition still attested by Marcion.

Since the documents are already seen as compositions made from diverse textual elements, the question also arises, at least implicitly, whether we are really dealing with genuine letters, and the doubts thus arising all anticipate a subsequent chapter in which Van Manen examines this aspect of the origin of the Epistles. The theological notions developed in them, the connection with the Gnosis, the state of the development of the congregations, the notices of persecutions of Christians, isolated retrospective views of the rejection of Israel (e.g., Rom. 9-11), errors in the epistolary form, the existence of a written Gospel (which is presumed), all these examples, according to Van Manen, clearly contradict an origin of the Epistles in the first century and speak for their derivation from the second century C.E.

The inquiry into the ethnicity of the author of the Epistles also leads to the result that in all probability we have to do not with a Jewish but with a Gentile Christian, or rather several of them, because, for all the apparent familiarity with Judaism, the argumentations clearly come from the consciousness of the non-Jew.

In a further chapter Van Manen finally justifies his theses and in the end develops his theories about the probable origin of the Epistles as well as their age. He transplants them in their totality into the first half of the second century and seeks their origin in a Pauline School, in Paulinism, fencing the latter off from Marcionism as a one-sided further development of Paulinism. According to Van Manen, Paulinism developed alongside and in reaction/imitation to Petrinism until it flowed together with the latter into Catholicism. The historical Paul himself was, according to Van Manen, probably neither the initiator of the school of thought named for him, nor the author of epistles, but only performed the duty of "patron" of that school. Paulinism only used his name to legitimate itself, and wrote under his name "Epistles," i.e., various didactic writings formed into an entity in which it explained its views and defended them against Judaism. After an initial period of skepticism "Paul" was also accepted by the Catholics (whose position lay somewhere between Jewish Christians and Paulinists). His writings were finally (after being essentially rewritten) recognized as authoritative and canonized.31

How relevant to our time is Dutch Radical Criticism? — Desiderata

Dutch Radical Criticism has in its history again and again been talked to death.32 Whether it is the serious conviction of the detractors that is at stake here, or wishful thinking or diplomatic tactics, is difficult to decide. But in any case, the result created in this way is continued smothering by silence. There is no need to occupy oneself with something that has been ostracized. It seems permissible to ignore it. Consequently Dutch Radical Criticism has throughout its history been not only been talked to death but also ignored.

As I have shown in my dissertation in the chapter on the reception of Dutch Radical Criticism,33 the topicality of the radical critical research on Paul is apparent from the simple fact that up to the present it has never been either sufficiently accepted or effectively refuted. The challenges issued by the Dutch scholars have remained broadly unanswered. Many of the problems thrown up by them are still waiting to be solved. From the great mass of the questions advanced by the Dutch Radical Critics the following deserve, in my opinion, special attention:

1) Among the most urgent desiderata arising from a rediscovery of the Dutch Radical School for today's New Testament scholarship is a new investigation into the Marcionite Apostolikon, its reconstruction and comparison with the canonical version of the Pauline Epistles.

Such a reconstruction has, it is true, been urged on us for quite some time, and, to some extent, it has already begun. While Barbara Aland, e.g., in her article on Marcion in the Theologische Realenzyklopädie (Berlin 1976ff), calls for a "new total reconstruction of the Marcionite Bible,"34 John F. Clabeaux has already presented the draft of such a project in his reconstruction of the Marcionite Apostolikon, in his book A Lost Edition of the Letters of Paul (1989).35 And yet it is this very attempt which underlines the timeliness of the warning that those who today undertake the task of reconstructing the Marcionite Apostolikon must not make their predecessors' mistake again by ignoring the fundamental results of Dutch Radical Criticism.

With the Dutch Critics we must challenge the axiomatic status of the apologetic of the Church Fathers, afterwards established among scholars by Hilgenfeld,36 Harnack37 and others, that Marcion had subjected the Pauline Epistles to a tendentious correction. There is no excuse in an unprejudiced investigation for excluding from the outset the possibility of the Marcionite edition of the Paulina being older and more original than the canonical, even if only for methodological reasons. Neither Harnack nor his predecessors and successors have considered this possibility seriously and investigated it thoroughly; nor has Clabeaux. It would seem that the general opinion still is that only Marcion could have had a Tendenz. It seems to remain inconceivable that the Catholic Church, too, which, like the Marcionite Church, constituted itself in the second century, might have had a strong interest in finding its theological interests already represented in the documents of the apostolic time.38 But the possibility that the Catholic Church of the second century introduced its theological tendency into the Pauline Epistles cannot be a priori precluded. The universal consensus as to Marcion's "tendentious alterations" is in almost all cases a prejudice on the part of today's critics, for the greater part decreed without further motivation or further scholarly research. (Example of Harnack )

It seems to me that theological scholarship today is unprejudiced to such a level, that it may allow itself to test the textual findings with fewer preconceived opinions than in earlier times. A theology that has learned to ask for the historical truth in a neutral way and without taking ecclesiastical interests into account, will also be prepared to do due historical justice to the "heretics."

In this context I should finally like to draw attention to yet one point that I think particularly deserves it. In my opinion Harnack and other scholars have, from the very beginning of their research, overlooked one aspect of fundamental importance. Their point of departure is that Marcion fabricated his own edition of the Pauline Epistles in the same manner in which he created for himself his own Gospel. But it is scarcely permissible automatically to place both Marcionite Gospel and Epistles on a par. While we are told that Marcion prided himself on having cleansed the Gospel: "secundum Lucam evangelium decurtantes gloriantur se habere evangelium" ("They glory by shortening the Gospel according to Luke in having their Gospel") (Iren. 3.14.4), nowhere is anything comparable said of the Pauline Epistles. Here it only says, namely with a view to the Epistle to the Galatians, that Marcion has "found" the Epistle to the Galatians (nancisci = to discover by lucky chance): "Sedenim Marcion nactus epistolam Pauli ad Galatas" ("But now as Marcion has discovered Paul's Epistle to the Galatians...") (Tert. AM 4.3.1).

It was this "discovery" of the Epistle to the Galatians that gave Marcion the right to cleanse the Gospel of Judaistic additions. The difference between Gospel and Epistles should be noted. The supposition that Marcion has subjected the Pauline Epistles to a text-critical revision is, unlike the case of the Gospel, based not on what Marcion himself says, but on an insinuation of the Fathers of the Church. Marcion himself never asserted that the Pauline Epistles had to be freed of Catholic additions.

2. When we compare the picture of the history of the most ancient reception of Paul sketched by modern scholarship with that of the Dutch Radical Critics, we cannot but ascertain that there is a striking agreement at least in the judgment of the evidence. Like the Dutch Radicals, their modern successors have again found problematical not only the conspicuous absence of literary testimonies that would prove the influence of Paulinism in the early post-apostolic period, but also the striking circumstance that the first definite traces of Paulinism are to be found among the circles of the Gnosis and heretical Christianity.40 The difference from the Radical Critics consists in the divergent historical assumptions and explanations for these remarkable findings. The Radical Dutchmen proposed to solve the problem of the negative reception of Paul in the first century on a completely different basis, on that of the inauthenticity of the Epistles. The early Gnostic-Marcionite annexation of Paul, observed in E. Pagels's impressive work,41 is then to be explained against the background of the Epistles themselves having found their origin in Gnostic-Marcionite circles.

3. The question of the authenticity of the Apostolic Fathers, i.e., the First Letter of Clement and the seven Letters of Ignatius, should be posed anew.  In my book about Dutch Radical Criticism I have already registered serious doubts as to the opinion, most self-confidently expressed by modern research, that both 1 Clement and the seven Letters of Ignatius are authentic letters.42 This consensus inspires little confidence in view of the widespread modern neglect of the contents of these texts,43 to say nothing of the numerous objections to their authenticity brought forward in the past, and not only by the Dutch Radicals. Many questions have not as yet been answered.44 In order to give New Testament scholarship a firmer basis, any assertion that these documents are authentic should be newly argued and more firmly established. Only a radical way of putting the questions can help us here. And the question should be tackled even at the risk that the old lighthouses that have shone a year and a day for New Testament criticism, guiding the New Testament literature, for the most part, into a safe haven, may prove to be wildfires.

Both the reconstruction of the Marcionite Apostolos and its comparison with the Catholic-canonical edition of the Pauline Epistles, as well as renewed critical research in 1 Clement and the Ignatiana, are in the end only preparations for the all-decisive question of the authenticity of the Pauline Epistles themselves as well as of the separate questions connected with them.

4. We most urgently need a new examination of the question of the historical setting from which the Pauline Epistles are to be understood. It is still everywhere assumed as a matter of course that the historical references in the Epistles relate to situations in the middle of the first century. Although the radical Dutch critics indicated a series of anachronisms that seem to hint at a later period, they have so far scarcely been considered by scholarly research. To mention only a few:

Apart from such observations (and a series of other ones not mentioned here) which negate any possibility of a first-century date for the Pauline Epistles, Dutch Radical Criticism also, in a positive vein, experimented with alternative models, seeking to determine if and how the Pauline Epistles allow their being inserted into the historical frame of the second century.

The (re)construction of such a scenario could take place, e.g., with the help of the Epistle to the Galatians. In my opinion, the point of departure should be the altercation about the question of the figure and importance of the apostle, which manifested itself in the middle of the second century among Catholic, Jewish-Christian, Marcionite, and Gnostic Christianity. The questions were, as we learn mainly from Irenaeus and Tertullian:47 Who was Paul? What was his attitude towards the Law of the Old Covenant and to circumcision? Which Christian group has the greatest right to appeal to him? Was he the "apostle of the heretics," i.e., the Marcionites and Gnostics (Tertullian), or was he the apostle of the Catholics? Or, was he even the "Fiend," as the Jewish-Christians maintained?48

Whereas the Jewish-Christians rejected Paul, both Marcionism and Catholicism (after an initial reluctance) appropriated the apostle. For Marcion Paul was the most important apostle, as God had entrusted only him with the secret of revelation (Irenaus, Haer. 3.13.1: solus Paulus). The exclusive appeal to Paul—i.e., precisely the Paul of the Epistles (in the Marcionite version)—enabled Marcion to launch his attack against Catholic Christianity and cleanse the Gospel of Judaistic additions.49

Catholic Christianity about this time was consolidating itself in Rome, and from Rome outwards. It, too, started (after initial resistance) appealing to the apostle Paul in addition to Peter. The Catholic concept of Paul is the one that we meet with in the Acts of the Apostles. The author of the Acts sketches the apostle's image in such a way that he (quite unlike the Paul of the Epistles, which the author mentions nowhere!) appears as a Law-abiding Jewish Christian, who, e.g., practiced circumcision (Acts 16:3). Paul is further made second to the Twelve as a representative of (Rome-) Jerusalem. This comes to pass through denying Paul's having been an eye-witness of the resurrection and his being relegated, immediately after his conversion, to the congregation in Jerusalem.50 In this way the pretension of the Marcionites that God has entrusted the secret of the revelation to Paul and to him only ("solus Paulus"; Irenaeus Haer. 3.13.1), the supreme patron of their religious community, is definitely combated. Paul did not receive his knowledge from immediate revelation, but from the representatives of the Jerusalem congregation.51

My opinion is that the Epistle to the Galatians (in its original form) must be understood against just this background as a Marcionite polemic pamphlet. The (Marcionite) author of Galatians defends himself against the annexation of the apostle and the falsification of his image by the Catholics. Contra the allegation of his dependence on the apostles (as Acts would have it), he straight away starts his letter by pointing out that his apostle is an "apostle not of men neither by men" (Gal 1:1). What is more, he has Paul give information about the historical circumstances of his relationship to the Jerusalem apostles before him, viz. the exact information now needed by the Marcionites in order to legitimate themselves as a sovereign church. In the Marcionite version of Galatians (in which 1:18-1:24 is missing, just like the "again" in 2:1,52 and consequently only one journey to Jerusalem is mentioned) Paul, after his revelation that came straight from God (1:16), did "not take up contact" with the Jerusalem Christians. That appears from the fact that, to be sure, he went to Arabia and returned again unto Damascus, but he did not go immediately to Jerusalem. Only after fourteen years (2:1) did he go to Jerusalem because of the problem of circumcision.

It is evident that, for us today, the protest of Galatians (2 Corinthians, too) against Luke's image of Paul remains perceptible only in a curiously dimmed way. The reason is that the Catholic editors saw themselves obliged to gag the apostle in crucial places. A clear example of this is the pericope Gal 1:18-2:2, which, as already mentioned, did not yet form part of the Marcionite version of the Epistle.

What is obvious here, is the attempt at "cutting Paul down to size," i.e., to subordinate the hero of the Marcionites to the leader of the Jerusalem party to whom Rome appealed, i.e., Kephas-Petrus, and this, indeed, as soon as possible after Paul's conversion. The insertion has as its purpose to rob Paul of his sovereignty and to make him a man dependent on Jerusalem. The Epistle to the Galatians, where in the introduction it is explicitly said that Paul is the apostle called by God, "not of man, neither by man," is remodeled on the basis of the Catholic Acts of the Apostles. Just as in Acts, the tendency of the Galatian gloss is that Paul has had "no revelation of his own" at all (against the assertion of the Marcionites), but that he was with the Apostles, i.e., with Peter. The latter (and not God) instructed him as the representative of the Jerusalem congregation. Consequently the Marcionites cannot appeal to Paul, nor can they claim to be an independent church. Just as Paul was dependant upon Jerusalem, they are dependent on Rome (the legitimate successor to the Jerusalem church!).

This is merely a quick sketch of how we might reconstruct the historical context of Galatians if we were to place the Epistle in the first half of the second century and understand it anew. It should at least show the perspective under which a historical location of the document in the second century could be attempted. The key question must be the one regarding the cui bono? To which Christian group in the second century could the Epistles be useful?

The answer is clear: the first to profit by the Pauline Epistles were undoubtedly the same as those in whose midst a canon of ten Pauline Epistles is demonstrable for the first time: the Marcionites. Only a thorough re-editing has made possible the reception of the Pauline Epistles by the Catholic Church. Only such a redaction has transformed Marcion's Paul, the "apostle of the heretics," into the Catholic Saint Paul, who henceforth ranks equally beside Saint Peter.

5. Another question crying for attention is how to explain the existence of Marcionite elements in Paul's theology. On close inspection it is apparent that we can still find, even in the re-edited canonical text, a series of images and ideas which make sense only in the context of the Marcionite system. In this connection some have spoken of "points of contact" that Marcion found with Paul.53 It could, however, just as well be a matter of Marcionite igneous rock repeatedly shining through the Catholic grass growing on it.

a) In this connection we must first note the presence in the Pauline Epistles of the docetic Christology of Gnostic origin which teaches that Jesus was not a real human being of flesh and blood, but had only a "seeming body" (a phantom).

This comes to light in, e.g., the remarkable expression in Rom 8:3, where the author says of Christ that (in his life on earth) he was en homoiömati sarkos hamartias ("in the likeness of sinful flesh"). Correspondingly it says also in the Hymn to Christ in Philippians (2:7) that he appeared en homoiömati anthröpön ("in the likeness of men"). Why does the author not simply say that God had sent him "into the flesh"? The concept homoiöma ("likeness") is clearly used by the author most consciously, so as to make clear the contrast of his view with that of the Catholic and Jewish-Christian view.54

b) Further note should be taken of the dualism in the author's image of God, which comes to light in a few places:

The original Pauline-Marcionite soteriology certainly seems to be disfigured by the Catholic remodeling, often out of all recognition. It is due to the redactional transposition of thoughts originally conceived for a dualistic system (and meaningful only there) into a monistic (i.e., monotheistic) system, that the Pauline doctrine of redemption became so foggy and indistinct. The thoughts remain merely adumbrated—and allow themselves to be fully thought out only at the price of heresy.

The existence of Gnostic-Marcionite elements in the Corpus Paulinum requires explanation. Exegetes up to the present often have been content with explaining that, in passages where the Pauline text bears something of a Gnostic-Marcionite character, Paul has availed himself of Gnostic terms without being a Gnostic himself,58 or perhaps that we have to do with later interpolations.59 The alternative solution posed by the Dutch Radical Critics enables us to see the author(s) himself/themselves as Gnostic(s)/Marcionite(s). Here Marcion is not the radical version of Paul he has been considered to be by scholarly research up to the present, but "Paul" is a mitigated (Catholicized) Marcion, fastened to the Catholic dogma of the one Creator- and Redeemer God.

6. We must, with the Dutch Radicals, draw attention to a series of formal errors which put into question the epistolary character of the pretended "Epistles." Among the multitude of associated problems are these:

7. The question of the author, the real authors, of the Pauline Epistles has to be posed anew. The answers given by the Dutch Radical Critics were, as we have seen above, diverse. Whereas Naber and Bruins (and apparently Loman, too), for example, assumed that the Epistles sprang from "Marcionite circles," Van Manen saw the authors as representatives of a "Pauline school."61 The concept of a "school of Paul" has (independently of Van Manen) become one of the favorite ideas of present-day theologians. In my opinion, however, there is here a definite snake in the grass: it is (either with—thus modern research—or without the "schoolmaster" Paul—thus Van Manen) just like the supposition that there was a Johannine school, pure speculation, for which hardly any starting-point can be found in the New Testament. Proponents of the theory adduce as evidence vague references to contemporary school activities of pagan wandering teachers and also the fact that the Paul of the Epistles repeatedly mentions fellow-workers. While these considerations initially rendered the theory plausible, they are, of course, by no means sufficient to prove indisputably the existence of a school of Paul. Moreover, Paul's fellow-workers mentioned in the Epistles are, from the angle of ecclesiastical history, just as little tangible as his congregations. The church historians Hegesippus and Eusebius and others, in any case, know nothing of a "school of Paul" nor even of any pupils of Paul's, who should have played a special part in it.

Basically we can apply to the hypothesis of a Pauline school what the critical theologian Franz Overbeck (a friend of Friedrich Nietzsche's) said already in the previous century about the similar theory of a Johannine School. He called it one of those "fabrications of scholars" that are "bottomless," that possess the "beauty of a phantom," because "not only [do we] know nothing of the foundation of the school, but also nothing of those who populated it."62

Because of the factors already mentioned I am of the opinion that accepting a "Marcionite School" as the cradle of the "Pauline Epistles" is preferable to accepting a Pauline one. Contrary to the latter, the former is undoubtedly a historical fact. The un-Marcionite passages in the Pauline Epistles can as a rule be accounted for as Catholic revisions. In my opinion it is quite conceivable that Marcion and his pupils tried to solve the problems in their congregations on the basis of documents which obtained their authority from the legendary Marcionite parish patron Paul. Equally thinkable is that the clashes mirrored in the Pauline Epistles and which give them that so-called "occasional" and unintelligible character (like the overheard half of a telephone conversation) are nothing more than the reflex of those conflicts which Marcion and his pupils fought out in and with the Marcionite congregations.

Finally, Dutch Radical Criticism could be regarded as a decisive impulse to go deeply once again into the question of the "historical Paul." The Dutch Critics, having dispensed with the authenticity of all the Pauline Epistles, either could not or would not break with the traditional assumption that the Epistles point back to a historical figure and have some relation to him. As this figure was, in the opinion of the Radicals, not identical with the author of the Epistles, they called him "Paulus historicus" (or "Paulus episcopus" by Pierson-Naber ). In their quest for the historical Paul, Loman and Van Manen ended, it is true, in a blind alley because they had been guided too much by the portrait of Paul in the Acts of the Apostles. In this way the paradoxical portrait arose of the "orthodox" Jewish apostle and wandering preacher who was misused by later heretics for the legalization of their theology. It goes without saying that this was far from convincing. My opinion is that a search for the concept of Paul that lies at the root of the Pauline Epistles could go in two directions:

a) The first question to be posed is, whether the author of the Pauline Epistles sought to link them up with a historical figure at all, or whether he referred to a "legend" (which need not preclude that this legend has a historical kernel, see below). It is certainly possible that he came to know his hero exclusively from contemporary oral or written legendary tradition. Thus in his Epistles he would not have had Paul before his eyes as a historical figure, but in the way the legend pictured him: as the great hero of religion in the past, powerful in words and deeds.

This would then at the same time also explain how Paul's remarkable and occasionally specifically arrogant "self-styling" enters into the Epistles, where, e.g., the author encourages his readers to imitate him as their example (1 Cor 4:16; 11:1; Phil 3:17) or boasts his fantastic miracles (Rom 15:19; 2 Cor 12:12). In these verses the author in reality speaks not at all about himself, but about his venerated example in the way he had come to know him from the legend.

It is beyond dispute that a Paul legend did exist in the Christian circles of the second century. The best proof for the existence of such a legend is none other than Luke's Acts of the Apostles. Yet the presentation of Paul in the Acts is by no means the only form of the Pauline legend; it rather presents only a very specific and tendential image, precisely that of Luke's church, i.e., of the Established (Catholic) Church. Also (and especially) in the circles of the second-century Gnostics and Marcionites stories and anecdotes seem to have been circulating, in which the apostle's life and work were presented in a likewise miraculous and legendarily embellished way. The legend found literary expression in the so-called Acts of Paul among which are also the Acts of Paul and Thekla. When we inquire into the literary, traditional-historical origin of the image of Paul that the author of our Epistles could have had in view, these apocryphal sources certainly may not be left out of account. In my opinion the controversial passage 1 Cor 15:32, where Paul glories in having fought at Ephesus with beasts, could refer to a chapter of the Acts of Paul and Thekla (30ff) where we are informed, in a legendary and fantastic way, about a fight Paul had with wild beasts.

b) But we cannot as yet satisfactorily explain all the character traits of the implied author of the Epistles by reference to the legend literature of the second century. The question must also be asked whether the Paul of the legendary literature may not after all be based on a particular historical person. The question of Paul's historical identity can, I think, be solved only simultaneously with the following problems:

i) First the question of the origin of the name of "Paul" requires elucidation. Between Saul and Paul there is no linguistic relationship. The possibility, often discussed, that in the name of Paul we have to do with a supernomen (Paulus = the Small one), is to be reconsidered. In this connection it should be pointed out that in numerous Nag Hammadi texts we meet with the denomination "the small ones" for a certain faction of Christians (Apoc. Pet.; 2 Apoc. Jas). What is the connection between these "small ones" and Paul the "small one"?

ii) It should be investigated anew, why in a certain branch of the primitive Christian literature, the so-called Pseudo-Clementines and Kerygmata Petri, Paul is identified with Simon Magus. The basic problem found here may be formulated as follows: In the Pseudo-Clementines Simon is mentioned by name and combatted. The heresies he is reproached with are Marcionite. And the words that are put into his mouth are those of Paul.

The identification of Simon-Paul put forward in the Pseudo-Clementine literature has up to the present been one of the most difficult problems for New Testament scholarship. There is a series of solutions for it; in my Paulusbriefe ohne Paulus? I have thoroughly described the theory of the Tübingen scholars, who saw in Simon a caricature of Paul; today the problem is, in the majority of cases, solved in a most complicated, literary-critical way.

In our search for the historical Paul, the question, I think, forces itself on us more than ever: How seriously should we consider the statement that, for the author, or authors, of this Judaistic, anti-Pauline literature, Paul is indeed no one but Simon Magus? Also in the recently discovered Nag Hammadi document The Apocalypse of Peter we meet, in the picture of the "multiform imposter," with the image-mixture of Simon and Paul already well-known from the Pseudo-Clementines.

e) In this connection the fundamental question, too, should be clarified, how the striking similarities in the images of Paul and Simon come about. A few parallels in the Simon-Paul image that would have to be cleared up:

f) Finally it should be asked, how it comes about that Marcion explicitly appeals to Paul (as his spiritual father), although the Fathers of the Church emphatically stick to the opinion, that Marcion is connected with Simon Magus through the heretic Kerdo, i.e., that he comes from the school of Simon the Magus, whom again Marcion mentions nowhere.74

All in all, we have before us in these questions a rich field of activity as our task: the search for Paulus historicus as well as—directly connected with it—the traditio-historical problem of the relationship Paul-Simon Magus. This field of activity is in need of detailed studies and a thorough investigation of the details.


The question of the authenticity of the so-called Principal Epistles, raised for the first time by Bruno Bauer and Dutch Radical Criticism, should no longer be put under taboo by researchers. Exactly the crucial fundamental questions in New Testament scholarship are far too important for them to be left to amateurs or fantasists. Professional theologians, too, should not deprive themselves of the liberty to think in new channels. No one will be surprised that modern research will be sufficiently resourceful to come up with different, non-radical solutions for the series of irregularities and problems in the Pauline Epistles found by the Dutch Radicals.75 We should, though, when considering all this, not lose sight of the most plausible of all the possibilities, the inauthenticity of all the Epistles brought to the fore by the Dutch Radicals, which enables us to solve all the separate problems with one single model of explanation.

A lot of water will, it is true, have to flow under the bridge of scholarship before the hypothesis of inauthenticity finds general acceptance. An enormous scholarly job awaits us if we are to further unfold and confirm in tough and meticulous labour what has been indicated here in rough contours. All in all, however, I am sure that there is today hardly any assignment for New Testament research that promises a richer result for our historical knowledge of primitive Christianity than an investigation of the Pauline documents from the perspective of Dutch Radical Criticism. And this at a time, alas, when the saying remains true, "The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few" (Mt 9:37).

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1 Recent information about Dutch Radical Criticism may be found in: H. Detering, Paulusbriefe ohne Paulus? Die Paulusbriefe in der holländischen Radikalkritik (Frankfurt: Peter Lang, 1992); Detering, Der gefälschte Paulus, Urchristentum im Zwielicht (1995); J. H. Ritzema Bos, "Een radicale Jezus-opvatting," Zwingli 45 (1990); Eduard Verhoef, W.C. van Manen. Eeen Hollandse Radicale theoloog, (1994).

Reviews of and commentaries on the first two books: A. J. Allan: "Over de historische achtergrond van het Nieuwe Testament," Kerk & Wereld 87/4 (1995), 7; W. Beilner, "Wer ist der heilige Paulus?," Kirche Intern 4 (1995), 55; M. J. Beukema Faber, "De 'onechtheid' van de Paulusbrieven," Zwingli 50 (April 1995), 8-9; U. Besser: "Urchristentum im Zwielicht," Evangelische Sammlung, 3 (1995), 16-17; E. Bohm: "Suche nach dem Ghostwriter: Hat Paulus seine Briefe nicht selber geschrieben?," Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung, Literaturbeilage, 6, 25. April 1995; Frater Smid, "De betekenis van de Hollandse Radicale Critiek. Over het proefschrift van Hermann Detering," Zwingli (May 1993), 4-6; W. Fuhrmann: "Der gefälschte Paulus. Ein Buch zu der Frage, was wir glauben können," Bremer Kirchenzeitung 13, 1995, 13; R. Gloor: "Echte Auseinandersetzung gefordert," Reformiertes Forum 15/16 (April 13, 1995), 15; R. Riessner, "Paulus ist keine Erfindung. Nach Jesus Christus wird nun auch der bekannteste Apostel ins Zwielicht gebracht," Idea-Spektrum, 7 (1995), 24-25; V. Stolle, "Der Briefe schreibende Paulus-eine literarische Fiktion?" Information der SELK, 21; R. Thiede, "Der falsche Paulus," in: Focus, Das moderne Nachrichtenmagazin, 5 (1995), 144-146; E. Verhoef: "Geen brief van Paulus?," Interpretatie, Juni 1995.

Older works: Van den Bergh van Eysinga, Die holländische radikale Kritik des Neuen Testaments (1912; ET = Radical Views about the New Testament, London, 1912); W. C. van Manen, Zur Literaturgeschichte und Exegese des Neuen Testaments (in: JPrTh 1883-85), = Het Nieuwe Testament sedert (1859, 1886); A. Schweitzer, Geschichte der paulinischen Forschung (1911; ET=Paul and His Interpreters, NY: Macmillan, 1956); T. Whittaker, The Origins of Christianity with an Outline of van Manen's Analysis of the Pauline Literature (1904, 21909).

2 W. G. Kümmel, Introduction to the New Testament (Nashville: Abingdon, 1973), 250.

3 Van Manen's articles in the Encyclopaedia Biblica (ed. T. K. Cheyne, J. Sutherland, London 1902): "Nicodemus, the Gospel of," 3410; "Nicolaitans," 3410-3412; "Old Christian Literature," 3471-3495; "Paul," 3620-3638; "Philemon, Epistle to," 3693-3697; "Philippi," 3701-3703; "Philippians (Epistles)," 3703-3713. Idem, 41903: "Romans (Epistle)," 4127-4145; "Rome (Church)," 4145-4157; "Rufus," 4163-4164; "Shepherd of Hermas," 4456-4458; "Simeon," 4534; "Simon of Cyrene," 4535-4536; "Sosthenes," 4171-4172; "Tertius," 4977.

4 Van den Bergh van Eysinga, Radikale Kritik, 171: Van den Bergh van Eysinga remarks, "There are radicals who have accepted the historicity of Jesus while rejecting the epistles," whereas however, "the reverse case, viz. that people reject Jesus' historicity and yet stick to the authenticity of the Pauline Epistles ... is not demonstrable." In a later stage the radical critic A. D. Loman recanted his contest with the historical existence of Jesus, probably for church-tactical reasons.

5 Van den Bergh van Eysinga, Radikale Kritik, vi.

6 "Paul," in: Encyclopaedia Biblica, 3622.

7 Schweitzer, Geschichte der paulinischen Forschung, 108.

8 A. Drews: Die Christusmythe I (1909) /II (1911/1909); idem., Das Markusevangelium als Zeugnis gegen die Geschichtlichkeit Jesu (1921, 21928); idem., Die Entstehung des Christentums aus dem Gnostizismus (1924); idem., Die Leugnung der Geschichtlichkeit Jesu in Vergangenheit und Gegenwart (81926). Now and then Drews also "plays" with the inauthenticity of all the Pauline Epistles: see Detering, H., Paulusbriefe ohne Paulus?, 414f.

9 Kalthoff—like Drews—knew and appreciated the work of the Dutch Radical Critics. A successor to Kalthoff in Northem Germany is Hermann Raschke, "Der Romerbrief des Markion nach Epiphanius," in: Abh.u. Vortrage (hg. v.der Bremer Wiss. Ges., 1, (December 1926), 128-201; idem., Der Römerbrief des Markion. Der innere Logos im antiken und deutschen Idealismus (1949).

10 Johnson, E., Antiqua mater. A Study of Christian Origins (London, 1887).

11 J. M. Robertson, Christianity and Mythology (1910).

12 W. B. Smith, "Address and Destination of St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans," JBL, 1901, lff; idem., Der vorchristliche Jesus nebst weiteren Vorstudien zur Entstehungsgeschichte des Christentums (1906); idem., Ecce Deus. Die urchristliche Lehre des reingottlichen Jesu (1911); idem., The Birth of the Gospel (1927; reprint, 1957). Smith was also inspired by Dutch Radical Criticism and occupied himself in some of his studies with the problem of the authenticity of the Principal Epistles, above all with the Epistle to the Romans (Detering, H., Paulusbriefe ohne Paulus?, 428ff). The latest author writing in English who has occupied himself with the problem, is, as far as I know, the Canadian F. R. McGuiree, "Did Paul write Galatians?" in: Hibbert Journal 66 (1967-68), 52-57.

13 A remarkable attempt at contesting the authenticity of all the Pauline Epistles comes from the Swiss radical critic Rudolf Steck (a teacher of Karl Barth): Der Galaterbrief nach seiner Echtheit untersucht nebst kritischen Bemerkungen zu den Paulinischen Hauptbriefen (1888), a book, however, that is beyond the scope of this article.

14 Fundamental works of Dutch (and related) Radical Criticism:  

15 Evanson contested the authenticity of the Epistle to the Romans on the basis of the contradictions with the Acts of the Apostles, the testimony of which he saw as historically correct. "Whereas in the Epistle to the Romans a Christian congregation in Rome is already presumed, whose faith is known in the entire world, the Acts know nothing of a Christian congregation in Rome at the time of Paul's arrival," says Evanson. He further wonders how there could already exist a congregation in Rome, when at the time the vision called Paul to Macedonia the gospel had not yet been preached in Europe. Evanson observes, "Whereas what's more in the Epistle it is presumed that the Jews in Rome had already knowledge of the Gospel, the Paul of the Acts (28:27) would still wish to make it known to the Jews in Rome." More than anything the Epistle's eleventh chapter shows, according to Evanson, very clearly that the author of the Epistle cannot be Paul, but some one who writes after the destruction of Jerusalem presumed in the parable of the olive tree.

16 F. C. Baur: "Die Christuspartei in der korinthischen Gemeinde," TZTh (1831), 61ff; Idem, Die sogenannten Pastoralbriefe des Apostels Paulus (1835); also Paulus (1845).

17 B. Bauer, Kritik der paulinischen Briefe. Erste Abtheilung: Der Ursprung des Galaterbriefes; Zweite Abtheilung: Der Ursprung des ersten Korintherbriefs; Dritte und letzte Abtheilung (1850/1852).

18 On B. Bauer see E. Barnikol's good biography: Bruno Bauer. Studien und Materialien, 1972.

19 A. D. Loman, "Het oudste Christendom," in: StVG, 1882.

20 On Van Manen see Eduard Verhoef's good recent biography.

21 "Marcion's brief van Paulus aan de Galatiers I," Theologisch Tijdschrift 21 (1887), 382-404; 451-533.

22 According to information from the Church Fathers, Cerdo was Marcion's teacher, and himself in turn is said to have been a pupil of Simon Magus (Irenaeus 1.27.1f.).

23 S. A. Naber, "Nuculae," in Mnemosyne, S, 355-390 (1888). Likewise the radical critic J. A. Bruins, Theologisch Tijdschrift 23 (1889), 60ff.: "...arisen in Marcionite circles and ascribed to Paul"; cf. Van den Bergh van Eysinga, Radikale Kritik, 73ff.

24 Van Manen, Romeinen, 301; Römer, 275.

25 Van Manen, Encyclopaedia Biblica, Art. "Paul," esp. 3627.

26 I. De Handelingen der Apostelen, 1890; II. De brief aan de Romeinen, 1891; III. De brieven aan de Korinthiers, 1896.

27 Cf. Detering, Paulusbriefe ohne Paulus?, 389ff.

28 Cf. G. Hartdorff, "Historie van historisering. Een onderzoek naar de visie Van G. van den Bergh van Eysinga op de wordingsgeschiedenis van het Christendom, voorzien van bibliografe," Diss. 1950, 148. ("History of Historisizing. An Investigation of G. A.van den Bergh van Eysinga's View of the Genesis of Christianity-complete with a bibliography").

29 A group of theologians is, it is true, still in existence, formed by pupils of Van den Bergh van Eysinga's. Among them are the Rev. J. H. Ritzema Bos, who, as one of its editors, writes in the liberal-theological magazine Zwingli, the Rev. E. Frater Smid, and the Rev. Mrs. M. J. Beukema-Faser.

30 Thus already Pierson/Naber, who in the "Praefatio" of their Verisimilia of 1886 spoke of the "lacera conditio Novi Testamenti" (= the torn condition of the New Testament).

31 Van Manen, Römer 193ff.

32 As early as 1885 (!) H. Holtzmann writes in his Einführung (Introduction) "the attacks made by Evanson, Bruno Bauer, and A. D. Loman already form parts of the history of criticism." Cf. Van den Bergh van Eysinga, G.A., "De hopeloos verouderde radicale critiek" (= The hopelessly obsolete radical criticism), in: GWS V, 1949; Detering, H., Paulusbriefe ohne Paulus?, 389ff.

33 H. Detering, Paulusbriefe ohne Paulus?, 389ff.

34 Art.: "Marcion," in: TRE, 9lff.

35 A Lost Edition of the Letters of Paul. A Reassessment of the Text of the Pauline Corpus Attested by Marcion (CBQMS 21. Washington, DC: Catholic Biblical Association of America, 1989).

36 Hilgenfeld, A., "Das Apostolikon Marcion's," ZHTh (1855), 426-484.

37 A. v. Harnack, Marcion. Das Evangelium vom fremden Gott. Eine Monographie zur Geschichte der Grundlegung der katholischen Kirche. Neue Studien zu Marcion, 1921, 1924, 21960 (ET = Marcion. The Gospel of the Alien God [Durham, NC: Labyrinth Press, 1990]; but extensive apendices in German original are not included, for no good reason.)

38 Typical elements of Catholic theology are, e.g., monotheism (instead of belief in two Gods); acceptance of the creation (instead of contempt of it); attachment (instead of disconnection) of Christianity to the Old Testament.

39 The reader is referred to Harnack as an example, who in his otherwise magnificent book on Marcion comes to speak about Marcion's so-called tendentious changes in the Pauline Epistles. First Harnack confirms with a few quotations of the Church Fathers (!) the "verdict of mutilation" and asserts that the "interferences consisted ... of major expunctions and of minor corrections and expunctions that, however, were often severe and in some places indeed even changing the text into its reverse... for the greater part demonstrable in the interest of his characteristic doctrine" (German edition, p. 150). True, Harnack observes that the "tendentious suppressions and corrections" are theologically Marcionite, but nowhere does he give any further justification. Instead he refers to what has already been sketched on the preceding part, the reconstruction of the Marcionite Apostolikon. But there, too, the supposed priority of the Catholic version is nowhere demonstrated, but indeed everywhere only asserted.

40 For the failing traces of Paulinism in the history of theology of the first and the first half of the second century cf. E. Käsemann's "Paulus und der Frühkatholizismus," Exegetische Versuche und Besinnungen, Vol. 2, 239-252 (ET = "Paul and Early Catholicism," in Idem, New Testament Questions of Today, Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1969). That Paul's spiritual legacy was in the second century adopted not in the first place by the theologians of the Established Church, but by the heretics, especially by Marcion, is also noted by W. Schneemelcher, "Paulus in der griechischen Kirche des 2. Jahrhunderts," ZKG 75 (1964), 1-20; K. Beyschlag, "1. Clemens 40-44 und das Kirchenrecht," in FS Maurer, 9-22; C. K. Barrett, "Pauline Controversies in the Post-Pauline Period," NTS 20 (1974), 229-245; E. Weiss, "Paulus und die Häretiker. Zum Paulusverständnis der Gnosis," in Christentum und Gnosis (BZNW 37, 1969), 116-128; E. Pagels, The Gnostic Paul. Gnostic Exegesis of the Pauline Letters (1975), who already expresses this state of affairs in a programmatic way through the title of her book. And of course one may not forget Walter Bauer, Rechtgläubigkeit und Ketzerei im ältesten Christentum, 1934 (ET = Orthodoxy and Heresy in Earliest Christianity, Philadelphia: Fortress, 1971).

41 E. Pagels, The Gnostic Paul. Gnostic Exegesis of the Pauline Letters, 1975.

42 H. Detering, Paulusbriefe ohne Paulus?, 153-164.

43 See, however: Chr. Eggenberger, Die Quellen der politischen Ethik des 1. Klemensbriefes (1951); R. Joly, Le dossier d'Ignace d 'Antioche (Bruxelles, 1979); J. Rius-Camps, The Four Authentic Letters of Ignatius (1979); R. Weijenborg, Les Lettres d'Ignace d'Antioche. Etude de critique litteraire et de theologie (1969), and "Is Euagrius Ponticus the Author of the longer Recension of the Ignatian Letters?" Anton. 44 (1969), 339-347.

44 Is a document the size of some 32-35 papyrus leaves acceptable simply as a handwritten letter, which is said to have been sent from Rome to Corinth as a bearer of topical correspondence? Why does the author enter into the problem of the strife between parties at Corinth no sooner than in the 44th chapter(!), when the strife is supposedly the immediate cause of the letter? Why do we not get, when reading 1 Clem., an insight into the actual background of the Corinthian conflict? Why can the author, who writes in Rome, request the readers of his letter to come to a "joint" visit to the shrine "at the same place" (34:7)? Is it historically probable that the martyr-bishop Ignatius of Antioch is sent, escorted by a small number of Roman soldiers, on a journey through half the Mediterranean world, from Syria to Rome, in order to be thrown to the beasts in the arena? Why does he write that he has been sentenced (Ign. Eph. 12:1f; Ign. Rom. 3:1), when elsewhere (Ign. Eph. 1:2; Ign. Rom. 4:1) he is uncertain whether and how he will die? Why does Ignatius write to the Romans from Smyrna that "he is from Syria to Rome, by sea and land, in combat with the beasts" (Ign.Rom 5:1) when he has yet to set out on the voyage? etc.

45 Eusebius, HE. 5.24; Delafosse, l'épitre aux Romains, 72ff.

46 John Chrysostom, X 378c Montf. (Cramer, 310f.) reports that "when a catechumen among the Marcionites had died, he was asked whether he desired to be baptized; the positive reply then came from a brother who was hiding under the bed; then baptism was administered" (cited by Harnack, Marcion, 176; *367). The so-called vicarious baptism could also have been practised among the (equally Gnostic) Cerinthians (Epiph. Haer. 28.6.4).

47 Tertullian compares the altercation between Catholics and Marcionites with a tug of war during which the two, he himself and Marcion, try their powers and are drawing to and fro with equal efforts. "I say, I have the truth; Marcion says, he has it. I say, Marcion's is falsified; Marcion says the same of mine"; Tertullian, Marc. IV,4,1.

48 In the Jewish-Christian Epistula Petri there is talk of the "lawless and ridiculous doctrine of the 'fiend-like man,'" where most scholars are of the opinion that, by the "fiend-like man" no one but Paul himself is meant. It is worth our while to compare this with Gal 4:16, where the author obviously digs up exactly this reproach lodged against Paul.

49 Harnack, Marcion, 35f.

50 For the whole complex, see G. Klein, Die zwölf Apostel. Ursprung und Gehalt einer Idee (FRLANT 77. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1961).

51 The anti-Marcionite tendency of Acts was already observed by J. Knox; cf. his "Acts and the Pauline Letter Corpus," in: Studies in Luke-Acts, FS P. Schubert, 1966, 279-287. Cf. Knox, Marcion and the New Testament. An Essay in the Early History of the Canon, 1942.

52 Gal 1:18-1:24 is not quoted by Tertullian. What's more, from AM 5.3.1 it is obvious that Tertullian did not read pa/lin ("again") in Gal 2:1.

53 A. Hilgenfeld, "Das Apostolikon Marcion's," ZHTh (1855), 426-484.

54 Chrysost. on Phil 2:7: "M. [=Marcion] says: ouk egeneto anthrôpos, all' en homoiômati anthrôpou genomenos ("He did not become a man, but in the likeness of man he was made"), quoted after Harnack, Marcion, 287*. See also the further quotation: Nicephor., Antirrhet. adv. Euseb.

55 Origen, Comm. in Rom. 5:6 (III, ll9): Si quidem, antequam lex per Moysen daretur, nemo peccasset, volentes accusare legem ex his apostoli verbis Marcion et cefen haeretici occasionem capere viderentur, tamquam haec fuerit causa datae legis, ut peccatum, quod ante legem non fuerat, abundaret.

56 Cf. Harnack, Marcion, 50.

57 Bousset, commentary on Gal 3:13: "And, indeed, in this connection the power which requires Christ's vicarious surrender, is not God or God's wrath, but an, as it were, alien power in only a loose connection with God, the almost personified, curse-claiming power of the Law."

58 W. Schmithals, Neues Testament und Gnosis (1984), 19.

59 E. Barnikol, Philipper 2. Der marcionitische Ursprung des Mythos-Satzes Phil, 2,6-7 (FEUC VII, 1932), with reference to the Hymn to Christ in the Epistle to the Philippians.

60 Van Manen ca1ls attention to, e.g., 1 Cor 11:4, where Paul warns the men not to pray with their heads covered, as this would be a shame; the non-covering of the head during prayer does not fit in with the Jewish tradition.

61 Van Manen, Romans, 194. The Epistles together have for him in common, "that they all spring from one circle, that they were originally all of them useful to one spiritual attitude, which we may call Pauline, since it was associated with the name of Paul, just like the Johannine ones with that of John. They all aim—although not always in the same sense—at defending this school, and at recommending Paul."

62 F. Overbeck, Das Johannes-Evangelium, Studien zur Kritik seiner Erforschung (1911), 98, 104, 206.

63 "This one is with the help of his father, the Devil, pleasing to all men" Acta Pt.c.Sim. 55 ed. Lipsius- Bonnet I, lf; cf. Clem. Hom. 18.6-10: areskontôs tois parousin hochlois; in addition H. J. Schoeps, Theologie und Geschichte des Judenchristentums (1949), 301, 418ff; Gal 1:10; 2 Cor 5:11.

64 Clem. Hom. 17.13ff; Gal 1:16, Gal 2:2, 2 Cor 12,1f.

65 Cf. the whole Pseudoclementine novel; Sibyllines II, 63ff. According to general opinion, by Beliar here Simon is meant: Geffcken, Komposition und Entstehungszeit der Oracula Sibyllina (TU NF VIII, l, 1902). Acts 8: 10, "Simon the great power, who has bewitched the Samaritan people." Rom. 15:19; 1 Cor. 15:32; 2 Cor. 12:12.

66 Clem.Hom. 2.17.93; 11.35.4-6; Peter, "While I am on my way to the Gentiles, ... Wickedness has got the start ... of me ... and sent Simon ahead of me, in order that the men, who have rejected the gods who are said to be present among the living, and do not speak any more of their multitude, should believe that there are many gods in heaven .... But I must follow him postehaste, lest his untruthful allegations obtain a firm footing and get stuck everywhere." Hom. 3.59.2. Cf. Hom. 2.17.5, Peter: "Simon, my precursor." Rom 15:19; 15:23.24.

67 Iren. Haer. 1.23.3; Rom 6:lf.; 6:15f against the misunderstanding of the Pauline doctrine of grace.

68 Iren. Haer. 1.23.3; 1 Cor 6:20; 7:23; Gal 3:13; 4:5,9; Col 2:15.

69 Apc.El. 36.2: Antichrist=Simon, s. Preuschen, E., "Paulus als Antichrist," ZNW 2 (1901), 169-201; Gal1:13; 4:16.

70 Apc.El. 32; 1 Cor 1:18.

71 Apc.El. 33-34; Acta Pauli et Theclae 3.

72 Apc.El. 33-34; the multiform imposter in the Apocalypse of Peter: Simon or Paul?

73 Justin Apol. 1.26.; Hipp. Ref. 6.20; Mart..Petr. 3; Acts Petr. 32. Acts 27f.; Rom 1:8ff; 15:22.

74 Irenaus 1.27.f: "Et Cerdon autem quidam ab his qui sunt erga Simonem occasionem accipiens, ... Succedens autem ei Marcion Ponticus."

75The Gnostic, actually Marcionite, passages in the Pauline Epistles could, e.g., be explicable as later interpolations, or the work of later editorship (thus the French scholar H. Delafosse, "Les ecrits de Saint Paul," in: Christianisme, 1926-1928, and the German E. Barnikol, Philipper 2. Der marcionitische Ursprung des Mythos-Satzes Phil, 2:6-7 (FEUC VII, 1932), with regard to the Hymn to Christ in the Epistle to the Philippians: a "syncretistic" or also a "linguistic-hermeneutic activity" could be seen in it, i.e., the attempt to translate the primitive Christian kerygma into the Gnostic way of understanding (Schmithals, Neues Testament und Gnosis,, 19), etc., etc.

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Darrell J. Doughty
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