Cover

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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. i-v

Contents

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p. vii

Abbreviations

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pp. ix-x

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xi-xii

While writing this book I have been constantly aware of intellectual and personal support from other scholars, colleagues, friends, and family members. It has been a joy to discover and to interact with the stimulating ideas of the various interpreters of the Pastoral...

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Contributors

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pp. xiii-xv

Jouette M. Bassler is professor emerita of New Testament at Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University. She is the author of numerous articles on a variety of New Testament topics and several books on Paul, including Divine Impartiality: Paul and a Theological Axiom...

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Foreword

Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza

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pp. xvii-xix

To see Scripture as such a beautiful garden containing poisonous ivy requires that one identify and name this poison and place on all biblical texts the label “Caution! Could be dangerous to your health and survival!” As critical feminist interpretation for well-being this Wisdom Commentary...

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Editor’s Introduction to Wisdom Commentary

Barbara E. Reid

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pp. xxi-xl

Wisdom Commentary is the first series to offer detailed feminist interpretation of every book of the Bible. The fruit of collaborative work by an ecumenical and interreligious team of scholars, the volumes provide serious, scholarly engagement with the whole biblical...

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Author’s Introduction: Gendered Letters

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pp. xli-lii

Such questions have troubled Christians since the founding of the first churches when, it is reported, men and women participated together in worship, mission, and leadership. Early Christian texts disclose many profound conflicts about gender roles, about perceptions of femininity...

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1 Timothy 1: Order and Disorder

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pp. 1-9

Before reading this letter it is important to remember not only that the sender “Paul” and the recipient “Timothy” are pseudo-nyms for the real persons but also that the situation of the church in Ephesus is artificial as well. That is, there is no independent evidence...

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1 Timothy 2: Praying Men and Silenced Women

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pp. 10-30

As indicated by the opening phrase—“first of all”—1 Timothy 2 shifts the focus. Instead of giving instructions to Timothy in particular, as expressed in the direct address to him (1:18) and in the use of second-person pronouns (1:3, 18), now the author looks beyond Timothy...

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1 Timothy 3: Leaders for the Household of God

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pp. 31-41

In 1 Timothy 3, our author gives instructions about leaders of the community: the overseer (often translated “bishop”) and servers (“deacons”). He strings together lists of virtues and vices that serve as qualifications for the leadership roles but never explains exactly how...

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1 Timothy 4: Marriage Embodies Godliness

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pp. 42-49

Following the poetic closing verses of 1 Timothy 3, our author refocuses on what he sees as the immediate conflictual situation of his recipients. This chapter first describes and contradicts the teachings of the opponents and then instructs “Timothy” how to act as a leader in...

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1 Timothy 5: Older Women/Older Men

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pp. 50-68

While 1 Timothy 4 dealt explicitly with “sound teaching” (4:1-10) and commands for Timothy’s own behavior (4:11-16), the next chapter returns to topics related to specific social groups within the “household of God.” The author prescribes appropriate communal relationships...

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1 Timothy 6: Home Economics: Enslavement and Wealth

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pp. 69-96

The last chapter in this letter alternates teachings about groups within the assembly with direct commands to Timothy himself. Two specific categories of people are addressed: “slaves” (6:1-2) and the “rich” (6:9-10, 17-19). Along the way, the author once again censures...

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2 Timothy 1: A Letter from “Father” to “Son”

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pp. 97-105

Reading through the Second Letter to Timothy, we encounter an emotion-laden text that depicts a warm, longstanding, and quasi-familial relationship between the older Paul and the younger Timothy. The letter says that it was written by Paul1 during his imprisonment...

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2 Timothy 2: Manly Men

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pp. 106-114

The chapter break between 2 Tim 1 and 2 does not indicate a distinct change in the topic, which continues to concentrate on the ideals of masculinity. The break signals instead a shift in “Paul’s” focus: he turns from discussing his own situation and the help of the...

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2 Timothy 3: Insiders and Outsiders

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pp. 115-125

Second Timothy 3 gives powerful descriptions of the wide differences between the teachers of truth, like Paul, Timothy, and other faithful men, and the teachers of falsehood, like Hymenaeus, Philetus, and others. The first half of the chapter describes and condemns...

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2 Timothy 4: Take It Like a Man

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pp. 126-132

The author brings a solemn resolution to the fore in 2 Tim 4, the last chapter of the letter. He depicts Paul near the end of his life, giving the culmination of his advice to Timothy while expressing a strong sense of fulfillment over his own life’s work. In order to build...

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Titus 1: Rungs on the Social Ladder

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pp. 133-144

The letter to Titus is a compact text that employs many of the words (e.g., “godliness,” “savior,” “greed,” “self-control,” “truth”) and themes (church leadership, opponents, women, and slaves) of the other two Pastorals. Here again the author urges the audience to...

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Titus 2: Staying in Your Place

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pp. 145-173

What, exactly, is Titus supposed to teach? Who is he supposed to teach it to? And how should he go about the task of teaching? Turning away from the sharp criticisms of the opponents at the end of Titus 1, the letter’s next chapter begins to answer these questions very...

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Titus 3: Orderliness Is Next to Godliness

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pp. 174-180

The third chapter of Titus maintains the depiction of “Paul” writing to just one person—“Titus”—in order to give him directions for teaching a larger group of believers. Many of the desired ethical standards are also found in 1 and 2 Timothy, but here the author...

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Conclusion

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pp. 181-184

The Pastoral Letters are troubling texts. Their author has concealed his identity under a pseudonym borrowed from the famous apostle to the Gentiles. The circumstances behind his compositions are opaque; we do not know what was actually happening in his...

Works Cited

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pp. 185-189

Index of Scripture References and Other Ancient Writings

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pp. 191-199

Index of Subjects

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pp. 201-208