already known to be authoritative teachings (see 2 Thess 2:15; 3:14), and the readers of this new text already preconditioned to read 'as though they were Thessalonians' and hence to reap the benefit of advice (purportedly) sent to the early Macedonian Christians. This process of universalising the readership of Paul's letters was exemplified in the same period by the composition of the 'circular letter' of Ephesians, which in its earliest copies did not actually name the Ephesians in the prescript, but 'the saints and believers in Christ Jesus' in any place,46 who would find in this imaginative compendium of statements of Paul's original letters47 a spiritualised enchiridion ('handbook') of Pauline theology and ethics for their own generation.
The pseudepigraphical Pauline letters depend and draw upon the original letters and 'update' and refine them to suit later circumstances. Consequently, they presume that Paul's letters had already been collected in some form, and were in circulation as authoritative documents. We do not know exactly when this was done, or by whom, but already by the time of 1 Clement (end of first century?) and the letters of Ignatius of Antioch (c.117 ce?) they are known and quoted. The earliest was probably the collection of letters to seven churches, with that number promoting a universalist audience of the epistles, a hermeneutical strategy so immediately successful that in some sense it replaced itself as more letters to churches and individuals were added, and ten-, thirteen- and fourteen-letter collections were formed.48 Each version gave a differerent interpretive shape to the collection, by means of editorial work within individual letters (such as 2 Corinthians, which is a compilation of five individual missives),49 the number of letters included, and the order in which they were arranged. We know of collections with Galatians, 1 and 2 Corinthians and Romans at the head.50 It is possible that this early epistolary anthology, and the need to move around easily from letter to letter, was the reason Christians favoured the codex over the roll for their literary works.51 That physical format was to prove equally suitable for the other characteristic genre of Christian literature,52 which was soon packaged and disseminated in sets, also.
46 Marcion's text had Laodiceans in the prescript (Tert. Marc. 5.17; cf.Col 4:16).
47 Goodspeed, Meaning of Ephesians, 9, argues that 550 of the 618 short sense units of the letter have 'unmistakable parallels in Paul, in words or substance'.
48 Frede, 'Die Ordnung'; Gamble, 'Pauline corpus' and his Books andreaders, 59-63. Trobisch, Paul's Letter Collection, thinks Paul began the process with his own four-letter collection.
49 Mitchell, 'Corinthian correspondence'.
50 See Fig. 5 (above) showing Romans following Hebrews in papyrus P46 (c.200).
51 Gamble, 'Pauline corpus', and Books and readers, 49-66.
52 Skeat argued the codex was adopted for the gospels (Elliott, Collected biblical writings of T. C. Skeat, 73-87).
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