Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Chronology of Paul’s Writings

Paul was in Corinth Autumn 50 to Spring 52 (cf. Acts 18:2, 11, 12).

è1-2 Thessalonians written late 50/early 51 (cf. 1 Thess. 2:17–3:7).1

Paul was in Ephesus Spring 53 to Spring 56 (cf. Acts 19:1, 8, 10, 22; 20:31; 1 Cor. 16:8).

èGalatians written 53-54?2
èLetter to Corinth written 53-54 (cf. 1 Cor. 5:9), no longer extant.3
è1 Corinthians written early 56 (cf. 1 Cor. 4:19; 16:8).        

Paul was in Macedonia Summer-Autumn 56 (cf. Acts 20:1-2).

è2 Corinthians written mid-late 56 (cf. 2 Cor. 9:2-4).

Paul was in Corinth Winter 56-57 (cf. 1 Cor. 4:18-19; 16:2-7; Acts 20:3).

èRomans written late 56/early 57 (cf. Rom. 15:26; 16:23).

Paul was in Rome Spring 60 to at least Spring 62 (cf. Acts 28:16, 30).

èLetter to the Laodiceans written 60-62? (cf. Col. 4:16), no longer extant.
èColossians written early 62 (cf. Col. 4:18).
èPhilemon written early 62 (cf. Phlm. 1, 9-10).
èPhilippians written early 62 (cf. Phil. 1:12-14; 4:22).4
èEphesians written early 62 (cf. Eph. 3:1; 4:1).

Paul was released from his first Roman imprisonment ca. 62-63 (cf. Phil. 1:19, 25; 2:24; Phlm. 22; 2 Tim. 4:16-17) and traveled  to Macedonia, Ephesus, Crete, Nicopolis (1 Tim. 1:3; 3:14; Tit. 1:5; 3:12).

è1 Timothy written ca. 63-64 (cf. 1 Tim. 1:3; 3:14).
èTitus written ca. 63-64 (cf. Tit. 1:5; 3:12).

Paul’s second Roman imprisonment as early as 64 and no later than 68.

è2 Timothy written ca. 64-65 (cf. 2 Tim. 4:6-8, 16).5

--Kevin L. Moore

     1 First Thessalonians was penned not long after the three-man missionary team had departed from Thessalonica (2:17). Although later copyists seem to have amended the text, what many consider to be the better manuscripts of 1 Thess. 1:1 have the abbreviated greeting, “grace to you and peace” (cf. N/ASV), while all other Pauline letters have the added phrase “from God our Father and Lord Jesus Christ.” This may suggest that the stereotypical Pauline greeting developed after the earliest letter (1 Thessalonians) had been written. Further, in the opening of 1 and 2 Thessalonians Paul is mentioned only by name with no reference to his apostleship or any other appendage, while in every subsequent correspondence a descriptive designation is added. See The Thessalonian Letters.
     2 This immediately follows a visit to Galatia (Acts 18:23) where Paul would have gained first-hand knowledge of the problems he needed to address in the letter. Moreover, a logical sequence is evident in Paul’s correspondence concerning the collection for the poor in Jerusalem, beginning with his agreement to organize it (Gal. 2:10), followed by more specific instructions and comments (1 Cor. 16:1-4; 2 Cor. 8–9; Rom. 15:25-28). There is also a literary affinity between Galatians, on one hand, and 1-2 Corinthians and Romans, on the other (see esp. J. B. Lightfoot, Galatians 40-56; also C. Kruse, 2 Corinthians 45-48), suggesting a comparable time frame. Since the setting of Galatians fits well into the rise of Jewish nationalism during Nero’s reign (cf. B. Reicke, Re-examining Paul’s Letters 13-15), a later date (i.e. 54 or beyond) is possible. A number of scholars, however, date Galatians earlier (cf. M. C. Tenney, New Testament Survey 267-73).
     3 It is possible that the “severe” or “tearful” letter alluded to in 2 Cor. 2:3-9; 7:8-12 is another non-extant Pauline letter, but many equate it with 1 Corinthians while others propose that it comprises 2 Cor. 10–13. See The Missing Letters of Paul.
     4 When Philippians was written Paul seems to have been expecting release from imprisonment (Phil. 1:19, 25; 2:24). Timothy is named in Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon but not in Ephesians, which may suggest that Ephesians was written after Timothy had been sent away (Phil. 2:19-23). See Paul's Prison Epistles.
     5 When 2 Timothy was written Paul appears to have been anticipating death (2 Tim. 4:6-8). According to tradition he was executed during the reign of Nero, who instigated the persecution of Christians in 64 and died in 68.

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  1. Thank you so much for your lengthy review, Kevin. I have copied and pasted your above article and responded to your comments on my blog:

    Escaping Christian Fundamentalism
    article date: July 13, 2016

    1. My response to Gary, to which he has replied, is my 12 July 2016 post on The Resurrection of Jesus Christ. The multiple Links I've provided counter much of what he says in his response.

    2. Bottom line, Kevin you cannot prove that you have any eyewitness testimony, even by the standards of the majority of NT scholars!

      You are claiming to have eyewitness testimony of a "car accident" but then unable to convince even the cops (the authorities on the subject) that eyewitnesses ever existed. Your belief in the historicity of this supernatural event is based almost entirely on minority, even fringe, scholarship. You are in the realm of conspiracy theorists, Kevin: Absolutely certain of the veracity of your beliefs, but considered "fringe" by experts on the subject.

      It is an ancient superstition, Kevin. It has caused SO much harm to SO many people.

      Abandon supernatural superstitions and embrace secular humanism. The world will be a better place if we all do.

    3. Gary,
      I seem to have hit a nerve. Your previous message was civil and polite, while this one seems more like a condescending attack. You’ve jumped to the conclusion that my belief in Christ’s resurrection “is based almost entirely on minority, even fringe, scholarship.” Other than having given you an abbreviated list of scholars who disagree with your assessment of 2 Peter, I have not cited a single one to support my convictions. I regularly read a wide range of scholarly works but accept no one’s assertions without doing my own critical investigation and developing my own conclusions (cf. the numerous studies I’ve posted). I’ve discovered that the critical orthodoxy venerated by liberal scholars is not as convincing as you and so many others contend, often based on conjectural argumentation, unwarranted presuppositions, circular reasoning, and excessively complicated redaction and compilation theories. When subjectivism is equated with critical thinking, pseudonymity is too easily and dogmatically assumed, and biblical authors are unnecessarily portrayed as mindless redactors, pardon me for not buying into all this lopsided propaganda.

      You, on the other hand, repeatedly appeal to the anecdotal generalization of what “the overwhelming majority” of scholars allegedly think. I would strongly recommend that you invest some time considering the weighty responses of reputable yet more conservative (by no means “fringe”) scholars to get a more balanced perspective on the issues at hand. They are no less “authorities” and “experts on the subject.” My brief article on the resurrection of Jesus, along with the supplementary information provided by the numerous attached Links (which you seem to have ignored), speak for themselves. Your flippant and demeaning remarks are not justified.

      No one who has fully embraced the teachings of the resurrected Christ has ever “caused SO much harm to SO many people.” It is extremely unfair and prejudicial to judge and then discount an entire movement because of the abuses and misbehavior of those who violate and misconstrue its teachings. As for your invitation to embrace secular humanism -- no thanks. I concur with Jeremiah’s observation: “O Lord, I know the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man who walks to direct his own steps” (Jer. 10:23).

      In the future, if you can’t be more reasonable and civil, your disparaging accusations will not be posted on this blog.