Q9.BEN: Gary there is a lot of good detailed work in this book with both the primary and secondary sources, how long did it take you to research and write this book and get it into print?
A9.GARY: 10 years spanning from 2006 to 2015. Here’s a summary of the journey.
(2006) I began my PhD work at Trinity College (Bristol University) looking at riches in 1 Timothy. I was privileged to have Philip Towner serve as my advisor. That same year Towner had just published the NICNT commentary, The Letters to Timothy and Titus. It was about 900 pages. I remember our first meeting. Towner instructed me to spend my first year “mining” his bibliography associated with the texts in 1 Timothy where riches were in view. That led me to engage with a wide array of secondary sources and also introduced me to key primary sources.
(2007) After my first year I described the divided state of scholarship with the term “authorshipwreck” because it seemed like the engagement of scholars orbited primarily around debating views of authorship rather than dynamics within the biblical text. Towner rightly urged me to avoid the issue altogether, which I did, because no one can prove Paul wrote 1 Timothy based on the evidence available to us. I also put forth that debate swirled around rare language, so as I have mentioned in prior posts, he sent me to Yale to meet with Abraham Malherbe. I was to ask him how he unlocked the medical imagery of Paul. What I learned in that meeting would eventually lead me to Ephesiaca.
Dr. Malherbe told me to bring my Greek New Testament, a pen and paper, and a tape recorder to our meeting in his home. In four hours we walked through 1 Timothy in Greek. Every three or four verses he would stop and share how a term or theme appeared in primary sources. I asked him where he got his knowledge. He told me that his daily routine entailed reading some piece of ancient evidence to deepen his knowledge of the world of the New Testament, much like a person reads a daily newspaper. Then he told me, “Gary, if you want to unlock the rare language of 1 Timothy in texts with riches in view, don’t search ancient material. Everybody searches it. Read it and you will find what you are looking for.”
(2008) That sent me on a journey to explore numismatic, epigraphic, literary, and other forms of primary evidence for more than a year. I found the coins fascinating to explore. Then I purchased a set of the ten volumes of Die Inschriften von Ephesos from Austria, and explored the world of the inscriptions. You start learning what a society values by reading what is repeatedly set in stone!
(2009) When I turned to literary evidence, my reading led me to examine various LCL volumes with Ephesian provenance. Ephesiaca was not in the Loeb, so I first read it in Collected Ancient Greek Novels by B.P. Reardon. New Testament scholars had scantly referenced it because from about 1726 (when the editio princeps came into view) it was thought to be a second or third century document. I read Ephesiaca first in English then in Greek on TLG.
I was thrilled to find the elusive term used in 1 Tim 2:9-10 (associated with the prohibited coiffure for women) appeared in the first section of the story. Ephesian women were wearing it to show their piety to the goddess Artemis. I wondered to myself about the dating of this story again. Might this be my contribution? Then I discovered that classical scholar, James O’Sullivan, had demonstrated through composition analysis that Ephesiaca should be dated to the mid-first century CE, rather than the second or third century CE. This placed it around the same timeframe as Luke locates the ministry of the Apostle Paul in Ephesus. Consequently, I determined the formal title for my PhD as “The Teachings on Riches in 1 Timothy in Light of Ephesiaca by Xenophon of Ephesus.”
About this same timeframe, the LCL published Ephesiaca under the title “Anthia and Habrocomes” in Daphnis and Chloe by Longus; Anthia and Habrocomes by Xenophon of Ephesus edited by Jeffrey Henderson (LCL 69; Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2009). In the introduction to this edition, Henderson affirmed the likeliness of an earlier date. This meant I did not need to use space within my thesis to argue for the dating of Ephesiaca. I would introduce this fresh evidence and use it alongside ancient sources to revisit five texts in 1 Timothy.
(2010) My upgrade viva at Trinity College (Bristol University) went smoothly with Andrew Clarke (Aberdeen) and Robert Dutch (Bristol Baptist College). Both encouraged me to complete this task. Clarke also directed me to an article he had recently written (“Do Not Judge Who Is Worthy and Unworthy: Clement’s Warning Not to Speculate about the Rich Young Man’s Response,” JSNT 31 (2009): 447– 68). He rightly predicted that it contained clues that would help connect my study of 1 Timothy 6:17-19 with the Rich Man in Mark 10.
By this juncture in the journey, I had written the introduction and the first two chapters of the BBRS 11 volume. My introduction contained the raw material from my original survey of literature. The bulk of the work for Chapter One and Chapter Two of BBRS 11 was also done. From this point, I used Ephesiaca to help read 1 Timothy 2:9-10 in the larger literary context of 1 Timothy 2:9-15. I submitted the core content (about 12,000 words) of Chapter Three of the BBRS 11 volume by the end of the year to Philip Towner as well as to my internal advisor, Stephen Finamore (principal of Bristol Baptist) for review.
(2011) What happened next had the potential to derail my entire project. While sitting in the UK preparing to meet with Finamore, I learned via Skype that two biopsies had revealed that wife had breast cancer. She’s really the one to thank for any contribution this volume makes, because she urged me not to pause my research but to finish it regardless of the outcome of her cancer journey. When I sat down with Finamore at a favorite pub, I will never forget his assessment of this submission (Chapter Three). He threw it on the table and exclaimed: “Gary, this is game-changing for 1 Timothy scholarship!” I thanked him and shared about my wife, Jenni. He pledged to support me to see my project to completion with minimal
(2012) If there is gratitude for any shine to this work, I owe that to Towner and Finamore because I spent the entire next year polishing it. Towner urged me to make it perfect because this would be my humble contribution to future readers of 1 Timothy so make it great! He was ruthless in a constructive kind of way. He would recount that he was treating me like Marshall had worked with him. Beyond my wife reading excerpts of the manuscript, only Towner and Finamore knew of this work.
(2013) As the doctoral program at Trinity College (Bristol University) was a 6-8 year programme, it was time to submit early in the year. I interacted with Abraham Malherbe about a month before my final submission, and he was looking forward to reading my work. Then about the time I submitted I learned he had suddenly passed away. Oh how I had wanted to share my thesis with him and get his feedback.
We scheduled my final viva in June with Larry Kreitzer (Oxford) and David Wenham (Trinity College) as my primary and internal examiners. I will never forget their first question in the viva. “Where did you find this?” I proceeded to tell the story I am recounting here. As Kreitzer was an artefactual expert, I appreciated his interaction with my work and his suggestions for publishing, including images of coins to reinforce my argument. Likewise, Wenham affirmed my work. They approved my PhD with typographical errors that I fixed that afternoon.
(2014) I would receive my diploma at the next Academic Awards ceremony slated for February of the following year. Shortly thereafter, my wife hosted a PhD party and Craig Blomberg (NT scholar and friend from my days as VP at Denver Seminary) was among the attendees. Blomberg asked if he could take a copy of my thesis home to read in March. He emailed me in May to declare his enthusiastic support and offered to champion getting it published. Since he was associate editor of the BBRS series, I agreed to release it in that collection. The rest is, as they say, history.
(2015) Blomberg suggested areas to strengthen the thesis, such as Chapter Three where I expanded the view from 1 Timothy 2:9-10 to include 1 Timothy 2:9-15. That required some additional research. I also had to reformat the whole project, and considering it had 880 footnotes, it was not a small undertaking. In the end, BBRS 11 was deemed a clean manuscript by Eisenbrauns, and soon, it was released.
I embarked on this journey to see what Paul wanted Timothy to understand about handling riches to enhance my ability to teach seminary students what God’s Word says about money. I gained that and more by God’s grace.
I pray all future readers of 1 Timothy benefit from the knowledge I gained, especially as it pertains to texts that had been difficult to read and interpret. That’s my story. Thanks for acknowledging the detailed work. It was the fruit of hard work, priceless support from amazing people, and most notably, the grace of God.
(2011) What happened next had the potential to derail my entire project. While sitting in the UK preparing to meet with Finamore, I learned via Skype that two