P. N. Harrison, The problem of the Pastoral Epistles

I just discovered that P. N. Harrison’s 1921 book The problem of the Pastoral Epistles is available for free from the Internet Archive. While plenty of more recent works treat the arguments against Pauline authorship perfectly well, they lack one thing that Harrison’s book has: charts graphing the differences between the Pastorals and other letters attributed to Paul on the one hand, and similarities to many of the earliest church fathers on the other. If you have never read it, it is worth flipping through just for the graphs alone!

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  • Anonymous
  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath


  • http://www.pastoralepistles.com Rick Brannan

    Of course, the graphs are one of the more serious issues in Harrison’s presentation of the problem. They’re stacked in such a way to always make the PE look bad. I’m not saying he’s presenting false data, I am saying he’s stacked it a bit. Order of the books differs to make the slant/difference look worse than it actually might be. A good response to PN Harrison’s book is Donald Guthrie’s “Pastoral Epistles and the Mind of Paul”, available in PDF here: http://biblicalstudies.org.uk/pdf/tp/pastorals_guthrie.pdf

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    @Rick, I’m not sure how ordering the books differently would change the relative frequency of words and particles compared to the universally-accepted Pauline epistles. But I agree that one should also read dissenting opinions from the consensus, and Guthrie’s treatment in the article you linked to (which seems to me to overlap with his treatment in his New Testament Introduction, which will be familiar to many) is a good source to turn to for that.

    I will be interested to see whether any discussion emerges here from those who read or have read both, and reach different conclusions on this topic.

  • http://www.pastoralepistles.com Rick Brannan

    I’m just saying that ordering the books differently in every graph to create a nice, neat slope stacks the deck a little. Harrison’s frequencies also are “per page” of a particular edition of Westcott-Hort, as I recall, so there is some play (not much) in them as well. Lastly, more recent literature on corpus linguistics has much to say about sample sizes necessary for establishing what is and isn’t statistically frequent among an author’s writings, and (generally) the corpus of Paul’s letters (here I mean the 13 attributed to him) is too small. O’Donnell’s “Corpus Linguistics and the Greek of the New Testament” is a good book on this topic (and he interacts directly with Harrison’s stuff as well).

  • http://www.facebook.com/john.contabile John Contabile

    @Rick – I see your point about “per page” stats, but nonetheless, it states the case well that linguistically there are significant differences from the other writings of Paul. Often, this is stated as though it is common knowledge. This work, while dated, is a useful point of reference to explain this. Do you disagree???