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By Roland H. Worth, Jr.                               © 2016








Chapter Five:

The Practice and Ethics of

Pseudonymous Literature



            In any discussion of Biblical authorships, pseudonymity inevitably enters the picture.  This is the theory that the actual author has attached someone else’s name to his own work.  We will concisely study the question from the standpoint of New Testament style documents since as Christians that is the phase of the subject most germane to our faith and because a full treatment of it would require a virtual book length analysis to do it full justice.

            If one considers more than in passing the meaning of pseudonymity—attaching someone else’s name to one’s own composition—one quickly grasps that it is a polite label for pious fraud or religious lying.  The proponents of the theory do not like such terms to be used because of their obvious implication of moral censure.

            Indeed, a person who wrote an epistle claiming to be an apostle (and hence inspired by God) or who directly asserted such a claim of inspiration falsely—was he or she, not by definition, a false prophet?  And who doubts how severely both testaments come down against this arrogance of claiming to be a communicator of information from God when one is only pretending to be such? 

Not to mention the emphasis upon maintaining behavior that was honorable in the sight of others—both inside and outside of the church (2 Corinthians 6:3, 8:21; Romans 12:17; 1 Corinthians 10:32).  Can you imagine the sense of deception and horror a new convert would have in discovering an epistle attributed to Paul was actually by some one totally different or how the individual considering conversion would react?  Especially if fellow Christians went around nonchalantly as if there were absolutely nothing wrong with what had been done?  

            So it’s extremely hard to imagine genuinely faithful Christians yielding to any temptation to “help the cause along” by writing a fake epistle or to knowingly embrace such—at least in the apostles’ lifetime and for quite a bit later.  What is our modern adage?  Oh yes, “With friends like this who needs enemies?”  (The two ethical arguments outlined above come with a very lengthy article on alleged pseudonymous literature that tears into common defenses of it and is well worth consideration in its entirety:  68).

To avoid the taint of such criticism, it is urgent for advocates to prove that such false attributions represented acceptable conduct among Christians in the first century—or at least in the first few (hoping to gain indirect evidence from that for first century tolerance as well).  If their rationale fails, then the theory must be rejected as nothing short of a direct and explicit moral assault on the honesty, truthfulness, and integrity of  that goodly number of the writers of the New Testament who allegedly did this very thing.





I.  The First Century Situation



            Attempted fakery was certainly possible.  We don’t deny that there were some individuals in the Christian community of that day who were not above such behavior.  2 Thessalonians 2:2 warned:  “not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come.”  The “by word” as a source of the message suggests he was concerned not only that they might see a pseudo-Pauline epistle of this nature but that they might hear of the contents of one seen by someone else and passed on verbally.

            I’m just not going to say it, Paul insists.

            So the writing of pseudo-apostolic literature clearly had no countenance within the apostolic community.  Furthermore, as John A. T. Robinson rightly notes, Paul’s reaction shows that such false attribution “was not a harmless literary convention” in their eyes (10-187).

            It may well be of significance that this, the only evidence of false attribution mentioned in the New Testament, is in connection with false doctrine . . . with claiming to be true what the written message had already denied would be true.  We find here the test of consistency with apostolic teaching as a standard to determine whether a religious claim is valid, one that is a ready made test for a goodly number of the pseudo-apostolic writings that would come later.

            An irony:  A good number of semibelieving scholars believe that 2 Thessalonians is a faked “Pauline” composition; it didn’t really come from him.  So we are supposed to believe that a faked Pauline epistle rebuked the very fakery the author himself was engaged in!  Ah, the foolishness we commit when we are determine to rationalize away the apostolic message!


            The defense of such fakery as being established rhetorical practice in the ancient world.  Which still wouldn’t prove that it was acceptable Christian practice, especially in light of Paul’s rebuke of it!  

            Frank W. Hughes (69) argues that such pseudonymous works would have been composed for the same reason as students of ancient rhetoric would have produced imitations of the great orators and poets:  to show honor and respect for a literary great while polishing their own rhetorical skills in the process.  (With the presumed implication, I would think, of also benefiting anyone who happened to read it.)  To him this is clearly done by the author of 2 Thessalonians, basing his work on the precedent of 1 Thessalonians . . . and possibly of Colossians being based on Ephesians.  To him, this clears the imitators of any charge of “forgery” and the moral taint that would go with it.  But not of the irony of using pseudonymity to condemn pseudonymity (2 Thessalonians 2:2)!  Not to mention that the fake writer is adding gall to his hypocrisy.

            Yet he has problems more than just this.  Those students of rhetoric who shared their contemporarized version of Socrates or whoever—would not their teacher and their fellow students have recognized the true origin and authorship?  Obviously.  There would have been no intended misrepresentation, merely a display of their skills.  Those who heard it and read it would applaud their skill or condemn their failure to carry out their intent.

            On the other hand, if they had passed on their writings to their contemporaries without bothering to tell anyone who really wrote it, would it still have been regarded as a morally innocent endeavor? 

            Look at the question from this standpoint:  would not the source of their imitation normally be long dead—a figure of the past, even if the recent past of a generation or two before?  Yet the supposed pseudonymous literature of the New Testament were written by the contemporaries or virtual contemporaries of the original writers.  Hence, whatever insights this analysis may provide for the second and third century fictions, it provides none for those that are supposedly part of the New Testament.    

            A question to ponder:  Would even the students of Greek rhetoric have felt comfortable doing imitations of religious oracles?  (For such, in effect, the New Testament writers claim to be—the revealers of the Divine will.)  Indeed, did they have preserved samples to even work from?  Are we not transposing the imitation of “secular” authors into the imitation of strictly “religious” materials—and do we have historical precedent for them actually doing such?  The author we have been examining doesn’t seem to provide any.

            Hughes attempts to justify removing the moral censure from the allegedly pseudonymous literature in the New Testament on the grounds that Matthew and Luke utilize “Mark and other sources.  If it is proper to use the term ‘forger’ for the writer of the Pastoral Epistles or the writer of 2 Thessalonians, a similarly derogatory term must be used for Matthew and Luke, as well as many other writings in the New Testament” (69).  

            Of course there is the not exactly small difference that Matthew and Luke did not falsely claim to be Mark or one of their other sources while the Pastorals all claim to be by Paul “the apostle.”  No false attribution is claimed, while in regard to 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, and Titus it brazenly is—if the theory of non-Pauline authorship be true. 





II.  The “Acts of Paul and Thecla



            This is part of the “Acts of Paul,” a generic label utilized to include this narrative and several other works, including “Third Corinthians” and the “Martyrdom of Paul.”  It is the story of the relation of Paul and the young woman Thecla and how she became a Christian and the varied miracles that protected her from death—in large part by what we today would call “idle wonders” since they are far more visually impressive than merely intended to stop in the tracks any threat of death.  The melodramatic form of the miracles argues of course, for a date well beyond the apostolic age and into the second century . . . when a later generation found it desirable to make the wonder of an unadorned miracle even more impressive by adding a sense of “spectacle” to it.

            The Thecla story is believed to have first appeared c. 150 A.D. and became very popular in the following centuries.  There is, of course, a significant difference between being regarded as an edificatory document and useful for reading and even emulation and regarding it as on a par with Scripture.  (Think of the fascination with Ben Hur in the post Civil-War era and the first half of the twentieth century.)

            It has been reasonably speculated that due to it having a woman as pivotal center of the story, it fulfilled a unique place in the non-Biblical writings and enjoyed a special popularity among women.  Indeed, that the story might originally have been invented and shared among themselves by women.  (For a detailed summary of the work see 70).    

            However enjoyable such material could become as “popular literature for the pious,” this did not guarantee its acceptance as a genuine apostolic age document.  However much the credulous spirit was on the rise, the “critical spirit” (in a good, positive sense) was still very much alive and the writing of spurious gospels, epistles, and literature very much condemned—at least when they were advocated as on the par with those that actually came from the earlier age.

            Unlike many such works, we know something of the true author of the book and how he was punished by removal from church office for his fraud.  Tertullian (typically dated as writing c. 196-210 A.D.) tells us in his On Baptism (Chapter 17):


But if the writings which wrongly go under Paul’s name, claim Thecla’s example as a licence for women’s teaching and baptizing, let them know that, in Asia, the presbyter who composed that writing, as if he were augmenting Paul’s fame from his own store, after being convicted, and confessing that he had done it from love of Paul, was removed from his office. (13-677)   

            Notice the realistic attitude of Tertullian and others who fully exposed the fakery:  The mere fact that a volume claimed apostolicity or an apostolic connection did not guarantee its acceptance on a level with the earlier works that were genuinely such.  They felt free to examine in detail the contents of the purported Pauline material and its conformity with genuine, known apostolic teaching.  (No guarantee, of course, that they necessarily interpreted that teaching correctly, of course.) 

            In the same chapter Tertullian speaks of how this test was applied to this material:


For how credible would it seem, that he who has not permitted a woman even to learn with overboldness, should give a female the power of teaching and of baptizing!  “Let them be silent,” he says, “and at home consult their own husbands.”  (13-677)


            Tertullian’s reasoning clearly implies the existence of a generally accepted body of books against which other supposedly “apostolic” and “inspired” writings could be compared and tested.  In other words, they utilized what was known to test the questioned.

            Note also that the “moral grounds” for the fake Pauline history was rejected in no uncertain terms:  The presbyter’s defense was that he had written “from love of Paul,” which sounds amazingly like the rationale we examined earlier in this chapter though not in the context of a learning/student situation.

            It certainly was a fine, noble sounding motive wasn’t it?  But not enough to remove the moral blot of pseudonymous writing in the eyes of his religious compatriots.  If we wish a second century judgment—to go along with Paul’s first century one—on the “Christian morality” of such literature being passed around by a believer we have it here in firm and clear-cut language.   

            Some have attempted to undermine the significance of Tertullian’s repudiation by contending that he was repudiating a verbal tradition and not a (yet) written version of the story (70).  Even if that were true, if he rejected what gives every indication of being a version of the same story, would he have given it any greater credibility just because it was placed in writing?  Furthermore, he speaks of the “writing” that contained the tale (see above)—proof positive, it would seem, that it existed in written form in his era.  (That doesn’t exclude, of course, a further “puffery” to the story by someone else at a later date.) 

The importance to us is that (a) the narrative is about that same person and appears to have the same story line under consideration, (b) it was in writing, (c) it was admitted by the author to have been a relatively recent composition, and (d) the author—good intentions or not—was repudiated for having told a pious tale even out of the best of intentions.      

            Much more than what Tertullian says could be mentioned to make the same point that this book is internally indicted as of a non-apostolic age when a significant body of new religious traditions had evolved and been superimposed upon the simpler New Testament pattern.  Hence, the criterion of conformity with previous revelation argues that the book isn’t a genuine one, regardless of how well intended and exactly when composed. 

            1.  Paul counseled temporary abstention from sexual relations in a marriage (1 Corinthians 7:3-5).  The Acts of Paul and Thecla glorifies it as central:  “Blessed are they who have wives, as though they had them not; for they shall be made angels of God” (Acts of Paul and Thecla, 1:16).

            2.  The concept of making the sign of the cross and that doing so would have any spiritual value is totally alien to the New Testament text.  Yet here we read:  “And when they had placed the wood in order, the people commanded her to go upon it; which she did, first making the sign of the cross” (Acts of Paul and Thecla, 5:14).

            3.  The first miracle attributed in connection with her occurs before she was baptized and became a Christian—a seriously strange incongruity with what the New Testament would lead us to believe could happen.  If an unbeliever could carry out miracles, why convert?  Why stop being “a good moral pagan”?  Didn’t the miracle working power prove that was adequate?

            4.  The New Testament always refers to people baptizing someone else; Thecla is self-baptized.

            5.  In the New Testament one is instructed to live in but not be part of the world (cf. 1 Corinthians 5:9-10, for example).  In contrast, the monastic ideal is upheld in Thecla:  “At length, certain gentlewomen hearing of the virgin Thecla, went to her, and were instructed by her in the oracles of God, and many of them abandoned this world, and led a monastic life with her” (10:15).

            6.  At the same time, the book opposes sexual relationships in general, it has a strange appeal to human sensuality.  “The theme of sexual abstinence is a major theme in the Acts of Paul and Thecla.  This plays at odds with the story because much is made of Thecla's good looks and the two miracles done to save her are done while she is naked. There are also two attempted rape scenes in this short book.”  (These five points and the quotations are all from 71.) 

            In all fairness, it should be noted that we can’t be certain how much of this can be traced back to the earliest written form of the tale and the one Tertullian had access to.  Even so, it is in the form that has survived and we have no particular reason to doubt that the bulk of it faithfully reflects that first written version—which was noted by Tertullian as an exposed imitation even in his own day. 

That didn’t hinder it from being accepted by a goodly number as religiously encouraging, but it is hard to see how such evidence was consistent with it gaining much of an audience as Scripture rather than pious story-telling.  Except, perhaps, among the scripturally most unlearned.  





III.  The “Gospel of Peter”



            This narrative speaks of Jesus as remaining quiet and acting as if he felt no pain while on the cross (which no one reading the canonical gospels would think for one second but which docetic theology embraced), and refers to His being “taken up” while carefully avoiding the injection of the idea of actual death.  While in the traditional gospels Herod Antipas sends Jesus back to Pilate and has nothing to do with the sentencing to death, in this narrative, after Pilate washes his hands of responsibility, Herod takes over and orders the punishment. 

Especially oddly, it is the Jewish authorities who carry out the scourging and the crucifixion and Roman soldiers only become involved when they are requested to guard the tomb.  In essence, Roman responsibility is whitewashed and Jewish responsibility becomes, effectively, the sole cause of Jesus’ death. (See the more detailed summary of F. F. Bruce, Jesus and Christian Origins Outside the New Testament [pages 93-94] as quoted at the “Gospel of Peter” page at 72.) 

Oddly enough the Jewish religious leaders, including high priest, remain at the grave as well.  The Jewish conviction of the impurity of corpses and remaining around them longer than necessary is widely acknowledged and makes this utterly improbable.

The actual resurrection itself is pictured, with Jesus leaving the tomb as a giant who towered into the sky.  “And they heard a voice from the heavens, saying, Thou hast preached to them that sleep. And a response was heard from the cross, Yea.”  So we have a talking cross.  Interesting.  Most interesting.  (On these matters as undermining the credibility of the work when contrasted with the far more restrained canonical gospels, see 73.) 

            The canonical emphasis on specific Old Testament texts being “fulfilled” in these events is lacking as is the introductory formulas utilized to do so.  [See Ron Cameron, The Other Gospels [pages 77-78], as quoted at 72.)      

            Although those hostile to the credibility of the canonical sources sometimes date the Gospel of Peter as early or earlier than the New Testament gospels, the introduction of the docetic tinge produces immediate suspicion of a post-apostolic date.  Few if any who advocate that GP came first really believe that any account carries a credible, historically accurate—or at least close to it!—account of the events. 

Hence it is very easy to dismiss their scholarly efforts as designed to cripple Christian faith rather than arrive at historic truth.  This “rival text” happens to be available—and even has an apostle’s name attached--so it is bent to their purpose.

            Be that suspicion however you judge it, the exclusivity of responsibility in the hands of the Jews argues for a considerable amount of time to have passed however.  Dividing responsibility makes both historical and narrative sense into the 70s, 80s, and 90s of the first century when the events were too recent to pretend something different had happened . . . but by the 140s or so, two massive Jewish revolts had happened in geographic Palestine and a “blame the Jews” strategy would both distinguish Christianity from Judaism and be more inherently appealing to the Roman/gentile temperament. 

The Romans were surely realist enough to recognize governor abuse and the idea of an irresponsible official endorsing the unjust death of a religious figure would not have horrified them pre-70.  But somewhere between then and the Second Jewish Revolt they were hardly as likely to have been as generous in regard to any religious figure undergoing Roman sponsored death in Judaea.     

            We only have a very small part (only 60 verses!) of what is assumed to be the end of the narrative and that segment is summarized above.  There are only four references to the work preserved from antiquity. 

Theodoret in his Of Heretical Fables (ii. 2) refers to a sect in his day that utilized it:  “The Nazaraeans are Jews who know Christ as a righteous man, and use the Gospel called  ‘according to Peter’ ” (as quoted by M. R. James, The Apocryphal New Testament (Oxford: Clarendon Press 1924), part of 74.)  The wording suggests a Jewish (presumably Jewish-Christian) group that revered Jesus but not in the supernatural terms the canonical gospels present. 

Theodoret does not suggest any widespread use of the book; indeed, his wording reasonably implies that this was the only group so using it.  In other words, it persevered in a factional group rather than being in widespread church circulation.  (Some have questioned whether the factional identification he provides actually fits with the beliefs of that group, however.)

The second citation comes from Origen in his On Matthew, (x. 17):  “(They of Nazareth thought that Jesus) was the son of Joseph and Mary:  but the brothers of Jesus some (founding on a tradition of the Gospel entitled according to Peter or of the Book of James) say were sons of Joseph by a former wife who had lived with him before Mary.”

The “Book of James” here is assumed to be the Protevangelium attributed to James.  You will notice here that the entire Gospel of Peter must have also included some discussion of Jesus’ ministry—for the issue of the “true” nature of the “brothers” to become a controversy—and, presumably, the birth as well.  Hence the conclusion that what has been preserved is but a short fragment of a far longer composition.

Finally, there are two references in Eusebius’ Church History.  The first one (Volume 3. 3. 2) lists it as one of those works not handed down as authoritative within the mainstream church tradition.

What interests us, however, is the later reference.  For he quotes at length from Serapion (probably writing somewhere in the time frame of 190-210 A.D.), who was Bishop of Antioch and encountered this work.  What we find here is a willingness to permit the reading of non-canonical religious literature but absolute indignation when it promotes erroneous doctrine and when it is being palmed off as an apostolic writing while doing so.  From Eusebius’ Church History (Volume 6, Chapter 12; in 14-257f.) comes this lengthy quotation from Serapion:


It is probable that others have preserved other memorials of Serapion’s literary industry, but there have reached us only those addressed to a certain Domninus, who, in the time of persecution, fell away from faith in Christ to the Jewish will-worship; and those addressed to Pontius and Caricus, ecclesiastical men, and other letters to different persons, and still another work composed by him on the so-called Gospel of Peter.

He wrote this last to refute the falsehoods which that Gospel contained, on account of some in the parish of Rhossus who had been led astray by it into heterodox notions.  It may be well to give some brief extracts from his work, showing his opinion of the book.  He writes as follows:


“For we, brethren, receive both Peter and the other apostles as Christ; but we reject intelligently the writings falsely ascribed to them, knowing that such were not handed down to us.  When I visited you I supposed that all of you held the true faith, and as I had not read the Gospel which they put forward under the name of Peter, I said, ‘If this is the only thing which occasions dispute among you, let it be read.’

“But now having learned from what has been told me, that their mind was involved in some heresy, I will hasten to come to you again.  Therefore, brethren, expect me shortly.  But you will learn, brethren, from what has been written to you, that we perceived the nature of the heresy of Marcianus, and that, not understanding what he was saying, he contradicted himself.

“For having obtained this Gospel from others who had studied it diligently, namely, from the successors of those who first used it, whom we call Docetae (for most of their opinions are connected with the teaching of that school) we have been able to read it through, and we find many things in accordance with the true doctrine of the Saviour, but some things added to that doctrine, which we have pointed out for you farther on.”


            This is a most fascinating case because it is described in enough detail to provide us far more information than the passing mentions that we are usually compelled to rely on.  Serapion was visiting the congregation/“parish” of Rhossus—presumably in some oversight capacity since both the event and the aftermath imply that he was in a position to decisively intervene—yet the volume was clearly one that he had heard nothing ill about. 

Nor that there was a local “market” for erroneous teaching.  So far as he knew “I supposed that all of you held the true faith.”  He had clearly heard nothing in other places to alert him nor saw or heard anything when he arrived.

            Almost by definition that meant that any controversies they were having were, to use the modern phrase, “much ado about nothing.”  Hence he had no immediate reason to even examine the GP but simply to stifle the dissension surrounding its use:  “If this is the only thing which occasions dispute among you, let it be read.”  Love it; hate it.  It would do no harm, so let it be read for the sake of peace and unity.     

            If his assumptions were valid, then so was the policy he embraced.

            He soon learned that it wasn’t.

            First came the reports of “some heresy” surrounding the use of the book.  He did not rely upon rumor or even the report of others “who had studied in diligently,” but obtained the text itself to verify (or disprove if that turned out to be the case) what he was hearing:  “We have been able to read it through.” 

            Now notice Serapion’s criteria (c. 200 A.D.) for whether to accept or reject the GP:

            (1)  It wasn’t ancient enough.  The relative newness of the pseudo-Gospel could be seen in the fact that he obtained it “from others who had studied it diligently, namely, from the successors of those who first used it.”  That leads us to the conclusion that c. 200, the GP was in its second or, at most, third generation of usage and not more.  Too late to have been of genuine apostolic origin. 

            (2)  It contradicted the genuine gospel.  Through his personal study of the work he found the doctrinal accusations against it confirmed:  there were “some things added to that doctrine” of the Savior.  Consistency with pre-existing teaching about Jesus that came from acknowledged apostolic sources was essential.

            (One could attempt to dodge this by saying that the doctrine of the GP was being compared with generally accepted contemporary church doctrine that was regarded as that of Jesus, but since he’s testing a written document that claims to be of the apostolic age, a comparison with written material he accepted as from the first century itself makes far better interpretive sense.)  

            As noted earlier, what has survived is only the ending of the document which has some seriously strange peculiarities.  Yet Serapion, who had the entire work, even had to concede that there were “many things in accordance with the true doctrine of the Saviour in it,” so parts of it did impress him even though it was not genuine scripture. 

In those parts, perhaps it could be best described as “a good Biblical imitation.”  Whether that was because it essentially repeated text from the canonical gospels or because it taught some of those doctrines in a different wording, but with an accurate reflection of it, is unknown to us.  And barring an amazing textual discovery will be so forever.  

            Both this incident and the one concerning the Acts of Paul show that there was a potential market for second and later century pseudonymous literature. However, there was also a clear determination by church leaders to fight against the acceptance of such works as authoritative and first century compositions.  Even edification potential did not justify the authorial deception of masquerading as an apostle or an apostolic contemporary.

            In the case of the Gospel of Peter, heresy was alleged as being contained in the questioned volume; but even doctrinal purity was not enough to protect such imitations.  Tertullian does not allege heterodoxy against the Asian presbyter who wrote the Acts of Paul.  The mere fact that it was falsely attributed to the first century was sufficient to secure its firm rejection.  Hence the mind cast of second century church leadership was hostile—not receptive—to the acceptance as scripture of pseudonymous literature. 

(Use of such literature for edification purposes—as acknowledged pious fiction rather than for establishing authority and as truly apostolic may be something else--and is definitely beyond the scope of our current study.)    





IV.  Anonymous Literature that

Became Pseudonymous?



            We have seen that the moral guilt rightly attached to pseudo-apostolic documents can not be removed on the grounds that such false attributions were an acceptable literary custom within the Christian community.  A second means of removing that moral stain is to claim that the questioned writings were originally anonymous; only later was a name attached to the text itself and, in certain cases, appropriate internal references added suitable to such an authorship.  (At which point we surely cross the line between anonymous turning pseudonymous into the realm of intentional fraud!)


            What of the alleged secular literature precedent?  Frank W. Hughes has written a fascinating analysis defending this scenario on the basis that it was a typical Roman-Greek writing technique (75).  In such cases, names were attached because they lacked knowledge of the genuine ones.  The scenario has been suggested, in particular, in regard to the Iliad and the Odyssey:  First they circulated nameless and only later was “Homer” attached to it.    

            If true, then it argues that after a century or two or three an attribution was made.  Since full and partial canon lists and citations of contested works as “Pauline” come far quicker than this, it is hard to see how such examples would be relevant to the case of the New Testament.  There the false identification has either been added to the text itself or is already widely accepted.  There simply is inadequate time for that transition of the text from nameless to “named.” 

            Hughes then quietly drifts from material that was transformed into pseudonymous literature into writings that originated as such.  (Since we’ve already discussed this possibility at length, we’ll be brief.)  By the first century, as he concedes, it seems clear that authors who utilized such names did so with full knowledge that they were attributing an identity to the documents that could not be genuine. 

However “innocent” that may have seemed to pagan “secular” literature, would Christians have regarded with such moral tranquility the act of assuming a faked identity and then widely circulating the result as from that other person?  As an intellectual, non-religious exercise, perhaps—but even there one might hesitate.  But as a document falsely claiming religious authority and the right to demand adherence to it?—I think not.

            Hughes argues that “the majority of Graeco-Roman pseudepigraphy remained undetected until modern times, even though resources for detection existed in antiquity” and he might well be right (75).  But here we are concerned not with such materials in general or even ones attributed to post-apostolic authors, but to pseudo-Biblical, especially pseudo-New Testament ones in particular.  Would they be so trusting (= gullible?) of freshly minted, previous unknown epistles?  (Remembering that these were written as if authoritative and binding rather than merely “uplifting” in some vague sense.)

Hughes himself concedes that such works were subject to challenge—if not by all (some would like the doctrinal twists, after all), but by many.  For whatever querulous and unquestioning church leaders might have been willing to embrace works they had not heard of previously, others were quite unwilling to give such volumes an unthinking acceptance—showing that just because works claimed a certain origin, it was not going to escape challenge if something seemed odd about it.  He writes:


[I]nvestigations into authenticity were reflected in works by Clement of Alexandria, Sextus Julius Africanus, Origen, Tertullian, Leontius of Byzantium, John of Skythopolis, Severus of Antioch, Nikephoros I of Constantinople, and others.  At the end of the second century CE, Clement appears to have followed local philological tradition in Alexandria in examining the authenticity of pagan works in terms of style and language. . . , [i.e., did it really match the contents and style one would anticipate from that author?] 



            The problem of books that never made the transition—the book of Hebrews in particular.  That a New Testament book could be distributed without a name being specifically included is readily admitted.  The book of Hebrews is an obvious example.  Yet this book is also a massive indictment of the anonymous to pseudonymous scenario. 

            Much lively debate occurred in the second and following centuries over the true authorship.  Why then wasn’t a false attribution added to the text—especially in the early years?

            After all, the book is a lengthy one, of great use in defining the relationship of the Christian to the Old Testament order.  Its inherent appeal would be increased even more if an apostolic name could successfully be attached to it.  Paul has been the most commonly made attribution but where did the suspicion ever enter the written manuscript tradition?  (If it did, it certainly wasn’t enough to engender any serious discussion as to whether it was a valid part of the text or not!)

            If as important and prominent a book as this one did not undergo the anonymous / pseudonymous transition, why would we expect it to have happened to other New Testament books?  Of course if one were as intellectually “playful” in an unjustified cause as the hostile critics, one could argue that Hebrews is a wonderful example of the opposite:  a document that began as pseudonymous literature but, under suspicion as to its genuine authorship, was stripped of the identification and made anonymous.  Don’t we have exactly as much evidence for that scenario as for theirs?


            Finally, for a misattribution to be successfully added to the text, it virtually had to be at an extremely early date so that there would be few if any later manuscripts lacking it.  The later the date it was added, the greater probability that a significant sub-set of manuscripts would exist lacking it. 

            Hence our insistence on an extremely early date situation as an absolute essential for the scenario of addition to be valid.  Furthermore, let us assume that someone actually attempted the anonymous / pseudonymous shift.  Could the effort have escaped loud and severe censure from those who knew the facts? 

And those wary of the warned against textual mutilation of an inspired text—assuming (with great justice) that the principle of Revelation 22:18-19 would have been applied here as well.  Would they really have thought that the prohibition against adding to the text in Revelation gave them carte blanche to do so elsewhere at their leisure?  It is hugely more likely they would have read the text as creating a principle for all the sacred texts and not just one.

            To utterly silence all such outbursts would have required a conspiracy (nothing less) of church-wide dimensions, backed up with psychological intimidation at the least.  Physical intimidation at the worst.  But Christian martyrdoms showed that, for whatever their faults, they were men and women of conviction.  Silencing wouldn’t have worked.

            Furthermore, such an effort at suppression—however genteel--would have utterly destroyed any claim that Christianity was to be regarded as morally superior to its religious alternatives in Judaism and polytheism.  To risk such to add a name where there was none?  Really?







Chapter Six:

Verbal Arguments and the

Ability of Language to Communicate



            In the previous chapters we have examined substantive scenarios, containing arguments for which hard evidence can be introduced in one or both directions.  In this final chapter, our emphasis will be on analyzing what might well be called “verbal arguments,” contentions that consist more of a play on words and/or inflammatory language.  At the end we will deal with the more legitimate question of the ability of language to communicate spiritual truth.  





I.  The Shotgun of Loaded Terminology




A.  Bibliolatry



            There are times when you would think that “verbal inspiration”—or its functional equivalent if you prefer a different formulation of the same concept—is the worst thing to happen to the world since sin first entered.  Bibliolatry is the venomous accusation hurled by some.  What they seem to overlook is that we regard the Bible not as an idolatrous alternative to Jehovah, but as the totally accurate revelation of His will.  It is because of our worship of and reverence toward God that we so insist upon treating His word with utter respect.

            Even one considered an evangelical, J. P. Morgan, delivered a public lecture in 2007 before a body of evangelicals to warn of the danger:  “In the actual practices of the Evangelical community in North America, there is an over-commitment to Scripture in a way that is false, irrational, and harmful to the cause of Christ.  And it has produced a mean-spiritedness among the over-committed that is a grotesque and often ignorant distortion of discipleship unto the Lord Jesus.” 

            There is a certain oddity for proving that the Scriptures alone are insufficient by citing such malign attitudes and practices that the Scriptures themselves condemn.  If we may make a pun, such things are produced by an under- veneration of Scripture rather than any overstated Bibliolatry.  (And I don’t deny for a second that there are those who “kill the truth” in the process of allegedly serving it.  God will not be amused.)

            Here he was dealing with what we might call the “practical” case against “Bibliolatry,” which he describes as being “over-committed to the Bible,” but he also makes a more germane argument when he asserts that it produces an over-reliance on one type of evidence and exclusion of other relevant data.  He does this on the basis of belief in modern supernatural gifts still being given by God, which should, he contends, be a tool to better understand and use scripture.  In addition the alleged over-centeredness on the Biblical text causes a neglect of things like “natural law” and “moral theology” to deepen our insights. 

Of course there’s nothing wrong with the latter two as a supplement to scripture—as the caboose, if you will, and never the engine.  Along with the careful use of such--lest they become the real reason for a major belief rather than simply playing the supplemental role of providing additional insight into already textually established truths from Scripture.  If one believes that modern revelation continues, then that supplemental source would be valid as well.  (I fervently dissent on whether they actually exist on the basis of 1 Corinthians 13:8-10.)

            Likewise there is nothing wrong with coming to a “new interpretation” of Scripture—which he insists that the current approach is hindering being done.  At 73, I’m still learning!  But there’s a profound difference between it being an interpretation of scripture—i.e., it comes naturally and understandably out of the text—and imposing on the text a purely conjectural approach on a matter of faith or morals for which there is nothing from the text to work with. 

The approach may even provide a theoretical construct of why things are stated in certain ways in the Scriptures or the most likely reason certain teachings are presented the way they are.  But there is a profound difference between such use of supplemental resources and permitting them to take the place of Scriptural teaching itself.

            (Having seen the strange excesses of scriptural “interpretation” that unbelieving and semibelieving exegetes have imposed on the Bible--on the basis of what they think they’ve learned from other sources--why should I have any great confidence that religious “conservatives” will be any more successful in coming to text-respectful conclusions?)


            If the Devil can quote Scripture—as during Jesus’ Forty Days of Temptation—it should come as no surprise that the Scriptures can be twisted into an active defense of the Bibliolatry accusation.  Hence we hear that Jesus is Judge, not Scripture.  We hear that we are giving to the Bible the place due to Jesus alone.

            Yet Jesus is judge, but what will He judge by?  The Scriptures given to mankind to guide and teach us.  Was it not Jesus who insisted that “Scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35)?  Is it not Jesus who in Matthew 5 repeatedly laid down what Scripture really taught and repudiated the human glosses that substituted for it?  Thereby showing that the Scriptures were the thing to go to to judge proper behavior.

            Was it not Jesus who promised the apostles that they would be guided “into all truth” (John 16:13)?  So what could He possibly judge mankind by other than that which He caused them to teach?  And since they were God given to guide the people, we have every reason to believe that the Torah and prophets will be His standard for those who lived before He did.

            So Jesus will judge according to the Scriptures.  The Scriptures are not king.  But they are the King’s law.  How do kings normally react to having their law treated with contempt and disdain?  Do they applaud and congratulate you on your scholarly insight?  Or do they bring down their full wrath and indignation?




B.  Paper Pope”



            Then there is the charge that “verbal inspiration” creates “a paper Pope.  But that assumes what it needs to prove—that the Scriptures actually don’t have the authority the text itself repeatedly claims.  Our objection to the papacy is that it is a human invention that exists without sanction or authority of God.

            On the other hand, if the papacy were truly of Divine origin, we would be morally obligated to submit to it just as we are morally obligated to submit ourselves to the Scriptures—because it would be God’s will that we do so.

             The terminology of despotism is freely used to denounce “word inspiration:  Having to submit to it would constitute a “tyranny of words” and “make us mere slaves.”  Strangely, when we subject ourselves to the civil code of our respective states, we don’t often consider ourselves slaves—do we?  Why then the strange paranoia if we submit ourselves to the written law of a Legislator-King far wiser than the best and most impartial of mortals? 





II.  Verbal Distinctions




A.  Christ is the Word of God, not the Bible



            At heart, this is verbal word play—insisting that the “word” that judges can be used in only one sense, while scripturally it is applied to both Jesus (John 1:1) and the written word of Scripture.  Furthermore the written word contains the teaching of the supernatural Word/Jesus (John 16:13-14).  The written word was the means chosen to guarantee His continued presence in the world even if all mankind became reprobate.

            One can not help but wonder if most of those who play “Word” off against “word” really believe He is the “Word” sent to earth by the Father to live and die for fallen mankind.  Deity incarnate in a human body.  In too many cases the denier of one is quite happy to deny both. 

            (For another variant on the accusation—that Jesus is judge and not the Bible—see the section on Bibliolatry above.)





B.  The Scriptures are the “Record” of Revelation Rather than the Revelation Itself



            The reasoning goes:  True revelation is found in what God did; the Bible is merely the record of what He did.  In evaluating this, we must remember that without the written record we would have no certainty of where and when God had acted.  It would be pure guess work.  Hence the action and the record are intertwined; it is only through the latter that we are certain of the former.

            And if the latter is essential to firm knowledge of the former, doesn’t it follow that He would so treat the preparation of the written record in a manner that would assure an infallible record of what He had done?  Would it make much sense for Deity to go to the trouble of intervening in human affairs and then leave the preservation of the memory of it to unaided human endeavor?

            Much is said by these folks of the salvational acts of God, but we cannot help but once again ask whether the emperor is naked:  Can a person really believe, for example, in the Exodus being a “salvational act” when claiming that it actually took place in driblets over decades—if we can claim it ever happened in any meaningful sense at all?  How can it be “salvational” if it, in essence, never really occurred?  Yet that kind of denial is not uncommon among those who would make this kind of argument.

            Let’s approach it from a different angle:  assume, for argument’s sake, that (1) God can speak through prophets and (2) that in a certain case He not only could, but actually did so.  What could we possibly call that “speaking forth” except Divine revelation?  It does seem more than a little strange that “revelation” is what God does, but never what He says.  Even though the latter explains the former and asserts it is from the same source.  




C.  The Scriptures “Become” the Word of God through Our “Encounter” with It



            A subtle shift often occurs here, when people prefer to speak in terms of the Bible “becoming” the word of God when we rightly react to it rather than inherently being the word of God.  If we take words to mean what they say, then when this is argued, it logically should mean that we are vital to the word of God existing and without us there would be no word of God.  But what was it before that event if it came from God?  Does its stature hinge on us or upon its inherent nature?

            Of course, there is a profound change when we turn from denying it is the word of God to embracing it as such, but that change is solely within us.  The word itself is the same as it was previously, however—supremely authoritative.  What has changed is our willingness to obey it rather than defy it.

            The “encounter” line of reasoning can easily be modified in an even more radical direction:  Since the Scriptures are not inherently the word of God, then we have a situation in which the Bible inspires us rather than being inspired itself.  To the extent that “inspiration” can be said to exist at all, it does so when it has motivated us to act.  “Inspiration” is what it has given to us—“inspiring” our action. 

            If we are to judge things on the basis of its inward effects on us, “How can we be sure that God has not spoken to us from the record of the Koran (which is demonstrably full of errors and anachronisms), or from the Egyptian Book of the Dead, or from the Hindu Vedas?  Why only from the Bible?”  (15-30).

            Consistency would require that all “religious experience” be accepted as equally valid.  This may subjectively work well for “respectable” religions, but when one enters exotic cults such as Iranian devil worship one can’t help but suspect that even the most dedicated ecumenicalist will cringe.

            Scripture becomes true in this subjective approach because of its impact on me.  To make how I react to something the test of religious truth is the height of conceited egotism of the worst kind.  I with all my sin, corruption, and self deception become the final arbiter of truth and error.  I with all my limitations, failings, and animosities determine truth by what I like and embrace.

            Such an approach skirts dangerously close to self-deification for we give faith in our own judgment a place of honor that should be given only to God and the Word He speaks through.   




D.  If All “Verbally Inspired,” All of Equal Value



            Hence, it is argued, the most technical ritual detail of Leviticus is as important as the Golden Rule; similarly Paul’s desire for his books (2 Timothy 4:13) is also just as important as the Golden Rule (Matthew 7:12).

            This line of reasoning can, of course, be used to impeach any strong, meaningful doctrine of inspiration, not just one that encompasses the very word choices that we are contending for.

            The argument also confuses utilitarian usefulness with inspiration.  In the state code of my native Virginia, we have sections dealing with a wide range of matters—from the allowable interest rates on overdue taxes to the death penalty for atrocious crimes.  Obviously the latter sections are “more important” (for they involve literal life and death), but both have exactly the same authority behind it—that of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

            That same code also covers matters from obscure licensing commissions that not one percent of Virginians have ever heard of to the financial formula for the division of sales tax and lottery ticket sales money for public education.  Obviously the latter has far “greater value” than the former, yet the legal authority for both is identical.

            In short, the practical value may differ but the ultimate source and authority is the same.  Why then would we expect differing practical impacts of Biblical texts to affect their identical source, authority, and inspiration?

            And even texts like Paul’s desire for his books are not without use—just not as important use as other passages.  They show the propriety for personal possessions, it shows the rightness of making sure they don’t simply “get lost” or “disappear,” and it shows that first century Christians were more book orientated than often believed.  The latter, of course, is important in that it shows their early concern with preserving what had happened not only via verbal communication, but written communication as well.

            Earth shattering, no.  But still of considerably more use that one might cavalierly dismiss it.     





III.  The “Inability” of Language to Fully

Communicate Truth



            That there is some truth to this, we readily admit.  Sometimes we mortals have a terribly difficult time fully communicating what we wish to say.  It does not take a philosopher to comprehend this point; any person who has stood in a pulpit more than once and has felt the audience missing some important point or another—has felt that terrible frustration that comes from being unable to get one’s point across.

            However that may well be because we have done a bad job of presentation.  Or the audience has “closed their ears:  they “can’t” hear because they don’t want to hear what is being argued.  It happens both ways.

            However the situation radically alters when we move from human communication to Divine.  (Or doesn’t God actually have the power and ability of God?)  For inspiration deals with what God has utilized His capacities and power to accomplish.  As Creator and omniscient and all powerful, He is surely able to communicate above the limited ability of His human creation; He is able to imbue His words with a depth and fullness that we mortals could not hope to achieve unassisted.

            So failure on the part of the Speaker is not an option.  Of course the recipient of the message may still “close their ears,” and refuse to hear.  That is not a failure in communicating ability by God; it is a failure in “listening ability” by hard-headed humans who “know what I believe and have no intention of changing it.”

            Furthermore, the real question is not so much whether a “full” knowledge can be communicated by words, but whether an “adequate” knowledge can be so communicated.  Our everyday experience teaches the latter can be done and if we mere mortals can usually accomplish at least that much, how much more our Creator!

            James Montgomery Boice has provided an amusing anecdote of the danger inherent in detaching words from their ability to be truth- and knowledge-bearing tools (16-156):


What happens when the function of language as a vehicle for truth is denied may be illustrated by this story.  In one of the classes of one of our prominent theological seminaries a professor had been denying that words have a one-to-one relationship to meaning and had concluded that all truth is subjective. 

One of the conservative students challenged his professor.  He argued that while it is true that we often misunderstand what is meant by a word or words, nevertheless words do have meaning and do convey literal content.  The word “airplane” makes all who speak English think of a certain kind of object flying through the sky, he argued.  If you say, “Look, an airplane!” people will look up.

He gave other illustrations.  Finally, the student said to his professor, “If language is what you say it is, then conversation is meaningless.  In fact this class is meaningless.  There is no point in our being here.”

There was a moment of silence as the truth of the words sunk in.  Then someone said, “If this is meaningless, what shall we do for the rest of the hour?”

“Let’s play squash,” someone suggested.  So the class got up and walked out, leaving the professor alone in his classroom.

This is what happens when the function of language as a vehicle for truth is denied.  The result is chaos.


            Rather than words having communicable meanings, the approach we are studying often insists that they are mere “symbols.”  But this also produces a dead end.  As Gordon H. Clark has remarked (17-40):


Let a person say that the cross symbolizes the love of God.  However, if all language or all religious language is symbolical, the statement that the cross symbolizes the love of God is itself a symbol.

A symbol of what?  When this last question is answered, we shall find that this answer is again a symbol.

                        Then another symbol will be needed, and another.

                        And the whole process will be meaningless.


            The scenario that annihilates the ability of words to communicate adequate and accurate knowledge ties in with the accommodation theory we have examined:  In at least some cases God had to “accommodate” to human limitations not only because what was being said had to be in accord with what was thought to be true . . . but also because of the limited ability of words to adequately express truth. 

If either claim be true, it wrecks havoc with God’s power—junking omniscience and omnipotence—not to mention His moral integrity.  Therefore providing every excuse for Christians to play games with the truth as well.   Rhetorical exaggeration?  Precious little.  Probably none.  As Tim Chaffey and Roger Patterson write (64):


To accept accommodationism means that God is not able to use language in a way that perfectly communicates the meaning without embracing falsehoods. Wayne Grudem states succinctly that to embrace accommodation “essentially denies God’s effective lordship over human language.” 

Secondly, . . . to say that God has communicated using a falsehood denies His moral character as described in Numbers 23:19, Titus 1:2, and Hebrews 6:18.  Further, since we are to be imitators of God and His moral character (cf. Leviticus 11:44; Ephesians 5:1; 1 Corinthians 11:1, etc.), then if God misled people, shouldn’t we also use intentionally misleading or false ideas to communicate?  All of these ideas are contrary to the clear teaching of Scripture and deny the holiness of God. . . .  









1          =          Edwin  A. Blum, “The Apostles’ View of Scripture,” in Norman L. Geisler, editor, Summit Papers:  International Council on Biblical Inerrancy, meeting at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare, Chicago, October 26-28, 1978.  Published by the Council in spiral binding.


2          =          Edward J. Young, “Are the Scriptures Inerrant?” in Merrill C. Tenney, editor, The Bible—The Living Word of Revelation.  Grand Rapids, Michigan:  Zondervan Publishing House, 1968.


3          =          Paul D. Feinberg, “The Meaning of Inerrancy,” in Summit Papers.


4          =          Raymond F. Surburg, How Dependable Is the Bible?  Philadelphia:  J. P. Lippincott Company, 1972.


5          =          Norman L. Geisler, “Bible Manuscripts,” in Charles F. Pfeiffer, Howard F. Vos, and John Rea, editors, Wycliffe Bible Encyclopedia.  Chicago:  Moody Press, 1975.


6          =          Norman L. Geisler and William E. Nix, A General Introduction to the Bible.  Chicago:  Moody Press, 1968.


7          =          Theodore Engelder, Scripture Cannot Be Broken.  St. Louis, Missourri:  Concordia Publishing House, 1944.


8          =          Greg L. Bahnsen, “The Inerrancy of the Autographs,” in Summit Papers.


9          =          Rene Pache, The Inspiration and Authority of Scripture.  Translated by Helen I. Needham.  Chicago:  Moody Press, 1969.


10        =          John A. T. Robinson, Redating the New Testament.  Philadelphia:  Westminster Press, 1976.


11        =          R. Laird Harris, Inspiration and Canonicity of the Bible.  Grand Rapids, Michigan:  Zondervan Publishing House, 1957.


12        =          Edward J. Young, “The Canon of the Old Testament,” in Revelation and the Bible:  Contemporary Evangelical Thought.  Grand Rapids, Michigan:  Baker Book House, 1958.


13        =          Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, editors, The Ante-Nicene Fathers; volume III:  Latin Christianity.  New York:  Charles Scribners Sons, 1899.


14        =          Philip Schaff and Henry Wace, editors, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series; Volume I:  Eusebius.  New York:  Christian Literature Company, 1890.  


15        =          Gleason L. Archer, A Survey of Old Testament Introduction, Revised Edition.  Chicago:  Moody Press, 1974.


16        =          James Montgomery Boice, Gospel of John:  An Expositional Commentary; Volume 3:  John 9:1-12:50.  Grand Rapids, Michigan:  Zondervan Publishing House, 1977.


17        =          Gordon H. Clark, “Special Divine Revelation as Rational,” in Carl F. H. Henry, editor, Revelation and the Bible. 


18        =          Benjamin B. Warfield, Revelation and Inspiration.


19        =          John Murray, New International Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans; volume 1:  Romans 1-8.  Grand Rapids, Michigan, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1959.


20        =          W. E. Vine, Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words. 


21        =          Robert C. Welch, Obedience of Faith:  A Commentary on Romans.  Erlanger, Kentucky:  Faith and Facts Press, 1976.


22        =          L. Glaussen, Theopneustia:  The Plenary Inspiration of the Holy Scriptures, Revised Edition, translated by David Scott.  Bible Institute / Colportage Association.  French edition 1840; English edition, 1841.


23        =          Richard Glover, A Teacher’s Commentary on the Gospel of Saint Matthew.  Grand Rapids, Michigan:  Zondervan Publishing House, 1956 printing.


24        =          Dr. MacEvilly, An Exposition of the Gospels, Second Edition.  Dublin:  M. H. Bill & Son, 1883.


25        =          William Hendriksen, New Testanent Commentary on John, volume 2.  Grand Rapids, Michigan:  Baker Book House, 1954.


26        =          Leon Morris, New International Commentary on the Gospel According to St. John.  Grand Rapids, Michigan:  Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1971.


27        =          J. H. Jowett, Epistles of St. Peter, Second Edition.  London:  Hodder and Stoughton, MCMVI.


28        =          H. Wolfe, “1 and 2 Samuel,” in Merrill C. Tenney, General Editor, The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible, Volume 5.  Grand Rapids, Michigan:  Zondervan Publishing House, 1975.


29        =          J. Barton Payne, “Chronicles, Books of,” in Charles F. Pfeiffer, Howard F. Vos, and John Rea, editors, Wycliffe Bible Encyclopedia, volume 1.  Chicago:  Moody Press, 1975.


30        =          Kyle M. Yates, Jr., “Nehemiah, Book of,” in Charles F. Pfeiffer, Howard F. Vos, and John Rea, editors, Wycliffe Bible Encyclopedia, volume 2.  Chicago:  Moody Press, 1975.


31        =          J. S. Wright, “Esther, Book of,” in Merrill C. Tenney, General Editor, The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible, Volume 2.  Grand Rapids, Michigan:  Zondervan Publishing House, 1975.


32        =          Robert D. Dempsey, “Esther, Book of,” in Charles F. Pfeiffer, Howard F. Vos, and John Rea, editors, Wycliffe Bible Encyclopedia, volume 2.  Chicago:  Moody Press, 1975.


33        =          Ralph L. Smith, “Psalms, Book of,” Charles F. Pfeiffer, Howard F. Vos, and John Rea, editors, Wycliffe Bible Encyclopedia, volume 2.  Chicago:  Moody Press, 1975.


34        =          J. B. Payne, “Psalms, Book of,” in Merrill C. Tenney, General Editor, The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible, Volume 4.  Grand Rapids, Michigan:  Zondervan Publishing House, 1975.        


35        =          A. K. Hembold, “Proverbs, Book of,” in Merrill C. Tenney, General Editor, The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible, Volume 4.  Grand Rapids, Michigan:  Zondervan Publishing House, 1975.


36        =          G. L. Archer, “Ecclesiastes,” in Merrill C. Tenney, General Editor, The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible, Volume 2.  Grand Rapids, Michigan:  Zondervan Publishing House, 1975.


37        =          R. K. Harrison, “Song of Solomon,” in Merrill C. Tenney, General Editor, The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible, Volume 5.  Grand Rapids, Michigan:  Zondervan Publishing House, 1975.


38.  Edwin M. Yamauchi, “Solomon, Song of,” in Charles F. Pfeiffer, Howard F. Vos, and John Rea, editors, Wycliffe Bible Encyclopedia, volume 2.  Chicago:  Moody Press, 1975.


39        =          Donald Guthrie, New Testament Introduction, Third Edition (Revised).  Downers Grove, Illinois:  Inter-Varsity Press, 1970.


40        =          J. W. McGarvey, New Testament Commentary on Matthew and Mark.  Originally published, 1875.  Reprint:  [n.p.], Arkansas:  Gospel Light Publishing Company.


41        =          F. Godet, A Commentary on the Gospel of St. Luke, volume 1.  Translated by E. W. Whalden.  London (?):  T & T Clark, 1875.


42        =          John Albert Bengel, Gnomon of the New Testament, volume 2, edited by Andrew R. Fausset.  Edinburgh:  T & T Clark, MDCCCLIX.


43        =          Marvin R. Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament, Volume 1.  New York:  Charles Scribners Sons, 1887; 1911 reprint.


44        =          G. Campbell Morgan, Luke.  New York:  Fleming H. Revell Company, MCMXXXI.


45        =          F. F. Bruce, New Century Bible Commentary on First and Second Corinthians.  Greenwood, S.C.:  Attic Press, Inc., 1971; 1976 reprint.


46        =          Joseph A. Beet, A Commentary on St. Paul’s Epistles to the Corinthians, 6th edition.  New York:  Thomas Whitaker, 1882.


47        =          Gary F. Zeolla.  Analytical-Literal Translation:  Textual Variants in the New Testament:  Matthew.  At:  [May 2012.]


48        =          Philip W. Comfort.  New Testament Text and Translation Commentary:  Commentary on the Variant Readings of the Ancient New Testament Manuscripts and How They Relate to the Major English Translations.  Carol Stream, Illinois:  Tyndale House Publishers, 2008.


49        =          Jona Lendering.  “The Disappearance of Ancient Books.”  Dated:  June 20, 2006.  At:  [May 2012.]


50        =          No author provided.  “Non-Biblical Textual Criticism.”  At:  [May 2012.


51        =          R. Laird Harris, Samuel J. Schultz, Gary V. Smith, and Walter M. Dunnett, Exploring the Bible:  A Guide to the Old and New Testaments.  Wheaton, Illinois:  Crossway Books, 2001, 2002; 3 in 1 edition, 2007.  

52        =          British Library, “3.  Printing Shakespeare.”  At:  May 2012.


53        =          Anonymous.  “Same Name.  Different Spelling.  Which Do You Prefer?”  Dated:  December 27, 2008.  At: index?qid=20081227113442AAeUS5b.  [April 2016.]


54        =          Charles Foster Kent, “The Formation of the Old Testament Canon.”  From his The Origin & Permanent Value of the Old Testament (1906).  At:  Also available at Project Gutenberg.  [May 2012.]


55        =          XX = William Evans, “The Canon of the Bible” from his The Book of Books (Chicago:  Bible Institute Colportage Association, 1902).  Reprinted at the Anabaptist web site.  At:  [May 2012.]


56        =          Rusty Russell.  Part of the Jewish Literature in New Testament Times website.  At: LITERATUREThe_Old_Testament_Canon.htm.  [May 2012.]


57        =          J. P. H., “The Problem of a Canon.”  Part of the website Tekton:  Education and Apologetics Ministry.  At: html.  [May 2012.]


58        =          Anonymous, “What Books of the Bible did Paul Actually Write?”  At:  [June 2012.]


59        =          Roy W. Hoover, “How the Canon Was Formed.”  The Fourth R (Volume 5, 1; January-February 1992).  At: Periodicals/4R_Articles/canon.html.  [May 2012.]


60        =          Michael J. Kruger, Professor of New Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary, Charlotte, NC.  “Did Paul Himself Create the Very First New Testament Canon?”  Dated May 16, 20s12.  At:  [May 2012.]


61        =          Don Stewart, “Did the Sadducees Have a Different Old Testament Canon from the Rest of Judaism?”  Part of the Blue Letter Bible website.  At:  [May 2012.]


62        =          Mat Slick.  “Kenosis.”  Part of the CARM website, Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry.  At:  [June 2012.]


63        =          W. Hall Harris III.  “Exegetical Commentary on John 3.”  At:  [June 2012.]


64        =          Tim Chaffey and Roger Patterson.  “Was Jesus Wrong?  Peter Enns Says, ‘Yes.’   Date posted:  January 30, 2012.  Part of the Answers in Genesis website. At:  [June 2012.]


65        =          Josh McDowell and Don Stewart.  Book extract “Didn’t Jesus Accommodate His Teachings to the Beliefs of His Day?” from their work Reasons Skeptics Should Consider Christianity.  At: reasons_skeptics/ch_07/default.htm.  [June 2012.]


66        =          Gleason L. Archer.  “The Witness of the Bible To Its Own Inerrancy.”  In James M. Boice, editor, The Foundation of Biblical Authority.  London & Glasgow:  Pickering & Inglis, 1979.


67        =          As quoted by Ted Olson.  “Postcard from San Diego: Fighting 'Bibliolatry' at the Evangelical Theological Society.”  Posted November 14, 2007.  Entry at the Gleanings website, part of the Christianity Today site.  At:  [June 2012.]


68        =          Glen Miller.   Pseudonymity? Pseudepigraphy? Pseudo*.*?--Could the New Testament Letters Be Such?  Revised October 2002.  At:  [June 2012.]  This is the second part of his analysis, with the first appearing at pseudox.html. 


69        =          Frank W. Hughes.  Pseudonymity as Rhetoric:  A Prolegomenon to the Study of Pauline Pseudepigrapha.”  At:  [June 2012.]


70        =          Sheila E. McGinn.  “The Acts of Thecla.”  At: Bible/408/Readings/AThCommentary.htm.  [June 2012.]


71        =          Anonymous.   Question and Answer Rregarding Paul and Thecla.  Bulletin of La Vista church of Christ (Omaha, Nebraska).  Date:  October 30, 2011.  At:  [June 2012.]


72        =          The Early Christian Writings website.  At:  [June 2012.]


73        =          Ryan Turner.  “Does the Gospel of Peter Belong in the New Testament?”  Part of the website CARM:  Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry.  At:  [June 2012.]


74        =          The Early Christian Writings website.  At:  http://www.earlychristian  [June 2012.]


75        =          Frank W. Hughes.  Pseudonymity as Rhetoric:  A Prolegomenon to the Study of Pauline Pseudepigrapha.”  At:  [June 2012.]