Since I’ll be teaching a course for WEMTC on Pauline theology in a few weeks,* I’ve started reviewing some of the relevant literature so that key points of interest, should they arise in the discussions, are already locked in my brain. This morning, I was making way through Bo Reicke’s posthumous book, Re-examining Paul’s Letters: The History of the Pauline Correspondence (2001), when I came across the following quote, which I found quite funny:
conservative theologians risk being accused of unorthodoxy if they do not believe that every Pauline letter is genuine, whereas liberal theologians fear being accused of unorthodoxy if they do not believe that certain Pauline lettes are spurious.
Reicke, Re-examining, 32
While I do not agree with Reicke’s categorisation of ‘conservatives’ and ‘liberals’, mainly because such labels are not 100% objective; I agree entirely with the argument he presents. However, I am compelled to ask: if we were to leave the name-calling aside, or the potential of being labelled something we might dislike; what would really happen if we said Paul only wrote some of the letters attributed to him? What would really happen if we said Paul wrote all of the letters attributed to him?
* This will be the same course I taught last year (see here, if interested); only this time the contents will be slightly different and the number of students will be greater.