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Since the turn of the twentieth century, scholars have questioned Paul's authorship of 2 Thessalonians, many believing it to have been written in Paul's name after his death in order to quell apocalyptic disruptions within the church. If the letter is authentic, then it is one of the first writings of the New Testament , coming shortly after 1 Thessalonians , which is usually thought to be either the first or second of Paul's existing letters.
If it is not truly Pauline, then it may have been written any time from the later 50s C.
The epistle opens with a salutation from Paul, Silas, and Timothy, the latter two being Paul's companions on his missionary journey. The authors begin with praise for the Thessalonian church and "the persecutions and trials you are enduring. At the same time, the writers warn that the church should place no stock in prophecies or letters "supposed to have come from us," reporting that the time of the Second Coming now. Before Jesus will come, the "lawless one" or "lawlessness" must be revealed.
The writers speak of a "man doomed to destruction"—sometimes translated as "the man of perdition"—who will "set himself up in God's temple , proclaiming himself to be God. Ultimately, however, "the Lord Jesus will overthrow him with the breath of his mouth and destroy him by the splendor of his coming.
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The authors conclude with an admonition to "keep away from every brother who is idle and does not live according to the teaching you received from us. Paul's own rule is reiterated: The traditional view is that the 2 Thessalonians was probably written from Corinth not many months after 1 Thessalonians.
Thessalonians, Second Epistle to the - New World Encyclopedia
Apparently the first letter was misunderstood, especially regarding the Second Coming of Christ. The Thessalonians had embraced the idea that Paul had taught that "the day of Christ was at hand. The opposing view of authorship holds that the letter was written after Paul's death in order to combat the growing apocalypticism and extremism, as evidenced by such writings as the Book of Revelation , as well as the Apocalypse of Peter , the Apocalypse of Paul, and other New Testament Apocrypha.
Such visions of the impending Last Days led to urgent prophecies of coming disasters and consequent disruptions in church order, including the abandonment of professions by members of the church. Indeed 1 Thessalonians itself emphasized that the Second Coming would occur suddenly, without warning: They were often not penned in the spirit of dishonesty, but in the sincere belief that the spirit of the "author" guided the hand of the scribe. Since the turn of the twentieth century, major studies by scholars such as William Wrede in  and Alfred Loisy in  challenged the traditional view of the authorship of 2 Thessalonians.
There is still widespread dispute over the matter.
According to Leon Moris in , the majority of current scholars at that time still held to Paul's authorship. One skeptical writer, Norman Perrin, observes: Those who believe Paul was the author of Second Thessalonians often note how he apparently wrote the final salutation at the end in his own hand rather than through a scribe.
The epistle was considered canonical by the second century teacher Marcion and is listed in the Muratorian fragment, the earliest orthodox list of canonical scriptures. Regardless of its authorship, 2 Thessalonians was and remains an influential writing, especially considering its short length. It provided the impetus for two important Christian doctrines, the Antichrist and the Christian work ethic.
The prediction of the "lawless one" later combined with similar prophecies in the Book of Revelation and references to heretical teachers called "antichrists" in 1 and 2 John to produce a horrifying vision of a satanic leader who would arise before the Second Coming of Jesus and lead the masses of people astray. Those who succumbed to his seductive teaching and satanically-inspired miracles would be doomed to Hell at the Final Judgment. Throughout Christian history, these predictions have inspired countless works of art and literature, including many popular works of fiction today, such as Tim LaHaye's best-selling "Left Behind" series.
Christocentric soteriology what did Jesus accomplish through his death and resurrection ; Jews, Judaism and "the law"; Pauline ethics of sex and gender; and modern Christian appropriation and applications. Our key question is "What difference does Jesus make, according to Paul?
Thessalonians, Second Epistle to the
In addition, we shall consider some of Paul's later interpreters, e. Attendance and diligent reading of the assigned texts are paramount. The grade is based on two assignments.
First, a five- to seven-page exposition of Paul's Christocentric soteriology supported thoroughly by textual references. Due a week after the course. Fuller description given in class and below. No secondary sources are needed for this paper. Second, in seminar fashion each student will be responsible for making an in-class presentation on one of the assigned secondary-source readings.
The presenter will include at least a page for the future use of other members of the class. The essays are to be word processed, double spaced, spell checked, and proofread. Use standard margins of 1" to 1. I prefer your using Microsoft Word so that I may embed my comments in your document, but any standard word processing program is acceptable.
Required Texts English Bible: Inasmuch as the class for Monday, July 5 has been cancelled because of the University holiday, the assignment for that class is a quick reading of Acts of the Apostles and a more careful reading Galatians and 1 Thessalonians. That is, for Paul, what difference has Jesus made and for whom? Acts ; Galatians; 1 Thessalonians. Course Intro; Pauline biography At-home readings: Issues in the production, transmission, and translation of biblical literature.
Situating Paul politically, religiously, socially, and chronologically. Text, intertext, "extratext," and context of Galatians and 1 Thessalonians. Comparison of Galatians translations. Philemon; Gaston, "Paul and the Torah," In class: Exegesis of 1 Corinthians. Discussion of McLean article and examination of the texts to which he refers. Philemon; Torah and Nomos At-home readings: