Epistles, Apostolical All the revelations of God to mankind rest upon history. Therefore in the Old, as well as in the New Testament, the history of the deeds of God stands first, as being the basis of holy writ; thereupon follow the books which exhibit the doctrines and internal life of the men of God — in the Old Testament the Psalms, the writings of Solomon, etc., and in the New Testament the epistles of the apostles; finally, there follow in the Old Testament the writings of the prophets, whose vision extends into the times of the New Testament; and at the conclusion of the New Testament stands its only prophetic book, the Revelation of John.
1. The PAULINE epistles are thirteen in number, or fourteen, if we add to them the epistle to the Hebrews. Three of these are distinctively styled the Pastoral Epistles, namely, those to Timothy and Titus, as being chiefly on the duties of the pastorate. Up to our days the genuineness of the first thirteen epistles of Paul has almost unanimously been recognized in Germany, with the exception only of the pastoral epistles, and more especially the first letter to Timothy. Eichhorn and Bauer have attacked the genuineness of all the three pastoral epistles, and Schleiermacher that of the first epistle to Timothy. Indeed, the very peculiar character of the Pauline epistles is so striking to any one who is not ignorant of the want of ease and originality conspicuous in the counterfeit writings of early times, as to leave not the least doubt of their genuineness. Depth of thought, fire of speech, firmness of character — these manly features, joined withal to the indulgence of feelings of the most devoted love and affection, characterize these epistles. The amiable personal character of the apostle may be most beautifully traced in his epistle to the Philippians and in that to Philemon. (On many peculiarities of the Pauline epistles, see Laurent, Neutestam. Studien, Gotha, 1866.) SEE PAUL.
All Paul's epistles, except the one to the Romans were called forth by circumstances and particular occasions in the affairs of the communities to which they were addressed. It is believed that all the apostolical epistles of Paul have been preserved; for the inference from 1Co 5:9, that a letter to the Corinthians has been lost, is not warranted by the language and circumstances. SEE CORINTHIANS, FIRST EPISTLE TO. From Col 4:16, it has also been concluded — though probably erroneously, since there perhaps the letter to the Ephesians is referred to — that another letter to the community of Laodicea has likewise been lost. SEE LAODICEANS, EPISTLES TO AND FROM. Press of business usually compelled Paulas was, besides, not uncommon in those times — to use his companions as amanuenses. He mentions (Ga 6:11), as something peculiar, that he had written this letter with his own hand. This circumstance may greatly have favored the temptation to forge letters in his name, because, since the period of Alexandrine literature, it was not unusual to indite spurious books, as is evident from Eusebius (Hist. Ecclesiastes page 23); and even Christian bishops made complaints about the falsification of their letters. Paul alludes to this (2Th 2:2), and therefore writes the greeting (2Th 3:17) with his own hand. Paul himself exhorted the communities mutually to impart to each other his letters to them, and read them aloud in their assemblies (Col 4:16). It is therefore probable that copies of these letters had been early made by the several communities, and deposited in the form of collections. So long, therefore, as the various communities transmitted the manuscripts to each other, no other letters, it is obvious, could come into the collections than those to whose genuineness the communities to whom they were originally addressed bore witness. Even Peter (2Pe 3:16) seems to have had before him a number of Paul's letters, as, about forty years later, a number of letters of Ignatius were transmitted by Polycarp to Smyrna, while the church of Philippi forwarded to him those directed to them (Ep. Polic. sub. fin.; Euseb. Hist. Ecclesiastes 3:36). The Pauline collection, in contradistinction to the Gospels, passed by the name of ὁ ἀπόστολος, or "The Apostle." The letters of Paul may be chronologically arranged as those written before his first Roman imprisonment, those written during it, and those written after it: thus,
(a), beginning with his first letter to the Thessalonians, and concluding with that to the Romans, embracing an interval of about six years (A.D. 49-55);
(b), from the letter to the Ephesians to that to the Hebrews, about two years (A.D. 57-8); and
(c), his letter to Titus and his second to Timothy, about two years (A.D. 63-4). SEE ACTS (OF THE APOSTLES).
In our Bibles, however, the letters are arranged according to the pre- eminent parts and stations of the communities to whom they were addressed, and conclude with the epistles to the two bishops and a private letter to Philemon. (See each in its proper place.)
That these epistles offered great difficulties was already felt in the earliest times (2Pe 3:16). In the Roman Church their true understanding was more particularly lost by the circumstance that it understood by THE LAW only the opus operatumn of the ceremonial law; consequently the Roman Church could not comprehend justification by faith, and taught instead justification by works. As soon, therefore, as the true understanding of the Pauline epistles dawned upon Luther, his breach with the Roman Church was decided. SEE JUSTIFICATION.
2. The CATHOLIC epistles. There is, in the first instance, a diversity of opinion respecting their name: some refer it to their writers (letters from all the other apostles who had entered the stage of authorship along with Paul); some, again, to their contents (letters of no special, but general Christian tenor); others, again, to the recipients (letters addressed to no community in particular). None of these views, however, is free from difficulties. The first and the second views — and more especially the first — cannot be brought to harmonize with the idiomatic expressions in the extant pages of the ancient writers; the second is, besides, contradicted by the fact that the letter of James is of a special tenor, while, on the contrary, that to the Romans is of such a general character as to deserve the name "Catholic" (q.v.) in that sense. The third opinion is most decidedly justified by passages from the ancient writers (Euseb. Hist. Ecclesiastes 5:18; Clem. Alex. Strom. 4:15, ed. Potter, p. 606; Orig. c. Cels. 1:63). The Pauline epistles all had their particular directions, while the letters of Peter, James, 1 John, and Jude were circular epistles. The epistles 2 and 3 John were subsequently added, and included on account of their shortness, and to this collection was given the name Catholic Letters, in contradistinction to the Pauline, which were addressed to particular churches or individuals. The dates of nearly all of them are later than those of Paul, but their precise time is uncertain. See each in its order; also under SEE ACTS (OF THE APOSTLES).
3. Literature. — Besides the general Introductions (q.v.) to the N.T., or parts of it, and the Prolegomena in most modern commentaries on each epistle, there is a wide range of general discussion relating to them which cannot here be profitably reviewed: special treatises only can be enumerated, and even these not exhaustively. On the autograph letters there are monographs in Latin by Rathlef (Hannov. 1752) and Stosch (Guelf. 1751); on ecclesiastical letters in general, and their various descriptions, by Berg (Jen. 1666), Bencini (Taurin. 1730), Brondley (Hafn. 1711-1712), Friderici (Gotha, 1754), Kiessling (Lips. 1744), Miller (Stad.. 1682), Pezold (Lips. 1698), Schmid (Helmst. 1713), Spies (Altorf. 1745); also Dodwell (Dissert. Cyprian. Oxon. 1684, page 17 sq.), Cassabritius (Notit. Concil. Lugd. 1670, page 275 sq.); introductory in general, by Braun (Selecta Sancta, pages 1-162), Kleuker (German, Hamb. 1799), Kohler (Germ. Lpz. 1830); and of the catholic epistles specially, by Storr (Tub. 1789), Tiegler (Rost. 1807), Staudler (Gott. 1790).
Special COMMENTARIES on all the epistles of the N.T. are the following, of which the most important are denoted by an asterisk (*) prefixed: Cassiodorus, Complexiones (ed. Chandler, Lond. 1722, 12mo); Card. Cajetan, Enarratio (Ven. 1531, Par. 1532, 1537, 1546, Antw. 1611, fol.; Paris, 1540, Lugd. 1556, 1558, Paris, Par. 1571, 8vo; also in Opp. 5); Titelmann, Elucidatio (Antw. 1532, 1543, 8vo; Par. 1553, Ant. 1540, Ven. 1547, Lugd. 1553, 12mo); Bullinger, Commentarii (Tigur. 1537, 1549, 1558, 1582, 1588, 1603, fol.); Pellican, Commentarii (Tigurini. 1539, fol.); Gagneus, Scholia (Par. 1543, 1547, 1550, 1563, 1629, 1633, 8vo); Politus (or Catharinus), Commentarius (Romans 1546,Ven. 1551, Par. 1566, fol.); *Calvin, Commentarii (Geneva, 1551, fol.); Buonricci, Parafrsasi (Ven. 1565, 4to); Beza, Explicatio (Genev. 1565, 1570, 8vo); Hemming, Commentarius (Lips. 1572, Vitemb. 1576, Frcft. 1579, Argent. 1589, fol.); Arias Montanus, Elucidationes (Antw. 1588, 8vo); Gualther, Homiliae (Tigurini. 1599, fol.); Erythrophilus, Auslegung (Gosl. 1605, sq., 4 volumes, 4to); *Lubin, Exercitationes [on nearly all the epistles] (Rost. 1610, 4to); *Este, Commentarius (Duoci. 16146, Colon. 1631, Paris, 1633,1640, 1653, 1659, 1666, 1679, fol.); Vorstius, Commentary [on most of the epistles] (Amst. and Herder. 1631, 4to); Fabricius, Analysis (in Catena, Lips. 1634, 1639, fol.); Gomarus, Explicatio (in Opp. 1644, fol.); *Dickson, Commentarius (Glasg. 1645, 4to; in English, Lond. 1659, fol.); Trapp, Commentary (Lond. 1647, 4to); Godeau, Paraphrases (Par. 1651, 6 volumes, Rouen, 1657, Lyons, 1685, 3 volumes, 12mo); Fromond, Commentarius (Lovan. 1653, Paris, 1674, fol.); Anon. Verklaring (Amst. 1679, 4to); *Whitby, Commentary (London, 1700, fol., and since with others); Hunn, Commentarii (Vitemb. 1707, fol.); Noel Alexander, Commentarius (Rothm. 1710, 2 vols. fol.); Pyle, Paraphrase (London, 1725, 8vo); *Lang, Erklarung (Halle, 1729, fol.); Locke, Pierce, and Benson, Paraphrase (published separately, London, 1733-52, 3 volumes, 4to; upon the same plan, and together forming a commentary on all the epistles); Dale, Analysis (London, 1737, 2 volumes, 8vo); Weitenauer, Explicatio, etc. (Aug. Vind. 1769, 8vo); Hess, Schr. der Apostel (Ziir. 1775, 1820 sq., 3 volumes, 8vo); Leutwein, Erkldrung (Leipzig, 1782-9, 3 volumes, 8vo); Nisbit, Illustration (Lond. 1787, 1789; in Germ., Nurnb. 1790, 8vo); Bahrdt, Erklaruag (Berlin, 1787-9, 3 volumes, 8vo); Przipcovius, Cogitationes (in Opp. Amst. 1792, fol., 36); Jaspis, Annotationes (Lips. 1793-7, enlarged, 1821, 2 volumes, 8vo); Kuster, Anmerkungen (Chemn. 1794, Berl. 1803, 8vo); *Macknight, Commentary (London, 1795, 4 volumes, 4to; 1806, 1816, 8 volumes, 8vo; without the Greek text, 1795, 3 volumes, 4to; 1809, 1816, 4 volumes, 8vo; 1832, 1 volume, 8vo); Roberts, Harmony (Cambr. 1800, 4to); Shuttleworth, Paraphrase (Oxf. 1829, 8vo); Slade, Annotations (4th ed. London, 1836, 8vo); Schotl and Winzer, Commentar (Lpz. 1834 sq., 2 volumes, 8vo);
Barlee, Version (London, 1837, 8vo); Peile, Annotations (Lond. 1848-52, 4 volumes, 8vo); *Prichard, Commentary (Lond. 1864 sq., 3 volumes, 8vo have appeared). SEE NEW TESTAMENT.
On the whole of the Pauline epistles alone, the following: Origen, Fragmenta (in Opp. 4:690); Ambrosiaster, Commentarius (in Opp. 2:15); Chrysostom, Homiliae (in Opp.); Pelagius, Commentarii [on the first 13 epistles] (in Augustini Opp. Append.); Theodoret, Commentarius (London, 1636, fol.; also in Opp. III, 1; and Bibl. Patr. [Oxf. 8vo] 8); Avitus, Fragmenta (in Bibl. Max. Patr. 9, etc.); Primasius, Commentaria (ib. 10:142); Bede, Expositio (in Opp. 6:31); St. John Damascenus, Excerpta [from Chrysostom] (in Opp. 2:1); Claudius Taurinensis, Prologus (in Mlai, Script. et. VII, 1:274); Sedulius, In epp. P. (Basil, 1528; also in Bibl. Max. Patr. 6:458); (Ecumenius, In epp. P. (Gr. and Lat. Ver. 1532, Paris, 1631, 2 volumes, fol.; also in Opp.); Lanfranc, Commentarii (in Opp.; also in Bibl. Max. Patr. 18:621); Raban Maurus, Commentarii (in Opp.); Remigius Autiss. [Haimo] Explanationes (Colossians 1618, fol.; also in Bibl. Max. Patr. 8:883); Theophylact, Commentarius (Gr. and Latin, Lond. 1636, fol.; also in Opp. 2); Anselm, Commentaria (in Opp. ed. 1612); Hugo A St. Victor, Qucestiones (in Opp. 1:266); Aquinas, Expositio (Basil, 1475; Lugd. 1689, fol.; also in Opp. 6, 7); Bruno, Commentarius (Paris, 1509, fol.); Dionysius Carthus., Commentaria (Paris, 1531, 8vo); Peter the Lombard, Collectanea [from the fathers] (Paris, 1535, fol.; 1537, 1541, 1543, 1555, 8vo); Salmeron, Commentarii (in Opp. 13-15); Contarini, Scholia (Par. 1571; Ven. 1589, fol.; also in Opp.); Faber, Commentarius (Par. 1512, 1515, 1531, Basil. 1527, fol.; Colossians 1531, 4to; Antw. 1540, 8vo); Bugenhagen, Adnotationes [on most of these epistles] (Argent. 1524, Basil. 1525, 1527, 8vo); *Calvin, Commentaria (Argent. 1539, Genev. 1548, 4to; Genev. 1551, 1556, 1600, 1617, fol.; also since, and in French and English); Guilliaud, Collationes (Lugd. 1542, 1543, 4to; Par. 1550, 8vo); Arboreus, Commentarius (Par. 1553, fol.); *Musculus, Commentarii [on nearly all of these epistles] (in parts, Basil. 1555 sq., 4 volumes, fol.); Sasbout, Commentarius [on most of these epistles] (Antw. 1561, 8vo); Major, Enarrationes (in Opp. Vitemb. 1569, fol., 1); Hyperius, Commentarii (Tigurini. 1583, fol.); *Selnecker, Commentarius (Lips. 1595, fol.); Hespus, Commentarius (Muhlh. 1604, Lips. 1605, fol.); Weinrich, Commentarii [on most of these epistles] (in separate volumes, Lips. 1608-18, together — 1620, 1670, 4to); *Baldwin, Commentarius (in separate volumes, Vitemb. 1608-18;
together, Freft. 1644, 1664, 1680, 4to; 1691, 1700, 1710, Vitemb. 1655, fol.); Justinianus, Explanationes (Lugd. 1612, 1613, 2 vols. fol.); a Lapide, Commentaria (Antwerp, 1614, 1617, 1622, 1627, 1633, 1656, 1665, 1679; Paris, 1621, 1625, 1631, 1638; Lugd. 1644, 1683, fol.); Gorcom, Epitome [from Este and others] (Antw. 1619, Par. 1623, 8vo); Quistorp, Commentarius (partly in separate vols. Rost. 1636 sq.; complete, 1652, 4to); Laurence, Explicatio (Amst. 1642, 4to); Scultetus, Annotata [on Tim., Titus, and Philem.] (in the Critici Sacri, 7); Crell, Commentaria [on many passages of these epistles] (in Opp. 3:167); De Launay, Paraphrase (Car. 1650, 4to); Ambianas, Commentaria (Par. 1659-64, 3 vols. fol.); Crocius, Commentarius [on the smaller of these epistles] (Marp. 1663. Cas. 1670, 2 vols. fol.); Calixtus, Expositiones [on most of these epistles] (in parts, Helmst. 1664-6, 4to); Woodhead, Allestry, and Walker Eed. Fell], Paraphrase (Oxon. 1674,1702; Lond. 1707, 8vo); Schomer, Exegesis (voti, Rost. 1699, 1705; 2:1700, 1706, 4to); Heidegger, Exegetica (Tigur. 1700, 4to); A Picon, Expositio (Par. 1703, fol.); Schmid, Commentarii [on most of these epistles] (at first in separate parts; together, Hamb. 1704, 4to); Locke, Paraphrase [on several of these epistles] (in parts, London, 1705 sq.; together, 1709, 1733, 4to); Wells, Help [on many of these epistles] (Lond. 1715, 8vo); Lang, Commentatio (Hal. 1718, 4to); Van Til, Commentarius [on four of these epistles] (Amsterd. 1726, 4to); Pierce, Notes [on the smaller of these epistles] (in parts, London, 1729 sq.; together, 1733, 4to); G. Benson, Paraphrase (London, 1734 sq.; in several volumes separately, and together, 1752-6, 2 vols.; in Germ., Lips. 1761, 4 volumes, 4to); Remy, Commentarius (Aug.Vind. 1739, 4to); Van Alphen, Specimena [on five of these epistles] (Tr. ad Rh. 1742, 4to); *Michaelis, Anmerkungen [on most of these epistles] (Gott. 1750, 1791, 4to); Baumgarten, Auslegung [on the smaller of these epistles] (Hal. 1767, 4to); Zacharia, Erkladrung [on the smaller of these epistles] (Gotting. 1771,. 1787, 8vo); Addington, Remarks (in his Life of Paul,; London, 1784, 8vo); Krause, Anmerk. [on Philemon and 1 Thessalonians] (Frkft. 1790, 8vo); Anonymous, Uebers., etc. (Hirsch. 1791, 8vo); Struve, Uebers., etc. (Alton. 1792, 8vo, part 1); Morus, Acroases [on Galatians and Ephes.] (Lips. 1795, 8vo); Rullmann, Observationes [on the Koemerian MS.] (Rint. 1795, 4to); Bp. Burgess, Introductio [excerpts from old writers on many of these epistles) (Lond. 1804, 12mo); Bevan, Notes (in his Life of Paul, London, 1807, 8vo); Weingert, Commentarius [on the smaller epistles, chiefly compiled] (Goth. 1816, 8vo) Belsham, Exposition (Lond. 1823, 4 volumes, 8vo); *Flatt,
Commentar (Tibing. 1826-32, 5 volumes, 8vo); Stenerson, Commentarius (Christ. 1829-30, 2 volumes, 8vo); Hemcen, Schriften, etc. (in his Leben Paulus, Gott. 1830, 8vo), Schrader, Paulus (Leipzig, 1830-3, 5 volumes, 8vo); Paulus Erlaut. [on Romans and Gal.] (Heidelberg, 1831, 8vo); Eyre, Illustration (London, 1832, 2 volumes, 8vo); Steiger, Bearleitung [on the smaller of these epistles] (Erlang. 1835, 8vo); Latham, Atrangement (Lond. 1837, 8vo); Morehead, Explanation (Lond. 1843, 8vo); Whately, Essays (London, 1845, 6th ed. 1849, 8vo); Sumner, Exposition (London, 1845 sq., 3 volumes, 8vo); Lewin, Life and Epist. of Paul (Lond. 1851, 2 volumes, 8vo); *Conybeare and Howson, Life and Ep. of Paul (Lond. 1852, 2 volumes, 4to; 1856, 1858, N.Y. 1855, 2 volumes, 8vo); Jowett, Notes [on Romans, Galatians, and Thessalonians] (Lond. 1855, 2 volumes, 8vo); *Ewald, Erklarung (Gott. 1857, 8vo); Linton, Notes (Lond. 1858, 12mo); *Ellicott, Commentary [on several of these epistles] (in separate vols. Lond. 1859 sq.; Andover, 1865, 8vo); Newland, Catena [on Ephesians and Philippians] (Lond. 1860, 8vo); Macevilly, Exposition (2d ed. Lond. 1860, 2 volumes, 8vo); Bisping, Bandb. (Miinst. 1864 sq. 8vo). SEE COMMENTARY.
On the three pastoral epistles alone (1 and 2 Timothy, and Titus), the following: Jerome, Commentarii (in Opp. Suppos. 11); Chrysostom, Homilice (tr. in Lib. of Fathers, Oxf. 1843, 8vo, 12); Calvin, Sermons (Genev. 1563, fol.; tr. Lond. 1579, 4to; different from his Commentary on these epistles, Edinb. 1856, 8vo, tr. from his Commentarii, in Opp.); Daille, Sermons (Geneva,: 1555-61, 5 volumes, 8vo); Magalianus, Commentarii (Lugd. 1609, 4to); Soto, Commentarius (Par. 1610, fol.); Scultetus, Observationes (Francf. 1624, Vitemb. 1630, 4to; also in the Crit. Sacri, 7); Habertus, Expositio (Par. 1656, 8vo); Heydenreich, Erlauter. (Hadamar. 1826-8, 2 volumes, 8vo); *Flatt, Anmerk. (Tubing. 1831, 8vo); Anon. Μεταφρασιᾷ (Par. 1831, 8vo); Mack, Commentar (Tubing. 1831, 1841, 8vo); Malthies, Erklar. (Greifsw. 1840, 8vo); Moller, Commentar (Kopenh. 1842, 8vo); Paterson, Commentary (London, 1848, 8vo); *Ellicott, Commentary (London, 1856, Andover, 1864, 8vo). SEE TIMOTHY; SEE TITUS (EPISTLES TO).
On all the Catholic epistles alone (James, 1 and 2 Peter, 1, 2, and 3 John, and Jude), the following: Theophylact, Commentarius (in Opp. 3); also Enarrationes (in Bibl. Patr. Gall. 6:286); OEcumenius, Expositio (Frcft. 1610, 4to; also in Opp. 2); Bede, Expositio (in Opp. 5:673; Works, 12:157; comp. Works, 1:215); Cramer, Commentarii [from the fathers] (in his
Catena, 8); Aquinas, Expositio (Paris, 1543, 1563; Lugdun. 1556, Antwerp, 1592, 8vo; etc.); Hus, Commentarii (in Monumenta, 2:105); Faber, Commentarius (Basil, 1527, fol.; Antw. 1540, 8vo); Imler, Commentarius (Freft. 1542, 2 volumes, 8vo); Horne, Expositio (Brunswick, 1554, 4to); Hemming, Commentarius (in separate volumes, Havn. 1563, and Vitemb. 1569, 8vo; together, in English, Lond. 1577, 4to); Ferus, Exegesis (Complut. 1570, fol.); Aretius, Commentarius (Morg. 1589, Berne, 1608, 8vo); Grynaeus, Explicatio (Basil, 1593, 8vo); Salmeron, Disputationes (in Opp. 16); Crell, Commentarius [on many passages of these epistles] (in Opp. 3:318); Cocceius, Commentarius (in Opp. 6); Various, Annotations (in the Critici Sacri, 8); Serarius, Commentarius (Moguntiac. 1612, fol.); Lorinus, Commentarius (Lugd. 1619, 2 volumes fol.); Justinianus, Explanationes (Lugd. 1621, fol.); Turnemann, Meditationes (Frcft. 1625, 4to); Alsted, Notationes (Herb. 1631,1640, 8vo); Lenseus, Commentarii (Holm. 1645, 4to); Benson, Paraphrase (London, 1706, 4to); Grarmlich, Anmerkungen (Stuttg. 1721, 8vo); Riclot, Paraphrase (Metz, 1727, 12mo); Collet, Paraphrase (Lond. 1734, 8vo); Boysen, Erklar. [on Peter and Jude] (Halle, 1775, 8vo); Zacharia, Erk/dr. (Gott. 1776, 8vo); Schirmer, Erklar. [on Peter, James, and Jude] (Breslau, 1778, 8vo); Schroder, Erklar. [on Peter and Jude] (Schwabach, 1781, 8vo); Schlengel, Anmerk. (Halle, 1783, 8vo); Seemiller, Annotationes [on James and Jude] (Norimburg, 1783, 8vo); Semler, Paraphrasis [on Peter and Jude] (Halle, 1784, 8vo); Pott, Annotationes (in parts, Gott. 1786-90, 8vo; also in the N.T. Koppian. 9); E. Bengel, Erkldrung (Tib. 1788, 8vo); Carpzov, Scholia (Hal. 1790, 8vo); Gopfert, Anmerk. (Zwickau and Lpz. 1791, 8vo); Morus, Prcelectiones (on Peter and James] (Lips. 1794, 8vo); Roos, Auslegung [on Pet. and Jude] (Tub. 1798, 8vo); Augusti, Erklar. (Lemgo, 1801-8, 3 volumes, 8vo); Hottinger, Commentarius [on 1 Peter and James] (Lips. 1815, 8vo); Grashof, Erkldr. (Essen. 1830, 8vo); Sumner, Exposition (Lond. 1840, 8vo); Diedrich, Erklar. (Lpz. 1861, 8vo). See each epistle in its place.