In Paul: a Critical Life, Jerome Murphy-O’Connor defended the authenticity of Colossians and set its time during the Ephesian imprisonment in the summer of 53.
Paul wrote Colossians and sent it at the same time as the note to Philemon. Compare Philemon 23 to Colossians 4:10 ff. I don’t know of any scholar who questions that Paul wrote Philemon.
However Colossians is odd compared to other authentic letters of Paul. It has a style and a doctrine that come closer to Ephesians than other letters–and there are numerous reasons to think Ephesians does not fit with Paul’s missionary letters.
Most of those who have defended the authenticity of Colossians have put it late in Paul’s ministry to allow time for his style and theology to have evolved.
Murphy-O’Connor, however, adopted an alternative defense.
First, since Paul did not personally found the Colossian church (it was 120 miles from Ephesus…
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