Murphy-O’Connor-Colossians: authentic and early


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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About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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