Watched Lecture 17: Paul's Disciples by Dale B. Martin from RLST 152: Introduction to the New Testament History and Literature
Introduction to New Testament (RLST 152) In ancient times, documents that were falsely attributed to an author, called pseudepigrapha, were a common phenomen...

In ancient times, documents that were falsely attributed to an author, called pseudepigrapha, were a common phenomenon. Both the Letters to the Colossians and Ephesians are most likely pseudonymous works attributed to the Apostle Paul. The writer of Colossians assures his readers that they already possess all the benefits of salvation and do not need to observe rules concerning feast days, Sabbaths, and worship of the angels. Ephesians seems somewhat based on Colossians, although it reads more like an ethical or moral treatise. Both letters differ from Pauline Christology in their realized eschatology and high Christology.

  • 00:00 - Chapter 1. Ancient Pseudepigraphy
  • 10:42 - Chapter 2. The Pseudepigraphic Letters to the Colossians and Ephesians
  • 22:21 - Chapter 3. The Occasion of the Writing of Colossians
  • 37:15 - Chapter 4. The Letter to the Ephesians as Treatise
  • 42:26 - Chapter 5. Major Differences between Colossians and Ephesians and Pauline Christianity

Complete course materials are available at the Open Yale Courses website:

Also as I’m looking at the evolution of the early Christian church, many of the changes from the teachings of Jesus and the re-framing by Paul and then other subsequent writers and church elders seemed to work to re-entrench the patriarchy and give power back to the wealthy and powerful. Jesus and Paul seemed to have a much more egalitarian outlook which was walked by by later writings. 

This may be harder to “prove” to present-day Christians because most don’t view the bible from a historical perspective. Too many modern Christians seem to take too much of Colossians and Ephesians to heart in terms of gender roles. I might suggest that much of the gender toxicity that we’ve seen in Western history may be attributed to these two pseudepigraphical books.

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Chris Aldrich

I'm a biomedical and electrical engineer with interests in information theory, complexity, evolution, genetics, signal processing, IndieWeb, theoretical mathematics, and big history. I'm also a talent manager-producer-publisher in the entertainment industry with expertise in representation, distribution, finance, production, content delivery, and new media.

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