The Textual Originality of Romans 15–16: Objections

Perhaps the most persistently thorny issues in textual criticism of Romans are related to: (1) the placement of the doxology, which normally appears in Rom 16:25–27 in modern, printed editions and (2) the cohesion of Rom 15–16 with the rest of the epistle. While distinguishable, however, these issues cannot be completely separated from each other, since, at the very least, the doxology appears to be an ending to something.

F. C. Baur is probably the foremost scholar who has denied the authenticity of Rom 15–16 as a whole. Although his full argument for this position is quite lengthy (see Baur 1:352–65), his main reasons for rejecting these chapters authenticity are that:

  1. Romans 15:1–13 is a needless, inferior repetition of Rom 12:1ff, and Paul could hardly be expected to have written the latter section.
  2. Paul could not have considered Jerusalem the starting point for his ministry, as he would seem to do if he were the author of Rom 15:19.
  3. Paul’s mission to Spain is only mentioned here (Rom 15:24, 28) and is, therefore, probably not Pauline.
  4. The list of names in Rom 16 is too extraordinary for Paul.
  5. Priscilla and Aquilla could not have returned to Rome in the interval between what is recorded in 1 Cor 16:19 and the writing of Rom 16:3 (cf. Luther 419 n. 32)

In contrast to Baur’s perspective, Barth seems only to have taken issue with the doxology, while substantially accepting the rest of Rom 15–16 as Pauline. On Harnack’s authority, Barth speculates that the doxology was originally a Marcionite invention, intended to bring closure to a version of the epistle ending abruptly after Rom 14. Therefore, Barth rejects the doxology and accepts as the remainder of the traditional text of Rom 15–16 as original (Barth 523, n. 1).


In this post:

Karl Barth
Karl Barth
F. C. Baur
F. C. Baur
Martin Luther
Martin Luther

Solutions to the Synoptic Problem: Symbol Key

The following symbols, listed alphabetically, are used in the post series that summarizes solutions to the synoptic problem:

  • A, or UrMkUrmarkus (a proto-Gospel of Mark)
  • Ar – Aramaic
  • frag – fragmentary
  • GosNaz – Gospel of the Nazarenes
  • Heb – Hebrew
  • L – a special, Lukan source
  • Lk – Luke
  • M – a special, Matthean source
  • Mk – Mark
  • Mt – Matthew
  • Or – an oral source
  • Q – a hypothetical source roughly consisting of non-Markan material common to Matthew and Luke
  • Sem – a document in a Semitic language (Hebrew or Aramaic)
  • UrevUrevangelium (proto-Gospel)
  • UrLk – a proto-Gospel of Luke
  • X1, 2, 3, n (where X stands for a Gospel) – If X exists in more than one edition, higher numbers denote editions subsequent to the editions marked by earlier numbers. These later editions have edited one or more earlier editions in some way.
  • X → Y (where X and Y stand for different Gospels) – The author of Y used X when writing Y. Or, conversely, X provides a source for Y.

In this post:

Wilhelm Schneemelcher and Robert Wilson
Wilhelm Schneemelcher and Robert Wilson

Solutions to the Synoptic Problem: Introduction

The ‘synoptic problem’ is a phenomenon that arises because the synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke), while they contain so much similar material, do not always report the same material in the same way. Various solutions for the synoptic problem that have been proposed—so many that their nuances can be difficult to remember. This post series will attempt to compose a set of diagrams based on the summaries of these solutions that Kümmel, New Testament, provides.


In this post:

Werner Kümmmel
Werner Kümmel

New to the Blogroll

The following entries have been added to the blogroll:

  • Biblical Studies and Technological Tools – A blog about technological resources available for biblical studies.
  • Biblical Theology – The blog of Stephen Dempster, Professor of Religious Studies at Atlantic Baptist University.
  • Conn-versation – A blog indebted to the legacy of Harvey Conn, a former professor at Westminster Theological Seminary.
  • Conversational Theology – The blog of Ros Clarke, a PhD candidate at Highland Theological College and Book Review Editor for Ecclesia Reformanda. Ros specializes in the Song of Songs and canonical criticism.
  • Evangelical Textual Criticism – A blog facilitated by Peter Head, New Testament Research Fellow at Tyndale House, and Tommy Wasserman, Post–doctoral Research Fellow at Lunds University. The blog seeks to serve evangelicals involved in academic study of textual criticism.
  • FredPutnam.org – The blog of Fried Putnam, a professor at Philadelphia Biblical University. Dr. Putnam specializes in Biblical Hebrew and Old Testament translation and interpretation.
  • Helm’s Deep – The blog of Paul Helm, Teaching Fellow at Regent College and Professor of Theology at Highland Theological College.
  • ̔Ελληνιστί – The blog of Alan Knox, Adjunct Instructor of New Testament Greek at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.
  • Nerdlets – The blog of Tommy Keene, a PhD candidate and Teaching Fellow at Westminster Theological Seminary. Tommy specializes in the book of Hebrews and metaphor theory.
  • NT Discourse – The blog of Steven Runge, Scholar in Residence at Logos Bible Software. Dr. Runge sepecializes in discourse grammar.
  • Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians – The blog of Thomas, a graduate of Regent College, who specializes in Galatians.
  • Zotero – Zotero is a research assistance plugin for the Firefox browser.

Blogroll Updates

The blogroll has been updated and transferred from its own page to a sidebar widget. Also, Greek blog titles are now alphabetized according to the Greek alphabet rather than their transliteration. So, for example, titles beginning with (Greek) epsilon are alphabetized after titles beginning with (English) gee.

Look for several additions to appear in the coming days.

All Grown Up

A third instance of ‘gospel’ language in the wider Greco-Roman context is the Gaius inscription (ca. 5 BC):

On the motion of the strategi Metrodorus son of Conon, Clinius, Musaeus, and Dionysius—

Whereas Gaius Julius Caesar, the eldest of the sons of Augustus has—as has been fervently prayed for—assumed in all its splendor the pure-white toga [of manhood] in place of the purple-bordered toga [of youth], and all men rejoice to see the prayers for his sons rising together to Augustus;

And whereas our city in view of so happy an event has decided to keep the day which raised him from a boy to a man as a holy day, on which annually all shall wear wreaths and festal garb, and the annual strategi shall offer sacrifices to the gods and render prayers through the sacred heralds for his preservation; to unite in consecrating an image of him set up in his father’s temple; also on which the city received the good news and the decree was ratified, to wear wreaths and perform most sumptuous sacrifices to the gods; and to send an embassy concerning these matters to go to Rome to congratulate him and Augustus;

Therefore it was resolved by the council and the people to dispatch envoys chosen from the most distinguished men for the purpose of bringing greetings from the city, of delivering to him the copy of this decree sealed with a public seal, and of discussing with Augustus the common interests of the province of Asia and of the city. . . (translated by Lewis and Reinhold 635; insertions and italics original).

When Gaius came of age, he had not performed such deeds as those that are recorded of Augustus at Priene. Yet, his inherent magnificence was in full view, and his person was a sufficient object for such praise upon this occasion because of his own connection to Augustus and quite probably also in view of the exploits that he was expected successfully to achieve.


In this post:

Naphtali Lewis and Meyer Reinhold
Naphtali Lewis and Meyer Reinhold

Happy Birthday

Another example of ‘gospel’ language in the Greco-Roman environment is the inscription found at Priene (ca. 9 BC) about Augustus:

It seemed good to the Greeks of Asia, in the opinion of the high priest Apollonius of Menophilus Azanitus: “Since Providence, which has ordered all things and is deeply interested in our life, has set in most perfect order by giving us Augustus, whom she filled with virtue that he might benefit humankind, sending him as a savior [σωτήρ], both for us and for our descendants, that he might end war [= ποιῇ εἰρήνην] and arrange all things, and since he, Caesar, by his appearance [ἐπιφανεῖν] (excelled even our anticipations), surpassing all previous benefactors, and not even leaving to posterity any hope of surpassing what he has done, and since the birthday of the god Augustus was the beginning of the good tidings for the world that came by reason of him [ἦρξεν δὲ τῷ κόσμῳ τῶν δἰ αὐτὸν εὐαγγελίων ἡ γενέθλιος τοῦ θεοῦ],” which Asia resolved in Smyrna (text and translation cited from Evans 2–3).

The ‘gospel’ of Caesar from Priene is then that: (1) he splendidly brought salvation by ending war, and (2) he acted in such a way that all subsequent generations will look back at him in awe. Particularly during Augustus’s reign, the Roman military established pax et securitas (peace and security) through its various exploits (see Harrison 87; Horsley 30–31; Josephus, Jewish Antiquities, 7.245, 11.65). Quite naturally, therefore, as the ultimate head of the Roman military, the emperor, was eventually credited with these achievements (e.g., Josephus, Jewish Wars 3.143, 3.503, 4.656; cf. Friedrich, “εὐαγγελίζομαι, εὐαγγέλιον, κτλ” 722), and his birthday was celebrated as the first day of the life that brought these things.


In this post:

Flavius Josephus
Flavius Josephus
Gerhard Kittel
Gerhard Kittel