Pseudepigraphy in James and Colossians

Pseudepigraphy in James and Colossians

Pseudepigraphy rose to be among the most controversial debates in theology in the 19th century following the modern critical observation of style and language. Pseudepigraphy refers to the false attribution of the authorship to a certain text. Also referred to as antiquity or pseudonymity, the term is used to lay emphasis on the wrong ascription of authorship of a document. The disagreement over the authorship of some of the New Testament books is just as old as antiquity itself. Since the 19th century, many objections have been on the limelight against the authenticity of both the book of Colossians and James. Currently, about 50 percent of the New Testament scholars term the two letters as pseudonymous. Although the authorship of the two letters cannot be approved or disapproved, this essay sets forth various considerations which could be used to determine which side of authenticity of the two books is more plausible.

Pseudepigraphy in Colossians

            Despite the contentions of the certainty that Saint Paul is not the author of Colossians, the controversy over the book’s authorship which started in 1838 after the release of Mayerhoff’s study has not yet ended. Scholars are even more divided on this matter. Regardless of an individual’s position, it is apparent that most of them admit that the matters is beyond resolution. The Epistle written by Paul to the Colossians is the 12th book in the N.T. According to the text itself, the book was authored by the Apostles Paul and Timothy. Modern scholars have progressively questioned the attribution of Paul to the letter. They rather cite that the book must have been written by an earlier follower of Christ. However, other scholars have emerged to defend the authorship of the book with an equal strength. A portion of the modern scholars argue that if Paul is indeed the author of the epistle, he must have possibly utilized a secretary or amanuensis (probably Timothy) to write the letter on his behalf.


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