Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Religion & Culture / Religious Studies


Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

Tim Hegedus

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


The New Testament letter of 2 Timothy has generally been studied in the context of two other letters, 1 Timothy and Titus. These three letters, known as the Pastoral Epistles, each purports to be written by Paul. Though some scholars defend this notion, the majority of critical scholars argue they were not written by Paul, but by someone in the early second century. For these scholars, a later date better explains several aspects of these letters that make Pauline authorship difficult to explain. One crucial aspect is that the language, particularly the vocabulary and style of the Pastoral Epistles, is significantly different from the other letters attributed to Paul. Following a recent trend of evaluating 2 Timothy as distinct from the other two letters, this thesis explores the language used in 2 Timothy. Of the three letters, 2 Timothy is the most Pauline in vocabulary and style. Even though scholars have recognized that 2 Timothy is atypical among the Pastoral Epistles, it is often overshadowed by the other two letters. Only recently have the unique features of 2 Timothy been given more notice is theories of authorship. Regarding the issue of language, I review, evaluate and utilize data from the seminal work of P.N. Harrison (1921) on the vocabulary of the Pastoral Epistles, focusing on the vocabulary of 2 Timothy. In terms of vocabulary, 2 Timothy is quantitatively more “Pauline” than the other two Pastoral Epistles. In addition, though more recent statistical analyses vary in their conclusions about whether the Pastorals are Pauline in their style, they consistently demonstrate that, of the three letters, 2 Timothy is the most Pauline. In comparison of vocabulary shared by 2 Timothy and Philippians, a letter most likely written by Paul, I highlight some important parallels in vocabulary usage. Though the author is ultimately unknown, the Pauline characteristics of 2 Timothy should be incorporated into the theories that attempt to situate 2 Timothy in early Christian history.

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