The Authentic Letters of Paul

1993–2010

Goal

The letters of Paul delivered a distinct voice and universal vision to the first-century Mediterranean world. Unfortunately the distinctive sound of Paul’s letters have been distorted by the cacophony of later voices that have attempted to speak in his name.

A team of Westar Fellows produced a new translation of the letters of Paul found to be authentic  in an attempt to bring the authentic voiceprint of Paul back to the conversation. The result is The Authentic Letters of Paul, a new translation of the correspondence of Paul from the original Greek.

Method

The Authentic Letters of Paul is a team translation. The team began with drafts prepared by individual Fellows, who took into account the various developments in Pauline studies. They did not settle for the traditional ways of translating the material. They listed to Paul as he echoed around the Mediterranean. They sought modern advice and took into account the work of recent scholarship. Working as a team, they questioned and puzzled over every word and sentence.
Read an example: What difference does a translation make?

Findings

A comparative analysis revealed that not all the letters are from the same hand. By focusing on the vocabulary, phrases, social situation, Christology and ecclesial understanding of the letters, scholars can detect earlier and later voices. From this analysis the Pastoral Letters (1 and 2 Timothy and Tutus) prove to be not Pauline. 2 Thessalonians also shows indications of another hand.

This new translation was published in 2010 as The Authentic Letters of Paul: A New Reading of Paul’s Rhetoric and Meaning.

The Authentic Letters of Paul

  • Distinguishes Paul’s letters from others attributed to him in the canon
  • Restores Paul’s voice in a fresh translation from the original Greek.
  • Places the authentic letters in their chronological order and historical context
  • Shows how the letters were edited and put together into the form we now have

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