SEÁN CHARLES MARTIN, PAULI TESTAMENTUM. 2 Timothy and the Last Words of Moses
The testamentary character
of 2 Timothy has long been recognised by its readers. But the allusion
to the rebellion of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram (2 Tim 2:19) and the mention
of Jannes and Jambres (2 Tim 3:8) introduce into the letter direct references
to the figure of Moses. Such references set up an analogy between Paul
and Timothy, on the one hand, and Moses and Joshua, on the other. These
likenesses are further reinforced by a series of indirect references: the
laying on of hands (2 Tim 1:6) is modelled on Joshua's succession of Moses;
the titles «servant of the Lord» (2 Tim 2:24) and «man
of God» (2 Tim 3:17) as titles for Timothy and his successors are
epithets describing Moses and his successors in the Septuagint; the exhortation
to «be strong» (2 Tim 2:1) is reminiscent of the repeated appeal
which appears in the farewell speech of Moses in Deuteronomy 31.
In addition to the biblical narratives which tell of the last words of Moses, this study examines four other works which include what purport to be Moses' last will and testament. Two have been preserved in Greek — the Vita Mosis of Philo and the Jewish Antiquities of Josephus — and two are anonymous works which have been preserved in Latin — the Liber Antiquitatum Biblicarum and the Testament of Moses. This study contends that these legends about the last words of Moses constitute the best way to evaluate the portrait of Paul in 2 Timothy, and that Paul is presented in 2 Timothy as a «prophet like Moses» as part of the polemic against the «teachers of the law» in the Pastoral Epistles.
SEÁN CHARLES MARTIN is a priest of
the Diocese of Dallas, Texas, USA. Educated at the University of Dallas
and the University of Notre Dame, he also holds the S.T.L. and the S.T.D.
from the Pontifical Gregorian University. Presently, he is Assistant Professor
of Sacred Scripture at the University of St. Thomas School of Theology
at St. Mary's Seminary in Houston, Texas.
(C) PUG 1999