We've recently wrapped up a Bible study on John's Gospel at the Wittenberg Door. It's time to move on to something else! Even as I continue to work toward the end of my doctoral studies pertaining to the Didache, there's plenty more to post. I haven't visited Ephesians for about seven years, but starting this January I taught a course on it through the American Lutheran Theological Seminary. This spurred some new reading and creation of some resources similar to those I made up for the John study. So it's time to put those out there for others (non-credit).
Thielman, Frank. Ephesians. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2010.
“Introduction to Ephesians” pp. 1-30
Thielman begins, as is traditional, discussing the authorship of Ephesians. He initially points out the disputes about authorship from the late eighteenth century, then discusses pseudonymity. Forgery was treated seriously in antiquity (Thielman 2010, 4) so there is some doubt about the purpose of much pseudonymity. Thielman concludes that there are no good reasons to consider Ephesians as pseudonymous (Ibid., 5). He then continues from a literary perspective to consider Ephesians as a “difficult and, for Paul, an unusual text” (Ibid.). Thielman goes on to cite very long sentences, ambiguous statements, and redundancy which create confusion in the text. This is not unlike Colossians, which leads many to consider the two letters closely related. Thielman details this on pp. 7-11.
Thielman continues by discussing the recipients of the letter (Ibid., 11). With no specific mentions of anyone but Tychicus, it appears the letter is ready for wide circulation. He discusses at some length the interpretive challenges inherent in v. 1. After this, Thielman considers the date range, placing the letter in the two years’ Roman imprisonment from Acts 28, probably 60-62 (Ibid., 17).
The circumstances of the letter occupy Thielman from pp. 19-28. Though a particular problem is not apparent, Paul says he will pray for the people in a variety of specific ways (Ibid. 20). Thielman also discusses the pervasive nature of the emperor cult and the possible need to encourage steadfast faithfulness to God (Ibid. 22). The chapter closes with an overall outline, identifying the portions which will indicate chapters in the commentary.