TN the introduction to his recent volume on St Paul, M. Renan -*- has offered a novel theory to account for certain phenomena connected with the Epistle to the Romans. If, for reasons which I shall give hereafter, this theory seems to me to be unsatisfactory, it is yet sufficiently ingenious and striking to claim a fair discussion; and, as the subject itself possesses great critical interest independently of M. Renan's views, I gladly avail myself of the opportunity to investigate it in detail.
The documentary facts which demand explanation, and which have served as the foundation for several theories more or less allied to that of M. Renan, are the following:
(1) In Rom. i. 7 one MS. (G) for rot? ovaiv ev 'Pcofiy aya7rijtot? ®eofl reads rol? ovaiv ev wyanrrj ®eo£); while in i. 15 it omits the words Tok iv 'Pdbfiy. Again the cursive 47 contains the following marginal note on i. 7, To ev 'Pai/*j7, ovre iv ry e^Tjyrjffei ovre ev r<j> prjra > fMvrjfiovevei, where however it is not clear to what authority the scribe refers, though apparently he is speaking of some commentator. Moreover I seem to see other traces of the omission (at least in i. 7), which hitherto have not been recognised. Though Origen elsewhere quotes the common reading (II. p. 301, iv. p. 287), and though it is given as the text in Rufinus' translation of his commentary on this very passage, yet the comment itself, even as disguised by its Latin dress, still appears to me to indicate that Origen here had before him a text in which the words eV 'p«m# were omitted; 'Benedictio haec pacis et gratiae quam dat dilectis Dei ad
quos scribit apostolus Paulus' (iv. p. 467). The same inference also, if I mistake not, is suggested by the language of the Ambrosian Hilary; 'Quamvis Romanis scribat, illis tamen scribere se significat qui in caritate Dei sunt'; though here again the text has 'qui sunt Romae dilectis Dei,' but with the important various reading (in one MS.) of 'in caritate Dei' for 'dilectis Dei.' These, it will be remembered, are the two oldest extant commentaries on the Epistle to the Romans. Still further; I am disposed to think that the reading iv dydiry ©eoO (for dyairrjrols ©eoO), which is found in several other authorities, has arisen out of a combination of the two readings -rot? ovo-tv ev 'Prifirj dryairvrols &eov and tot? otitriv ev dyd-rrrj ®eov, and thus bears indirect testimony to a still wider diffusion of a recension omitting the words ev 'Pdfiy. This reading occurs in the Latin of D (the Greek is wanting), and in the two oldest MSS. of the Vulgate.
(2) The ascription of praise, with which according to the received text (xvi. 25-27) the epistle closes, occupies different places in different copies. In H, B, C, D, f, Vulg., Pesh., Memph., Mth., and in the commentaries of Origen, Hilary, and Pelagius, it occurs at the end of the xvith chapter, as in the received text; in L, 37, 47, and by far the greater number of cursives, in the Harclean Syriac, in the commentaries of Chrysostom, Theodoret, and others, and in Cyril of Alexandria, its place is at the close of the xivth chapter: in A, P, 17, Arm. (MSS. and Zohr.), it is found in both places; while in F, G, it is omitted in both (a blank space however being left in G between the xivth and xvth chapters). This variation of position moreover is at least as early as Origen, who commenting on xvi. 25-27 writes;'Caput hoc Marcion, a quo scripturae evangelicae atque apostolicae interpolatae sunt, de hac epistola penitus abstulit; et non solum hoc, sed et ab eo loco ubi scriptum est, Omne autem quod non est ex fide, peccatum est (xiv. 23), usque ad finem cuncta dissecuit. In aliis vero exemplaribus, id est in his quae non sunt a Marcione temerata, hoc ipsum caput (i.e. xvi. 25-27) diverse positum invenimus. In nonnullis etenim codicibus post eum locum quem supra diximus, hoc est Omne autem quod non est ex fide peccatwn est, statim cohaerens habetur Ei autem qui potens est vos confirmare. Alii vero codices in fine id, ut nunc positum est, continent.' From this language we may perhaps assume that the authorities for either position seemed to Origen to be nearly evenly balanced. Whether in 'ut nunc positum est' he refers to the position which he himself adopts in this commentary, or to the position which was most common in his day, does not distinctly appear. He makes no mention of any MSS. as having it in both places, or (except Marcion's copies) of any as omitting it in both. St Jerome however (on Ephes. hi. 5) speaks of this passage as occurring 'in plerisque codicibus,' thus implying that it is omitted in some; but he may have been deceived by not finding it in the place where he expected to find it.
(3) As appears from the statement of Origen just quoted, Marcion's recension of the epistle closed with the end of the xivth chapter. Moreover Tertullian (adv. Marc. v. 14) refers to tribunal Christi (xiv. 10) as occurring in clausula of the epistle; but, as he is refuting Marcion, we might reasonably suppose that he here takes Marcion's own copy and argues from it. On the other hand, it does not appear that he himself elsewhere quotes from the xvth or xvith chapters of the epistle, though the omission may be accidental. Neither is there, so far as I know, any reference to these last two chapters in Irenaeus, but here also no stress can be laid on the omission, as there was no special reason for his quoting them. Again, Wetstein says, 'Codex Latinus habet capitula epistolae ad Romanos 51, desinit autem in cap. xiv.', but later critics have not been able to identify the MS. and thus to verify the statement.
To explain these documentary facts, as also to account for certain phenomena in the closing chapters of the epistle itself, various theories have from time to time been suggested, which I shall here attempt to classify.
(i) Baur, with characteristic boldness, denied the genuineness of the last two chapters, or, in other words, accepted the recenL. E. 19
sion of Marcion as preserving the original proportions of the epistle (Paulus p. 398 sq.). This solution does not take into account all the facts stated Thus, for instance, it passes over in silence the omission of the words ev 'PoS/uj? in one or more copies. For this reason it must be rejected on the ground of external criticism alone. But again, when we come to examine the xvth and xvith chapters themselves, whatever may be our conclusion as regards their destination, we are forced to recognise their genuineness. M. Renan expresses his surprise ' qu'un critique aussi habile que Baur se soit contents d'une solution aussi grossiere. Pourquoi un faussaire aurait-il invents de si insignifiants details? Pourquoi aurait-il ajoute a l'ouvrage sacre' un liste de noms propres ?' (p. lxxi. sq.) If the argument is just, the surprise is hardly reasonable; for in spite of his acknowledged ability, Baur's prompt method elsewhere is entirely consistent with the rejection of these chapters. But indeed we need not rely on this negative argument derived from the inadequacy of the motive for such a forgery. The style and the substance of the chapters afford conclusive testimony, that we have here not only the thoughts, but the words, of the Apostle himself. To this it must be added that the incidental notices, of which Paley has made use to establish the time and place of writing, hang together in a manner which would suppose not only the most consummate skill, but also the most minute knowledge, on the part of a forger.
From this solution which maintains the spuriousness of the last two chapters, we pass to others which, accepting them as genuine, assume their displacement to a greater or less degree. And here we may subdivide, according as these chapters are supposed to have been addressed wholly to the Romans or partly (at least) to some other Church.
1 The views of Heumann, Paulus, ties Briefes an die Romer 1833, as I Griesbach, and Semler, are here given have had no opportunity of verifying at second hand from Beiche Erklarung the references.
(ii) Among those who accept the Roman destination of the whole, but assume some displacement, is Heumann1. He supposes that the original epistle comprised the first eleven chapters, to which were added two postscripts, xvi. 1-24, and xvi. 25-27. The intermediate matter (cc. xii-xv.) formed a separate letter to the Romans written on account of some intelligence received meanwhile from Rome. The two letters were afterwards combined (but not by the Apostle himself), in such a manner as to throw the postscript to the end.
In like manner Paulus (de Orig. Ep. ad Rom., Jena 1801) offered another solution on the same basis. The xvth chapter was a sort of supplementary letter, addressed to the enlightened. The xvith chapter, written on a separate parchment, contained recommendations of Phoebe the bearer of the letter to the principal members of the Church, and instructions to her to salute certain persons. Finding that there was space remaining on this leaf, the Apostle availed himself of it to add some directions to the presbyters. The doxology at the end belonged originally to the general letter, but was afterwards displaced when the several documents were put together.
Another hypothesis, which like the two last mentioned supposes the epistle to consist of a number of Sibylline leaves stitched together almost at random, is that of Griesbach (Curce in Hist. Test. Or. Epp. Paul. p. 45). He believes that the original letter ended with xiv. 23, the parchment being exhausted. The final doxology, xvi. 25-27, was attached on a separate leaf. Another parchment contained the salutations from certain friends of St Paul, with a benediction, xvi 21-24. St Paul then found leisure to continue the subject, where he had broken off, in a postscript (xv.), to which he added another benediction. A fourth parchment contained the names of the Roman Christians who were saluted, together with a warning against intriguers; and here again a benediction was appended. At a later date, when these various leaves were attached together, different places were assigned to the doxology, and in some copies it was entirely omitted.
The three solutions last mentioned, while disintegrating the epistle, assume that all the component parts were addressed to the Roman Church. This is not the case with those which follow.
(iii) Semler (Paraphr. 1769) supposes that the letter to the Romans closed with the xivth chapter; that the bearers of the letter were charged to distribute copies to the leading members of certain churches which they would visit on the route; and that an authoritative list of these persons (xvi.) was given to them at the same time. To these persons, not to the Roman Church, the xvth chapter was addressed. The bearers would visit Cenchreae. the residence of Phoebe, and Ephesus, where Aquila was staying. The places where the others dwelt are not mentioned by name, because they were well known to the bearers.
Not very different is Eichhobn's hypothesis (EM. Th. iii.). The parchment destined for the original letter, he supposes, ended with the xivth chapter. A separate leaf contained on one side the final doxology, on the other the salutations and benediction. This formed the whole of the letter as originally conceived. But some time intervening before it was sent, the Apostle added on a separate leaf (which was interposed) certain warnings and personal explanations (xv.). The remainder of the present epistle (xvi. 1-20) was not addressed to the Romans, but was a letter of introduction for Phoebe, perhaps intended for Corinth. Phcebe forgot to deliver it, and took it with her to Rome.
From these complex theories, which hardly deserve credit for ingenuity, it is a relief to turn to simpler solutions. Allowing the xvth chapter to stand as part of the Epistle to the Romans, several critics have separated the xvith chapter from the rest, and assigned it to some other letter. Thus Schulz (Stud. u. Krit. 1829, p. 609) supposed it to be a portion of an epistle written from Rome to Ephesus: and this view has been recently adopted by Ewald (Sendschr. des Apostels Paulus p. 428 sq.), who however restricts the intrusive fragment to xvi. 3-20. On the other hand Schott (Isagoge p. 250 sq.) regards the xvith chapter as a congeries of fragments written by the Apostle from Corinth to some Christian community in Asia Minor.
It will be seen at once that in this last class of solutions the documentary facts are entirely neglected, the theories being built on certain phenomena in the chapter itself. But indeed the same charge lies, though in a less degree, against all the solutions enumerated under the heads (ii) and (iii). No regard at all is paid to the remarkable omission of the mention of Rome in the opening verses; and, as attempts to explain the textual phenomena of the last two chapters, they are in most cases at once superfluous and defective. At the same time they are condemned by their highly artificial character.
I hope to show that M. Renan's theory also must be rejected, both as involving strong improbabilities in itself, and as being more complex than the phenomena demand. But, in so far as it grapples fairly with the documentary facts, it has a higher claim to attention than the others.
M. Renan then supposes that the so-called Epistle to the Romans was a circular letter, of which several copies with distinct and appropriate endings were sent to different churches, the body of the letter being the same for all. One of these was despatched to Rome, a second to Ephesus, a third to Thessalonica, and a fourth to some unknown Church. Our epistle is the work of a later editor, who had these four copies in his hands, and combined all the endings so that nothing might be lost. The following table will show what parts of our epistle (according to M. Renan's view) belonged to each of these:
In the last three some modification would be made also in the first chapter. The mention of Rome (vv. 7, 15) at all eventsmust have been expunged.
M. Renan founds this theory of a quadripartite epistle on the assumed fact that in the existing recension we meet with four successive endings, xv. 33, xvi. 20, xvi. 24, xvi. 25-27. His reasons for assigning the several portions to letters addressed to the several churches above mentioned will appear in the sequel.
The most convenient method of dealing with M. Renan's opinions will be first to consider the difficulties which he feels in the received view that the whole epistle was written to the Romans and which oblige him to substitute another hypothesis, and then to state the objections which lie against his own theory.
The difficulties then, which M. Renan proposes to remove by his theory, are the following:
1. Certain phenomena in the body of the letter are perplexing, if it was written to the Romans. He selects as instances, the passages ii. 16, xi. 13, xvi. 25. Of these he says that they are 'only moderately adapted to the faithful of Rome, and would amount to indiscretion if addressed to these last alone' (p. lxxiv.). This objection rests on the assumption that the Roman Church consisted wholly of Jewish Christians; an assumption which I shall consider hereafter. At present I would only remark that, inasmuch as the letter (on M. Renan's hypothesis) was specialized by attaching an appropriate ending and thus became to all intents and purposes an Epistle to the Romans, it is difficult to see how the 'indiscretion' would be affected by the fact that other copies with other endings were despatched to other churches.
Again, M. Renan, building on the assumption already mentioned that the Roman Church must have been Judaeo-Christiau, claims for his theory the merit of explaining ' the hesitation of the best critics on the question whether the letter was addressed to converted heathens or to Jewish Christians'; for on his hypothesis 'the principal parts of the epistle would have been composed to serve for several churches at once' (p. lxxiv.). The answer to this argument is the same as to the former; and to the same extent I must reserve what I have to say in reply.
2. Moreover M. Renan thinks it surprising that St Paul should have composed 'un morceau si capital,' 'having regard solely to a church which he did not know and over which he had not incontestable rights' (p. lxxiv.). Considering the general and comprehensive character of the epistle, it seems to me that the church of the metropolis would naturally be chosen for such a purpose, and that the Apostle saw a distinct advantage in addressing such a letter to a community with which he had no special relations, so that he would run no risk of being diverted from his aim by any personal interests. But to this subject again I shall have occasion to return hereafter.
3. When he reaches the xiith, xiiith, and xivth chapters, M. Renan sees many difficulties in supposing that St Paul can have addressed such language to the Romans. He regards it as a departure from the Apostle's principle 'Each on his own ground' (p. lxiii.). He cannot understand that one who is so unsparing towards those who 'build on other men's foundations' should himself give such bold counsel to a church which he had not founded. He discovers a difference in tone between these chapters and the xvth, which he supposes to be really addressed to the Romans, and which seems to him to hold gentler language. I am not sure that others would find out this difference; but if any such exists, the Apostle's own words supply the explanation. In xv. 15 he himself apologizes for speaking to the Romans 'with over-boldness' (roXfirjporepov). But indeed, if this interference with the Roman Christians be truly a violation of the Apostle's rule not to build on another man's foundation, he has already violated it in addressing to them a letter of instruction of which the doctrinal portion is at least as peremptory as these special precepts, and he has expressed his intention of still further violating it by paying them a visit and by communicating to them some spiritual gift (i. 11). This argument proves nothing, because it proves too much.
4. The opening verses of the xvth chapter also occasion some surprise to M. Renan on the common supposition as to the integrity and destination of the letter. They seem to him merely to repeat and to enfeeble what has gone before. 'It is hardly supposable,' he says, 'that they occurred in the same letter' with the foregoing chapters (pp. lxiv., 461). Moreover 'the verses 1-13 appear to be addressed to Judaeo-Christians. St Paul there makes concessions to Jewish ideas' (pp. lxiv., 462). These remarks seem to me to show a strange misapprehension of the Apostle's drift. At the close of the preceding chapter he has taught that in the matter of meats there must be mutual concession and forbearance; that the man who can conscientiously eat may do so, but that in so doing he must take care not to scandalize his weaker brother. At the opening of the xvth chapter he turns round and addresses, not Jewish Christians who were too scrupulous about such matters, but ultraPauline Christians who were only too ready to go their own way and to ignore the effects of their conduct on others; 'But it is the duty of us—the strong—to support the infirmities of the weak and not to please ourselves.' A comparison with 1 Cor. viii. 1, Gal. vi. 1, Phil. iii. 15, where there is the same touch of irony in St Paul's language, will show the force of d<f>eiXofiev Be r/fieis oi Bvvarol, as addressed to the extravagant disciples of liberty. I am somewhat confident therefore that most persons who will read the xivth and xvth chapters continuously, bearing this in mind, will not only not agree with M. Renan, but will find it difficult to believe that the two did not occur in the same letter1.
Another argument, of which M. Renan makes use against
the Roman destination of these chapters, admits a still more
direct refutation: 'II s'y sert du verbe irapaitaXw, verbe d'une
nuance tres-mitigee sans doute, mais qui est toujours le mot
1 ' qu'il emploie quand il parle a ses disciples.'
Es ist unleugbar,' says de Wette, 'dass Cap. xv. 1-13 zu Cap. xiv. gehort.'
If this argument is to have any force, it must mean that TTapaitaX<S is never used by St Paul except to his disciples. If so, he has forgotten that it occurs in xv. 30, TrapaKaXw Be v/xa? K.t.x., a passage which on M. Renan's own showing was addressed to the Roman Church.
It should be added that throughout his remarks on this xvth chapter M. Renan is hampered by the hypothesis that the Roman Church was Judaeo-Christian. In one passage indeed he seems ready to make a concession, for he speaks of the majority as Judaeo-Christian (p. lxiv.); but this has no practical influence on his argument. Yet surely the expression irpoo-Xanfidveade dWijXow; (xv. 7), not less than the whole tenour of the epistle, points to a mixed community of Jews and Gentiles, in which it was the Apostle's aim to conciliate the discordant elements. If the expression Christ a minister of the Circumcision (xv. 8) points (as M. Renan justly infers) to Jewish prepossessions among St Paul's readers, yet on the other hand the Apostle's language a few verses below, xv. 15, 16, 'Reminding you by the grace which was given to me by God that I might be a minister of Christ Jesus unto the Gentiles,' shows still more clearly that he looked upon the Roman Church as in some sense Gentile, and therefore under his own jurisdiction.
5. The objections which M. Renan brings against the Roman destination of the xvith chapter are partly his own and partly adopted from others.
The Apostle, he urges, concludes the xvth chapter with a benediction and a final Amen. This therefore must be the end of a letter, since St Paul never adds salutations after such a close (p. lxv.). As he mentions the final Amen twice, it must be supposed that he lays great stress on the occurrence of the word here. We are therefore the more surprised that he has not consulted the critical editions of the text. In this case he would have found that ap.rjv is omitted by Griesbach, and placed in brackets by Lachmann and Tregelles. As the bias of scribes is always in favour of inserting rather than omitting an Amen in such cases, and as in this place it is wanting in some good copies (though present in the majority), these editors have justly regarded it with suspicion. Deprived of the Amen, the passage has a very close parallel in Phil. iv. 9, ital 6 0eo? T^s elprjvrjs earai fied' vfiwv (comp. 2 Cor. xiii. 11, Gal. vi. 16), which occurs in the body of the letter. But indeed doxologies and benedictions, with or without the accompanying Amen, are very frequent in St Paul, in other places than at the close of an epistle, as e.g. Rom. xi. 36, Gal. i . 5, Ephes. iii. 20, 21, Phil. iv. 19, 20, 1 Thess. iii. 11-13, v. 23, 2 Thess. ii. 16, 17, iii. 5, 1 Tim. i. 17, vi. 16, 2 Tim. iv. 18; comp. Heb. xiii. 20, 21. In some cases these occur immediately before the salutations, as in the present passage.
6. In the salutations themselves M. Renan finds the same difficulties which have been a stumbling-block in the way of others before him. He and they are surprised that St Paul should salute so many persons in a church which he had not visited, when he is so sparing of individual salutations in writing to churches with which his relations are most close and intimate. Let us ask in reply, What is the common experience in such matters? Will not a man studiously refrain from mentioning individual names where he is addressing a large circle of friends, feeling that it is invidious to single out some for special mention, where an exhaustive list is impossible? On the other hand, where only a limited number are known to him, he can name all, and no offence is given. This in fact is exactly what we find in St Paul. So far as the data are sufficient to establish any rule, it may be said that the number of name* mentioned is in the inverse proportion to his familiarity with the church to which he is writing. In the Epistles to the Corinthians and Thessalonians no individuals are saluted. In the Epistle to the Philippians again there are no salutations properly so called, though a special warning is addressed to two persons by name and a commission given to another. On the other hand, in the Epistle to the Colossians, whom the Apostle had never visited, certain persons are saluted by name.
This preliminary difficulty therefore is no difficulty at all. But—M. Renan proceeds—there is great improbability in supposing that St Paul knew so many members of a church which he had never visited, that he should have had such intimate relations with several of them, and that he should be so well acquainted with their circumstances. In the case of almost any other church such a supposition would indeed be improbable. But Rome with its vast and ever-growing population of immigrants from the East, and especially from Syria and Palestine, could not but contain a large number of residents known directly or indirectly to one who had travelled so long and so wide as St Paul. On this point let M. Renan himself be witness; 'By the side of the Apostles who attained celebrity,' he writes, 'there was also another obscure apostolate, whose agents were not dogmatists by profession, but which was only the more efficacious on that account. The Jews of that time were extremely nomadic. Tradesmen, domestic servants, small craftsmen, they overran all the great towns on the coast (p. 96). Rome was the rendezvous of all the Oriental religions, the port of the Mediterranean with which the Syrians had the closest relations. They arrived there in enormous bands... With them disembarked troops of Greeks, of Asiatics, of Egyptians' (p. 97).
But again, when he examines the names in detail, M. Renan is more than ever convinced that these salutations were not addressed to the Church of Rome. On the one hand he cannot find in the list any names known to have belonged to the Church of Rome at this time, and to substantiate this assertion he refers to 2 Tim. iv. 24, which, with some little ingenuity, he describes as a 'passage which has its historical value, though the letter is apocryphal.' I too allow the historical value of the passage (though, if I thought the letter apocryphal, I should hardly venture to build an argument on it); but I cannot see that the mention of four other names and only four in an epistle written from Rome after an interval of several years throws any discredit on this earlier list, as a catalogue of Roman Christians. On the other hand M. Renan finds in the list 'several persons who assuredly never formed part' of the Roman Church. Of these he singles out Aquila and Priscilla, remarking that as 'every one knows,' 'only some months' (quelques mois) elapsed between the writing of the First Epistle to the Corinthians and the Epistle to the Romans, and that, when the former was written, they were still at Ephesus (1 Cor. xvi. 19). Now it is just in a case like this that words should be carefully chosen. Yet on M. Renan's own showing (and the fact can hardly be disputed) the Epistle to the Romans was not despatched till the early part of the year 58 (see pp. 459, 498); whereas the First Epistle to the Corinthians was written about the same time or a little later in the preceding year (' probablement a l'epoque m&me de Paques,' are M. Renan's own words, p. 383); so that by the 'some months' we must understand 'at least ten months.' Elsewhere indeed (p. 6) he places even the Second Epistle to the Corinthians in the year 56, thus making a longer interval; but I presume that this is a slip of the pen. Is there then any real difficulty in supposing that they returned to Rome in this interval of a year more or less, and that St Paul should have been made acquainted with their return, seeing that his own travels meanwhile had lain mainly on the route between Ephesus and Rome? Aquila and Priscilla appear first at Rome, then at Corinth, then at Ephesus (Acts xviii. 2, 18, 19, 26, 1 Cor. xvi. 19). All this M. Renan admits. But he will not allow their return to Rome. This would be ' leur preter une vie par trop nomade.' Why, does not M. Renan himself afterwards in a passage already quoted (p. 275) describe the life of these itinerant Jewish artisans and traders exactly in this way? Does not the narrative of the Acts distinctly assign to this couple a 'nomadic' life, which indeed was the direct consequence of the peculiar trade which they plied? But 'to bring them back to Rome, without their sentence of banishment being rescinded, on the very morrow of the day (juste le lendemain du jour) when Paul had bidden them farewell at Ephesus,' this in M. Renan's opinion is to 'accumulate improbabilities.' But how does he know that a special sentence of banishment was pronounced against them individually or that, if pronounced, it was not revoked? On this point however I will appeal to a witness, whose testimony ought to be conclusive, so far as M. Renan is concerned, and who (I confess) seems to me to put the matter in the right light; 'These expulsions' (the writer is speaking of the edict of Claudius)'were never more than temporary and conditional. The flood, arrested for a moment, always returned. The measure of Claudius had in any case very little result; for Josephus does not mention it, and in the year 58 Rome had already a new Christian Church' (Saint Paul p. 111). But again, M. Renan, though he holds the 2nd Epistle to Timothy to be spurious, yet cannot refrain from using it to increase the supposed difficulty, because in that epistle Aquila and Priscilla appear again at Ephesus (2 Tim. iv. 19). Is it at all improbable that after an interval of nearly ten years they should again revisit this important city? They were wanderers not only by the exigencies of their trade, but also by the obligations of their missionary work. Why should we deny them a rapidity of movement, which we are obliged to concede to Timotheus, to Tychicus, to St Luke, to St Paul himself?
But'this is not all In ver. 5 St Paul salutes Epaenetus, the first-born of Asia in Christ.' 'What!' exclaims M. Renan,'had all the Church of Ephesus assembled at Rome?' Let us dissect this sentence. This 'all' in plain language consists of three persons. Of one, Epaenetus, we do not know that he belonged to Ephesus, but only that he was a native of the province. The other two belonged no more to Ephesus than to Pontus, to Corinth, to Rome, though about a year before this they happened to be residing in Ephesus. But once again, is there any improbability in imagining two or three Asiatic Christians resident or sojourning in Rome? Does not M. Renan himself speak of the 'troops of Asiatics' that flocked thither? And history teaches that this language is not an exaggeration.
'But,' M. Renan continues,' the list of names which follows is in like manner better suited to Ephesus than to Rome.' He allows indeed that' the earliest Church of Rome for the most part spoke Greek': but he argues that in examining the Jewish inscriptions in Rome 'Garrucci has found that the number of Latin proper names was double the number of Greek names,' whereas in this list 'of twenty-four names, sixteen are Greek, seven Latin, one Hebrew, so that the number of the Greek names is more than double that of the Latin.' To this objection it would be a sufficient answer that St Paul's acquaintances must necessarily have lain, not among the native Latin population, but among the Greek and Oriental immigrants whom he had crossed in his travels. But a little examination will show that the argument is fallacious, even as applied to the Church of Rome generally. A better test of its composition, than these Jewish inscriptions, is the list of the Roman bishops in the first two centuries. Analysing this list, we find that in a catalogue of fifteen names (from Linus A.D. 67? to Callistus A.d. 219), twelve are Greek, while three only (Clemens, Pius, Victor) are Latin. After Callistus the proportions are about reversed; the Roman Church was becoming gradually Latinized and there is a corresponding preponderance of Latin names. This fact illustrates the fallacy of M. Renan's comparison. Garrucci's Jewish inscriptions (I am repeating M. Renan's own statement elsewhere, p. 106, note 3) for the most part belong to a much later date than St Paul's age. We should therefore expect to find in these, as we find in the Christian lists at the same time, an increase of the Latin names at the expense of the Greek.
But among these numerous Greek names, which thus create a difficulty to M. Renan, he especially remarks on the fact that 'the names of the masters of houses, Aristobulus and Narcissus, are Greek also.' This remark 6eems to me peculiarly unfortunate. It so happens that we know of two great 'chefs de maison' at Rome about this time, bearing these very names. The former was a Jew, a member of the Herodian family, and therefore among his slaves and dependents the Apostle was most likely to have formed friendships; nor is it an unimportant coincidence, as I have remarked elsewhere1, that after the mention of the household of Aristobulus the next person specified is one Herodion, whom St Paul calls his kinsman and who therefore was a Jew by birth, while at the same time his name seems to indicate a dependent position in the family of this Jewish prince. Again in a foot-note M. Renan for some reason or other (probably thinking of his namesake, the writer on prodigies, who was a native of Tralles) singles out Phlegon, as a name more suited to Ephesus than to Rome. Even the Trallian Phlegon however, who was a freed man of Hadrian, resided at Rome: and in fact the inscriptions show that this name was by no means of rare occurrence in the metropolis*.
On this point therefore I cannot but think that M. Renan is entirely wrong, though he can quote the authority of some important critics on his side. How far I have succeeded, I am not competent to say; but I seem to myself to have shown elsewhere3 that the names in this list are quite appropriate on the hypothesis that the salutations were addressed to the Romans, and that on this supposition alone they present several coincidences which go far to establish its truth. I am glad also to be able to quote on my side the opinion of a writer whose bias would certainly have led him to take a different view, if he had shared M. Renan's difficulty. Baur, who goes so far as to deny the genuineness of the last two chapters of the epistle, explains the salutations by supposing that the forger inserted ' a catalogue of those who were known at the time as the notabilities of the oldest Roman Church' (Paulus p. 414).
'So,' M. Renan concludes decisively, 'the verses Rom. xvi. 3-16 (containing the salutations) were not addressed to the Church of Rome; they were addressed to the Church of Ephesus.' 'No more,' he continues, 'can the verses 17-20 have been addressed to the Romans.'
1 See Philippians p. 173, where I three inscriptions, where this name
have interpreted the expressions ol iK occurs, Dci.xxi. 6, Dcclix. 12, Dccclviii.
Tud' 'Aptorofiov\ov, oi (k T&v NapWroov 3, and all three are Roman, to mean Aristobidiani, Narcisaiani. 3 Philippiaiu, p. 169 sq.
1 The index to Gruter gives only
The strength of his affirmations seems at this point to be in the inverse proportion to the strength of his evidence. He appeals here again to the use of the word irapaKaXw (ver. 17)—an argument demonstrably erroneous, even on his own showing, as I have already pointed out (p. 296). He quotes the expression e<f vfuv ^aipto, which he explains as 'the language of a master to his scholars,' not remembering that St Paul uses a similar expression in writing to the Colossians (ii. 5) whom he had never visited, and apparently not entertaining any objection to the allied phrase ev-%apiffrui irepl iravrwv vfi&v (i. 8) as addressed to the Romans. He remarks that St Paul knows the condition of the church he addresses, and glories (se fait gloire) in its good reputation; but why should he not do all this in the case of Rome? And thus he infers 'il est la en famille.' Then by a rough and ready method he argues that the verses could only be addressed to the Corinthians or to the Ephesians; and, as the epistle at the close of which they occur was written at Corinth, they must have been addressed to Ephesus. I seem to myself to have shown that the reasons for questioning their Roman destination are wholly insufficient to counteract the weight of external evidence. But, I would ask, are there no difficulties in the counter hypothesis that they were written to the Ephesians? Why in this case have the personal allusions no points of coincidence either with the narrative of St Paul's long residence at Ephesus which terminated not a year before, or with his address to the Ephesian elders which was held only a few months afterwards? Why again is there no mention of Tychicus or of Trophimus, who were with St Paul at this time? Of the benediction, which closes the 20th verse and which M. Renan takes to be the conclusion of the Ephesian letter, I shall have something to say presently.
7. The next few verses also (vi. 21-24), containing salutations from divers persons in St Paul's company, 'cannot any more than the preceding have formed part of an Epistle to the Romans.' 'Why,' he exclaims, 'should all these people who had never been at Rome, who were not known to the faithful at Rome, salute these last? What meaning could these names of unknown persons have to the Church of Rome?' As much meaning, I would reply, as the names of the persons saluting the Colossians could have to the Church of Colossae (Col. iv. 10 sq.). They might or they might not be known to the Roman Church byname; personal acquaintance was not necessaryto create Christian sympathy; and, being about the Apostle at the time, they might well pour out their hearts in this expression of good wishes. What more natural for instance than that Gaius in whose house St Paul was staying, and Tertius who acted as the Apostle's amanuensis, should join in the salutation?
But M. Renan goes on to remark, as an important fact, that the names mentioned in these verses 'are all names of Macedonians or of persons who might have known the Churches of Macedonia.' Will this statement bear examination? Eight names are mentioned in all. Of Tertius the amanuensis and Quartus 'the brother' we know nothing. Of Lucius also we are equally ignorant, unless he be the Lucius of Cyrene mentioned Acts xiii. 1, in which case he is as likely to have had relations with Rome as with Thessalonica. Timotheus, it is true, was well known in Macedonia; but as the constant companion of the Apostle, his fame must have reached Rome also. Erastus too, himself a Corinthian, had accompanied the Apostle on a missionary visit to Macedonia (Acts xix. 22); but the descriptive addition,'the steward of the city,' is much more appropriate, if addressed to those to whom his name was unknown or scarcely known, than to those with whom he was personally acquainted. Gaius of Corinth (1 Cor. i. 14) again (for he must not be confused with Gaius of Macedonia, Acts xix. 29) had—so far as we are aware—no personal relations with Macedonia. Thus as regards six out of the eight persons sending salutations, M. Renan's remark has no force. The remaining two, Jason and Sosipater, were seemingly Macedonians. The former may be identified with St Paul's host at Thessalonica, Acts xvii . 5 sq. (though the name, as a Grecized form of Jesus or Joshua, is common among Hellenist Jews at this date); and the latter is most probably 'Sopater the son of Pyrrhus the Beroean,' who L. E. 20
accompanied St Paul when he left Corinth on this occasion1 and was probably with him now. Both these however, as faithful friends and constant attendants of the Apostle, might very well append their salutations to his letter. On the other hand there is no mention of Aristarchus and Secundus the Thessalonians, who were with St Paul at this time (Acts xx. 4)s, as might have been expected in a letter written to Thessalonica.
At this point again M. Re nan calls attention to the benediction in xvi. 24 and adds,'verse 24 is the conclusion of a letter. The verses xvi. 21-24 may therefore be an end of a letter addressed to the Thessalonians.' He has failed to observe that this benediction is wanting in the best critical editions, but to this matter I shall have to revert presently.
8. Thus we have arrived at the close of M. Renan's third epistle. His fourth is suggested by the documentary evidence. As the final doxology, xvi. 25-27, is found in many copies at the close of the xivth chapter, he concludes that it must have occurred in this place in one of the four copies of the circular letters which were welded together to form our recension. His fourth epistle in fact coincides in limits with Baur's Epistle to the Romans, though M. Renan himself supposes it to have been addressed to some unknown church. How much nearer to probability this part of his theory approaches than the rest, I hope to show hereafter.
I have thus examined in detail M. Renan's objections to the integrity of the letter, considered as addressed to the Romans; and, if I mistake not, have reduced them to very small dimensions. Every complex historical fact involves some improbabilities, prior to evidence; and in this case such improbabilities as remain are not greater than we might reasonably expect.
1 Acts xx. 4, XJnratpos TlOppov B«poutios, the correct reading. The very fact however that St Luke takes such pains to identify him, seems to show that he was not the only person of the name about St Paul at this time.
1 M. Benan himself makes them accompany him to Corinth (p. 468).
On the other hand the direct documentary evidence is exceptionally strong here, as this epistle seems to have been more widely known from the very earliest ages than any of St Paul's letters, and therefore the probability of such a manipulation as he supposes having occurred without leaving any traces in the MSS. is correspondingly diminished.
This examination has also brought out incidentally the positive grounds on which M. Renan constructs his own theory, and they have been severally considered. One point however has been reserved. The quadripartite character of the closing chapters of this epistle is a remarkable fact, if true, and indeed may be regarded as the foundation of his theory. If it fails, the theory must crumble and fall. I propose therefore to ask whether the epistle has or has not these four distinct endings.
Inasmuch as the establishment of this fact is all important to his theory, it is strange that M. Renan should not have glanced beyond the received text, except to suggest (with what bearing, it does not appear) a possible fifth ending; 'Nous arrivons done a ce singulier resultat que l'dpitre finit quatre fois, et dans le Codex Alexandrinus cinq fois' (p. lxxi.; comp. p. 461).
These four endings then (in the received text) are:
(1) xv. 33 6 Be 0eo? Ttj$ elprjvr]<; fierd iravrwv vfiobv. dp,i']v.
(2) xvi. 20 -f] yapis t0U Kvptou >)fic?w 'Irjaov Xptarov fted'
(3) xvi 24 rj \apis Tow K.vpiov r/fiwv 'lrjaov Xpto-roO fiera
(4) xvi. 25-27 ra> Be BvvafMevtp...fi6v<p <ro<pq> ©eo5 Bid Irjaov Xpio-rov, w 77 Bolja ei? Tov<; alwva<;. dfirjv.
Now the first of these has not the character of St Paul's final benedictions at all. The dp.rjv (this is a matter of little moment) is, as I have pointed out already, open to grave suspicion (see p. 297). The form of the prayer has many parallels in the body of the Apostle's letters, as I have also shown. But the final benedictions in every other instance are framed on the type of (2) or (3) r} x°PK /et.x., consisting of more or fewer words, but preserving this characteristic feature. Any one who reads in succession the concluding benedictions of all St Paul's epistles will, I think, feel the force of this argument.
The second and third do exhibit the character of final benedictions. But here M. Renan has made an important oversight1. The two editors, to whom we are indebted for the best texts, Lachmann and Tregelles, omit the third. In fact a comparison of the oldest uncials will show, that these two benedictions are in reality the same, which occupies one or other place in the better authorities, but which in later copies is sometimes inserted in both. Thus we have to make a choice between xvi. 20 and xvi. 24, but we cannot retain both. In this respect the phenomena of this benediction present an exact parallel to those which attend the position of the long doxology (xvi. 25-27), as given above, p. 288.
The following is a conspectus of the facts relating to this benediction.
xvi. 20 f) %dpi<; Tov Kvplov r)p.S>v 'lwo-ov [XpioTrov] fied' vfiatv.
ins. fci, A, B, C, rel., Orig. om. D, F, G.
xvi. 24 fj %apt? Tov Kvpt'ou yfiwv 'lno~ov Xp«rro0 fiera
irdvrWV Vfjlwv. dfj/nv. om. X, A, B, C, Am., Fuld., Harl., Memph., ^th., Orig. ww. D, F, G, (17), 37, 47, L, (P), Demid., ToL, (Syr.
Pesh.), Syr. Hard, (Arm.), [om. yfiwv, 37; om. 'lno-ov
Xpiarov, F, G].
1 Perhaps 'oversight' is hardly the mainly depends on the position of correot term, for he adds in a note, these benedictions, it is only the more 'Sur l'incertitude des manuscrits a strange that he should have accepted propos de la place du verset 24, voir the received text without examination, Griesbach, Nov. Test. n. p. 222.' But knowing that it was open to question, here his curiosity ends. As his theory
As F, G, 37, L, Goth., omit xvi . 25-27, it becomes the end
of the epistle in these. In 17, P, Syr. Pesh., Arm., it occurs after xvi. 25-27 [om.
It will thus be seen that Lachmann and Tregelles are right in placing this benediction at xvi. 20; and that it has been transplanted thence into the later positions, whether at xvi. 24 or after xvi. 27, by editorial revision, with a view to restoring it to what seemed to be its proper place. To this subject also I shall have to revert again.
M. Renan's fourth ending is different in character from the others, being a doxology and not a benediction. I shall reserve my explanation of it.
Thus then it will appear that the basis of M. Renan's theory, the quadripartite character of the epistle, has fallen away. But before dismissing this theory, I must point out some objections to which, even if it rested on more solid ground, it would be exposed, and which might in themselves prove fatal to it.
(1) In our existing Epistle to the Romans the topics in the last two chapters occur in the following order, (a) xv. Special injunctions and explanations concerning the Apostle's movements, (b) xvi. 1-20. A recommendation of the bearer of the letter and several salutations to divers persons, with a warning against divisions appended. (c) xvi. 21-24. Salutations from divers persons in St Paul's company, (d) A doxology (xvi. 25-27). This sequence is natural. In fact the topics follow each other in the same order in the Epistle to the Colossians, which, as regards the concluding matter, is the most complete of all the Apostle's letters. On the other hand all M. Renan's four epistles are incomplete, and incomplete in a remarkable way. The first—to the Romans—contains personal explanations without salutations to or from any one. The second —to the Ephesians—contains no personal explanations but only salutations to several brethren. The third—to the Thessalonians —has neither the one nor the other, but only salutations from several friends of the Apostle. Lastly, the fourth—to some unknown Church—has none of the three but only a bare doxology. We are required therefore to suppose that these four copies were defective in such a way that, when they were combined at some distance of time by a chance editor, they fitted together exactly, each supplying what was lacking in the rest, and all together forming a complete whole.
(2) But again; M. Renan's theory, though contrasting in this respect favourably with many of its predecessors, nevertheless fails to account for all the phenomena of the MSS. Thus, whereas the reading preserved in G rot? oiaiv ev dydirrj €)eov obliterates the mention of any individual church, M. Renan's theory supposes that in the several copies appropriate modifications were introduced to adapt them to particular churches. In this case we should rather have expected traces of such a reading as Toi< ; oiaiv ev 'E^eo-ca (or ev ®eaaa\ovUy) dyairqrofc QeoO, or at all events (as in the somewhat parallel case of the canonical Epistle to the Ephesians) -rot? ovaiv dyairvroh Qeov, the space which was originally left for the name having disappeared in the course of transcription and the words closed in upon the blank. On the other hand the substitution of ev dydrrn for dyairrjrols seems to have been made with a view to obviating the necessity of mentioning any name. This suggests a solution somewhat different from M. Renan's.
Again; as regards the concluding chapters of the epistle, it will be seen that the documentary facts point only to the fourth of M. Renan's four copies, and give no indication whatever of the other three. This fourth copy, as I hope to show, does represent a truth, though the destination was not what M. Renan supposes.
(3) M. Renan speaks with some vagueness about the body of the letter. In one passage in his introduction (p. lxxiii.) he seems to imply that the copy sent to the Romans consisted of chapters i-xi., xv., exactly as we have them; for he mentions 'modifications in the first half of the first chapter,' as introduced into the three remaining copies. This I suppose to be his meaning. But, if so, what becomes of half his objections to the received view? These are based on the assumption that the Roman Church was Judaeo-Christian. Of the truth or falsehood of this assumption I shall have something to say presently. I would simply ask now, how it is reconcilable with the Epistle to the Romans, as he leaves it. This is M. Renan's own statement of the case; 'Les passages de l'Epitre aux Romains qui supposeraient (why not 'supposent'?) l'Eglise de Rome compose'e pour la plus grande partie de pa'iens et de proselytes, Rom. i. 6, 11, 13, vi. 14, 17 et suiv., vii . 1-6, xi. 13, 25, 28, 30, xiv. 1 et suiv., xv. 7 et suiv., viennent de ce que les Romains n'etaient pas les uniques destinataires de l'Epitre en question. Ces formules sont, du reste, si vagues que de bons critiques en ont pu conclure, les uns que l'Epitre aux Romains a e'te- e"crite a des paiens convertis les autres quelle a e'te ecrite a des Jud6oChre'tiens' (p. 483). Yet M. Renan lets all these passages remain in the copy sent to the Roman Church. It may be inferred however from his language here that these passages made a deeper impression upon him when he came to analyse the epistle towards the close of his volume, than when he wrote the introduction. For though he argues in the introduction on the hypothesis of a strictly Judaeo-Christian Church, and even in this later passage speaks of it as 'en ge'ne'ral compose'e d'Ebionites et de JudeVChr^tiens,' he yet adds here 'Elle renfermait aussi cependant des proselytes et des paiens convertis'; and altogether his language seems to betray a vague misgiving that his theory is not very consistent with the hypothesis on which it is built.
It was not my intention, when I commenced this paper, to take up a merely negative position. As M. Renan has endeavoured fairly to grapple with the documentary facts, it is only due to him, while rejecting his theory, to attempt to suggest some other solution which shall account for them as well or better, and shall not be open to the same objections.
The view that the Epistle to the Romans was early circulated in a longer and a shorter form, i.e. both with and without the xivth and xvth chapters, is in some shape or other not new. Bertholdt and others, for instance, explained the phenomena of the different positions of the doxology by supposing that these two chapters were omitted in the public lessons1. More recently Mr Westcott (Vaughan's Romans, p. xvi.) says,' Whether it may be possible that the epistle proceeded in two forms from the Apostle's hands, the one closing with chap. xiv. and the doxology, the other extended by the addition of the two last chapters after the omission of the doxology, or whether any other more' satisfactory explanation can be offered of the phenomena of omission, repetition, transposition, authenticity, must be left for further investigation.' In an article on the epistle in Smith's Dictionary of the Bible I myself adopted the theory of a twofold edition, and further examination has confirmed me in this view. But the subject has never, so far as I am aware, received that 'further investigation' which Mr Westcott desires, and in the hope that I may be able to throw a little light on it, I venture now to examine the question more closely.
But by way of preface it is necessary to say something about the composition of the Church of Rome at this time, for (as we have seen already) much depends on the view adopted in this respect. M. Renan, in the passage quoted above (p. 311), offered his own explanation of the fact that the ablest critics were divided on the question whether the epistle was addressed to Jewish or to Gentile Christians. Would not the more natural explanation be that St Paul is here addressing a mixed church, composed of both in equal or nearly equal parts, and that he turns now to one, now to the other, as the tenour of his argument demands? Certainly the Gentile element is very strong; and I think few will agree with M. Renan, that such passages as i. 5, 6 ev iraaw rot? e6ve<riv...iv ol<; eore /cal vfiels, or i. 13 ev vfilv Kadtos Kal ep tot? \o«rot5 edveaw, or xi. 13 vfilv Xey(o tot? edveaiv (with its whole context), or xv. 16 hravafiifivrjaKwv vfia<; Bid Ttjv "X&piv rrfV Bodelo-dv fioi xrnb Tov ®eov ei? To elval fie Xeirovpyov
Xpurrov 'I170-0U fit? To edvt), are explained on the assumption that the Roman Church was strictly Judaeo-Christian, together with (what M. Renan very reluctantly concedes) a sprinkling of Gentile Christians among them.
1 This however is shown not to have been the case. See Beiche, Comm. Crit. p. 118.
St Paul, if I mistake not, starts from the fact that the Roman Church stood on Gentile ground, and that very large and perhaps preponderating numbers of its members were Gentiles. This is his justification for writing to them, as the Apostle of the Gentiles. It never once occurs to him, that he is intruding on the province of others. Yet at the same time it is equally clear that a considerable part of the argument is directed against Judaizing tendencies, and occasionally he appeals directly to Jewish readers (ii. 17, iii. 9, vii. 4 sq.). The inference from these two classes of facts seems to be plain.
Nor is there any prior improbability in such a mixed church. M. Renan insists that the Roman brotherhood must have been founded and built up by emissaries from Palestine. But why should the Christianity of Rome be due to Jerusalem solely, and not also to Antioch and Corinth and Ephesus, with which cities communication must have been even more frequent? Why at Rome alone should the Judaic element be all powerful, and the Pauline insignificant?
And, while the hypothesis of such a mixed church is probable in itself, it also harmonizes with the notices elsewhere. St Paul's language to the Philippians implies that, when he arrived at Rome, he found two parties of Christians there, the one friendly to him, the other hostile, but both alike stimulated to activity by his presence (Phil. i. 14-18). It may be truly said also that this view is quite consistent with all the notices of the Roman Church during the first two centuries of its existence, and that some of these seem to require it.
To this obvious inference from the Apostle's own language, M. Renan can only oppose the testimony of one or two much later writers. He refers especially to the commentator Hilary (p. 483), whom he commends as ' fort au courant des traditions de 1'Eglise romaine' (p. 115). It may be granted that this writer has preserved more than one true tradition, but the mere fact that he wrote quite three centuries after St Paul deprives his statements of any value when they conflict with the natural interpretation of the Apostle's language. And after all, is not M. Renan mistaken in supposing that this writer here professes to give a tradition? His words are,' Constat itaque temporibus apostolorum Judaeos, propterea quod sub regno Romano agerent, Romae habitasse; ex quibus hi qui crediderant, tradiderunt Romanis ut Christum profitentes legem servarent; Romani autem audita fama virtutum Christi faciles ad credendum fuerunt, utpote prudentes: nee immerito prudentes, qui male inducti statim correcti sunt et permanserunt in eo. Hi ergo ex Judaeis, ut datur intelligi, credentes Christum non accipiebant Deum esse de Deo, putantes uni Deo adversum; quamobrem negat illos spiritualem Dei gratiam consecutos ac per hoc confirmationem eis deesse' (Ambros. Op. II . app. 25). He appears to state as matter of history (' constat') only that there was a large Jewish population in Rome. Beyond this his language is apparently based on the interpretation of the epistle itself ('datur intelligi'; comp. p. 30). He sees that a considerable portion of the epistle is directed against Judaizing views, and he therefore infers that the Judaizers were a very strong party in the Roman Church. M. Renan again appeals to the Clementine Homilies, which he asserts confidently were written at Rome, and which exhibit Ebionite views. The Roman origin of this work seems to me more than doubtful; but even if granted, it does not prove his point, for the cautious disguise, which the writer wears throughout, shows that he must have belonged to a comparatively small minority. That there was such a compact and active Judaizing minority in Rome in the early ages, few probably would deny. On the other hand, M. Renan omits to mention the one genuine document of subapostolic times, which was issued in the name of the Roman Church, and which may therefore reasonably be supposed to represent the views of that church. The Epistle of Clement exhibits no leaning to Judaism.
To the Church of Rome then, as a mixed body of Jewish and Gentile converts, the epistle was addressed. The destination of the letter was in harmony with its subject. Indeed it may very reasonably be conjectured, that the subject in the Apostle's mind was prior to the destination. To the Corinthians he bad written rebuking the errors of Gentile licence. To the Galatians he had denounced the deadening effects of Judaic bondage. The letters to these churches had been called forth by special emergencies, and this fact gave a special direction to them. Thus the Apostle's mind for a year or more had been led to dwell especially on the relation of these two extremes separately to the doctrine of grace and liberty. It would not unnaturally occur to him to treat them together in a comprehensive manner, and to show where Judaic and Gentile feeling might find their true meeting point. This is exactly what he does in the Epistle to the Romans. Its aim from beginning to end is conciliation—conciliation of claims, conciliation of doctrine, conciliation of practice. The manner in which the question of forbidden meats is treated in the xivth chapter is only a special example of the motive which pervades the whole work. The Apostle, it is true, had a personal reason for writing to the Romans, as he contemplated visiting them soon and wished to prepare them for his visit: but above all this, there was singular propriety in addressing such an exposition to the Church of the metropolis, composed, as we have seen, in almost equal parts of the same two discordant elements which he strove to combine. Thus the epistle, though not a circular epistle itself, yet manifested the general and comprehensive character which might be expected in such. It is more of a treatise than a letter.
This was our Epistle to the Romans. The shorter recension, in which the two last chapters were omitted, was, I suppose, an after-thought, being an attempt to divest it of all personal matter, and to make it available as a circular letter or general treatise. So far, it was a carrying out of the spirit of the original work. When and how this was done I shall endeavour to make out; but by way of introduction I will set side by side what I consider to have been the contents of these two recensions respectively.
Of the abridged recension we have distinct traces in Marcion's copy (though he omitted the doxology), in FG, and less decidedly in other authorities; and some such hypothesis alone will explain the varying positions of the doxology in different MSS.
The MS. F is unfortunately defective in the first chapter, but doubtless preserved here the same phenomena which we find in G. These two MSS. are very closely allied, and must have been copied mediately or immediately from the same prototype. They themselves may probably be referred to the ixth century, having belonged to two neighbouring Swiss monasteries, the one to Reichenau, the other to St Gall. Either their common prototype, or a still earlier MS. from which it was copied, [must have preserved the abridged recension. The space of about five lines, which is left blank between chapters xiv. and xv. in G, would be about sufficient for the doxology (xvi. 25-27), which however is omitted in both places. These features in the MS. suggest that the copyist of an earlier MS., from which it has descended, transcribed a MS. of the abridged recension till the end of chapter xiv., and then took up a MS. of the original Epistle to the Romans to supply the lacking matter, omitting however the doxology as inappropriate to what had thus become the middle of the letter, and perhaps intending to give it a place afterwards, but abandoning his purpose. It is an instructive fact that in the allied MS. F no space is left after ch. xiv., but the text is written continuously.
My reasons for supposing that the doxology (xvi. 25-27 of the received text) belonged to the abridged recension and not to the original epistle are the following:
(1) It has nothing in common with the usual endings of St Paul's Epistles, which close with a benediction of the type mentioned above (p. 307).
(2) On the other hand, such an abridged recension as I have supposed, whether issued by the Apostle or by some later editor, would hardly have been left to terminate abruptly with irav Be 6 Ovk eK 7rt<rreo>9, ufiaprla l<rtLv. The addition of a doxology, or of some equivalent, would seem necessary.
(3) If it had occurred at the end of the xivth chapter in the original epistle, it would have been a violent interruption of the sense, for the xvth chapter continues the thread of the xivth, and there is nothing to call for such a thanksgiving. On the other hand, if its position was at the end of the epistle, the displacement to the close of the xivth is somewhat difficult to explain.
(4) The difference of style between this doxology and the rest of the epistle has often been noticed, and has led some critics to question or deny its genuineness. The real fact is, that though it does differ somewhat in thought and diction from the epistles of this date, it has very strong affinities to the later letters of the Apostle, as the following table will show:
These facts seem to show that though written by the Apostle it was not written at the same time with the letter itself1.
In order to account for all these data, I suggest the following hypothesis. At some later period of his life, not improbably during one of his sojourns in Rome, it occurred to the Apostle to give to this letter a wider circulation. To this end he made two changes in it; he obliterated all mention of Rome in the opening paragraphs by slight alterations; and he cut off the two last chapters containing personal matters, adding at the same time a doxology as a termination to the whole. By this ready method it was made available for general circulation, and perhaps was circulated to prepare the way for a personal visit in countries into which he had not yet penetrated (i. 11 sq.). The idea of a circular letter was not new to him; for he had already addressed one to the Churches of Asia. M. Renan pertinently remarks that the First Epistle of St Peter makes use chiefly of the Epistle to the Romans and the Epistle to the Ephesians, 'c'est-a-dire des deux epitres qui sont des traite's gen^raux, des catecheses' (p. lxxii.).
Thus I believe that the last, and the last alone, of M. Renan's four epistles represents a historical fact. It was not however a special copy, as he supposes, addressed to some individual church now unknown, but an adaptation of the original epistle for general circulation. A copy of this fell into the hands of Marcion, but (unless Rufinus in his translation has misrepresented Origen's meaning) he removed the doxology, as he well might have done with a doctrinal aim. Another was the prototype of FG. All the phenomena relating to the doxology arose from the combination of copies of this abridged recension with copies of the original epistle in different ways. The notice of Origen shows that such combinations took place at a very early date.
One point still remains to be settled—relating however not to the abridged recension, but to the original epistle. Where are we to place the benediction which occurs (1) at xvi . 20, (2) after xvi. 23, whether before or after the doxology, or (3) in both places, in different copies, as explained above (p. 308)? To this question the great preponderance of authority allows but one answer. It must stand at xvi. 20, and must be omitted from the later place. If so, ver. 20 is the true close of the epistle, and the salutations from the amanuensis and other companions of St Paul were added irregularly as a sort of postscript, as was very likely to have been done, considering the circumstances under which St Paul's epistles were written. The desire of later transcribers to get a proper close to the letter would lead them to transplant to the end of these salutations the benediction of xvi. 20, with or without modification, or to supply the defect with the doxology from the abridged recension. Either expedient appears in different MSS., and in some both are combined.