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date: 01 December 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores the question how the letters of Paul came to be preserved, edited, and collected, so that a corpus Paulinum became broadly available in the early church by the close of the second century. The chapter begins by canvassing the relevant evidence, part of which is external, consisting of references to the letters of Paul in early Christian sources, and part of which is internal, consisting of features of the letters themselves. This overview of the evidence is followed by descriptions and evaluations of a variety of theories about the agents, motives, and methods that may have played a role in the development of the Pauline letter collection and about the various forms it may have taken. Finally, the essay draws some conclusions that seem probable, even though the evidence that is available does not allow for a full understanding of all the attendant issues.

Keywords: letters, collection, corpus Paulinum, Pauline school, pseudonymity, manuscripts, Marcion

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