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Abstract

This dissertation argues that the single, post-Pauline author of the Pastoral Epistles crafts a stigmatizing depiction of his theological opponents by spatializing, demonizing, and pathologizing their alleged deviance in order to provide an authoritative model for how to address unwanted diversity in teaching, community norms, church governance, and the interpretation of Paul’s letters in the post-Pauline era. It demonstrates that the Pastor creatively synthesizes diverse sources, pursuing his agenda both through creative acts of authorial fiction that draw upon key themes and terms from the Pauline homologoumena and through the appropriation of language and ideas from contemporary philosophical and medical discourses. This dissertation contributes new insights on the traditional problem of opponents in the Pastorals by 1) identifying and interpreting hitherto under-appreciated narrative devices like the spatializing of deviance and obedience, 2) demonstrating through research in ancient medical literature that the Pastor’s use of medical imagery is more pervasive and cohesive than previously thought, 3) arguing for the necessity of interpreting the Pastor’s pathologizing of deviance in light of ancient disease etiologies and models of corporeality, 4) demonstrating the pervasiveness and function of the rhetoric of mental illness (itself a culturally constructed category drawn upon polemically by the Pastor) with insights from disability studies, and 5) drawing upon recent interpretive insights about the function of authorial fiction and "corrective composition" to demonstrate that the Pastor is self-consciously appropriating particular moments in the Pauline epistolary in order to craft a backwards and forward-looking approach to the problem of opponents per se in the Pastoral Epistles. This dissertation constitutes another contributing argument for the unified composition of these letters as a mini-corpus designed to supplement an emerging corpus of Paul's letters.

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