Plummer’s 2 Corinthians Commentary

The following public domain commentary on 2 Corinthians is now available in pdf:

Alfred Plummer [1841–1926], A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Second Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians. Edinburgh: T &T Clark, 1915. Hbk. pp.404.

Don Carson notes in his New Testament Commentary Survey (6th edn.), that this commentary:

“…tends to be pedestrian, but is worth picking up second hand; I cannot imagine paying those prices [$50.00] for a new copy.”

 2 Corinthians


1. Authenticity

The evidence, both external and internal, for the genuineness of 2 Corinthians is so strong that a commentator might be excused for assuming it without discussion. In the present state of criticism there is no need to spend time in examining the captious and speculative objections which have been, during the last sixty years, urged against this and others of the four great Epistles of St Paul by a very small group of eccentric critics, and various recent commentators not only abstain from doing so, but do not even think it worthwhile to give so much as a summary of the evidence in favour of the genuineness.The external evidence does not begin quite so early as that for 1 Corinthians; for we may regard it as certain that the Second Epistle was unknown to Clement of Rome, who was so well acquainted with the First. Much of the Second would have served his purpose much better than the First Epistle; yet, frequently as he quotes the First, he nowhere exhibits any knowledge of the Second, for none of the five or six passages, in which some writers have thought that there may be an echo of something in 2 Corinthians, can be relied upon as showing this. Those who care to verify this statement may compare 2 Cor. i. 5, viii. 9, x. 3, 4, x. 13, 15, 16, x. 17, x. 18 respectively with Clem. ii. l, xvi. 2, xxxvii. 1, i. 3, xiii. l, xxx. 6.Clement is writing on behalf of the Church of Rome to rebuke the Corinthians for rebelling against authority, and he tells them to “take up the Epistle of the blessed Paul the Apostle” and see how he rebukes them for party spirit. It would have been far more to the point to have referred to the Second Epistle in which St Paul rebukes them far more severely for rebellion. “Yet in the sixty-five chapters of Clement’s epistle there is not a single sentence which indicates that he had ever heard that the Corinthians has before his own time rebelled against those set over them, or that they had ever repented of their rebellion, though he tells the Corinthians that he has handled every argument”(Kennedy, The Second and Third Epistles to the Corinthians, p. 147). The absence of any clear quotation may be regarded as conclusive. “In the whole field of literature it would hardly be possible to adduce a stronger case of proof” (Rendall, The Epistles of St Paul to the Corinthians, p. 91). The inference is that 2 Corinthians in A.D. 96 was not known in the Church of Rome; it had not yet been circulated through the Churches.

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Andrew C. Clark on Apostleship: Evidence From the New Testament and Early Christian Literature

The following article is now available on-line in PDF:

Andrew C. Clark, “Apostleship: Evidence From the New Testament and Early Christian Literature,” Vox Evangelica 19 (1989): 49-82.

An interesting an wide-ranging study of what it the term “apostle” meant in the early church. The summary reads:

W Bauer comments that in early Christian literature generally, ‘the number twelve stands so fast that exceedingly often twelve disciples are spoken of where actually only eleven can be meant eg Gospel of Peter 5:9; Ascension of Isaiah 3:17; 4:3; 11:29; Kerygma Petrou’. Much is said in the apocryphal Acts and Epistles of the various views and activities of the apostles after the ascension, especially of their missionary work throughout the world. Paul is not deliberately excluded from the number, but ‘it was only when Marcion and later Jewish Christianity began to play Paul against the earliest apostles that thought was given to the circle of apostles, and the Early Catholic Church maintained that “the twelve and Paul” qualified as apostles’. As regards the apostolic writings, it was probably the rise of Montanus, who advocated ‘the new prophecy’, that is the continuing revelation of the Holy Spirit as in apostolic times, that raised the hermeneutical question of the status of apostolic and post-apostolic writings respectively. Gerald Bray comments that ‘Tertullian is the first Christian writer to regard the apostolic age as definitely over, and to quote the writings of the apostles on a par with the Old Testament Scriptures as a matter of course’. He points out, however, that ‘the fact that he could do this without argument shows that the apostolic writings must have been regarded as Scripture even before his time’.