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On QOLASIYM: Who wrote Colossians?

Posted by Stephen Pidgeon on Sunday, July 12, 2015 at 12:00 AM


We undertake our journey into the writings of Sha’ul, initially, with a robust discussion concerning the setting, the authorship, the authority, and a discussion of the content of the writing in the letter to the Qolasiym (Colossians).

The book has self-confessed dual authorship, attributing its writing (possibly) to both Sha’ul (Paul) and Timotheus.  Thereafter, we have continual references to “we” and “our,” also indicating authorship in the plural. 

Qolasiym (Colossians) 1: 1-2

SHA’UL, an apostle of YAHUSHA HAMASHIACH by the will of YAHUAH, and Timotheus our brother, 2 To the qodeshiym and faithful brethren in MASHIACH which are at Qolosse:  Grace be unto you, and peace, from YAHUAH our Father and ADONAI YAHUSHA HAMASHIACH. 

Students of the Pauline Epistles, however, have a wide variance of conclusions on this matter. Some claim – as is set forth in the Brest Bible and in the 1611 KJV - that the authors were Tychicus and Onesimus (we echo that view in the Eth Cepher).  There are others who claim the authorship was had in Origen of Alexandria, or Clement of Alexandria (who may have also authored the letters to the Qorintiym (Corinthians)), or Irenaeus, or even Eusebius (aka St. Jerome – although this conclusion may be reaching given the Marcionic declaration of its existence two hundred years before Eusebius.  In the 19th Century, many historians doubted even this accreditation. Some claim that there is no evidence of this letter prior to the development of a New Testament by Marcion, who amassed his 11 book New Testament around 180 AD, which included 10 letters of Paul, and a redacted version of the gospel of Luke.  At least two of the Marcion letters were proven to be forgeries – the letter to the Laodiceans, and the letter to the Alexandrians.  However, the Muratorian fragment of the Fifth Century (claiming authorship in the First Century) identifies this letter to the Qolasiym as authentic, and in the same writing denounces the additional works of Marcion as forgeries.

There are four basic views on the authorship of this letter.  Following the Renaissance, when people other than the cloistered few of the Roman church started to actually read the text, many historians began to believe that this letter was in fact pseudepigraphal (written by others in the name of Paul).  This view is now apparently widely held.  There are, however, many apologists who believe most certainly that the letter was written by Paul and Timothy, as inferred in the declaration of 1:1 therein.  Of the pseudepigraphal camp, some hold that the letter is a secondary writing composed after Paul’s death by his Talmidiym.  The fourth view is that the letter was originally crafted by Paul and Timothy, and later interpolated by other authors. 

Why do we take the view that Tychicus and Onesimus were the actual authors?  Let us take the claims found within the book itself:

Qolasiym (Colossians) 4:7-9

All my state shall Tychicus declare unto you, who is a beloved brother, and a faithful minister and fellowservant in YAHUAH: 8 Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that he might know your estate, and comfort your hearts; 9 With Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They shall make known unto you all things which are done here.

Tychicus and Onesimu shall make known to you all the things which are done here.  How?  By writing them down in this letter.  However, they write the letter in the name of Paul and Timothy (Sha’ul and Timotheus):

Qolasiym (Colossians) 1: 1-2

SHA’UL, an apostle of YAHUSHA HAMASHIACH by the will of YAHUAH, and Timotheus our brother, 2 To the qodeshiym and faithful brethren in MASHIACH which are at Qolosse:  Grace be unto you, and peace, from YAHUAH our Father and ADONAI YAHUSHA HAMASHIACH. 

So we don’t have a claim of self-accreditation here.  Instead, we have an identifier.  However, at the end of this letter, we appear to have the endorsement of Sha’ul (Paul) as to the salutation, which is all of Chapter 4:

Qolasiym (Colossians) 4:18

The salutation by the hand of me Sha’ul. Remember my bonds. Grace be with you. Amein.

Under these circumstances, we see the affirmation that Tychicus and Onesimus are to declare all things done here, and that Sha’ul gives the salutation, and that the letter is endorsed under the greeting from Sha’ul and Timotheus.  If Sha’ul gives the endorsement on the salutation but is silent as to the rest of the text, can we reach another conclusion?  

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