In the latest homily from Ken Overberg, S.J. at Xavier University’s Bellarmine Chapel, I learned that Chapter 6 of John’s Gospel, “the Bread of Life” chapter, isn’t “first of all” about the Eucharist but about the identify of Jesus (both/and, Ken!) and that St. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians “was not written by Paul.” Regarding his second assertion, Overberg is frequently at pains to … “de-authorize” the writers of the New Testament and project its literary origins onto the believing community or later figures. By his way of thinking, if the “believing community” of the first or second century actually wrote the Gospels and Epistles, then the believing community of the 21st century is free to interpret them. (Or at least some members of the modern believing community — progressives like himself, not those conservative nasties.) In any event, over at the website for the Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture, whose terrific series on the books of the New Testament is jam-packed with up-to-date scholarship and history, scholar Peter Williamson makes a solid case for St. Paul’s authorship of Ephesians. Here’s a snippet:
The “external evidence” in favor of Paul’s authorship of Ephesians—that is, the testimony of the manuscript tradition and of ancient authors—is as strong as that of any of Paul’s undisputed letters. Ephesians appears in all the ancient collections of Paul’s writings, including those that omit the Apostle’s letters to individuals (1–2 Timothy, Titus, and Philemon). It is true that the Letter to the Hebrews, an anonymous work, is often also included in these collections, but from Origen on, many ancient authorities challenged the view that Hebrews was authored by Paul, while the Pauline authorship of Ephesians was never questioned.