Saturday, 30 July 2011

Pastoral Epistles 3: Coat

One thing I love about the second Timothy epistle is the way it ends with ‘bring me my coat’.
Do your best to come to me soon ... When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, also the books, and above all the parchments.’ [2 Tim 4:9-13]
Houlden thinks this is all part of an effort by the actual author of the epistle to add-in plausible Pauline detail by way of passing his forgery (pious or malicious) as the real thing. But the coat is a striking detail, nonetheless: coat, books, parchment. These latter (membranai) are the crucial thing (‘above all’); except that the cloak has precendence. More to the point, the cloak is also a kind of membrane. Perhaps the important thing about the membranum is that it seals us away and protects us; not that it carries upon itself certain marks and scribbles and letters?

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