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?
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’.