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The grossest forgery of the New Testament

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The second letter to the Thessalonians

Gerd Lüdemann

October 2010
approx. 112 pages, hardcover
Euro [D] 12.80 sFr 22.80 [RRP]

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Gerd Lüdemann, born in 1946, is professor for the history and literature of early Christianity at the University of Göttingen. He heads the “Early Christian Studies” department at the Institute for Special Research and the “School of Religious History” archive at the Göttingen Theological Faculty. Most recently he published The First Three Years of Christianity at zu Klampen.

[Short text] Forgers in the name of truth Ð when writing the Second Letter to the Thessalonians, they went about their work particularly roughly.

[Long text] In the New Testament, there is a consensus in biblical research, seven genuine and six false Pauline letters, as well as forged letters from various apostles, all of which are considered the word of God. The six spurious epistles of Paul were invented by students of Paul under a false name after the death of their teacher.

One of the inauthentic Pauline letters, the second letter to the Thessalonians, is the grossest forgery of the New Testament. Its author not only published a Pauline letter under a false name, but also wanted to replace a real Pauline letter Ð the first letter to the Thessalonians Ð with its forgery by simply declaring it as an invention.

Gerd Lüdemann translates and explains the text of the grossest forgery of the New Testament and asks about the author's motives, who must have known that his statements were untruthful. In doing so, he touches on the question of how early Christians could become counterfeiters, although they were passionate about the truth and although there was criticism of authenticity and a clear awareness of intellectual property in antiquity.