Cujus etiam ad Paulum apostolum leguntur epistolae (Epistle to Seneca the Younger)

Seneca's Works / Monday, April 2nd, 2018

First page of the Gospel of Judas (Page 33 of Codex Tchacos)The Epistle to Seneca the Younger is a collection of correspondence claiming to be from Paul the Apostle to Seneca the Younger. There are 8 epistles from Seneca, and 6 replies from Paul. Jerome mentioned them in his De Viris Illustribus (chap. 12). However, they are widely held to be forged, as J. B. Lightfoot noted:

“The poverty of thought and style, the errors in chronology and history, and the whole conception of the relative positions of the Stoic philosopher and the Christian Apostle, betray clearly the hand of a forger.”

Philip Schaff in his history said: “They are very poor in thought and style, full of errors of chronology and history, and undoubtedly a forgery.” Again, Lightfoot said:

“This correspondence was probably forged in the fourth century, either to recommend Seneca to Christian readers or to recommend Christianity to students of Seneca.”
“As they are now universally allowed to be spurious, it will be unnecessary to state at length the grounds of their condemnation. It is sufficient to say that the letters are inane and unworthy throughout; that the style of either correspondent is unlike his genuine writings; that the relations between the two, as there represented, are highly improbable; and lastly, that the chronological notices (which however are absent in some important MSS) are wrong in almost every instance. Thus, independently of the unbroken silence of three centuries and a half about this correspondence, internal evidence alone is sufficient to condemn them hopelessly.”
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