It is quite true that Paul does not directly attack the speculative position, but rather indicates the practical dangers inherent therein (the denial of the supremacy of Christ and of full salvation through Him); he does not say that the errorists hold Christ to be a mere angel or an aeon, or that words like pleroma (borrowed perhaps from their own vocabulary) involve a rigorous dualism.
Quite apart from the difficulties created by the Tubingen theory, legitimate difficulties were found in the style of the letter, in the speculation of the errorists, and in the theology of the author.
(2) As to the speculation of the errorists, it is replied that it is explicable in the lifetime of Paul, that some of the elements of it may have their source in pre-Christian Jewish theories, and that recourse to the developed gnosticism of the 2nd century is unnecessary.
At this point the letter suddenly swerves' into a passionate warning against some errorists of Judaism (iii.
The errorists developed speculations and practical theories on the basis of the Old Testament law, which proved extremely seductive to many Christians.
The Ophites are said to have not only used myths but forbidden marriage and held that the resurrection was purely spiritual (Lightfoot); this, however, is probably no more than an interesting coincidence, and all attempts to identify the errorists definitely must be abandoned.'
The method resembles that of the First Epistle of John, for although the errorists attacked in the latter manifesto are not those of the pastorals, and although the one writer eschews entirely the inner authority of the Spirit which the other posits, the same anti-gnostic emphasis on practical religion and stereotyped doctrine is felt in both.
148) distinguishes broadly between the errorists of 2 Tim.
15-16) leads, by way of contrast, to a sharp prophetic warning against contemporary errorists (iv.
1-2), the epistle recurs to the errorists (vi.
2 Furthermore, the sharp warning against errorists and heretics (xvi.