Much historical-critical work on the opponents in the Pastoral Epistles has resulted in sweeping generalizations concerning their Jewish and/or Gnostic nature. Literary analyses have been somewhat more promising in focusing on the stereotypical nature of the polemic, but either fail to do justice to the urgency of the language in the Pastorals or do not provide a convincing description of the opponents. Pietersen approaches the problem of the opponents from a socio-scientific perspective. Utilizing labelling theory and social control theory from the sociology of deviance, he argues that the Pastorals function as a literary version of a status degredation ceremony whereby previously influential insiders within the community are transformed into outsiders. This is volume 264 in the Journal for the Study of the New Testament Supplement series.
Lloyd Keith Pietersen received his Ph.D. from the Department of Biblical Studies, University of Sheffield.