Nadeau, Nathan. “The First Pauline Chronologist? Probably Not: A Review Essay of Ryan Schellenberg’s ‘The First Pauline Chronologist’ from a Bayesian Perspective.” Journal of Greco-Roman Christianity and Judaism. 16, no.8 (2020): 150-82.
Theories and tools in the philosophy of history, specifically those concerning epistemology, are helpful for structuring reasoning about the plausibility of historiographic hypotheses in New Testament studies. Since the epistemology attending such investigations is probabilistic in nature, a Bayesian approach is especially useful. In this article I appropriate such tools to critically engage Ryan Schellenberg’s 2015 article ‘The First Pauline Chronologist?’, wherein he presents an argument for the dependency hypothesis—that the author of Acts knew and used the Pauline corpus⸺regarding the topographical and toponymical data in Paul’s itinerary in Acts 15.36–20.16. I introduce and commend Bayesian reasoning as a useful tool for historical epistemology, summarize and represent Schellenberg’s argument along a Bayesian framework and apply critical insights from this framework to evaluate its final plausibility. I show that Schellenberg’s hypothesis is especially impaired where he attempts to strengthen it: in his consideration of evidence beyond his initial scope.
Wipf and Stock (website: http://jgrchj.net/volume16/?page=volume16 )