Epistle To The Colossians, one of the smaller Pauline epistles of the New Testament, addressed to the church of Colossse. It bears a great similarity to the Epistle to the Ephesians, and is directed against some heretical doctrines which had crept into the Colossian church, and which this epistle represents as endangering the purity of the Christian religion. In the opinion of former exegetical writers these heretical doctrines were the views of Judaistic theosophists, or of some pagan philosophical system; Credner and Thiersch believed a kind of Christian Essenism to be referred to; but the prevailing opinion now is that we find here early traces of Gnosticism. The Pauline origin of the epistle was generally recognized until Mayerhoff (Der Brief an die Kolosser, Berlin, 1838) denied its authenticity. He was followed by Schwegler (Das nachapostolische Zeitalter, Tubingen, 1845-'6), and by F. C. Baur (Paulus, der Apostel Jesu Christi, Stuttgart, 1845). Ewald (Die Sendschreiben des Apostels Paulus, Gottingen, 1857) expressed the opinion that the epistle was written by Timothy after receiving from Paul special instructions with regard to the contents. But the great majority of exegetical writers adhere to the tradition of the Pauline origin of the epistle.
According to David Schulz (1829), with whom several other modern writers (as Schenkel) agree, the epistle was written during the captivity of Paul at Cajsarea, in 60 or 61; but the almost universal testimony of tradition, according to which it was written by Paul from Rome in 62, is ably defended by Bleek (Vorlesungen uber die Briefe an die Kolosser, etc, Berlin, 1865) and others.