Epistle of Titus

TITUS, EPISTLE OF. The origin of this pseudonymous treatise, a lengthy exhortation on the virtues of chastity, is unknown. However, its highly ascetic emphasis and its liberal quotation of various apocryphal Acts have been taken to point to a 5th-cent. origin, prob. as a product of the rigorously ascetic Spanish church. The so-called “epistle” is extant only in an 8th-cent. Lat. MS. The poor grammar of its Lat. text has led to the speculation that behind the Lat. was a Gr. original, but this cannot be established beyond question. The unknown author delivers his message in a homiletical, often exclamatory, style, stressing the desirability of the celibate state and the torments that await those who succumb to the flesh. He marshals every bit of evidence (much of which is forced) that he can from the OT and NT as well as a number of apocryphal writings, known and unknown, in support of his argument. The quotations of the epistle, rather than its content, have been the focus of attention in modern study of the treatise.


Lat. text; D. de Bruyne, Revue Benedictine, XXXVII (1925), 47-72; Introduction and tr. by A. de Santos Otero, in E. Hennecke-W. Schneemelcher, NTA, II (Eng. tr. 1965), 141-166.