Epistle of Pseudo-Titus

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The Epistle of Pseudo-Titus is a letter allegedly written by Titus, a companion of Paul of Tarsus, to an unidentified ascetic community of Christian men and women which commends the life of chastity and condemns all sexual activity, even that within marriage, as sinful.[1] The epistle is classified under the Apocryphal New Testament and survives only in the Codex Burchardi, an eighth-century Latin manuscript, discovered in 1896 among the homilies of Caesarius of Arles.[2][3] The Latin epistle contains many solecisms which originated with an author who lacked proficiency with Latin and Greek.[4] The origins of the epistle remain unclear, however, it contains strong features of encratism[5] and may have connections with the Priscillianist movement in fifth century Spain.[6][7]

Sources[edit]

The epistle contains about a hundred citations from the Old Testament, New Testament, and other apocryphal writings; Pseudo-Titus most frequently cites the Psalms, Ezekiel, the Gospels, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, and Revelation, however, his citations are diverse and a few citations remain unknown.[8] The story about Peter blessing a gardener's daughter has gained the attention of biblical scholars as it may derive from a lost portion of the Acts of Peter[9][10] and has generated discussion about apostolic influence on family life among early Christians.[11] The epistle may contain a lost story from the Acts of Andrew which entails the apostle Andrew attending a wedding to teach celibacy to the men and women there.[12]

Content[edit]

The epistle's author writes to a Christian monastic community of men and women who have fallen into sin by having sexual relations with one another. The first portion of the epistle addresses the Christian woman as "virgin" while most of the remainder is addressed to the Christian man. Pseudo-Titus reminds his audience of their fear of eternal punishment as mentioned in the Book of Revelation as a means to deter the ascetic away from sensual temptation and sexual immortality. Pseudo-Titus gives ample citations and exegeses in support of strict celibacy, usually citing Paul first in a series of citations. The epistle reveals to its reader that the women serve the ascetic men in the monastic community. Pseudo-Titus suggests that since the men cannot behave righteously in the presence of their ascetic female members, that they ought to seclude themselves into a monastic community of their own. In support of this argument, Pseudo-Titus gives the illustration of the story of Susanna and the Elders, which exemplifies the Jewish elders who also could not practice chastity in the presence of women.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bart D. Ehrman, Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003), xiv, 9.
  2. ^ E. Hennecke, New Testament Apocrypha, ed. W. Schneemelcher, Eng. trans. ed. R. McL. Wilson, 2 vols. (London, 1963 and 1965).
  3. ^ J. K. Elliott, The Apocryphal New Testament: A Collection of Apocryphal Christian Literature in an English Translation Based on M.R. James (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2009).
  4. ^ E. Hennecke, New Testament Apocrypha, ed. W. Schneemelcher, Eng. trans. ed. R. McL. Wilson, 2 vols. (London, 1963 and 1965).
  5. ^ Cornelia B. Horn, "The Pseudo-Clementine Homilies and the Challenges of the Conversion of Families," Lectio Difficilior (2/2007), accessed November 15, 2011.
  6. ^ E. Hennecke, New Testament Apocrypha, ed. W. Schneemelcher, Eng. trans. ed. R. McL. Wilson, 2 vols. (London, 1963 and 1965).
  7. ^ J. K. Elliott, The Apocryphal New Testament: A Collection of Apocryphal Christian Literature in an English Translation Based on M.R. James (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2009).
  8. ^ E. Hennecke, New Testament Apocrypha, ed. W. Schneemelcher, Eng. trans. ed. R. McL. Wilson, 2 vols. (London, 1963 and 1965), 141-166.
  9. ^ E. Hennecke, New Testament Apocrypha, ed. W. Schneemelcher, Eng. trans. ed. R. McL. Wilson, 2 vols. (London, 1963 and 1965).
  10. ^ Andrea Lorenzo Molinari, I Never Knew the Man: The Coptic Act of Peter (Papyrus Berolinensis 8502.4) Its Independence from the Apocryphal Acts of Peter, Genre, and Legendary Origins (Saint-Nicolas, Quebec, Canada: Les Presses de l'Universite Laval, 2000), 86.
  11. ^ Cornelia B. Horn, "The Pseudo-Clementine Homilies and the Challenges of the Conversion of Families," Lectio Difficilior (2/2007), accessed November 15, 2011 http://www.lectio.unibe.ch/07_2/pdf/horn_cornelia.pdf.
  12. ^ E. Hennecke, New Testament Apocrypha, ed. W. Schneemelcher, Eng. trans. ed. R. McL. Wilson, 2 vols. (London, 1963 and 1965), 141-166.
  • Johann Georg von Eckhart: Commentarii De Rebus Franciae Orientalis et Episcopatus Wirceburgensis Tomus 1, Würzburg 1729. p. 845, see section XXXVIII. (Latin)
  • Germain Morin, L'homéliaire de Burchard de Würzburg. Contribution à la critique de saint Césaire d'Arles. In: Revue bénédictine 13. 1896. p. 97-111. (French)
  • Donatien de Bruyne: Nouveaux fragments des Actes de Pierre, de Paul, de Jean, d`Andre, et de l`Apocalypse d`Elie. In: Revue bénédictine 25. 1908. p. 149-160 (French)
  • Donatien de Bruyne: Epistula Titi, discipuli Pauli, de dispositione sanctimonii. In: Revue bénédictine; 37. 1925. p. 47-72. P. 47-63 contain the full Latin text of the source. (Latin and French)
  • Adolf Harnack: Der apokryphe Brief des Paulusschülers Titus »de dispositione sanctimonii«. In: Sitzungsberichte der Preussischen Akademie der Wissenschaften 17, 1925 p. 180-214. (German)
  • Aurelio de Santos Otero: Der apokryphe Titusbrief. In: Zeitschrift für Kirchgengeschichte Vol. 74, 1963, p. 1-14. (German)
  • E. Hennecke, New Testament Apocrypha, ed. W. Schneemelcher, Eng. trans. ed. R. McL. Wilson, 2 vols. (London, 1963 and 1965), 141-166.
  • J. K. Elliott, The Apocryphal New Testament: A Collection of Apocryphal Christian Literature in an English Translation Based on M.R. James (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2009) 532-533.
  • Bart D. Ehrman, Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003), xiv, 9.
  • Cornelia B. Horn, "The Pseudo-Clementine Homilies and the Challenges of the Conversion of Families," Lectio Difficilior (2/2007), accessed November 15, 2011 http://www.lectio.unibe.ch/07_2/pdf/horn_cornelia.pdf.
  • Amy-Jill Levine and Maria Mayo Robbins, A Feminist Companion to the New Testament Apocrypha, (New York: T&T Clark International, 2006), 144.
  • Andrea Lorenzo Molinari, I Never Knew the Man: The Coptic Act of Peter (Papyrus Berolinensis 8502.4) Its Independence from the Apocryphal Acts of Peter, Genre, and Legendary Origins (Saint-Nicolas, Quebec, Canada: Les Presses de l'Universite Laval, 2000), 86.

External links[edit]