Titus of Bostra

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Titus of Bostra (Bosra, now in Syria) (died c.378[1]) was a Christian theologian and bishop. Sozomen[2] names Titus among the great men of the time of Constantius.


Sozomen also tells[3] of a mean trick played upon Titus by Julian the Apostate. It was expected that the reestablishment of paganism would cause riots, as it had elsewhere. Julian wrote to Titus, as bishop of Bostra that he would hold him and the clergy responsible for any disorder. Titus replied that though the Christians were equal in number to the pagans they would obey him and keep quiet. Julian then wrote to the Bostrians urging them to expel Titus because he had calumniated them by attributing their quiet conduct not to their own good dispositions but to his influence. Titus remained bishop at Bostra until c. 371.[4]

According to Socrates[5] Titus was one of the bishops who signed the Synodal Letter, addressed to Jovian by the Council of Antioch (363), in which the Nicene Creed was accepted, though with a clause "intended somewhat to weaken and semiarianize the expression homoousios".[6]

Universal reconciliation[edit]

Titus of Bostra is one of various early church writers claimed as an early Universalist by J. W. Hanson (1899) of the Universalist Church of America. Hanson's evidence is based on Titus of Bostra's teaching that the immortal souls of the dead would be purified in purgatory till all were saved:

And the punishments are holy, as they are remedial and salutary in their effect upon transgressors ; for they are inflicted, not to preserve them in their wickedness, but to make them cease from their wickedness.


St. Jerome[7] names Titus among writers whose secular erudition is as marvellous as their knowledge of Scripture; in his De Viris Illustribus, cii, he speaks of his "mighty" (fortes) books against the Manichaean and nonnulla alia. He places his death under Valens.

Of the nonnulla alia only fragments of exegetical writings have survived. These show that Titus followed the Antiochene School of Scripture exegesis in keeping to the literal as opposed to the allegorical interpretation.

His Contra Manichæos is the most important work of the kind that has come down to us; it is extremely valuable because of the number of quotations it contains from Manichaean writers. The work consists of four books of which the fourth and the greater part of the third are only extant in a Syriac translation. The Greek and Syriac texts of the Contra Manichæos were published by Paul de Lagarde (Berlin, 1859). Earlier editions of the Greek text suffer from an insertion from a work of Serapion owing to the misplacement of a leaf in the original codex. The latest edition by Paul-Huber Poirier of the extant Greek text and the more extensive Syriac translation appeared 2013 (Corpus Christianorum Series Graeca 82).[8] In 2015 a French translation of the texts in this edition appeared in the Corpus Christianorum in Translation-series.[9]

In one passage Titus seems to favour Origen's view that the pains of the damned are not eternal.[10]

A Commentary on the Gospel of St. Luke is attributed to Titus, which survives in excerpts principally in catenae. For this, and other writings attributed to Titus see Migne and Gallandi. The genuine exegetical fragments of this commentary were published by Sickenberger.[11]


  1. ^ J.R. Ritman Library - Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica Archived 2006-10-06 at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ Bacchus 1913 Cites: Hist. eccl., III, xiv.
  3. ^ Bacchus 1913 Cites: Hist. eccl., V, xv.
  4. ^ Samuel N. C. Lieu, Manichaeism in the Later Roman Empire and Medieval China (1992), p. 132.
  5. ^ Bacchus 1913 Cites: Hist. eccl., III, xxv.
  6. ^ Bacchus 1913 Cites: Hefele, "Councils", II, p. 283.
  7. ^ Bacchus 1913 Cites:Ep. Lxx
  8. ^ Corpus Christianorum, Series Graeca 82: Titus Bostrensis: Contra Manichaeos Graece et Syriace, ed. Agathe Roman, Thomas Schmidt (Graece); Paul-Hubert Poirier, Eric Crégher (Syriace); excerpta sacris parallelis, ed. José Declerck, Turnhout, Brepols, 2013
  9. ^ See P.-H. Poitiers, A. Roman, T. Schmidt, Titus de Bostra Contra les manichéens (Corpus Christianorum in Translation 21), Turnhout, Brepols, 2015, ISBN 978-2-503-55017-6.[1]
  10. ^ Bacchus 1913 states: "On this point see especially" Rémy Ceillier, Histoire générale des auteurs sacrés et ecclésiastiques, VI p. 54, who seems disposed to acquit him of this error.
  11. ^ Texte u. Untersuchen, VI, i (new series). See Bardenhewer-Shahan, Patrology (St. Louis, 1908), 270-1.


CPG II & Supplementum Clavis Patrum Graecorum 3575 - 3578

  • Wikisource-logo.svg Bacchus, F.J. (1913). "Titus, Bishop of Bostra". In Herbermann, Charles. Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. "In addition to the cited sources mentions: "The Greek and Syriac texts of the Contra Manich. were published by LAGARDE (Berlin, 1859). Earlier editions of the Greek text suffer from an insertion from a work of Serapion owing to the misplacement of a leaf in the original codex. For Contra Manich. and other writings attributed to TITUS see MIGNE and GALLANDI. The genuine exegetical fragments of this commentary were published by SICKENBERGER in Texte u. Untersuchen, VI, i (new series). BARDENHEWER-SHARAN, Patrology (St. Louis, 1908), 270-1."

Further reading[edit]

  • P. G. Walsh, James Walsh, Divine Providence and Human Suffering, Wilmington: Michael Glazer 1985, p. 53 et seq.
  • Nils Arne Pedersen, Demonstrative Proof in Defence of God. A Study of Titus of Bostra's Contra Manichæos. The Work's Sources, Aim and Relation to Its Contemporary Theology, Leiden: Brill 2004.

External links[edit]