I would argue that all the references to “Titus” in the undisputed letters and Acts show that it was Timothy other name. I hope to blog about this in coming weeks. The author of the PE was mistaken in assuming that Titus and Timothy were different people. Those who think Paul wrote the PE need to explain away all the anomalies that the Titus-Timothy hypothesis solves. By abandoning the Pauline authorship of Titus we can embrace the Titus-Timothy hypothesis, which leads to a rather conservative assessment of Acts and the undisputed letters. In short, the question of the authorship of the PE can be settled, but it requires that we invest some time in exploring the Titus-Timothy question.
Hi Matthew. I’ve now completed the blog series on Titus-Timothy. I have tried to provide a user-friendly summary here. Two questions:
Firstly, since Timothy seems to have been sent to Corinth to encourage zeal for Paul’s ways in Christ, and Titus seems to have been sent to encourage zeal for Paul, should we see the purposes of the ‘two’ missions as identical? Am I right to infer from 1 Cor 4 and 2 Cor 6 that Paul made no distinction between himself and his ways in Christ?
Secondly, what is your overall verdict? Was/were he/they one person or two?
Hi Richard… Yikes, I’m getting behind! I did enjoy the beginning of your series, but have found myself subject to a hectic couple of months – so I’ll have to get back to it! I think things will settle down in a week or so – so hopefully I’ll be back into the blogworld soon…
Hmm… that is interesting – is the 1853 version similar to your own understanding?
I have to say, it does explain a lot of otherwise-peculiar overlap in the activities of Timothy and Titus, and it does make good sense of the passages in 1 & 2 Corinthians & Galatians that you pointed out in your series. Also, as you’ve pointed out, the names themselves are conceivable as counterparts.
The one thing that nags at me is the 2 Timothy passage – if “Titus” is a mistaken reference that attempts to bolster Pauline association, why is “Crescens” also in the list – who does not appear elsewhere in the Pauline literature; and Demas, who appears elsewhere in a very different light?
Robert King’s 1853 book is a rather rambling discussion of Titus-Timothy. He realized that 1 Corinthians and 2 Corinthians are closely connected and that this requires that the Titus of 2 Cor was the Timothy of 1 Cor. In many ways his arguments were similar to those that I presented in my 2001 paper and he missed the more recent arguments. He struggled with the Pastoral Epistles and concluded that there must have been two Tituses.
No need to worry about Crescens. Imaginative documents such as the Apocryphal Acts include names that appear no-where else in Christian literature, and other names that have clearly been plucked from the NT texts. Consider, for example, the names in the Acts of Paul, including those in the Corinthians’ letter to Paul therein. The fact that Crescens is otherwise unattested as an early believer is therefore no evidence that he was a real person. The mix of attested and unattested persons in the PE cannot decide the question of authenticity since spurious documents as well as the undisputed letters have the same mix.
We simply do not know whether Crescens was
a) invented by the author of the PE.
b) known to the author of the PE from another document that is now lost.
c) known to the author of the PE from an oral source or personal acquaintance.
Even if it was c, this would not show that Titus too was a person in his own right. Mistakes happen. Consider how Cephas-Petros was divided into two people in the second century.
I hope this helps. Let me know what you think.
I’m not sure I understand your point about Demas.
By the way, I liked your recent post on silly assumptions in “scholarship”. I find that Haenchen and Pervo frequently insinuate that Luke’s coherence implies that he was not being historical.
Thanks for this… what do you make of the “two Tituses” idea? Do you know how common the name was at this place & time? Presumably, if 2 Timothy were a genuine letter to Timothy-Titus, the author would not need to specify which Titus was being referred to at that point.
I suppose the thing for me is that I’m intrigued by the Titus-Timothy hypothesis; but I’m not at all sold on pseudonymity.
Matthew, I looked into the frequencies of such Roman names when exploring the issue of whether Luke was Lucius. Titus was one of the common Latin Praenomina, though not the most common. The six volumes of the Lexicon of Greek personal names include 72 Tituses, 149 Quintuses, 191 Publiuses, 286 Luciuses, 429 Marcuses, and 487 Gaiuses. The total population of the database is 300584, so these 72 Titi constitute only 0.024% of the population. However, we must account for the fact that Latin names are over-represented among Paul’s companions. See “The Roman Base of Paul’s Misson” by E.A.Judge, which is online here. It seems that the closer we get to Paul the more frequent Latin names become. Among the prominent believers there is a surprisingly large number who seem to have used a common Latin Praenomen as their main name (in the NT we have 4 Gaiuses, one or two Marcuses, and at least one Luke/Lucius. Since we have 4 Gaiuses, it is not inconceivable that we would have two Tituses.
We must also reckon with the possibility that the Titus of 2 Tim 4:10 (and of Tit 1:4) was a Roman citizen who used “Titus” only as his praenomen. About 3% of Roman citizens were called “Titus”. It is plausible, I think, that Paul would call his ‘son’ by his praenomen in Tit 1:4. I think Cicero calls his addressees by their praenomen from time to time. It is also plausible that Paul would use Titus’s praenomen (Titus) rather than his nomen or cognomen at 2 Tim 4:10, since familiar name-forms abound in this verse (Demas, Luke, and perhaps Mark).
Having said all that, I think pseudonymity is much more likely, though I would agree that the arguments for it are often over-stated.
Thanks for this – it’s really enlightening. It’s certainly worth being aware of these possibilities and probabilities – it adds some identifiable data to consideration of the Timothy-Titus idea. I’ll have to check out the article by Judge, as the over-abundance of Latin names is an intriguing observation that I hadn’t particularly thought about before.
I’ll have to read 1 & 2 Corinthians again with this issue in the forefront of my mind.