Timothy and Titus

Richard Fellows commented on my last post, and I want to start a new thread to discuss it.  I was attempting to create a press release  shamelessly promoting my Committee.  In doing so, I my have included certain inaccuracies so that the mainstream media could use it as their own.  Unfortunately, according to Jim Leonard, I was not nearly inaccurate enough.  However, here I will try to answer seriously Richard’s comment, which is as follows:


there is no strong evidence that Timothy was younger than Paul, though he may have been. People’s perception of Timothy is conditioned too much by the PE, unfortunately.

We should explore the possibility that the Presbyter claimed or implied that Titus (or Titus-Timothy) was his source of information. This would explain why Titus features so strongly in the extant portions (and probably in the non-extant portions, judging from the “Acts of Titus”). Am I correct in deducing from the “Acts of Titus” that Titus was present in the Panchares incident in the Acts of Paul and perhaps even earlier in the book? Also, Titus appears along with Luke in the last sentence, doesn’t he? The Presbyter has to bring Titus back from Dalmatia to place him in Rome. Therefore perhaps we should see the mentions of Titus in the Acts of Paul as a kind of inclusio, i.e. a device whereby Titus frames the whole text to indicate that he is the authoritative source of the information (See Bauckham’s “Jesus and the eyewitnesses”). By mentioning both Titus and Luke at the end the Presbyter may be implying that Titus was the authoritative eyewitness for his work, just as Luke was for the Acts of the Apostles. Intriguingly Titus plays the role of witness for Paul in the Thecla episode.

Let me know if this has all been explored before.


Thanks for your response.

Paul told Timothy Μηδείς σου τῆς νεότητος καταφρονείτω (1 Tim 4.12). Timothy was evidently a young man when Paul took him as a disciple, such that many years later, Paul would refer to his youth. I don’t know why it would be unfortunate that our view of Timothy would be conditioned by the PE; the image is consistent with Phil 2.22; 1 Cor 4.17.

Also there is insufficient evidence that Acts was known to the author of the Acts of Paul.  I will be showing that in my forthcoming paper on the NT in the Acts of Paul, buttressing arguments I made in my dissertation (ch. 2).  So I wouldn’t say that the appearance of Luke and Titus together would say anything about authorship.  Finally, I am not certain that the Acts of Titus are evidence of a lost episode in Crete; that may be possible (argued by Rordorf, see dissertation, p. 24).  I don’t recall Titus appearing in the episode II of the Coptic fragments.  This is to say, that the information in Acts of Titus is not always a certain indicator of the contents of the Acts of Paul.  I wonder if it counts as an inclusio in a strict sense if Titus appears somewhere in the middle of the Acts of Paul.

I don’t know that anyone has suggested a special relationship between Acts of Paul and Titus.  It is interesting but of course speculative, being based partially upon the secondary witness of the Acts of Titus.  But I don’t suppose you would propose Titus/Timothy as the actual author, would you?


2 Responses to Timothy and Titus

  1. Richard Fellows says:

    Peter, you make a good point about Phil 2:22 and 1 Cor 4:17. I don’t think that 1 Tim 4:12 adds to our evidence about Timothy’s age since the PE were written by someone who had very little historical information about Paul’s co-workers, and because Timothy cannot have been young at any time at which 1 Tim, if genuine, could have been written.

    Your theses still convinces me that the author of the Acts of Paul made little or no use of Acts. However, as you say in your thesis, this does not necessarily mean that he was unaware of Acts. So it is still possible (nothing more) that the presbyter mentions Titus and Luke in the last line to imply that Titus was the source of his information just as Luke was the source for Acts.

    Even if Luke is mentioned here for other reasons, doesn’t the mention of Titus demand explanation since the presbyter has to go out of his way to bring Titus from Dalmatia to place him in Rome?

    The first definite mention of Titus in the Acts of Paul occurs at the start of the Iconium episode. In your thesis you say there are 12 known episodes in the Acts of Paul and that, in addition, it probably originally contained accounts of Paul in Damascus, Jerusalem, and Crete. This makes 15 episodes and of these only two precede the Iconium episode. These are the hypothesized Damascus episode and the Panchares episode, which you call Antioch1. Did Titus appear in this Antioch1 episode? The Acts of Titus would suggest so. You write that Titus does not appear in the episode II of the coptic fragments. Could you explain this further? Which episode is episode II? Since it is fragmentary, how can the absence of Titus from the extant portions demonstrate his absence from the original complete text?

    Even if Titus was not mentioned in the Damascus episode or the Antioch1 episode, he does appear in the Iconium episode, which is still near the beginning, isn’t it? Bauckham argues that Mary Magdalene forms an inclusio in Luke’s gospel, even though she does not appear before chapter 8.

    The conversion of Paul is described in the Ephesus episode. You mention in your thesis that there was probably no mention of it in the hypothesized Damascus section. Is it possible that the presbyter deferred the description of Paul’s conversion the Ephesus episode to place it within a Titus inclusio?

    I am sure that the Acts of Paul was not actually based on information directly from Titus. The work seems to be too much in conflict with Acts (which I trust) and too dependent on the PE (which I do not). But I wonder if the presbyter used a Titus inclusio to make it appear that his work was based on eyewitness testimony (though it was not).

    Peter, thanks for your thoughts. Correct me if I have misread your thesis or the evidence on any of the points above.

  2. P. W. Dunn says:

    Richard, thanks for this discussion.

    Timothy: If 1 Timothy was written in 60s and Paul met him in the 50s, it would be still possible for him to be a young man.

    Acts: I clearly stated my preference for the author not knowing Acts in my thesis. Now 14 years later, I am more convinced that that is the case.

    The information about Titus and Luke in Rome (Acts of Paul XIV) seems likely arise from 2 Tim 4.10-11: “For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica; Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia. Luke alone is with me.” Titus has come from Dalmatia instead of going there, but there is more agreement than not.

    I am not certain about an episode in Crete anymore. It has always been a conjecture based on Acts of Titus. But if it does stem from the Acts of Paul, then Titus would effectively have a role in the middle of the text. Therefore, it is important to determine whether the information about Titus derives from the Acts of Paul or is inserted by the author; when recounting episodes from Acts, Titus has become more important than he has in Acts, in which he does not appear. So I would be hesitant to say that Titus must also be in Antioch with Paul because of the Acts of Titus. Acts of Paul II takes place in Antioch (designated Antioch(1) in my thesis). The episode is in the first pages of the Heidelberg Papyrus. Those leaves are fragmentary and Titus does not appear in them.

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