This blog, by Richard Fellows, discusses historical questions concerning Paul's letters, his co-workers, Acts, and chronology.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Von Lips on Titus-Timothy

Hermann von Lips (Timotheus und Titus 2008 p129-130) defends the theory that Titus and Timothy were different people. This is the only rebuttal of the Titus-Timothy hypothesis in print and is therefore very valuable. In this post I will lay out Hermann's arguments and respond to them.

Hermann starts by acknowledging that equating Titus with Timothy solves the mystery of why the name "Titus" does not appear in Acts. However, he does not discuss any of the other arguments for Titus-Timothy.

Point 1
Hermann refutes the view of Udo Borse that "Titus" and "Timotheos" were short and long name-forms for the same person:
Allerdings muss festgestellt werden, dass Paulus nicht zwishen Kurz- und Langform wechselt, sondern bei einer Form bleibt: generell Priska (Rom 16,3; 1Kor 16,19; vgl. In paulinischer Tradition 2Tim 4,19) und generell Silvanus (2Kor 1,19; 1Thess 1,1; vgl. In paulinischer Tradition 2Thess 1,1 sowie 1Petr 5,12), dagegen die Apostelgeschichte ebenso konsequent jeweils die andere Form: Priszilla (Apg 18,2.18.26) und Silas (13-mal von Apg 15,22 bis 18.5). Diese Lösung scheidet also aus.  (p129)
Hermann's point is that Paul consistently uses the names Prisca and Silvanus for people whom Luke consistently calls Priscilla and Silas, and so could not have used different names for Titus-Timothy.

My response
I do not argue that "Titus" was a short form of the name "Timothy", but I see "Timothy" as Titus's new name. In any case, we do have evidence that Paul, like other ancient (and modern) writers, used more than one name for the same person, according to context. Paul switched between Cephas (Gal 1:18; 2:9,11,14) and Petros (Gal 2:7-8). Also, a strong case can be made that he used diminutive name forms in Philemon 24 (Mark, Demas, Epaphras, and Luke) and that elsewhere he calls the last two "Epaphroditus"  and "Lucius". Also, there are strong arguments that Paul used two names for the same person in the cases of Crispus-Sosthenes, Gaius-Stephanas, and probably Jason-Aristarchus. I have explained here why Paul uses the name "Titus" where he does.

Point 2
Hermann points out that Paul could have sent both Titus and Timothy to Corinth. For example, Timothy might have been one of those whom Paul says that he sent to Corinth in 2 Cor 12:17, and he may have been the 'brother' of 2 Cor 8:18-19.

My response
This is interesting speculation, but in the absence of evidence, it does not constitute an argument against Titus-Timothy. Nor does this speculation weaken any of the arguments that I have put forward.

Point 3
Hermann writes,
Nach Apg 19,22 und Phil 2,23 schickt Paulus von Ephesus aus Timotheus voraus nach Makedonien, bevor er selbst dorthin aufbricht. Dass er ihn dann in Makedonien trifft, kann dann ja wohl keine Überraschung sein, wie es im Blick auf Titus zutraf. (p130)
This was not clear to me, so Hermann kindly clarified:
"I read 2Cor 7,5-6 in the sense, that Paul is surprised and glad to find Titus in Macedonia. But he could not be surprised to find there Timothy whom he sent to Macedonia (Acts 19,22 and Phil 2,23). Therefore Titus is not the same as Timothy."
It should be noted that Hermann argues that Philippians was written from Ephesus and that the journey of Timothy to Macedonia anticipated in Phil 2:19-24 is the same as his journey from Ephesus to Macedonia reported in Acts 19:22 (p76-79).

My response
According to the Titus-Timothy hypothesis Timothy's journey from Ephesus to Macedonia, indicated in Acts 19:22 (and Phil 2:19-24), took place before 1 Corinthians. This journey was the first leg of Timothy's journey by land to Corinth, which is anticipated in 1 Corinthians (1 Cor 4:17, 16:10-11). Perhaps I was not clear enough about this in my paper. Paul's consolation/relief/surprise at Titus's arrival in Macedonia tells us nothing about which route Titus had taken to Corinth, so I don't see the relevance of Hermann's point. Paul's consolation does perhaps indicate that Titus had been away for a long time and/or that his delay had been serious enough to cause Paul to worry. This fits the Titus-Timothy hypothesis well.

The two-person theorists generally suppose that Timothy went to Corinth via Macedonia, and then returned to Ephesus. This return to Ephesus is problematic because it requires them to hypothesize that Paul sent Timothy from Ephesus to Macedonia a second time (Acts 19:22 & 2 Cor 1:1). This proposed second journey looks suspiciously like a duplicate of the journey to Corinth, especially as Timothy's travel companion (Erastus) was a Corinthian.

In 1 Cor 16:10-11 and Phil 2:19 Paul expects Timothy to return to him (in Ephesus) before he (Paul) travels to Macedonia, but Acts 19:22 suggests that Timothy did not return to Paul before Paul went to Macedonia. The texts are reconciled if we suppose that Timothy was delayed such that he could not reach Paul before Paul went to Macedonia. This is precisely what happened to Titus.

Point 4
Herman points out that the council of Gal 2:1-10 was before the events of Acts 16:1-3. He then writes,

Also kann Timotheus, der erst auf der zweiten Reise als Paulusmitarbeiter berufen wird, nicht schon zuvor als “Titus” zur Begleitung des Paulus beim Apostelkonzil dabei gewesen sein. (p130)
His point is that Titus was already a traveling companion of Paul at the time of the Jerusalem council (Gal 2:1-10), which was before Timothy became a traveling companion of Paul (Acts 16:1-3).

My response
Many commentators  assume that Timothy was a native of Lystra, on the grounds that it is there that Paul finds him in Acts 16:1, while others admit that we are not told where Timothy was from. No-one has really looked into this issue until now, since (until now) nothing has been at stake.

I have argued on this blog, here, that Timothy (whether he was Titus or not) was a native of Syrian Antioch, not of Lystra. The evidence does not support the assertion that Timothy was a new find for Paul at the time of Acts 16:1. I have also argued here, that he was in Lystra at the time of Acts 16:1 because Paul had sent him there to organize the collection for Judea in response to the  request of Gal 2:10. With this understanding of events we see a natural progression in Titus-Timothy's role: he was a travel companion of Paul (Gal 2:1-3), then he was an envoy to south Galatia (Acts 16:1), then he was promoted to full missionary partner.

Point 5
Hermann writes:

Zuletzt ist noch auf die Entstehung der Pastoralbriefe, also die Briefe an Timotheus und Titus, Bezug zu nehmen. Sie müssten dann an einem Ort entstanden sein, in dem der wichtigste Paulusmitarbeiter Timotheus = Titus unbekannt war. Nur dann hätte man in Unkenntnis der nur einen Person aus den Paulusbriefen zwei verschiedene Personen entnommen. Aber die naheliegende Entstehung der Pastoralbriefe im paulinischen Missionsgebiet würde dann ausscheiden. Und man müsste auf eine sehr späte Entstehung der Pastoralbriefe folgern, wo es eben gar keine mündliche Erinnerung mehr über die Mitarbeiter des Paulus gegeben hätte. (p130)
He kindly gave me some further commentary:

I think, it would be a great problem when the Pastorals were written in a region where Paul was the sole apostle but his most important co-worker Timothy=Titus was unknown as only one person. I think there were two different traditions: one about Timothy and Ephesus and one about Titus and Crete.
My responseI have already answered this objection here. I argued that the Pastoral Epistles were written in a community that had little memory of Titus/Timothy, whether he/they was/were one person or two. I will now add just one further point. Even if the author of the Pastoral Epistles knew that Timothy's former name had been "Titus" (and I doubt that he did), he could easily have assumed that the "Titus" of 2 Corinthians was a different Titus. The name was common enough. In 2 Corinthians Paul calls Timothy "Titus" in connection with his missions to organize the collection. This, and the anonymity of the three 'brothers' of 2 Cor 8:18-22; 12:18, served to protect the collection from interception (see here). The author of the PE might not have realized this, and would then have concluded that a second Titus is in view, especially as Paul has already called Titus-Timothy "Timothy" at 2 Cor 1:1; 1:19. If, as I argue, Paul called him "Titus" where he did in 2 Corinthians to protect his identity, it would not be surprising that the author of the PE would be similarly misled. It is possible, of course, that there was a second Titus among Paul's co-workers, but I do not find this conjecture at all necessary for the viability of the Titus-Timothy hypothesis.

I am not aware of any evidence that there was a genuine tradition connecting "Titus" with Crete. Titus 1:5 cannot be fit into Paul's itinerary in Acts (which we can trust), and Acts 20:25, 38 makes it hard to believe that Paul returned to the east after a hypothetical release from captivity in Rome. The 'tradition' connecting Titus to Crete in the Pastoral Epistles is therefore probably not accurate. So why must we suppose that there is any genuine remembrance in it? Isn't it simpler to suppose that the author made the whole thing up?


When Hermann wrote his book he was aware of Borse's work on Titus-Timothy and my 2001 JSNT paper, but he did not have the benefit of my more recent arguments.  Apart from point 3, his rebuttals are fair criticisms of our printed presentations of the Titus-Timothy hypothesis. However, these criticisms
are not applicable to the Titus-Timothy hypothesis in its present form.

The Titus-Timothy question is very important for sorting out important issues, such as Pauline chronology, the north/south Galatia debate, the unity of 2 Corinthians, the accuracy of Acts, and the spuriousness of the PE. It is therefore vital that there be more debate on the Titus-Timothy hypothesis, and Hermann's contribution is a welcome start. It is unfortunate that it did not occur in Borse's lifetime.

Let me know of any further arguments against Titus-Timothy that I should address.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

A biography of Titus-Timothy

Timothy and Titus
The image on the right represents the conventional reconstruction of Timothy and Titus, including their backgrounds, movements, and interaction with the churches. The picture is  incomplete and consists of two distinct halves that have no inter-connections. For example, the commentators simply place the mission of Titus to Corinth (and the related events of 2 Corinthians) after the mission of Timothy to Corinth (and the related events of 1 Corinthians), without any over-lap or causal relationship between the two. This is no clever trick. Every piece of data seems to require a fresh assumption. This picture works as a picture, but it is nevertheless wrong because a much more compact picture can be constructed from the same pieces. Look carefully, and you will see that pieces in each half fit neatly with each other and combine to give a complete image of a single individual, Titus-Timothy. Once we have seen that a compact solution to the puzzle is possible, we are no longer entitled to propose that the solution that involves a large picture with missing pieces.

Here is a biography of Titus-Timothy. I believe it connects the pieces neatly together without forcing, but you must decide. I have presented the evidence for this reconstruction in about 15 earlier posts.

Jews and Greeks intermingled freely in Antioch, and it was there that Titus was born to a Greek father and a Jewish mother. He was probably not a Roman citizen, and was probably younger than Paul. Titus was converted by Paul, and his mother also became a believer. Titus was uncircumcised but his Jewish heritage created the expectation that he could or should be circumcised. He was therefore chosen to accompany Paul and Barnabas to Jerusalem to address the circumcision issue. He was able to pass as a Jew, but presented himself as a Greek on that occasion. The Jerusalem church leaders, though they knew he was uncircumcised, did not compel him to be circumcised, though they may have preferred it. Titus was presented as an example of a convert who, though uncircumcised, honored God. It was perhaps at this time that Titus was renamed, "Timothy", which meant "honoring God", and was phonetically close to "Titus". It was the Sabbatical year of 48/49 and Titus-Timothy saw first hand the poverty among the believers in Jerusalem, caused by the recent famine and the ban on agricultural activity that was in force. James, Peter, and John asked Paul to remember the poor, so he eagerly sent Titus-Timothy to south Galatia to organize a collection there. Titus-Timothy arrived in south Galatia and instructed the believers there to lay aside some money for Judea on the first day of each week. Paul himself arrived in south Galatia and met Titus-Timothy in Lystra. The believers in Lystra and Iconium attested that Titus-Timothy had fulfilled his mission well, so Paul decided to take him with him on the on-going journey. Titus-Timothy had passed himself off as a Jew but some false brothers had sneaked in and discovered that he was a Greek. The Jews in the region, who were more strict than those of Titus-Timothy's home town, Antioch, thus got to know that his father had been a Greek. Paul therefore circumcised him.

Saul-Paul, Silas-Silvanus, Lucius-Luke, and Titus-Timothy received three pieces of divine guidance, the purpose of which, they finally understood, was to get them to Macedonia without stopping to preach along the way. After visiting Philippi and Thessalonica, Paul left Beroea for Athens, sending Titus-Timothy back to Thessalonica. There Titus-Timothy encouraged the believers in their faith and then traveled, perhaps with Silas-Silvanus, to Corinth, where they met Paul (in A.D. 50). After their arrival in Corinth, Paul was able to devote his time to evangelism. Titus-Timothy and Silas-Silvanus also helped to proclaim Jesus in Corinth.

About 4 years later Paul was probably in prison in Ephesus. He, with Titus-Timothy, wrote to the Philippians at that time, promising to send Titus-Timothy to them so that he might receive news from them. Paul, with Titus-Timothy, probably wrote to Philemon at that time also. Paul received troubling news about the Corinthian church from Chloe's people. Paul decided to postpone his own announced visit to Corinth. Instead he wrote a letter in tears and gave it to Titus-Timothy, who was to deliver it on his way back to Ephesus from Macedonia. Titus-Timothy and the letter were to remind the Corinthians of Paul's Christian ethos so that they recognized their zeal for him as their founder, and thus prepare the Corinthians for Paul's (delayed) visit. The plan was that, after Titus-Timothy's return to Ephesus, Paul would visit Corinth on his way to Macedonia, and would then visit them again before traveling to Jerusalem with a collection for the poor. He was not willing to visit them until his emissary had prepared them for the visit. Paul was confident that the Corinthians would respond favorably to the letter, but Titus-Timothy was apprehensive about the mission. So, Titus-Timothy, carrying the tearful letter, travelled to Macedonia with Erastus (the Corinthian Treasurer), but he was delayed and had to over-winter there. He may have started the collection in Macedonia. This delay had repercussions on Paul's own travel plans. Meanwhile Stephanas arrived in Ephesus from Corinth in the spring (55 or 56). Paul would have used Stephanas to prepare the Corinthians for his planned visit, but there was no longer time for that visit. He therefore decided to cancel that visit and visit them only after going to Macedonia. Paul wrote 1 Corinthians, in which he give the new travel plan, instructions for the collection, and commended Titus-Timothy. When Titus-Timothy finally arrived in Corinth he was warmly received, and he began the collection there. The letter was successful, but the shock tactics that Paul used in the letter to prepare for his visit, and the absence of that visit, were not understood by the Corinthians. Also, some "super-apostles" created new problems for Paul. Titus-Timothy was too late to be able to meet Paul in Ephesus or even to head him off in the Troad, so he traveled directly to Macedonia and met Paul there. Paul had been worried that Titus-Timothy's delay indicated a problem with the reception of the tearful letter, so he was relieved to receive Titus-Timothy's good report. Paul, with Titus-Timothy, wrote 2 Corinthians. He mentioned three people who helped with the collection, but left them anonymous to protect the funds. He also referred to Titus-Timothy by his lesser-known name, "Titus", for the same reason. He sent Titus-Timothy back to Corinth, with 2 Corinthians, to finish the collection. Titus-Timothy was to focus on the collection and therefore needed to stay on good terms with the Corinthians. Paul therefore placed his criticisms of the Corinthians in the final four chapters of the letter, which were written in Paul's name alone. So Titus-Timothy traveled to Corinth (with two other collection helpers), and completed the collection there. Paul later arrived in Corinth and wrote to the Romans, sending greetings from Titus-Timothy and others (spring 56 or 57). Threats to the collection required that it take a circuitous route to Judea. Titus-Timothy, Sosipater-Sopater, Jason-Aristarchus, Secundus, Gaius, Tychicus and Trophimus took the collection to Troas, while Paul and Lucius-Luke sailed independently from Philippi to Troas. As far as we know, the whole group successfully delivered the collection to Jerusalem.

Finally, Titus-Timothy was imprisoned and released at least once, but we don't know when. He was Paul's loyal partner and envoy, and was spoken well of by Paul, and the believers in Lystra, Iconium, Philippi, and Corinth. He lived up to his name, "honoring God".

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Titus-Timothy passed as a Jew

I have already argued that Gal 2:1-3 and Acts 16:1-3 confirm that Titus was Timothy (see here and here). This post continues the discussion, focusing on the Jewish side to Titus's heritage.

1. The purpose of the visit to Jerusalem of Gal 2:1-10 was to discuss the circumcision question. This is clear from Acts 15:1-2. In Gal 2:2 suggests that Paul had received a revelation to the effect that he should go up to Jerusalem to lay out the gospel that he preached among the Gentiles (i.e. his gospel of non-circumcision). Further, Carlson's work suggests that the men from James of Gal 2:12 had arrived in Antioch before Paul's Jerusalem visit and could have precipitated it (see my discussion here).
Now, if Titus, like Timothy, had Jewish heritage, the circumcision question would have been particularly relevant for him, and this could explain why he was selected to accompany Paul and Barnabas to Jerusalem.

2. Titus's Jewish heritage, if known to the Galatians, would also explain the "not even" (οὐδὲ) in Gal 2:3. We could then paraphrase: "Not even Titus (whom you know had Jewish heritage), ... was compelled to be circumcised.

3. Back in 1998 Christopher Hutson sent me useful feedback of an early form the Titus-Timothy hypothesis, and included the following paragraph, which I reproduce with permission. 
"On the other hand, it seems to me that Gal 2:3 is potentially very important for your case. As I rad this, it strikes me that the modern critical editions have an odd punctuation here, setting off the words hELLHN WN with commas, as if they were a separate phrase. But to my eye, it makes much more sense to treat the participle WN with the definite article hO, so that the entire phrase hO SUN EMOI hELLHN WN is one grammatical unit, not two. This seems to be the way Lightfoot read it. So Check WH and other critical editions prior to NH26 and UBS3. Notice also that EMOI is emphatic (as opposed to the enclitic MOI). So you could translate, "who was with ME as a Greek." For your purposes, you might consider whether this implies that Titus presented himself in other circumstances as a Jew. That would suggest that Titus, like Timothy of Acts 16, stood between Jewish and Gentile worlds. Hmmm."
Hutson now prefers to translate, "who with ME was a Greek", which is nearly the same. Now, I don't think we can prove that EMOI is emphatic, but it is an attractive possibility. Hutson's reading does have the clear advantage that it avoids the cumbersome commas, and I think Askwith suggested a similar reading. It raises the possibility that in Gal 2:3 Paul alludes to an occasion, known to the Galatians, where Titus had passed as a Jew. This would create a rather smooth transition to the next verses, where this occasion seems to be mentioned:

4. Gal 2:4-5 is explicable if the "false brothers", through their spying, had found out that Titus was not actually a Jew. These verses, therefore, contain a further hint that Titus had, on another occasion, passed himself off as a Jew.

Therefore, we have hints that Titus had some Jewish heritage, was able to pass as a Jew, and had done so on an occasion known to the Galatians, until he had been found out.

We have the same information about Timothy, who had a Jewish mother.

The Babylonian Talmud reads: 
‘And Rav also ruled that the child is fit, for once a man appeared before Rav and asked him, "What [is the legal position of the child] where an idolator or a slave cohabited with the daughter of an Israelite?" "The child is fit," the Master replied. ..... Rav Yehudah also ruled that the child is fit, for when one came before Rav Yehudah, the latter told him, "Go and conceal your identity or marry one of your own kind." When such a man appeared before Rava he told him, "Either go abroad or marry one of your own kind."’ (b. Yev 45a-b)
This passage concerns advice for men who, like Timothy, are born to a Jewish mother, and a gentile father. Yehudah suggests that they conceal their half-gentile parentage. Rava gives essentially the same advice, suggesting that they go abroad (where their gentile fathers will not be known). Thus, we should not be surprised if Timothy passed as a Jew on some occasion. Acts 16:1-3 says that Timothy was circumcised because it was known (by then) that his father had been a Greek, suggesting that he would have passed (or continue to pass) as a Jew if his Gentile status had not been known.

Putting the pieces together we then get the following reconstruction: Titus-Timothy was born in Antioch to a Jewish mother and a Gentile father. He went to Jerusalem with Paul to help resolve the circumcision question. Paul sent him to (south) Galatia to organize a collection. He passed himself off as a Jew there, until some 'false brothers' found out that he was a Gentile. He then had to be circumcised (Acts 16:1-3). Paul later wrote to the (south) Galatians: "Not even Titus-Timothy [the half-Jew], who with me was  a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised. But because of false brothers secretly brought in, who slipped in to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus, so that they might enslave us - we did not submit to them for an hour so that the truth of the gospel might always remain with you [Galatians]."

I'm not saying that Gal 2:1-5 demands to be read in this way, but it surely does work well as commentary on the events of Acts 16:1-3.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Titus-Timothy and the Pastoral Epistles

2 Tim 4:10 shows that the author of the Pastoral Epistles considered "Titus" and "Timothy" to be two different people. This post explores the possibility that the author took the name "Titus" from 2 Corinthians or Galatians, without realizing that he was Timothy.

"Titus" as Timothy's obsolete name.
Timothy is almost always known by that name (see Paul's letters, Acts & Heb 13:23). I have argued here that Paul calls him "Titus" in connection with the collection precisely because few people knew him by that name. If Timothy did indeed cease to use the name "Titus" this would explain why the author of the Pastoral Epistles did not know that the two names belonged to the same person.

The Pastoral Epistles were distant from Titus/Timothy
It is widely agreed that the author of the Pastoral Epistles wanted his compositions to seem like genuine letters of Paul. Thus, he added the personal details, for example, (e.g. 2 Tim 4:9-22) to lend verisimilitude. The intended audience was not "Titus" or "Timothy", but a wider community of Christians.

The author's decision to use individuals as the putative recipients makes sense if the 'letters' were written after it was known that all the letters addressed to churches had already been collected together. A newly "discovered" letter addressed to a church would have come under suspicion because people would wonder why such a letter had not been circulated earlier. However, a 'letter' addressed to an individual would come under no such suspicion if the individual was not known to have lived into the period when searches were made for Paul's letters. It could then be conjectured that no-one had known about the letter until it had been discovered, for example among the possessions that the individual had passed on after his death.

If anyone in the author's community at the time of composition had known Timothy or Titus well, the verisimilitude that the author carefully cultivates would have been in danger. There would have been a risk that someone object that Timothy had not said anything about having letters from Paul. The pretense of authenticity would not have worked. The fraud (if that is what it was) could have been exposed. The author's choice of "Titus" and "Timothy" as putative recipients of the 'letters' makes best sense, therefore, if his community had relatively little memory of either "men". Therefore, we should not be surprised if the author himself had little memory of "Titus" or "Timothy". Men known only from the genuine letters of Paul would make ideal fictional recipients of 'letters', for no-one would know that they had not received letters from Paul.

The Pastoral Epistles' poor information about Paul's companions
Do we have evidence that the author used the genuine letters as sources of information about Paul's companions? There are a few cases where we see that he probably did.

1 Tim 1:3 reads, "I urge you, as I did when I was on my way to Macedonia, to remain in Ephesus so that you may instruct certain people not to teach any different doctrine.." This seems to be dependent on 1 Cor 16:5-11 where Paul is expecting Timothy to return to him in Ephesus and plans then to go to Macedonia and mentions opposition in Ephesus. A reader of 1 Cor 16:5-11 could easily imagine that Paul went to Macedonia after instructing Timothy to deal with the adversaries in Ephesus. However, we know from 2 Cor 1:1 and Acts 19:22 that Timothy did not stay behind in Ephesus. The author seems to have simplistically picked information from 1 Corinthians without checking that his assumptions were consistent with other texts.

2 Tim 1:7 implies that Timothy was cowardly. This seems to derive from a misreading of 1 Cor 16:10-11. In actual fact Timothy was not at all cowardly, as Hutson has demonstrated (1).

2 Tim 4:19 reads, "Greet Prisca and Aquila", and the implication is that they are in Ephesus where Timothy is supposed to be. This, again, seems to show a dependency on 1 Cor 16:19 which places the couple in Ephesus. The problem for the credibility of the author of the Pastorals is that Prisca and Aquila returned to Rome before Romans was written (Rom 16:3), so they are unlikely to have been in Ephesus at the time that 2 Timothy is supposed to have been written.

2 Tim 4:21 reads, "Eubulus sends greetings to you, as do Pudens and Linus and Claudia". The problem here is that none of these names appear in the rather long list of people in Rome whom Paul greets in Rom 16.

2 Tim 4:13 reads, "When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas". The only mention of Troas in Paul's letters is in 2 Cor 2:12-13 "When I came to Troas to proclaim the good news of Christ, a door was opened for me in the Lord; but my mind could not rest because I did not find my brother Titus there. So I said farewell to them and went on to Macedonia." Here we read that Paul left the departed from the believers in Troas in an anxious haste to reach Macedonia. A product of anxiety and haste is forgetfulness, so the author of 2 Timothy 4:13 could well have imagined Paul forgetting his coat in Troas when he anxiously hurried on to Macedonia. The author, reading 2 Corinthians, would have concluded that this was Paul's last visit to Troas and that Paul's cloak could therefore still be there. However, Acts 20:5-6 shows that Paul returned to Troas after a change of plan. 2 Tim 4:13, therefore, was crafted to comport with 2 Cor 2:12-13.

The author of the Pastoral Epistles, therefore, does not seem to have had good information about Paul's companions, so he would probably not have known Timothy's obsolete other name. We have reason to believe that the author of Colossians has just as poor information about Paul's companions. In Philemon 23-24 Paul deliberately uses diminutive name forms (see here). The author of Colossians uses the same name forms, suggesting that he took them from Philemon 23-24 without realizing that they were diminutive forms. Also, he probably mis-identified the Mark of Philemon 24 (see here), and misread "Jesus" in Philemon 23 (see here). He may also have misidentified Luke as a Gentile (see here). If, as is likely, the author of Colossians did not know the names ordinarily used by Epaphras, Mark, Demas, and Luke, it is hardly surprising that the author of the Pastoral Epistles did not know the name that Timothy no longer used. 

The human mind classifies according to name. Once it has ascribed two identities to two names, it has great difficulty in switching to the one-person view. Conversely, where the same name appears twice, one tends to equate the two individuals. These tendencies have led to misidentifications from ancient times. Even Cephas and Peter were considered two individuals by much of church tradition, starting in the second century, in spite of John 1:42.(2). Thus, it is natural that the author of the Pastorals mistakenly split Titus-Timothy into two people. These things happen. Every other document that sees Titus and Timothy as different people is dependent on the Pastoral Epistles.

In conclusion, it would not be at all surprising if the author of the Pastoral Epistles took the name "Titus" from 2 Corinthians or Galatians without realizing that this was Timothy's former name. The Pastoral Epistles supply no significant evidence against the Titus-Timothy hypothesis.

(1) C.R. Hutson, ‘Was Timothy Timid? On the Rhetoric of Fearlessness (1 Corinthians 16:10-11) and Cowardice (2 Timothy 1:7)’, BibRes 42 (1997), pp. 58-73.
(2) See B.D. Ehrman, "Cephas and Peter" JBL 109/3 (1990) 463-474. Ehrman argues that Cephas and Peter were different people, but has been convincingly refuted by D. Allison, "Peter and Cephas: one and the same," JBL 111(1992) 489-495.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Chronology of Paul's collection from Galatia

Paul asked the Galatians to contribute money (1 Cor 16:1), and it is invariably assumed that Paul had intended for this money to be delivered to Jerusalem at more or less the same time as the money that he collected from Achaia and Macedonia. The assumption seems to be that Paul is here creating a kind of camaraderie among givers to encourage the Corinthians to be generous, and that this requires the the Galatian collection was contemporaneous. However, in 1 Corinthians Paul has no need to urge the Corinthians to give. He takes their commitment for granted. By mentioning Galatia in 1 Cor 16:1 Paul may instead simply be pointing out that the instructions that he gives are tried and tested: they worked in Galatia. Whatever the reason for mentioning Galatia, it is hazardous to assume, as almost everyone does, that the Galatian collection belongs to the "third missionary journey". I will argue in this post that the collection from Galatia was at the start of the "second missionary journey", some 7 years before the collection from Achaia and Macedonia.

1. Rom 15:26 says that Achaia and Macedonia contributed to the later collection, but makes no mention of Galatia. It would have been insulting to the Galatians to omit them if they had indeed contributed even a small amount to this collection. The simplest explanation is that the collection from Galatia was much earlier.

Some suppose that the crisis in Galatia caused the Galatians to withdrew from the collection. However, it seems unlikely that they would fail to make any contribution worthy of mention. Also, if, as the critics suppose, Paul's opponents in Galatia supported the theological position of the Jerusalem church, it is unlikely that they would oppose sending money to that same Jerusalem church.

2. During his Jerusalem visit of Gal 2:1-10 (=Acts 15) Paul was asked to 'remember the poor' (Gal 2:10). As many have pointed out, this does suggest a collection for Jerusalem. When was this collection. Paul's eagerness implies that he organized this collection shortly after the request was made. If Paul had delayed, the Galatians would have known, and Paul's claim that he had been eager would have sounded hollow.

As is commonly agreed, it is probable that the request was made in 48 or 49. There had been a recent famine in Judea and in 48/49 there was a Sabbatical year, in which agriculture was not permitted. The famine would have prevented Judeans from storing up food in preparation for the Sabbatical year.  This situation of acute need explains why the apostles asked Paul to 'remember the poor'. An immediate collection would be required, preferably before the harvest following the Sabbatical year (probably in the summer of 49). This, and Paul's eagerness, suggest that Paul organized a collection immediately after the visit of Gal 2:1-10 (=Acts 15).

So, what collection did Paul organize at that time? The collection from the Galatians is the only one that fits (the Galatians were south Galatians). The collection from Antioch is too early, and the collection from Achaia and Macedonia is much too late (even with Knox's chronology).

We can now discern a pattern in Paul's collections. As far as we now, he never asked any church to contribute more than once (indeed Paul's argument in 2 Cor 8:13-14 would not work if he expected to ask them to contribute again some day). Thus Antioch contributed only to the famine relief collection, and Galatia did not contribute to the final collection. Also, Paul wisely did not ask for contributions from any region during his initial evangelistic visit there. Thus Asia did not participate, and Achaia and Macedonia did not contribute until about 4 years after they were evangelized.

3. I have argued here that Timothy was a native of Antioch, not Lystra. Now, a collection from south Galatia at the start of the "second missionary journey" neatly explains why Timothy was in Lystra when Paul arrived (Acts 16:1): Paul had sent him to organize the collection. We can suppose that Timothy delivered the instructions that Paul mentioned in 1 Cor 16:1-2.

It makes perfect sense that Paul should send Timothy to organize this collection if, as I have argued, he was Titus renamed. Titus-Timothy and Paul went together to Jerusalem (Gal 2:1) and saw the poverty that existed among the believers there at that time. Paul was asked to 'remember the poor' whom he and Titus-Timothy had met, so he sent Titus-Timothy to south Galatia to explain the need for a collection to the believers there. Titus-Timothy was uniquely qualified for this job as collection envoy because he had seen the poverty first hand. He was still in south Galatia when Paul himself arrived (Acts 16:1). I will suggest in a future post that Titus may have been named "Timothy" precisely because of his involvement in this collection.

On any hypothesis Acts makes no direct mention of the collection from Galatia (or indeed of the collection from Achaia and Macedonia). Following Nickle ("The Collection" p149-150), I suggest that collections like this were illegal by the time that Luke wrote, and that his explains Luke's silence. Indeed, I have argued that the plot of Acts 20:3 was when the Jews had the Romans declared the collection from Achaia illegal. Whatever the reason for the silence, we should not be surprised that Luke does not mention that Timothy had been sent by Paul to organize the collection. It seems that, in avoiding mention  of the collection, which may have been well known to Luke's intended audience, he has inadvertently given future generations the mistaken impression that Timothy was actually a native of Lystra.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Gal 2:1-5, Acts 16:1-3 and Titus-Timothy

Continuing the series of blog posts on Titus-Timothy, we turn now to Gal 2:1-5 and Acts 16:1-3.
Gal 2:1 Ἔπειτα διὰ δεκατεσσάρων ἐτῶν πάλιν ἀνέβην εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα μετὰ Βαρναβᾶ, συμπαραλαβὼν καὶΤίτον: 2:2 ἀνέβην δὲ κατὰ ἀποκάλυψιν: καὶ ἀνεθέμην αὐτοῖς τὸ εὐαγγέλιον  κηρύσσω ἐν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν, κατ'ἰδίαν δὲ τοῖς δοκοῦσιν, μή πως εἰς κενὸν τρέχω  ἔδραμον. 2:3 ἀλλ' οὐδὲ Τίτος  σὺν ἐμοί, Ελλην ὤν, ἠναγκάσθη περιτμηθῆναι: 2:4 διὰ δὲ τοὺς παρεισάκτους ψευδαδέλφους, οἵτινες παρεισῆλθον κατασκοπῆσαι τὴν ἐλευθερίαν ἡμῶνἣν ἔχομεν ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ, ἵνα ἡμᾶς καταδουλώσουσιν: 2:5 οἷς οὐδὲ πρὸς ὥραν εἴξαμεν τῇ ὑποταγῇ, ἵνα  ἀλήθεια τοῦ εὐαγγελίου διαμείνῃ πρὸς ὑμᾶς.
Gal 2:1 Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along with me.  2:2 I went up in response to a revelation. Then I laid before them (though only in a private meeting with the acknowledged leaders) the gospel that I proclaim among the Gentiles, in order to make sure that I was not running or had not run, in vain. 2:3 But even Titus, who was with me, was not compelled to be circumcised, though he was a Greek. 2:4 But because of false believers secretly brought in, who slipped in to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus, so that they might enslave us - 2:5 we did not submit to them even for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might always remain with you.
Acts 16:1 Κατήντησεν δὲ [καὶ] εἰς Δέρβην καὶ εἰς Λύστραν. καὶ ἰδοὺ μαθητής τις ἦν ἐκεῖ ὀνόματι Τιμόθεος, υἱὸς γυναικὸς Ἰουδαίας πιστῆς πατρὸς δὲ Ελληνος,16:2 ὃς ἐμαρτυρεῖτο ὑπὸ τῶν ἐν Λύστροις καὶ Ἰκονίῳ ἀδελφῶν.16:3 τοῦτον ἠθέλησεν  Παῦλος σὺν αὐτῷ ἐξελθεῖν, καὶ λαβὼν περιέτεμεν αὐτὸν διὰ τοὺς Ἰουδαίους τοὺς ὄντας ἐν τοῖς τόποις ἐκείνοις, ᾔδεισαν γὰρ ἅπαντες ὅτι Ελλην  πατὴρ αὐτοῦ ὑπῆρχεν.
Acts 16:1 Paul went on also to Derbe and to Lystra, where there was a disciple named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer; but his father was a Greek. 16:2 He was well spoken of by the believers in Lystra and Iconium. 16:3 Paul wanted Timothy to accompany him; and he took him and had him circumcised because of the Jews who were in those places, for they all knew that his father was a Greek.
Acts 16:1-3 concerns a time shortly after the Jerusalem visit of Gal 2. Paul meets Timothy in Lystra, which is in south Galatia, the region to which Paul later wrote Galatians. There is a consistency between the data on "Timothy" and that on "Titus":

1.  Titus and Timothy were both associates of Paul by the start of the "second missionary journey".

2. Both were subordinates of Paul at that time.

3. Both were uncircumcised Greeks at the time of Paul's Jerusalem visit of Gal 2:1. On Timothy's Greek status see D. Daube, Ancient Jewish Law (Leiden: Brill, 1981), pp. 22-32. Also S.J.D. 
Cohen, ‘Was Timothy Jewish (Acts 16:1-3)? Patristic Exegesis, Rabbinic Law, and 
Matrilineal Descent’, JBL 105/2 (1986), pp. 251-68.

4. Both were probably known to the Galatians. Titus is mentioned without introduction in Gal 2:1, which suggests that he, like Timothy, was known to the Galatians.

5. At first sight it appears that Timothy was from Lyrsta, in contrast to Titus, who was from Antioch. However, a closer inspection shows that both were probably from Antioch.
There will have been few Jews, if any, among the believers in Lystra. Acts mentions no synagogue in Lystra and Paul's letter to the (south) Galatians seems to be written exclusively to Gentiles. In Antioch, on the other hand, there were many Jews, for Josephus tells us that Jews were "particularly numerous in Syria", and, ‘it was at Antioch that they specially congregated’ (BJ 7.45). There were many Jews in the church there (Acts 13:1; Gal 2:13), so it is there, not in Lystra, that we should look for Timothy's mother.

The Jews of south Galatia were strict about maintaining their ethnic boundary, for they required the circumcision of Timothy. It is therefore unlikely that many of them would have married Greeks. In Antioch, however, mixed marriages will have been common, for Josephus says of the Jews of Antioch that "they were constantly attracting to their religious ceremonies multitudes of Greeks, and these they had in some measure incorporated with themselves" (BJ 7.45) (consider also Nicolaos,  This also suggests that Timothy's mother was from Antioch, not Lystra.

Timothy was a fellow missionary of Paul (2 Cor 1:19), and Paul even calls him "God's co-worker" (1 Thess 3:2). He must have been a prominent fellow-worker of Paul at the time of Acts 16:1-3, otherwise his circumcision would not have been required. However, if Timothy was from Lystra, it is hard to see how he could have been qualified for the task. A Lystran Timothy would have been a relatively new believer, who had had little contact with Paul, and was from a rustic village, spoke mainly Lycaonian (Acts 14:11), and probably had no synagogue. It is hard to imagine Paul choosing one of the "foolish Galatians" to be an important member of his missionary team.

Paul circumcised Timothy, but told the Galatians in the strongest terms not to be circumcised. This is consistent if Timothy was very different from the Galatians in some key respect(s), such as being qualified to preach to Jews or having been brought up with Jewish traditions. This confirms that Timothy was not a Galatian.

I have already argued that Luke was from Antioch. We have no evidence that Paul recruited new converts as fellow-missionaries. I will argue in a future post that Paul had probably sent Titus-Timothy to south Galatia to organize a collection for Jerusalem. In any case, Timothy's role as Paul's envoy explains why we read that the believers in Lystra and Iconium spoke well of him: the believers reported that Timothy had represented Paul well, so Paul chose him to be part of his team to function as an envoy on future occasions.

6. The 'not even' (οὐδὲ) in Gal 2:3 works well if Titus was Timothy, who was perhaps the most likely person to require circumcision. The sense would then be, "not even Titus (who you know has a Jewish mother and is my closes co-worker), ... was compelled to be circumcised".

7. Gal 2:4-5 appears to refer to the events of Acts 16:1-3. Gal 2:4-5 as it stands, with its broken grammar, is hopelessly ambiguous. If, however, it refers to events well known to the south Galatians, such as the events surrounding the circumcision of Timothy, the text need not have been ambiguous to the intended audience.

Paul's purpose for yielding (or not yielding) was that "the truth of the gospel might continue with you". "you" here refers to the Galatians, suggesting that Paul's response to the false brothers was for the benefit of the Galatians in particular. It is unnecessary to suppose that "you" here refers to all Gentile believers. The 'you' here connects the events of Gal 2:4-5 with south Galatia, and this works well if Titus was Timothy. While Gal 2:3-5 on its own does not tell us whether Titus was eventually circumcised, we can say that the circumcision or otherwise of Titus, like that of Timothy, is of importance to the south Galatians. This is surely no coincidence.

Gal 2:4-5 and Acts 16:1-3 combine nicely. Here is a possible scenario. The false brothers discovered through their spying (whether in Jerusalem or in south Galatia) that Titus-Timothy's father was a Greek. They then revealed this fact to the south Galatians Jews, who then required that Titus-Timothy be circumcised. Gal 2:5 is still ambiguous (to me). Perhaps Paul denies that he gave way for more than the few minutes required for the circumcision of Timothy, or perhaps he is saying that the circumcision of Timothy was in no way a yielding of the principle.

For further discussion see my "Was Titus Timothy?", JSNT 81 (2001).

In summary, Gal 2:1-5 when combined with Acts 16:1-3 provides significant points of agreement between "Titus" and "Timothy". This confirms what we have already seen from the Corinthian correspondence - Timothy was Titus renamed.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Paul wrote to South Galatia: some new arguments

The post brings together my reasons for believing that Galatians was addressed to the churches in south Galatia that Paul and Barnabas founded (Acts 13:14-14:28). Arguments 1, 4, and 6 are new, I believe.

1. Acts precludes a visit by Paul to north Galatia. Some believe that Acts 16:6 refers to a trip to north Galatia, but this is not possible. We read
16:6 They went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia [or Phrygian Galatia], having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. 16:7 When they had come opposite Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them; 16:8 so, passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas. 16:9 During the night Paul had a vision: there stood a man of Macedonia pleading with him and saying "Come over to Macedonia and help us." 16:10 When he had seen the vision, we immediately tried to cross over to Macedonia, being convinced that God had called us to proclaim the good news to them.
 In this passage Paul and his companions receive three pieces of divine guidance, the common purpose of which was to get the group to Macedonia as quickly as possible. I suggest that they became "convinced that God had called us to proclaim the good news" to Macedonia after reflecting on all three pieces of divine guidance.

This precludes a trip to north Galatia. If they went to north Galatia in 16:6 we would have to suppose that the divine guidance was fickle, sending them first to the north east, then to the west. Why would Luke record such ineffective guidance?

The map shows the route that they may have taken and illustrates that a diversion to north Galatia would not have been consistent with the divine plan that Luke records. The road system here is taken from Stephen Mitchell, Anatolia Land, Men, and gods in Asia Minor Vol i. He firmly supports the south Galatia hypothesis and suggests that τὴν Φρυγίαν καὶ Γαλατικὴν χώραν refers to the country of Phrygia Paroreius, on either side of Sultan Dag (Vol ii, p3).

2. Chronology does not allow enough time for a preaching tour of north Galatia. Paul visited Jerusalem (Gal 2:1-10 = Acts 15) no earlier than A.D. 48 and arrived in Corinth no later than A.D. 50. In the interval of two year (or less) Paul returned to Antioch; stayed there 'some days' (Acts 15:36);  revisited the churches in Syria, Cilicia, and south Galatia; travelled to Macedonia; founded churches there; and preached in Athens. This itinerary is already slightly more rushed than Paul's usual pace. Adding a preaching tour of north Galatia would put additional strain on the chronology here. Others have made this point.

3. Barnabas was known to the recipients of the letter, as Ramsay and others have pointed out. Barnabas is mentioned without introduction in Gal 2:1, suggesting that he was known to the recipients.  Also, Gal 2:13 presupposes that the recipients knew Barnabas's previous position on the issue of Jews eating with Gentiles.

4. The circumcision of Timothy (Acts 16:1-3) looms large in the background of Paul's letter. The Galatians seem to have gained the impression that Paul actually supported circumcision (see Gal 5:11). Indeed, I have argued here, here, and here that Paul wrote in response to the rumor that he was ideologically in favor of circumcision but had preached against it to please the Jerusalem church leaders. The Galatians' misunderstanding of Paul's position is explicable if they were south Galatians. Paul's circumcision of Timothy could have led them to believe that he actually believed in circumcision, and the delivery of the decisions of the Jerusalem leaders (Acts 16:4) could have suggested to them that Paul had acted all along as a messenger of the Jerusalem church.
Furthermore, if Titus was Timothy, as I believe, then Gal 2:4-5 looks suspiciously like a reference to the discovery of Timothy's uncircumcised state and his subsequent circumcision.

5. Paul's illness would not have taken him to north Galatia. Gal 4:13 tells us that Paul preached to the Galatians because of a physical infirmity. Presumably the infirmity prevented him from supporting himself by working, or limited his ability to travel. It is possible that Paul had intended to travel to Asia and/or Europe, and that his infirmity forced him to scale back his ambitions and travel to south Galatia instead. A detour to north Galatia, on the other hand, would have constituted an extension to Paul's travels, not a cut-back, and it is hard to imagine how a sickness could have led him to decide to go there.

6. Timothy would have been named as a co-sender of a letter to north Galatia. Paul names as co-senders those who helped him found the church to whom he writes. Thus Timothy is a co-sender of 1 Thess, 2 Cor, and Phil; Crispus-Sosthenes is the co-sender of 1 Corinthians; and Silvanus is a co-sender of 1 Thess; while Romans has no co-senders. If Galatians was addressed to north Galatia it is somewhat surprising that Timothy, in particular, is not named as a co-sender.

I am surprised that the north Galatia hypothesis has lasted so long. Does it survive only as a reaction against certain conservative scholars who support the south Galatia hypothesis for all the wrong reasons? Or am I missing something here?