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The Letter now known as “Pseudo-Titus” is later than most of the other apocrypha included in this collection. It was unknown until discovered late in the nineteenth century in a very badly translated Latin manuscript pro­ duced some time in the eighth century, probably from a Greek original. The author claims to be Titus, the companion of Paul, to whom one of the letters of the New Testament itself is addressed. This alleged connection with the apostle provides the writer with the authority he needs to set forth his clear agenda: to promote chastity for all Christians, urging even those who are married to abstain from the pleasures of sex as detrimental to salvation. “Why,” asks the pseudonymous author, “do you strive against your own salvation to find death in love?” The author quotes numerous sources, including the books of the Old and New Testaments, in support of his views. In particular, though, he appears to be familiar with the Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles, which, as we have seen, are themselves ascetic and world-denouncing in their orientation. It is difficult to date this strident attack against the pleasures of the flesh, but most scholars place it some time in the fifth century.

Epistle of Titus, the Disciple of Paul Great and honorable is the divine promise which the Lord has made with his own mouth to them that are holy and pure: He will bestow upon them “what eyes have not seen nor ears heard, nor has it entered into any human heart.” And from eternity to eternity there will be a

race incomparable and incomprehen­ sible. Blessed then are those who have not polluted their flesh by craving for this world, but are dead to the world that they may live for God! To whom neither flesh nor blood has shown deadly secrets, but the Spirit has shone upon them and shown some better thing so that even in

Translation by Aurelio de Santos Otero, in Wilhelm Schneemelcher, New Testament Apocrypha, vol. 2 (rev. ed.; Cambridge/ Louisville: Lutterworth/Westminister/John Knox, 1991) 55–63; used with permission.


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