Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Theodoret of Cyrus: Citation of Callimachus Not an Endorsement of Mythology

One of themselves, their very own prophet, has said, Cretans have always been liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons. This testimony is true (vv.12-13). Callimachus (whence comes the beginning of the proverb) was not a prophet of the Jews; in fact, he was a poet of the Greeks. But whereas the poet called the Cretans liars on account of the tomb of Zeus, the divine apostle spoke of the testimony as true, not to endorse the poetic mythology but to convict the Cretans of unreliability of attitude, as if to say, He was right to call you liars - that is the way you are. Now, it was likely that the one called Zeus was buried somewhere else, and these people wrongly built the tomb.

- Theodoret of Cyrus (around A.D. 393 to around A.D. 457), Commentary on Titus, Chapter 1, in Theodoret of Cyrus, Commentary on the Letters of St. Paul, Volume 2, p. 254 (2001), Robert C. Hill translator.