Paul the bigot? Reading the Cretan quotation of Titus 1:12 in light of relevance theory

Allen, Isaiah Luke (2019) Paul the bigot? Reading the Cretan quotation of Titus 1:12 in light of relevance theory. PhD thesis, Middlesex University / London School of Theology. [Thesis]

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Abstract

According to prevalent readings of Titus 1:12, the author sympathizes with the statement, “Cretans are always liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons.” Such conventional, prima facie interpretations are unsustainable when examined in light of Relevance Theory (RT). Although its application to Biblical Studies has been limited, the Theory provides crucial insights for both evaluating previous interpretations and for guiding historically and linguistically responsible readings. I argue that key insights of RT illuminate critical evidence for properly interpreting the Cretan quotation of Titus 1:12. I aim to both clear an interpretive impasse regarding this problematic text and demonstrate a relevance-guided biblical hermeneutic. The Introduction discusses representative interpretations and their inadequacies, then it outlines the promise of RT for supporting linguistically sound biblical interpretation. Each subsequent chapter focuses respectively on three pivotal insights: 1) the inferential nature of communication, 2) the role of the hearer in communication, and 3) the non-propositional dimensions of communication. I describe the insight in detail and demonstrate the impact of its application by both evaluating representative interpretations and offering a fresh interpretation of the passage in light of RT. The Conclusion summarizes the main contributions and implications of my thesis. These include a practical application of RT fundamentals to Biblical Studies; a linguistically-grounded examination of Titus and critique of existing secondary literature; a proposal regarding the letter’s historic message—namely, that it exposed rather than endorsed bigotry in the church; and an invitation to reassess the canonical esteem of Titus.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Research Areas: A. > School of Law
B. > Theses
C. Collaborative Partners > London School of Theology
Item ID: 28751
Depositing User: Brigitte Joerg
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2020 10:13
Last Modified: 17 Jan 2020 18:39
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/28751

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