Re: secular quotations in Paul

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Sun Apr 06 1997 - 08:12:28 EDT

At 11:12 PM -0500 4/5/97, Jeffrey Gibson wrote:
>This is not strictly speaking a B-Greek question, so feel free to reply
>to me off list.
>In Paul's speech at Athens as recorded in Acts, the apostle is portrayed as
>expressly quoting one (if not two) "secular" sources. Is there anywhere
>within the Pauline corpus anything similar. That is, does Paul expressly
>quote (and not just allude to), say, Seneca or any other "pagan"
>author? If so, where and whom?

It is the Phainomena of Aratus that is cited in the Areopagus speech
attributed to Paul in Acts. The only direct citation of a pagan author in
the Pauline CORPUS of which I'm aware is Titus 1:11, identified as the work
of Epimenides, from a poem identified by the Latin title, De Oraculis. It
is an easily-scanned dactylic hexameter:

        "Cretans are always liars, foul beasts, useless bellies"

a line that appears to me to be modeled upon the opening words of the Muses
in their inaugural call of Hesiod in the Theogony (which is fascinatingly
similar in some ways to the call of Moses at the burning bush):

        "Herdsman of the wild, foul reproaches, bellies only"

There are, I think, plenty of allusions to greek philosophy in the Pauline
corpus, but I think it is pretty difficult to pinpoint anything other than
this verse in Titus that is cited directly in its original form.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO, USA 63130
(314) 935-4018 OR

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Sat Apr 20 2002 - 15:38:11 EDT