An attempt to account for the unique language and themes in the Pastoral Epistles presents distinct challenges for Pauline scholars. A specific example appears with the use of self-control (σώφρων) language in the book of Titus, where 5 of the 16 New Testament instances of this language appear in a brief section (2:1–14). Because of the prominence of this language in Greco-Roman ethical teaching, many have used this flurry of virtue language as an example of an accommodative Pauline ethic in Titus. This article tests this label of the accommodative ethic and ultimately cautions scholars against focusing singularly on the lexical similarities between Paul and his Greco-Roman counterparts without adequately accounting for the distinctives in the way the lexical items are used in Titus. This article shows that the ethics conveyed by the frequent use of σώφρων terminology in Titus 2:1–14 cannot properly be labeled accommodative in light of the stark differences that the text exhibits from common Greco-Roman concepts for the purpose and source of self-control. Instead, these factors suggest that, while mission remains of paramount importance to the ethical exhortation in Titus 2:1–14, the use of σώφρων terms supports a different ideology, prioritizing the gospel and union with Jesus Christ.
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Research Article| October 01 2016
The Pursuit of Self-Control: Titus 2:1–14 and Accommodation to Christ
Journal for the Study of Paul and His Letters (2016) 6 (2): 161–180.
Sean Christensen; The Pursuit of Self-Control: Titus 2:1–14 and Accommodation to Christ. Journal for the Study of Paul and His Letters 1 October 2016; 6 (2): 161–180. doi: https://doi.org/10.2307/26371745
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