Erkki Koskenniemi, «The Famous Liar and the Apostolic Truth», Vol. 24 (2011) 59-69
The words Kretes aei pseustai, kaka theria, gasteres argai. in Tit 1:2 are traditionally attributed to Epimenides, and, for example, Nestle – Aland27 (ad locum) refers to his work “de oraculis / peri kresmon”. However, we can only discern a shadow of the man, a pre-Socratic philosopher, or of several men. We do not have his works, and a work peri kresmon is never mentioned in ancient sources. Clement of Alexandria mentions Epimenides, but not his work; Jerome is the first who certainly attributes the work to Epimenides. This article proposes a new reconstruction of the history of the tradition. In the beginning was the proverb that the Cretans were famous liars, and in the second stage, this reputation was used to construct a logical paradox. In the next stage, Epimenides, the famous Cretan philosopher, was involved in the paradox. It is thus not correct to claim that Tit refers to Epimenides’ work peri kresmon: Epimenides is only ahistorically involved in this paradox. Consequently, the verse does not prove that the writer knew Classical literature well.