Epimenides Cretica 1


They fashioned a tomb for you, holy and high one, Cretans, always liars, evil beasts, idle bellies. But you are not dead: you live and abide forever, For in you we live and move and have our being.

Titus 1:12

New Testament

10 For there are many rebellious people, idle talkers, and deceivers, especially those with Jewish connections, 11 who must be silenced because they mislead whole families by teaching for dishonest gain what ought not to be taught. 12 A certain one of them, in fact, one of their own prophets, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.” 13 Such testimony is true. For this reason rebuke them sharply that they may be healthy in the faith 14 and not pay attention to Jewish myths and commands of people who reject the truth. 15 All is pure to those who are pure. But to those who are corrupt and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their minds and consciences are corrupted.

 Notes and References

"... Epimenides is regarded the author of the well-known verse «Cretans are ever liars, evil beasts, lazy bellies». It appeared for the first time, in Callimachus' Hymn to Zeus, and later, in the Christian era, Paul the Apostle mentioned it in his epistle to Titus 8i. This verse has become controversial because of questions relating to its origin and/or its context, and because of the relation between its supposed author and the bad reputation of the Cretans ... his reputation of the Cretans seems to have been created out of caprice by ancient non-Cretans who sought for various reasons to vilify the inhabitants of Minos' island. An historian of Crete illustrates the case: Callimachus of Cyrene called the Cretans liars because they presented Zeus as mortal. To the Athenians they were liars for claiming the birth of the gods on the island of Crete. The Romans and the Romanizing Greek writers remained hostile towards the Cretans due to the latter's resistance to Roman imperialism. Regarding Paul the Apostle, he was referring only to the Jews of Crete in his epistle to Titus, as Strategakis explains clearly ..."

Strataridaki, Anna Epimenides of Crete: Some Notes on His Life, Works, and the Verse (pp. 1-17) University of Crete, 1991

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