Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Titus, Bishop of Bostra

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Catholic Encyclopedia (1913), Volume 14
Titus, Bishop of Bostra

by Francis Joseph Bacchus


Born about 362-371. Sozomen (Hist. eccl., III, xiv) names Titus among the great men of the time of Constantius; he also tells (op. cit., V, xv) of a mean trick played upon Titus by Julian the Apostate. It was expected that the re-establishment of paganism would occasion riots in Bostra as it had elsewhere. Julian wrote to Titus that he would hold him and the clergy responsible for any outbreak. Titus replied that though the Christians were equal in number to the pagans they would obey him and keep quiet. Julian then wrote to the Bostrians urging them to expel Titus because he had calumniated them by attributing their quiet conduct not to their own good dispositions but to his influence. According to Socrates (op. cit., III, xxv) Titus was one of the bishops who signed the Synodal Letter, addressed to Jovian by the Council held at Antioch (363), in which the Nicene Creed was accepted, not, however, without a clause "intended somewhat to weaken and semiarianize the expression homoousios" (Hefele, "Councils", II, p. 283; ANTIOCH.-Synods of Antioch). St. Jerome (Ep. lxx) names Titus among writers whose secular erudition is as marvellous as their knowledge of Scripture; in his "De vir. ill.", cii, he speaks of his "mighty" (fortes) books against the Manichaean and nonnulla alia. He places his death under Valens. Of the nonnulla alia only fragments of exegetical writings have survived. These show that Titus followed the Antiochene School of Scripture exegesis in keeping to the literal as opposed to the allegorical interpretation. The "Contra Manichæos" is the most important work of the kind that has come down to us, and its historical value is very great because of the number of quotations it contains from Manichaean writers. In one passage Titus seems to favour Origen's view that the pains of the damned are not eternal (on this point see especially Ceillier, "Histoire générale des auteurs sacrés et ecclésiastiques", VI p. 54, who seems disposed to acquit him of this error). The work consists of four books of which the fourth and the greater part of the third are only extant in a Syriac translation.

The Greek and Syriac texts of the Contra Manich. were published by LAGARDE (Berlin, 1859). Earlier editions of the Greek text suffer from an insertion from a work of Serapion owing to the misplacement of a leaf in the original codex. For Contra Manich. and other writings attributed to TITUS see MIGNE and GALLANDI. The genuine exegetical fragments of this commentary were published by SICKENBERGER in Texte u. Untersuchen, VI, i (new series). BARDENHEWER-SHARAN, Patrology (St. Louis, 1908), 270-1.

F.J. BACCHUS