Humanities and Arts Interest Group (HAIG) Lecture
This talk is scheduled as part of the HAIG Lecture Series.
Chris Hoklotubbe will present a Humanities and Arts Lecture titled: “Lying Cretans, Superstitious Jews, and the Christians that Love Them.”
In the New Testament’s Epistle to Titus, “Paul” describes his opponents as belonging to the Chris Hoklotubbe, “Lying Cretans, Superstitious Jews, and the Christians that Love Them”notorious circumcision faction, infatuated with “Jewish myths,” and as embodying the worst qualities of Cretans. “It was one of [these Cretans],” the author states, “their very own prophet, who said, ‘Cretans are always liars, vicious brutes, lazy gluttons.’ This testimony is true!” (Titus 1:12–13a, NRSV). So is the author a bigot or is he using a common maxim hyperbolically to shame only heretical teachers, not Cretans in general?
Regardless of how one explains this, Titus 1:12–13 reflects and relies upon “an ancient form of racism.” But how might we more precisely describe this “ancient form of racism”? And what was the possible rhetorical force and socio-political implications of the author’s pejorative representation of his opponents as “Jews” and “Cretans” for his ancient audiences? Taking cues from Franz Fanon’s Black Skin White Masks and ancient discourses on race/ethnicity during the Second Sophistic of the Roman Empire, Chris aims to explain the author’s pejorative constructions of Jews and Cretans may have served a larger goal of presenting a “civilized” Christian subject, in a cultural context where Christians themselves were largely perceived to be “barbarous” and “superstitious.”