Crete (Titus 1)

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Crete, about 274 km south of the Greek mainland, is the largest of the Greek islands, at 252 km long (from east to west) and, at most, 56 km wide (from north to south). It was home to the Minoan civilization, a Mediterranean culture that reached its high point around  1500 B.C. but collapsed at the end of the Bronze Age, in around 1200 B.C. The most spectacular remains of this civilization may be viewed at Knossos. Crete is referred to in the Old Testament as Caphtor (Deuteronomy 2:23, Jeremiah 47:4), and the Philistines came to Canaan by way of Crete (Amos 9:7). Crete does not figure significantly in history during the classical period, although the islands is said to have been a base for pirates. It was brought under Roman rule in 67 B.C.

The island had a substantial Jewish population during the New Testament period (cf. Acts 2:11), and Paul was troubled by the negative influence of some of these Jews on the early Christians (Titus 1:14). The Cretan poet who labelled his fellow Cretans as liars and lazy gluttons (1:12) is supposed to have been Epimenides, although the original text is no longer available.


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