Titus 3.10 and αιρετικον ανθρωπον

Roger Pearse (whose blog you really should be reading) has some questions on how αιρετικον ανθρωπον should be translated in Titus 3.10.

He lists a number of English translations (plus the Vulgate) and has some other discussion; but the meat of his question is:

The most natural English usage would appear to be ‘heretic’ or ‘heretical man’.  Why don’t we say so?  How would we translate this in a patristic text? The Vulgate does not hesitate to say “haereticum hominem” – “heretic man”.

A heretic is not necessarily a “divisive person”, after all.  The Greek word, surely, will relate more to the variety of belief in the philosophical schools (haereses) than to modern ecumenism, or indeed even to 4th and 5th century doctrinal debates?

It’s been awhile since I’ve worked through the text of Titus, but I consulted my notes on this word instance from a few years back; here’s what I wrote:

While the typical literal translation of αἱρετικός (hairetikos) seems to be factious, this word is somewhat difficult in that it is not a common word, and its meaning is not readily at hand for many readers. Thus I’ve translated as division-causing instead of the other seeming option, heretical. This is one who not only believes contrary to the sound teaching of Paul, but causes problems in the community by advancing his own heretical agenda (hence factious or division-causing).

Anyone else have ideas? If so, feel free to comment here or (better) head to Roger’s blog and interact there.

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