Erastus as Timothy’s Lover? A Possibly Positive Homoerotic Allusion in Acts 19.22 in Light of the Orestes-Pylades Mythological Paradigm of Friendship

A quick follow-up to the previous post. As part of our forthcoming article in Harvard Theological Review, there is a footnote (p26n68 in the Green Open Access archived version) that should be surfaced and not buried.

The Greek word ἐραστής means “lover,” “admirer,” or “adherent.” See LSJ s.v. ἐραστής. In antiquity, the love between Orestes and Pylades was commonly seen as more than platonic friendship. See, e.g., Lucian, Erotes 47 and Augustine, Confessions 4.6, both quoted in Hall, Adventures with Iphigenia, 107–108. Given the etymology of the name and its intertextual indebtedness, Erastus and his pairing with Timothy may suggest an homoerotic interpretation. Regarding the paradigmatic status of the friendship of Orestes and Pylades, see esp. Lucian, Toxaris.