Was the author of 2 Peter pushing-back against some that were claiming that the NT Gospel stories were myths? Should one interpret this verse in 2 Peter in a similar fashion as Justin Martyr’s push-back against Trypho’s claim that the Christ --- as a Christian messiah figure --- was a marvelous tale, an invention?
I think a different solution is more likely.
I agree with Carrier that the author of 2 Peter was attacking some Christian heresy ---
But what “cleverly devised myths (μύθοις)” and what “destructive heresies” and what “fabricated words” was the author of 2 Peter attacking?
I think the answer is found in other relatively late NT texts ---
The warning against “myths and endless genealogies” provides the clue here. Certainly this is not a polemic against the NT Gospel stories with the long genealogies of Jesus in Matthew (1:1-17) and Luke (3:23-38). Nor do I think the polemic is aimed at the genealogies in the Jewish scriptures for Adam and Eve, Cain, Seth, Noah or Abraham.
I think the complex cosmology of the Christian Valentinians, or some similar heretical cosmology, provides a better fit here for the myths and endless genealogies and for fabricated words. The Valentinian cosmology begins with a perfect, pre-existent, and incomprehensible Aeon named Bythus, along with a female contemporary named Ennoea. Then, as “seed is deposited in a womb” by Bythus, Ennoea gave birth to Nous (aka Monogenes, and Father) who was similar and equal to his father Bythus and capable of understanding Bythus. An Aletheia was also a result of the union between Bythus and Ennoea. Then Nous, the fashioner of the entire Pleroma, sent forth Logos and Zoe who then brought forth Anthropos and Ecclesia along with 10 more named Aeons. And Anthropos and Ecclesia produced 12 additional named Aeons. Nous (aka Monogenes, and Father) later gave rise to Christ and the Holy Spirit. This scenario, according to Irenaeus in Book 1, chapters 1 and 2 of Against Heresies, describes a cosmic genealogy beginning with 30 heavenly emanations (Aeons) from which all of creation arose.
In this passage in Titus, the “genealogies” might be seen in the same conceptual realm with the Jewish scriptures and “arguments and quarrels about the Law”. However, I think the verse is a list of four various and generally distinct things that should be avoided --- foolish controversies --- and genealogies --- and arguments --- and quarrels about the law,
I think the “cleverly devised myths” (μύθοις)” in 2 Peter 1:16 --- along with the polemics on heresies in chapter 2 --- are best interpreted in light of similar attacks in the Pastorals. All attacks on the myths and genealogies of heretics.
--- for more evidence and a follow-up post in this thread, see viewtopic.php?p=94887#p94887
--- more on 2 Peter --- Take a Trip with Peter --- viewtopic.php?f=3&t=598