Ancient notices of the differences between Matthew and Mark?

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
Post Reply
User avatar
Ben C. Smith
Posts: 7853
Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2015 2:18 pm
Location: USA
Contact:

Re: Ancient notices of the differences between Matthew and M

Post by Ben C. Smith » Sat May 27, 2017 5:32 am

Bernard Muller wrote:
And we do know about ancient manuscripts of Q...? Or what...? I do not know what your point is here.
I did not say that. I said we cannot see in the ancient manuscripts of gMatthew many differences which would explain what Papias wrote about Matthew's logia.
Well, that is true. It is also true that we cannot see such differences in ancient manuscripts of Q, because no such manuscripts even exist. So everybody is speculating as to what Papias meant by different translations of Matthew. (My preference is to view at least one of them as an early example of the multitude of various gospels which were attributed to Matthew by various groups. But there is no proof on either side.)
From these two epistles, Papias could only extract words, not sayings and deeds of Jesus.
I agree with that. I do not think you understood why I quoted 1 Peter. I was submitting that, in my judgment, 1 Peter 4.11 may, for Papias, have described what Peter was doing: he was preaching logia, oracles (without any suggestion of "as if").
Just because "and deeds" is omitted (but that has been established earlier) does not make "logia" meaning also deeds.
I have tried to explain myself here at least thrice now. It is not my position that the term logia means deeds. Do you understand my position? (Not agree, just understand.)
"Logia" means words, as heard from Aristion & John the elder & those who claimed they knew the disciples of Jesus (including Matthew) and read from two epistles (and all of that "exposed" in Papias' five books: Expositions of the logia of the Lord).
Amongst those words which people were allegedly hearing from Aristion and John the elder and so on, do you think there were stories (which are words, after all) about some of the things that Jesus did? Or were the words being passed on from people like Aristion and John the elder only what Jesus himself said?
Why would it mean something different in the phrase "logia of the Lord"?
It would mean the same thing. That is part of my point.
ΤΙ ΕΣΤΙΝ ΑΛΗΘΕΙΑ

User avatar
DCHindley
Posts: 2832
Joined: Mon Oct 07, 2013 9:53 am
Location: Ohio, USA

Re: Ancient notices of the differences between Matthew and M

Post by DCHindley » Sat May 27, 2017 8:11 am

I'm a little confused as to what Jesus would be saying that would be treated as oracles. Not his everyday preaching, unless it was *about* what the sacred oracles predicted about the messiah. Alternately, it could be his "predictions" about the fate of the temple, Judean people, etc.. Unfortunately, virtually *everything* the proto-orthodox Christians believed about their formative history is incredibly confused and inconsistent.

So, perhaps Papias wanted to believe that "Matthew" had collected all the oracles he could imagine about messiah Jesus *from* Judean scriptures, basically a florilegium, and these were "interpreted" to apply to Jesus as messiah as people were able to make things out from them.

What we have in these logia is not a "Q" like collection of Jesus sayings but a florilegium of passages from sacred literature that the earliest Jesus followers believed applied to Jesus as the predicted messiah.

Now, since he was arrested, tried and executed for sedition, which was probably *not* what was commonly thought sacred literature had related about a messiah figure, so folks had to get ingenious to make out from sacred lit. what actually happened to Jesus.

Actually, in the real world, finding things in scared writings which could be understood as "oracles" about Jesus as messiah would have to follow what actually happened to Jesus in real life. "Ohhhhh! So *that's* what that passage *really* meant!" That is what the DSS peshers did with their Teacher of Righteousness. They found him everywhere in the "prophets!"

Papias (or Eusebius) had compressed this process to make it seem the oracles were already collected and Jesus acted them out as expected, when it was really the other way around.

DCH ("twisty") :goodmorning:

User avatar
Ben C. Smith
Posts: 7853
Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2015 2:18 pm
Location: USA
Contact:

Re: Ancient notices of the differences between Matthew and M

Post by Ben C. Smith » Sat May 27, 2017 11:35 am

DCHindley wrote:I'm a little confused as to what Jesus would be saying that would be treated as oracles. Not his everyday preaching, unless it was *about* what the sacred oracles predicted about the messiah. Alternately, it could be his "predictions" about the fate of the temple, Judean people, etc.. Unfortunately, virtually *everything* the proto-orthodox Christians believed about their formative history is incredibly confused and inconsistent.

So, perhaps Papias wanted to believe that "Matthew" had collected all the oracles he could imagine about messiah Jesus *from* Judean scriptures, basically a florilegium, and these were "interpreted" to apply to Jesus as messiah as people were able to make things out from them.

What we have in these logia is not a "Q" like collection of Jesus sayings but a florilegium of passages from sacred literature that the earliest Jesus followers believed applied to Jesus as the predicted messiah.

Now, since he was arrested, tried and executed for sedition, which was probably *not* what was commonly thought sacred literature had related about a messiah figure, so folks had to get ingenious to make out from sacred lit. what actually happened to Jesus.

Actually, in the real world, finding things in scared writings which could be understood as "oracles" about Jesus as messiah would have to follow what actually happened to Jesus in real life. "Ohhhhh! So *that's* what that passage *really* meant!" That is what the DSS peshers did with their Teacher of Righteousness. They found him everywhere in the "prophets!"

Papias (or Eusebius) had compressed this process to make it seem the oracles were already collected and Jesus acted them out as expected, when it was really the other way around.
What would it mean, then, in your opinion, for such a florilegium to be out of order? What order would be expected that Peter, according to Papias, did not achieve for having preached to his audience's needs? Some kind of canonical order (Genesis first, Chronicles last, for example)? If so, then what does Mark having neither heard the Lord nor having followed him, according to Papias, have to do with his inability to restore proper order?
ΤΙ ΕΣΤΙΝ ΑΛΗΘΕΙΑ

User avatar
Ben C. Smith
Posts: 7853
Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2015 2:18 pm
Location: USA
Contact:

Re: Ancient notices of the differences between Matthew and M

Post by Ben C. Smith » Sat May 27, 2017 1:42 pm

For whatever it may be worth, I think that the earliest Christian authors had to find suitable labels for their authoritative writings, particularly the gospels. Papias calls authoritative preachings and writings logia; later on, Justin will call certain gospel texts memoirs; other authors would refer to them with formulae such as "it is written." At some point everybody agreed to call them gospels, and four of these gospels were considered by Catholics to be scripture, on a par with the books of Moses and the prophets and so on.

But it appears that there was a period of time during which the terminology was far from settled. Papias falls during this period of time, and it seems to me that his solution was to call these writings logia, which is a synonym for the scriptures. No one has been impressed yet with my examples of the use of the term in this way, so here is another:

Philo, On Flight and Finding 11: "But the dead," as it is also said in the Psalms, "shall not praise the Lord" [Psalm 113.25], for that is the work of the living; but Cain, that shameless man, that fratricide, is no where spoken of in the law as dying; but there is an oracle [λόγιον] delivered respecting him in such words as these: "The Lord God put a mark upon Cain, as a sign that no one who found him should kill Him" [Genesis 4.15b].

This is not the part of the verse in Genesis which has God speaking; this is a narrative statement about God: not about his words, but about his deeds. Another couple from Philo:

Philo, On Mating 24: Therefore he, in requital, bestows himself as their inheritance upon those who do cleave unto him, and who serve him without intermission; and the sacred scripture bears its testimony in behalf of the oracle [λόγιον], where it says, "The Lord himself is his Inheritance" [Deuteronomy 10.9].

Philo, Life of Moses 2.10: At a later time, when the race sprung from the remnant had again increased and become very populous, since the descendants did not take the fate of their forefathers as a lesson in wisdom, but turned to deeds of licence and followed eagerly still more grievous practices, He determined to destroy them with fire. Then, as the oracles [τὰ λόγια] declare, the lightnings poured from heaven and consumed the impious and their cities, and to the present day the memorials to the awful disaster are shewn in Syria, ruins and cinders and brimstone and smoke, and the dusky flame still arises as though fire were smoldering within.

These latter oracles are narrative descriptions of the fates of godless cities.

One from Irenaeus:

Irenaeus, Against Heresies 1.8.1: Such, then, is their system, which neither the prophets announced, nor the Lord taught, nor the apostles delivered, but of which they boast that beyond all others they have a perfect knowledge. They gather their views from other sources than the Scriptures; and, to use a common proverb, they strive to weave ropes of sand, while they endeavour to adapt with an air of probability to their own peculiar assertions the parables of the Lord, the sayings of the prophets, and the words of the apostles, in order that their scheme may not seem altogether without support. In doing so, however, they disregard the order [τάξιν] and the connection of the Scriptures [τῶν γραφῶν], and so far as in them lies, dismember and destroy the truth. By transferring passages, and dressing them up anew, and making one thing out of another, they succeed in deluding many through their wicked art in adapting the lordly oracles [κυριακῶν λογιῶν] to their opinions.

This usage may be compared to Against Heresies 5.20.2, in which Irenaeus writes of the "lordly scriptures" (scriptura dominica). Dionysius of Corinth uses the same expression (τῶν κυριακῶν... γραφῶν, "the lordly scriptures"), according to Eusebius, History of the Church 4.23.12.

The longer recension of the epistle of Ignatius to the Smyraeans has:

Smyrnaeans 3.4: φασὶν γὰρ τὰ λόγια· Oὗτος ὁ Ἰησοῦς ὁ ἀναληφθεὶς ἀφ' ὑμῶν εἰς τὸν οὐρανὸν οὕτως ἐλεύσεται, ὃν τρόπον ἐθεάσασθε αὐτὸν πορευόμενον εἰς τὸν οὐρανόν. / For, say the oracles, "This same Jesus, who is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come, in like manner as ye have seen Him go unto heaven."

This one applies the term logia to narration from the New Testament.

Polycarp has:

Philippians 7.1: 1 For whosoever does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh, is antichrist; and whosoever does not confess the testimony of the cross, is of the devil; and whosoever perverts the oracles of the Lord [τὰ λόγια τοῦ κυρίου] to his own lusts, and says that there is neither a resurrection nor a judgment, he is the first-born of Satan.

Is it only the exact words of the Lord here with which Polycarp is concerned? Or is it the scriptures overall?

One from Clement:

Clement of Alexandria, Miscellanies 1.21: At that time Zerubbabel, having by his wisdom overcome his opponents, and obtained leave from Darius for the rebuilding of Jerusalem, returned with Ezra to his native land; and by him the redemption of the people and the revisal and restoration of the inspired oracles [λογίων] were effected; and the Passover of deliverance celebrated, and marriage with aliens dissolved.

Did Ezra restore only the actual spoken words of God from the scriptures? Or did he restore the entire scriptural corpus?

Another from Clement, with an assist from the epistle to the Hebrews:

Clement of Alexandria, Miscellanies 5.10: For there were certainly, among the Hebrews, some things delivered unwritten. "For when you ought to be teachers for the time," it is said, as if they had grown old in the Old Testament, "you have again need that one teach you which be the first principles of the oracles [λογίων] of God."

Clement seems to equate the Old Testament with the logia of God.

Another, in which oracles are in parallel with scriptures:

Origen, On Matthew 10.6: And at this point you will inquire, whether the kingdom of heaven is likened only to the treasure hidden in the field, so that we are to think of the field as different from the kingdom, or is likened to the whole of this treasure hidden in the field, so that the kingdom of heaven contains according to the similitude both the field and the treasure hidden in the field. Now a man who comes to the field, whether to the Scriptures or to the Christ who is constituted both from things manifest and from things hidden, finds the hidden treasure of wisdom whether in Christ or in the Scriptures. For, going round to visit the field and searching the Scriptures and seeking to understand the Christ, he finds the treasure in it; and, having found it, he hides it, thinking that it is not without danger to reveal to everybody the secret meanings of the Scriptures, or the treasures of wisdom and knowledge in Christ. And, having hidden it, he goes away, working and devising how he shall buy the field, or the Scriptures, that he may make them his own possession, receiving from the people of God the oracles of God [τὰ λόγια τοῦ θεοῦ] with which the Jews were first entrusted [Romans 3.2]. And when the man taught by Christ has bought the field, the kingdom of God which, according to another parable, is a vineyard, is taken from them and is given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof [Matthew 21.43] — to him who in faith has bought the field, as the fruit of his having sold all that he had, and no longer keeping by him anything that was formerly his; for they were a source of evil to him. And you will give the same application, if the field containing the hidden treasure be Christ, for those who give up all things and follow Him, have, as it were in another way, sold their possessions, in order that, by having sold and surrendered them, and having received in their place from God— their helper— a noble resolution, they may purchase, at great cost worthy of the field, the field containing the treasure hidden in itself.

The λόγια are simply inspired words or books: scriptures, if you will, texts written by people inspired by God. Early Christianity seems to have been full of prophets who were presumed to be speaking by the spirit of God:

1 Corinthians 12.3: 3 Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking in the Spirit of God says, “Jesus is accursed”; and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except in the Holy Spirit.

What a prophet utters may be considered an oracle (a logion). The following verse comes from an epistle Papias is said to have known:

1 Peter 4.11a: 11a If someone speaks, let it be as the logia of God.

Papias implies that he considers Peter's own preaching to be logia, and he states that Matthew wrote down logia. (And, if Bernard is correct, then logia were also being passed down from the disciples of the Lord, through tradents like Aristion, all the way to the Hierapolitan himself.) My sense is that this is Papias' way of calling statements (words or stories) about Jesus inspired. He considered what Peter said and what Matthew wrote to be oracular, since these were chosen men, but Mark had no way of unscrambling Peter's disordered preaching and the translations of Matthew's Hebrew text had not been all they could have been (or so he thought). So he set out to reconstruct things, including their order, by tracing the words and stories back to those inspired, chosen men, the disciples of the Lord.

I do not think he meant to limit the term logia to the rubricated words in a trendy evangelical red letter edition from circa 1970 (of which I owned several as a child) any more than Philo limited the term logia to the very words spoken by God on the pages of scripture. He wrote that Peter had preached logia, that Mark had transcribed them accurately, and that the result was a record of what the Lord had said and done. This is not an "emphasis" on red-letter sayings; this is simply filling out what logia meant for Papias. Logia are not just sayings material or discourse material; logia are inspired words, and they can narrate the destruction of cities as easily as they can relate the very words of God from a mountaintop.

ETA: Stephen Hultgren has a good discussion of the meaning of logia available in Google Books: https://books.google.com/books?id=FaYFC ... 22&f=false
Last edited by Ben C. Smith on Thu May 10, 2018 8:38 am, edited 8 times in total.
ΤΙ ΕΣΤΙΝ ΑΛΗΘΕΙΑ

User avatar
Secret Alias
Posts: 12415
Joined: Sun Apr 19, 2015 8:47 am

Re: Ancient notices of the differences between Matthew and M

Post by Secret Alias » Sat May 27, 2017 3:06 pm

This is not the part of the verse in Genesis which has God speaking; this is a narrative statement about God: not about his words, but about his deeds.


Hmmm. But the early Karaites preserve an undoubtedly Sadducean understanding that Moses is the narrator of the Torah and the words of the Torah are Moses's. Not sure you can make this EXCLUSIVELY understood as an argument for God's actions. https://books.google.com/books?id=ye8yA ... or&f=false
“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

User avatar
Secret Alias
Posts: 12415
Joined: Sun Apr 19, 2015 8:47 am

Re: Ancient notices of the differences between Matthew and M

Post by Secret Alias » Sat May 27, 2017 3:15 pm

“This is the Moses,” he says, “who said to the Israelites, 'God will raise up a prophet for you from your own people as he raised me up.'” This Moses was with an angel who spoke to him at Sinai and “he received living oracles (λόγια ζῶντα) to give to us.” Connected as they are with Stephen's injunction of the “prophet like Moses” (Deut 18:15), the “living oracles” seem to play a double role. They comprise the Law that God gave to Moses on Sinai, but they also serve as prophetic predictions of the coming of Jesus, who is that prophet like Moses. In this passage, we see as in Philo, for example, a clear connection between the Law and prediction, that is, the oracular origination of the Jewish Law. In all the cases in the New Testament, the plural τὰ λόγια suggests an understanding of the scriptures as those things that God had spoken, but also perhaps as oracular predictions of the coming of Christ. While this divine speech ultimately ended up in writing and was transmitted in some relatively fixed form, God initially gave the scriptures as divine utterances, acts of divine speech. Thus, τὰ λόγια, which walks the semantic line of both speech and prediction, is seen as the most descriptive way to refer to them. https://books.google.com/books?id=Ruwod ... IQ6AEILTAB
I don't think you can stretch the meaning to deeds unless these are deeds spoken by someone or something (the Holy Spirit).
“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

John2
Posts: 3371
Joined: Fri May 16, 2014 4:42 pm

Re: Ancient notices of the differences between Matthew and M

Post by John2 » Sat May 27, 2017 3:17 pm

Well said, Ben. I agree that Papias probably means a Hebrew gospel of Matthew and not a collection of sayings. And my preference too "is to view at least one of" the translations of it "as an early example of the multitude of various gospels which were attributed to Matthew by various groups."

I seem to differ from you only in that I see the canonical Matthew as being one of these translations too (with its particular transmission history).
You know in spite of all you gained, you still have to stand out in the pouring rain.

User avatar
Ben C. Smith
Posts: 7853
Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2015 2:18 pm
Location: USA
Contact:

Re: Ancient notices of the differences between Matthew and M

Post by Ben C. Smith » Sun May 28, 2017 12:21 am

John2 wrote:I seem to differ from you only in that I see the canonical Matthew as being one of these translations too (with its particular transmission history).
That is not where we probably differ. I think Papias may have considered our canonical Matthew to be one of the Greek translations. What I doubt is whether there ever was an actual Hebrew or Aramaic Matthew underlying our canonical Matthew. (Just because Papias or his elder thought so does not mean he was right.)

(Nota bene: Doubting that our canonical Matthew is a translation from a Semitic tongue is not the same as claiming that no primitive Hebrew or Aramaic gospel ever existed.)
ΤΙ ΕΣΤΙΝ ΑΛΗΘΕΙΑ

User avatar
Ben C. Smith
Posts: 7853
Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2015 2:18 pm
Location: USA
Contact:

Re: Ancient notices of the differences between Matthew and M

Post by Ben C. Smith » Sun May 28, 2017 12:22 am

Secret Alias wrote:
This is not the part of the verse in Genesis which has God speaking; this is a narrative statement about God: not about his words, but about his deeds.


Hmmm. But the early Karaites preserve an undoubtedly Sadducean understanding that Moses is the narrator of the Torah and the words of the Torah are Moses's. Not sure you can make this EXCLUSIVELY understood as an argument for God's actions. https://books.google.com/books?id=ye8yA ... or&f=false
And yet... here is a logion about deeds, not (Q-like or Thomas-like) sayings.
ΤΙ ΕΣΤΙΝ ΑΛΗΘΕΙΑ

User avatar
DCHindley
Posts: 2832
Joined: Mon Oct 07, 2013 9:53 am
Location: Ohio, USA

Re: Ancient notices of the differences between Matthew and M

Post by DCHindley » Sun May 28, 2017 6:10 am

Ben,

Perhaps I should have been more specific.

I was thinking of Papias mentioning the logia that Matthew was supposed to have written, which others interpreted as they were able.

To be honest, I had not studied the use of that word in other contexts, such as Mark writing down Peter's preaching "out of order," but even if this is so, you are right to ask what "out of order" means. I always thought that he meant something like "the order in which things transpired" but that only works if what Mark said was about Jesus' *life*.

But this order could have been related to what Peter was *preaching* about Jesus' significance, that his death and resurrection was actually predicted in ancient oracles. I'm not sure what that could mean, though. Perhaps it was meant to indicate that Mark did not "stage" the successive oracles found in sacred scripture to demonstrate how they progressed from the Law to the Prophets? I also realize that Jesus may himself have been preaching his own take on what passages from sacred writings were oracles about the messianic age, but this would have the same problem of "order."

So, I was merely challenging the prevailing view that "Matthew's" logia were bits and pieces of what Jesus had *done*, against the suggestion that they were florilegium of passages from sacred writings that were believed to have *predicted* Jesus' shameful death and final (second) coming to establish the messianic age.

I'll have to give this more thought, though ... :goodmorning:

DCH
Ben C. Smith wrote:
DCHindley wrote:I'm a little confused as to what Jesus would be saying that would be treated as oracles. Not his everyday preaching, unless it was *about* what the sacred oracles predicted about the messiah. Alternately, it could be his "predictions" about the fate of the temple, Judean people, etc.. Unfortunately, virtually *everything* the proto-orthodox Christians believed about their formative history is incredibly confused and inconsistent.

So, perhaps Papias wanted to believe that "Matthew" had collected all the oracles he could imagine about messiah Jesus *from* Judean scriptures, basically a florilegium, and these were "interpreted" to apply to Jesus as messiah as people were able to make things out from them.

What we have in these logia is not a "Q" like collection of Jesus sayings but a florilegium of passages from sacred literature that the earliest Jesus followers believed applied to Jesus as the predicted messiah.

Now, since he was arrested, tried and executed for sedition, which was probably *not* what was commonly thought sacred literature had related about a messiah figure, so folks had to get ingenious to make out from sacred lit. what actually happened to Jesus.

Actually, in the real world, finding things in scared writings which could be understood as "oracles" about Jesus as messiah would have to follow what actually happened to Jesus in real life. "Ohhhhh! So *that's* what that passage *really* meant!" That is what the DSS peshers did with their Teacher of Righteousness. They found him everywhere in the "prophets!"

Papias (or Eusebius) had compressed this process to make it seem the oracles were already collected and Jesus acted them out as expected, when it was really the other way around.
What would it mean, then, in your opinion, for such a florilegium to be out of order? What order would be expected that Peter, according to Papias, did not achieve for having preached to his audience's needs? Some kind of canonical order (Genesis first, Chronicles last, for example)? If so, then what does Mark having neither heard the Lord nor having followed him, according to Papias, have to do with his inability to restore proper order?

Post Reply