Papias and the disciples of the Lord.

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Ben C. Smith
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Papias and the disciples of the Lord.

Post by Ben C. Smith » Tue May 30, 2017 3:01 pm

My purpose in this thread is to present a case that the boldfaced phrase in the following passage is an interpolation into the text of Eusebius in imitation of the underlined phrase:

Eusebius, History of the Church 3.39.4: 4 «Εἰ δέ που καὶ παρηκολουθηκώς τις τοῖς πρεσβυτέροις ἔλθοι, τοὺς τῶν πρεσβυτέρων ἀνέκρινον λόγους, τί Ἀνδρέας ἢ τί Πέτρος εἶπεν ἢ τί Φίλιππος ἢ τί Θωμᾶς ἢ Ἰάκωβος ἢ τί Ἰωάννης ἢ Ματθαῖος ἤτις ἕτερος τῶν τοῦ κυρίου μαθητῶν, ἅ τε Ἀριστίων καὶ ὁ πρεσβύτερος Ἰωάννης, [οἱ] τοῦ κυρίου μαθηταὶ, λέγουσιν. Οὐ γὰρ τὰ ἐκ τῶν βιβλίων τοσοῦτόν με ὠφελεῖν ὑπελάμβανον ὅσον τὰ παρὰ ζώσης φωνῆς καὶ μενούσης». / 4 And if anyone chanced to come along who had followed the elders, I inquired as to the words of the elders, what Andrew or what Peter, or what Philip or what Thomas or James or what John or Matthew or any other of the disciples of the Lord had said, which things both Aristion and the elder John, [the] disciples of the Lord, were saying. For I did not suppose that things from books would profit me as much as things from a living and remaining voice.

I find the second instance of "disciples of the Lord" to be suspicious on several grounds.

1.

The phrase is awkwardly repetitious. If Aristion and the elder John were disciples of the Lord, as well, why not write the sentence in such a way that a single phrase would cover all nine names?

2.

Papias says he is inquiring as to the words of "the elders" before going on to list the men whose words he is interested in. The easiest way to read the grammar is to take the series of accusative interrogative pronouns (τί) as standing in apposition with "words" (λόγους, also an accusative). This means that the "elders" in question are (at least) the disciples from that first list of seven (Andrew, Peter, Philip, Thomas, James, John, and Matthew), a very normal usage of the term "elders" to mean any and all predecessors. The interrogative pronouns imply the corresponding questions: "What did Andrew say? What did Peter say?" (And so on.)

Yet, when we get to Aristion and the elder John, the interrogative pronouns disappear, and what Papias gives us is the generic neuter plural relative pronoun (ἅ, "which" or "which things"). The sense is that "what Andrew said" and "what Peter said" (and the rest) are the things which Aristion and the elder John are saying; Papias is asking what those men said, and Aristion and the elder John are telling him what those men said (albeit indirectly, on my reading). This implies that Papias is asking only about what Andrew and company said; he is not asking about what Aristion and the elder John are saying (though they are indeed sources for what Andrew and company said). But, if Aristion and the elder John are both disciples of the Lord, why does the series of interrogative pronouns stop before reaching them? Why not ask about what they said, if they too were disciples of the Lord? This suggests to me that they were not, in fact, disciples of the Lord, and the second instance of that phrase is not original.

3.

Eusebius goes on to write in 3.39.7, "And Papias now being explained confesses that he received the words of the apostles from those who followed them, and says that he was an earwitness of Aristion and of the elder John." Here Eusebius writes as if the second "disciples of the Lord" did not stand in his text; if Aristion and the elder John are disciples of whom Papias is (as Eusebius assumes) a direct witness, then to say that Papias got the words of the apostles from "those who followed" the apostles is disingenuous. Why call these two men followers of the apostles when they were also and actually, according to the text, followers of the Lord himself?

One might reply that Eusebius is hoping that the elder John is not a direct follower of Jesus so that the controversial Apocalypse might be laid to his account without impeaching any eyewitnesses to Jesus. But to ignore that second "disciples of the Lord" phrase is a bold move, by any standard; Eusebius gives no hint that he sees the phrase and wishes to explain it away; rather, he writes as if he does not see the phrase at all, which suggests to me that the phrase was not there. Eusebius would have naturally taken Papias' reference to "anyone who had followed the elders" as applying to Aristion and the elder John: they, as sources for words from Andrew and Peter and company, would have counted as "followers of the apostles" in a very clear sense.

4.

The addition of the phrase (at least to the History of the Church and possibly also to copies of Papias) is easy to explain once one realizes that eventually Papias was viewed in the church as having personally heard and seen the apostle John. Since these lines seem to imply that he heard only the elder John (at one remove, at least, in my judgment, but the Christian fathers like Eusebius had a way of cutting out middlemen), it was useful to insert the second "disciples of the Lord" phrase as a way of emphasizing either that both Johns were disciples anyway or (more likely) that both Johns were the same John. Eusebius says that Papias mentions both Aristion and the elder John "by their name often and gives their traditions in his writings." If this is so, then the interpolation would have the effect of retroactively changing every Papian reference to "the elder John" into a Papian reference to the only John who mattered in later church history: John the evangelist, the apostle, the seer, the theologian, the divine, the one who reclined upon Jesus' breast, the disciple about whom one could read in the gospels.

5.

The phrase is missing from some versions of History of the Church (I owe this observation to Peter Kirby). In the following, "yes" means that the phrase is present, "no" that it is absent:

Greek manuscripts (yes). Four of them omit the definite article (οἱ).

Jerome (yes), On Illustrious Men 18: Considerabam quid Andreas, quid Petrus dixissent, quid Philippus, quid Thomas, quid Iacobus, quid Iohannes, quid Matthaeus vel alius quilibet discipulorum domini, quid etiam Artistion et senior Iohannes, discipuli domini, loquebantur. Non enim tantum mihi libri ad legendum prosunt quantum viva vox et usque hodie in suis auctoribus personans. / I would consider what Andrew, what Peter had said, what Philip, what Thomas, what James, what John, what Matthew or any other of the disciples of the Lord, as well as what Aristion and the elder John, disciples of the Lord, were saying. For books are not so useful to me to collect as a voice living and sounding through in its authorities until today.

Rufinus (maybe), translation of Eusebius: Quod si quando advenisset aliquis ex his qui secuti sunt apostolos, ab ipso sedulo expiscabar, quid Andreas, quid Petrus dixerit, quid autem Philippus vel Thomas, quid vero Iacobus, quid Ioannes aut quid Matthaeus, vel alius quis ex discipulis domini, quaeve Aristion vel Ioannes presbyter ceterique discipuli ["and the other disciples"] dicebant. nec enim tantum mihi librorum lectiones prodesse credebam, quantum vivae vocis praesentisque magisterium.

Syriac (no), translation by Benjamin Wisner Bacon: Neither did I when any one came along who had been a follower of the Elders, compare the words of the Elders: what Andrew said, or what Peter said, or what Philip, or what Thomas, or what James, or what John, or Matthew, or any other of the disciples of our Lord. Nor what Aristo or John the Elder. For I did not think that I could so profit from their books, as from the living and abiding utterance.

The Armenian (no), which follows the Syriac and likewise lacks the second "disciples of the Lord" phrase, has "Aristos" for "Aristo" and has the plural "elders" for "elder" (according to Bacon). This makes Aristos an elder, then, agreeing with an Armenian marginal note attached to the longer ending of Mark: "From the Elder/Presbyter Ariston."

Nicephorus Callistus Xanthopulus (no), Histories of the Church 2.46, first mention (column 835).

Nicephorus Callistus Xanthopulus (yes), Histories of the Church 3.20, second mention (column 937).

6.

An important question to ask, of course, is whether any fathers earlier than Eusebius bear witness to the second "disciples of the Lord" phrase.

A. Irenaeus knew Papias' work, but he never quotes these lines from him. But Irenaeus frequently refers to a certain "John, the disciple of the Lord" — and it is reasonable to wonder whether this term might be inspired by the second instance of "disciples of the Lord" in Papias, thus identifying John the elder as this ubiquitous "disciple of the Lord" to whom Irenaeus so often refers. But I have argued elsewhere that Irenaeus wrote of only one "disciple of the Lord" named John, ascribing the Johannine gospel and epistles and the Apocalypse of John to him and never calling him an elder. On the other hand, Irenaeus also frequently refers to "the elders, the disciples of the apostles," implying that the elders were not themselves disciples of the Lord.

Irenaeus' words are perfectly consistent here with a text of Papias which lacks the second "disciples of the Lord" phrase. Irenaeus would have either considered the elder John to be the same man as John the disciple (as many apologists do today) or relegated the elder John to his anonymous group of "elders, the disciples of the apostles." The very phrase "disciples of the apostles" might have been inspired by Papias, as Eusebius records Papias in History of the Church 3.39.3 as having written, "But I shall not hesitate to arrange alongside my interpretations as many things as I ever learned [ἔμαθον] well and remembered well from the elders." The Greek word for "learned" is cognate with the word for "disciple" (μαθητής). Irenaeus does not specifically call Papias an elder, but he clearly groups him in with such company when in Against Heresies 5.33.4 he asserts that Papias was an earwitness of John. Irenaeus himself calls Andrew and Peter and company apostles, not elders, but he could easily have recognized that Papias is using the term "elders" to mean his forebears in general; he is not using the term to mark off a tightly defined group of people as Irenaeus himself prefers to do.

So Irenaeus seems to be thinking in terms of only two basic groups: (A) the apostles and (B) the elders, who were disciples of the apostles. He does not seem to envision an intermediate group of two disciples, Aristion and John the elder, from whom Papias learned his stuff. Just as "the elders" are, for Irenaeus, disciples of the apostles, so too is Papias an earwitness of John. Another John, called the elder, who is also a disciple never enters the picture. There is no need to assume that Irenaeus ever saw that second "disciples of the Lord" phrase.

B. Polycrates is often thought to have known Papias' work, a natural assumption, given that both hailed from Asia Minor. Eusebius writes of Polycrates as follows:

Eusebius, History of the Church 3.31.1-3: 1 So both the time and the manner of the death of Paul and Peter, as well as the place where their corpses were placed after their departure from this life, have been already shown by us. 2 And the time of the death of John has already been given, but the place of his corpse is shown from an epistle of Polycrates, and he was bishop of the parish in Ephesus, which was written to Victor, bishop of Rome, in which [epistle] he mentions him and Philip the apostle and the daughters of the latter, suchwise: 3 "For in Asia also great luminaries have fallen asleep, which shall resurrect on the last day of the advent of the Lord, in which he is coming with glory from heaven and shall seek out all the saints, such as Philip of the twelve apostles, who sleeps in Hierapolis, and his two daughters who grew old as virgins, and the other daughter who conducted herself in the holy spirit and rests in Ephesus; and there was also John, who rested upon the breast of the Lord, who became a priest who wore the petalon, both martyr and teacher [Ἰωάννης, ὁ ἐπὶ τὸ στῆθος τοῦ κυρίου ἀναπεσών, ὃς ἐγενήθη ἱερεὺς τὸ πέταλον πεφορεκὼς καὶ μάρτυς καὶ διδάσκαλος]; he sleeps in Ephesus."

There is only one John in view here: the disciple who leaned back on the Lord's breast. The term "martyr" here, sandwiched between "priest" and "teacher" as it is, does not seem to refer to a death of martyrdom; rather, it appears to signify that John bore witness. The bit about this John being a priest who wore the petalon is exceedingly complicated, and need not detain us here. It is enough to note that nothing in these words compels us to assume that Polycrates knew a text of Papias which contained the second "disciples of the Lord" phrase.

C. The Muratorian Canon is also sometimes thought (at least since Lightfoot) to depend upon Papias in its description of the composition of the fourth gospel:

Muratorian Canon, lines 9-34a: The fourth of the gospels, of John from the disciples [Iohannis ex discipulis]. To his own fellow disciples and bishops, who were exhorting him, he said: Fast together with me today three days and what will be revealed to each of us let us narrate to each other. That same night it was revealed to Andrew from the apostles [Andreae ex apostolis] that with all recognizing it John should write down all things in his own name. And on that account various principal things are taught by the single books of the gospels; nevertheless it makes no difference to the faith of believers, since from one principal spirit all things are declared in all of them of the nativity, of the passion, of the resurrection, of conversation with his disciples, and of his twin advent, the first despised in humility, which is past, the second manifest in royal power, which is future. What marvel, therefore, is it if John so constantly also in his epistles profers single points, saying about himself: What we saw with our eyes and heard with our ears and our hands handled, these things we wrote to you? For so not only an eyewitness and earwitness, but also a writer of all the marvelous things of the Lord, in order [per ordinem], he professes to be.

I will assume that these lines reflect Papias simply because, if they do not, then there is no need even to debate the point at stake on this thread with respect to the Canon.

Now, what is of great interest here is that John is said to be "from the disciples" while Andrew is said to be "from the apostles." If the second "disciples of the Lord" phrase is genuine in Papias, and if the Muratorian Canon does indeed depend on Papias here, then the easiest way to understand this distinction is probably just to assume that John is the one called "the elder" (from the disciples but not from the group of seven whom the Canonist would recognize as apostles), while Andrew is the apostle, from the list of seven. However, I think this distinction is just as understandable if the second "disciples of the Lord" phrase is spurious. In this case, the Canonist would be saying that this John is the one from the disciples (not the one called "the elder" who stands outside the list of disciples), using Papias' own word for the first seven men ("disciples"), since Papias does not call them apostles, at least not in this context, just to make clear that the second John (the elder) is not the one intended. But when speaking of Andrew the Canonist would have reverted back to his or her own preferred terminology ("apostle"), having no need to make any such distinctions for Andrew based on the text of Papias.

There are other authors before Eusebius who are (probably) dependent upon Papias (such as Victorinus of Pettau), but they are not alleged to be dependent upon this part of Papias.

Just to be clear, I do not regard my argument here as a sure thing. It is the direction in which I am currently leaning, to be sure, but I do not think it is stupid to regard the second "disciples of the Lord" phrase as original. What is a bit less than scholarly is to assume its originality rather than argue for it. Scholars from a century ago used to debate this point, but the debate seems to have fallen out of fashion. I would like to help get it going again, at least in my own circles, and this thread is my shot across the bow of complacency.

Ben.

PS: For convenience, here is the text and a translation (not my own, but modified in spots) of the entire chapter about Papias from the third book of History of the Church:

Eusebius, History of the Church 3.39.1-17: 1 Τοῦ δὲ Παπία συγγράμματα πέντε τὸν ἀριθμὸν φέρεται, ἃ καὶ ἐπιγέγραπται Λογίων κυριακῶν ἐξηγήσεως. Τούτων καὶ Εἰρηναῖος ὡς μόνων αὐτῷ γραφέντων μνημονεύει, ὧδέ πως λέγων· «Ταῦτα δὲ καὶ Παπίας ὁ Ἰωάννου μὲν ἀκουστής, Πολυκάρπου δὲ ἑταῖρος γεγονώς, ἀρχαῖος ἀνήρ, ἐγγράφως ἐπιμαρτυρεῖ ἐν τῇ τετάρτῃ τῶν ἑαυτοῦ βιβλίων. Ἔστιν γὰρ αὐτῷ πέντε βιβλία συντεταγμένα». Καὶ ὁ μὲν Εἰρηναῖος ταῦτα· 2 αὐτός γε μὴν ὁ Παπίας κατὰ τὸ προοίμιον τῶν αὐτοῦ λόγων ἀκροατὴν μὲν καὶ αὐτόπτην οὐδαμῶς ἑαυτὸν γενέσθαι τῶν ἱερῶν ἀποστόλων ἐμφαίνει, παρειληφέναι δὲ τὰ τῆς πίστεως παρὰ τῶν ἐκείνοις γνωρίμων διδάσκει δι' ὧν φησιν λέξεων· 3 «οὐκ ὀκνήσω δέ σοι καὶ ὅσα ποτὲ παρὰ τῶν πρεσβυτέρων καλῶς ἔμαθον καὶ καλῶς ἐμνημόνευσα, συγκατατάξαι ταῖς ἑρμηνείαις, διαβεβαιούμενος ὑπὲρ αὐτῶν ἀλήθειαν. Οὐ γὰρ τοῖς τὰ πολλὰ λέγουσιν ἔχαιρον ὥσπερ οἱ πολλοί, ἀλλὰ τοῖς τἀληθῆ διδάσκουσιν, οὐδὲ τοῖς τὰς ἀλλοτρίας ἐντολὰς μνημονεύουσιν, ἀλλὰ τοῖς τὰς παρὰ τοῦ κυρίου τῇ πίστει δεδομένας καὶ ἀπ' αὐτῆς παραγινομένας τῆς ἀληθείας· 4 εἰ δέ που καὶ παρηκολουθηκώς τις τοῖς πρεσβυτέροις ἔλθοι, τοὺς τῶν πρεσβυτέρων ἀνέκρινον λόγους, τί Ἀνδρέας ἢ τί Πέτρος εἶπεν ἢ τί Φίλιππος ἢ τί Θωμᾶς ἢ Ἰάκωβος ἢ τί Ἰωάννης ἢ Ματθαῖος ἤτις ἕτερος τῶν τοῦ κυρίου μαθητῶν, ἅ τε Ἀριστίων καὶ ὁ πρεσβύτερος Ἰωάννης, τοῦ κυρίου μαθηταὶ, λέγουσιν. Οὐ γὰρ τὰ ἐκ τῶν βιβλίων τοσοῦτόν με ὠφελεῖν ὑπελάμβανον ὅσον τὰ παρὰ ζώσης φωνῆς καὶ μενούσης». 5 Ἔνθα καὶ ἐπιστῆσαι ἄξιον δὶς καταριθμοῦντι αὐτῷ τὸ Ἰωάννου ὄνομα, ὧν τὸν μὲν πρότερον Πέτρῳ καὶ Ἰακώβῳ καὶ Ματθαίῳ καὶ τοῖς λοιποῖς ἀποστόλοις συγκαταλέγει, σαφῶς δηλῶν τὸν εὐαγγελιστήν, τὸν δ' ἕτερον Ἰωάννην, διαστείλας τὸν λόγον, ἑτέροις παρὰ τὸν τῶν ἀποστόλων ἀριθμὸν κατατάσσει, προτάξας αὐτοῦ τὸν Ἀριστίωνα, σαφῶς τε αὐτὸν πρεσβύτερον ὀνομάζει· 6 ὡς καὶ διὰ τούτων ἀποδείκνυσθαι τὴν ἱστορίαν ἀληθῆ τῶν δύο κατὰ τὴν Ἀσίαν ὁμωνυμίᾳ κεχρῆσθαι εἰρηκότων δύο τε ἐν Ἐφέσῳ γενέσθαι μνήματα καὶ ἑκάτερον Ἰωάννου ἔτι νῦν λέγεσθαι· οἷς καὶ ἀναγκαῖον προσέχειν τὸν νοῦν, εἰκὸς γὰρ τὸν δεύτερον, εἰ μή τις ἐθέλοι τὸν πρῶτον, τὴν ἐπ' ὀνόματος φερομένην Ἰωάννου ἀποκάλυψιν ἑορακέναι. 7 Καὶ ὁ νῦν δὲ ἡμῖν δηλούμενος Παπίας τοὺς μὲν τῶν ἀποστόλων λόγους παρὰ τῶν αὐτοῖς παρηκολουθηκότων ὁμολογεῖ παρειληφέναι, Ἀριστίωνος δὲ καὶ τοῦ πρεσβυτέρου Ἰωάννου αὐτήκοον ἑαυτόν φησι γενέσθαι· ὀνομαστὶ γοῦν πολλάκις αὐτῶν μνημονεύσας ἐν τοῖς αὐτοῦ συγγράμμασιν τίθησιν αὐτῶν παραδόσεις. 8 Καὶ ταῦτα δ' ἡμῖν οὐκ εἰς τὸ ἄχρηστον εἰρήσθω· ἄξιον δὲ ταῖς ἀποδοθείσαις τοῦ Παπία φωναῖς προσάψαι λέξεις ἑτέρας αὐτοῦ, δι' ὧν παράδοξά τινα ἱστορεῖ καὶ ἄλλα ὡς ἂν ἐκ παραδόσεως εἰς αὐτὸν ἐλθόντα. 9 Τὸ μὲν οὖν κατὰ τὴν Ἱεράπολιν Φίλιππον τὸν ἀπόστολον ἅμα ταῖς θυγατράσιν διατρῖψαι διὰ τῶν πρόσθεν δεδήλωται· ὡς δὲ κατὰ τοὺς αὐτοὺς ὁ Παπίας γενόμενος, διήγησιν παρειληφέναι θαυμασίαν ὑπὸ τῶν τοῦ Φιλίππου θυγατέρων μνημονεύει, τὰ νῦν σημειωτέον· νεκροῦ γὰρ ἀνάστασιν κατ' αὐτὸν γεγονυῖαν ἱστορεῖ καὶ αὖ πάλιν ἕτερον παράδοξον περὶ Ἰοῦστον τὸν ἐπικληθέντα Βαρσαβᾶν γεγονός, ὡς δηλητήριον φάρμακον ἐμπιόντος καὶ μηδὲν ἀηδὲς διὰ τὴν τοῦ κυρίου χάριν ὑπομείναντος. 10 Τοῦτον δὲ τὸν Ἰοῦστον μετὰ τὴν τοῦ σωτῆρος ἀνάληψιν τοὺς ἱεροὺς ἀποστόλους μετὰ Ματθία στῆσαί τε καὶ ἐπεύξασθαι ἀντὶ τοῦ προδότου Ἰούδα ἐπὶ τὸν κλῆρον τῆς ἀναπληρώσεως τοῦ αὐτῶν ἀριθμοῦ ἡ τῶν Πράξεων ὧδέ πως ἱστορεῖ γραφή· «καὶ ἔστησαν δύο, Ἰωσὴφ τὸν καλούμενον Βαρσαβᾶν, ὃς ἐπεκλήθη Ἰοῦστος, καὶ Ματθίαν· καὶ προσευξάμενοι εἶπαν». 11 Καὶ ἄλλα δὲ ὁ αὐτὸς ὡς ἐκ παραδόσεως ἀγράφου εἰς αὐτὸν ἥκοντα παρατέθειται ξένας τέ τινας παραβολὰς τοῦ σωτῆρος καὶ διδασκαλίας αὐτοῦ καί τινα ἄλλα μυθικώτερα· 12 ἐν οἷς καὶ χιλιάδα τινά φησιν ἐτῶν ἔσεσθαι μετὰ τὴν ἐκ νεκρῶν ἀνάστασιν, σωματικῶς τῆς Χριστοῦ βασιλείας ἐπὶ ταυτησὶ τῆς γῆς ὑποστησομένης· ἃ καὶ ἡγοῦμαι τὰς ἀποστολικὰς παρεκδεξάμενον διηγήσεις ὑπολαβεῖν, τὰ ἐν ὑποδείγμασι πρὸς αὐτῶν μυστικῶς εἰρημένα μὴ συνεορακότα. 13 Σφόδρα γάρ τοι σμικρὸς ὢν τὸν νοῦν, ὡς ἂν ἐκ τῶν αὐτοῦ λόγων τεκμηράμενον εἰπεῖν, φαίνεται, πλὴν καὶ τοῖς μετ' αὐτὸν πλείστοις ὅσοις τῶν ἐκκλησιαστικῶν τῆς ὁμοίας αὐτῷ δόξης παραίτιος γέγονεν τὴν ἀρχαιότητα τἀνδρὸς προβεβλημένοις, ὥσπερ οὖν Εἰρηναίῳ καὶ εἴ τις ἄλλος τὰ ὅμοια φρονῶν ἀναπέφηνεν. 14 Καὶ ἄλλας δὲ τῇ ἰδίᾳ γραφῇ παραδίδωσιν Ἀριστίωνος τοῦ πρόσθεν δεδηλωμένου τῶν τοῦ κυρίου λόγων διηγήσεις καὶ τοῦ πρεσβυτέρου Ἰωάννου παραδόσεις· ἐφ' ἃς τοὺς φιλομαθεῖς ἀναπέμψαντες, ἀναγκαίως νῦν προσθήσομεν ταῖς προεκτεθείσαις αὐτοῦ φωναῖς παράδοσιν ἣν περὶ Μάρκου τοῦ τὸ εὐαγγέλιον γεγραφότος ἐκτέθειται διὰ τούτων· 15 «Καὶ τοῦθ' ὁ πρεσβύτερος ἔλεγεν· Μάρκος μὲν ἑρμηνευτὴς Πέτρου γενόμενος, ὅσα ἐμνημόνευσεν, ἀκριβῶς ἔγραψεν, οὐ μέντοι τάξει τὰ ὑπὸ τοῦ κυρίου ἢ λεχθέντα ἢ πραχθέντα. Οὔτε γὰρ ἤκουσεν τοῦ κυρίου οὔτε παρηκολούθησεν αὐτῷ, ὕστε ρον δὲ, ὡς ἔφην, Πέτρῳ· ὃς πρὸς τὰς χρείας ἐποιεῖτο τὰς διδασκαλίας, ἀλλ' οὐχ ὥσπερ σύνταξιν τῶν κυριακῶν ποιούμενος λογίων, ὥστε οὐδὲν ἥμαρτεν Μάρκος οὕτως ἔνια γράψας ὡς ἀπεμνημόνευσεν. Ἑνὸς γὰρ ἐποιήσατο πρόνοιαν, τοῦ μηδὲν ὧν ἤκουσεν παραλιπεῖν ἢ ψεύσασθαί τι ἐν αὐτοῖς». Ταῦτα μὲν οὖν ἱστόρηται τῷ Παπίᾳ περὶ τοῦ Μάρκου· 16 περὶ δὲ τοῦ Ματθαίου ταῦτ' εἴρηται· «Ματθαῖος μὲν οὖν Ἑβραΐδι διαλέκτῳ τὰ λόγια συνετάξατο, ἡρμήνευσεν δ' αὐτὰ ὡς ἦν δυνατὸς ἕκαστος». 17 Κέχρηται δ' ὁ αὐτὸς μαρτυρίαις ἀπὸ τῆς Ἰωάννου προτέρας ἐπιστολῆς καὶ ἀπὸ τῆς Πέτρου ὁμοίως, ἐκτέθειται δὲ καὶ ἄλλην ἱστορίαν περὶ γυναικὸς ἐπὶ πολλαῖς ἁμαρτίαις διαβληθείσης ἐπὶ τοῦ κυρίου, ἣν τὸ καθ' Ἑβραίους εὐαγγέλιον περιέχει. Καὶ ταῦτα δ' ἡμῖν ἀναγκαίως πρὸς τοῖς ἐκτεθεῖσιν ἐπιτετηρήσθω. / 1 And there are extant five writings of Papias which are given the title of Exegesis of the Oracles of the Lord. Of these Irenaeus too makes mention as his only writings, thus saying as follows: "These things Papias too, who was a earwitness of John and companion of Polycarp, and an ancient man, wrote and testified in the fourth of his books. For there are five books arranged by him." 2 It was Irenaeus who wrote these things. But Papias himself rather, according to the preface of his volumes, by no means reveals himself to have been either an earwitness or an eyewitness of the holy apostles, but teaches by the words that he says that he received the things of the faith from those who knew them: 3 "But I shall not hesitate to arrange alongside my interpretations as many things as I ever learned well and remembered well from the elders, confirming the truth on their behalf. For I did not rejoice, like many, over those who speak many things, but [rather] over those who teach the truth, nor over those who relate strange commands, but over those who relate those given by the Lord by faith and coming from the truth itself. 4 And if anyone should chance to come along who had followed the elders, I was inquiring as to the words of the elders, what Andrew or what Peter, or what Philip or what Thomas or James or what John or Matthew or any other of the disciples of the Lord said, which things both Aristion and the elder John, disciples of the Lord, say. For I did not suppose that things from books would profit me as much as things from a living and remaining voice." 5 It is worthwhile also to pay attention here to his twice counting the name of John, the first of which he groups with Peter and James and Matthew and the rest of the apostles, clearly indicating the evangelist, but the other John, with a change of wording, he arranges with others away from the number of the apostles, and clearly names him an elder. 6 As also through these words he shows the story to be true of the two men in Asia called by the same name and that there are two tombs in Ephesus, and both are still now said [to be his], to which it is necessary to direct the mind, for it is likely the second, unless someone should be willing [to say] the first, that saw the apocalypse which bears the name of John. 7 And Papias now being explained confesses that he received the words of the apostles from those who followed them, and says that he was an earwitness of Aristion and of the elder John. At least he mentions them by their name often and gives their traditions in his writings. Let not these things have been said uselessly by us. 8 But it is fitting to the words of Papias already given to add other passages of his through which he recounts certain paradoxes and other things as having come to him from tradition. 9 That Philip the apostle lived in Heirapolis together with his daughters has been made clear before. But as regards them let it be noted that Papias, their contemporary, mentions a wondrous account that he received from the daughters of Philip. For he recounts a resurrection from the dead in his time, and yet another paradox about Justus who was surnamed Barsabbas, as having drunk a deadly poison and yet, through the grace of the Lord, suffered no harm. 10 And that this Justus, after the taking up of the savior, the holy apostles stood up with Matthias and prayed for the filling up of their number instead of the traitor Judas, in his slot, the writing of the Acts records thus: "And they stood up two, Joseph who is called Barsabbas, surnamed Justus, and Matthias. And they prayed and spoke." 11 And the same man sets out other things also as having come to him from unwritten tradition, certain strange parables of the savior and teachings of his, and certain other more mythical things. 12 Among which also he says that there will be a certain millennium of years after the resurrection of the dead, the kingdom of Christ being established bodily upon this very earth. Which things, I suppose, he got by having welcomed the apostolic accounts, not having seen that the things spoken through them were spoken mystically, in patterns. 13 For indeed, that his mental capacity was very small, as is proven from his words, is apparent. But he also was responsible for so very many of the churchmen after him being of his same opinion, putting forward the antiquity of the man, like Irenaeus then, and any other if he has proclaimed that he thinks the same things. 14 And in his own writing he delivers also other accounts of the abovementioned Aristion of the words of the Lord, and the traditions of the elder John, to which we send those who love learning. Necessarily we now add to his reports set forth before a tradition which, about Mark who wrote the gospel, he sets out through these words: 15 "And the elder would say this: 'Mark, who had become the interpreter of Peter, wrote accurately, yet not in order, as many things as he remembered of the things either said or done by the Lord. For he neither heard the Lord nor followed him, but later, as I said, Peter, who would make the teachings to the needs, but not making them as an ordering together of the lordly oracles, so that Mark did not sin having thus written certain things as he remembered them. For he made one provision, to leave out nothing of the things that he heard or falsify anything in them.'" 16 These things therefore are recorded by Papias about Mark. But about Matthew he says these: "Matthew therefore in the Hebrew dialect ordered together the oracles, and each one interpreted them as he was able." 17 And he himself used testimonies from the first epistle of John and similarly from that of Peter, and set out also another record about a woman who was charged for many sins before the Lord, which the gospel according to the Hebrews has. And let these things also be necessarily observed by us on top of the things that have been set out.


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1 Τοῦ δὲ Παπία συγγράμματα πέντε τὸν ἀριθμὸν φέρεται, ἃ καὶ ἐπιγέγραπται Λογίων κυριακῶν ἐξηγήσεως. Τούτων καὶ Εἰρηναῖος ὡς μόνων αὐτῷ γραφέντων μνημονεύει, ὧδέ πως λέγων· «Ταῦτα δὲ καὶ Παπίας ὁ Ἰωάννου μὲν ἀκουστής, Πολυκάρπου δὲ ἑταῖρος γεγονώς, ἀρχαῖος ἀνήρ, ἐγγράφως ἐπιμαρτυρεῖ ἐν τῇ τετάρτῃ τῶν ἑαυτοῦ βιβλίων. Ἔστιν γὰρ αὐτῷ πέντε βιβλία συντεταγμένα». Καὶ ὁ μὲν Εἰρηναῖος ταῦτα·1 And there are extant five writings of Papias which are given the title of Exegesis of the Oracles of the Lord. Of these Irenaeus too makes mention as his only writings, thus saying as follows: "These things Papias too, who was a earwitness of John and companion of Polycarp, and an ancient man, wrote and testified in the fourth of his books. For there are five books arranged by him."
2 αὐτός γε μὴν ὁ Παπίας κατὰ τὸ προοίμιον τῶν αὐτοῦ λόγων ἀκροατὴν μὲν καὶ αὐτόπτην οὐδαμῶς ἑαυτὸν γενέσθαι τῶν ἱερῶν ἀποστόλων ἐμφαίνει, παρειληφέναι δὲ τὰ τῆς πίστεως παρὰ τῶν ἐκείνοις γνωρίμων διδάσκει δι' ὧν φησιν λέξεων·2 It was Irenaeus who wrote these things. But Papias himself rather, according to the preface of his volumes, by no means reveals himself to have been either an earwitness or an eyewitness of the holy apostles, but teaches by the words that he says that he received the things of the faith from those who knew them:
3 «οὐκ ὀκνήσω δέ σοι καὶ ὅσα ποτὲ παρὰ τῶν πρεσβυτέρων καλῶς ἔμαθον καὶ καλῶς ἐμνημόνευσα, συγκατατάξαι ταῖς ἑρμηνείαις, διαβεβαιούμενος ὑπὲρ αὐτῶν ἀλήθειαν. Οὐ γὰρ τοῖς τὰ πολλὰ λέγουσιν ἔχαιρον ὥσπερ οἱ πολλοί, ἀλλὰ τοῖς τἀληθῆ διδάσκουσιν, οὐδὲ τοῖς τὰς ἀλλοτρίας ἐντολὰς μνημονεύουσιν, ἀλλὰ τοῖς τὰς παρὰ τοῦ κυρίου τῇ πίστει δεδομένας καὶ ἀπ' αὐτῆς παραγινομένας τῆς ἀληθείας·3 "But I shall not hesitate to arrange alongside my interpretations as many things as I ever learned well and remembered well from the elders, confirming the truth on their behalf. For I did not rejoice, like many, over those who speak many things, but [rather] over those who teach the truth, nor over those who relate strange commands, but over those who relate those given by the Lord by faith and coming from the truth itself.
4 εἰ δέ που καὶ παρηκολουθηκώς τις τοῖς πρεσβυτέροις ἔλθοι, τοὺς τῶν πρεσβυτέρων ἀνέκρινον λόγους, τί Ἀνδρέας ἢ τί Πέτρος εἶπεν ἢ τί Φίλιππος ἢ τί Θωμᾶς ἢ Ἰάκωβος ἢ τί Ἰωάννης ἢ Ματθαῖος ἤτις ἕτερος τῶν τοῦ κυρίου μαθητῶν, ἅ τε Ἀριστίων καὶ ὁ πρεσβύτερος Ἰωάννης, τοῦ κυρίου μαθηταὶ, λέγουσιν. Οὐ γὰρ τὰ ἐκ τῶν βιβλίων τοσοῦτόν με ὠφελεῖν ὑπελάμβανον ὅσον τὰ παρὰ ζώσης φωνῆς καὶ μενούσης».4 And if anyone should chance to come along who had followed the elders, I was inquiring as to the words of the elders, what Andrew or what Peter, or what Philip or what Thomas or James or what John or Matthew or any other of the disciples of the Lord said, which things both Aristion and the elder John, disciples of the Lord, say. For I did not suppose that things from books would profit me as much as things from a living and remaining voice."
5 Ἔνθα καὶ ἐπιστῆσαι ἄξιον δὶς καταριθμοῦντι αὐτῷ τὸ Ἰωάννου ὄνομα, ὧν τὸν μὲν πρότερον Πέτρῳ καὶ Ἰακώβῳ καὶ Ματθαίῳ καὶ τοῖς λοιποῖς ἀποστόλοις συγκαταλέγει, σαφῶς δηλῶν τὸν εὐαγγελιστήν, τὸν δ' ἕτερον Ἰωάννην, διαστείλας τὸν λόγον, ἑτέροις παρὰ τὸν τῶν ἀποστόλων ἀριθμὸν κατατάσσει, προτάξας αὐτοῦ τὸν Ἀριστίωνα, σαφῶς τε αὐτὸν πρεσβύτερον ὀνομάζει·5 It is worthwhile also to pay attention here to his twice counting the name of John, the first of which he groups with Peter and James and Matthew and the rest of the apostles, clearly indicating the evangelist, but the other John, with a change of wording, he arranges with others away from the number of the apostles, and clearly names him an elder.
6 ὡς καὶ διὰ τούτων ἀποδείκνυσθαι τὴν ἱστορίαν ἀληθῆ τῶν δύο κατὰ τὴν Ἀσίαν ὁμωνυμίᾳ κεχρῆσθαι εἰρηκότων δύο τε ἐν Ἐφέσῳ γενέσθαι μνήματα καὶ ἑκάτερον Ἰωάννου ἔτι νῦν λέγεσθαι· οἷς καὶ ἀναγκαῖον προσέχειν τὸν νοῦν, εἰκὸς γὰρ τὸν δεύτερον, εἰ μή τις ἐθέλοι τὸν πρῶτον, τὴν ἐπ' ὀνόματος φερομένην Ἰωάννου ἀποκάλυψιν ἑορακέναι.6 As also through these words he shows the story to be true of the two men in Asia called by the same name and that there are two tombs in Ephesus, and both are still now said [to be his], to which it is necessary to direct the mind, for it is likely the second, unless someone should be willing [to say] the first, that saw the apocalypse which bears the name of John.
7 Καὶ ὁ νῦν δὲ ἡμῖν δηλούμενος Παπίας τοὺς μὲν τῶν ἀποστόλων λόγους παρὰ τῶν αὐτοῖς παρηκολουθηκότων ὁμολογεῖ παρειληφέναι, Ἀριστίωνος δὲ καὶ τοῦ πρεσβυτέρου Ἰωάννου αὐτήκοον ἑαυτόν φησι γενέσθαι· ὀνομαστὶ γοῦν πολλάκις αὐτῶν μνημονεύσας ἐν τοῖς αὐτοῦ συγγράμμασιν τίθησιν αὐτῶν παραδόσεις.7 And Papias now being explained confesses that he received the words of the apostles from those who followed them, and says that he was an earwitness of Aristion and of the elder John. At least he mentions them by their name often and gives their traditions in his writings. Let not these things have been said uselessly by us.
8 Καὶ ταῦτα δ' ἡμῖν οὐκ εἰς τὸ ἄχρηστον εἰρήσθω· ἄξιον δὲ ταῖς ἀποδοθείσαις τοῦ Παπία φωναῖς προσάψαι λέξεις ἑτέρας αὐτοῦ, δι' ὧν παράδοξά τινα ἱστορεῖ καὶ ἄλλα ὡς ἂν ἐκ παραδόσεως εἰς αὐτὸν ἐλθόντα.8 But it is fitting to the words of Papias already given to add other passages of his through which he recounts certain paradoxes and other things as having come to him from tradition.
9 Τὸ μὲν οὖν κατὰ τὴν Ἱεράπολιν Φίλιππον τὸν ἀπόστολον ἅμα ταῖς θυγατράσιν διατρῖψαι διὰ τῶν πρόσθεν δεδήλωται· ὡς δὲ κατὰ τοὺς αὐτοὺς ὁ Παπίας γενόμενος, διήγησιν παρειληφέναι θαυμασίαν ὑπὸ τῶν τοῦ Φιλίππου θυγατέρων μνημονεύει, τὰ νῦν σημειωτέον· νεκροῦ γὰρ ἀνάστασιν κατ' αὐτὸν γεγονυῖαν ἱστορεῖ καὶ αὖ πάλιν ἕτερον παράδοξον περὶ Ἰοῦστον τὸν ἐπικληθέντα Βαρσαβᾶν γεγονός, ὡς δηλητήριον φάρμακον ἐμπιόντος καὶ μηδὲν ἀηδὲς διὰ τὴν τοῦ κυρίου χάριν ὑπομείναντος.9 That Philip the apostle lived in Heirapolis together with his daughters has been made clear before. But as regards them let it be noted that Papias, their contemporary, mentions a wondrous account that he received from the daughters of Philip. For he recounts a resurrection from the dead in his time, and yet another paradox about Justus who was surnamed Barsabbas, as having drunk a deadly poison and yet, through the grace of the Lord, suffered no harm.
10 Τοῦτον δὲ τὸν Ἰοῦστον μετὰ τὴν τοῦ σωτῆρος ἀνάληψιν τοὺς ἱεροὺς ἀποστόλους μετὰ Ματθία στῆσαί τε καὶ ἐπεύξασθαι ἀντὶ τοῦ προδότου Ἰούδα ἐπὶ τὸν κλῆρον τῆς ἀναπληρώσεως τοῦ αὐτῶν ἀριθμοῦ ἡ τῶν Πράξεων ὧδέ πως ἱστορεῖ γραφή· «καὶ ἔστησαν δύο, Ἰωσὴφ τὸν καλούμενον Βαρσαβᾶν, ὃς ἐπεκλήθη Ἰοῦστος, καὶ Ματθίαν· καὶ προσευξάμενοι εἶπαν».10 And that this Justus, after the taking up of the savior, the holy apostles stood up with Matthias and prayed for the filling up of their number instead of the traitor Judas, in his slot, the writing of the Acts records thus: "And they stood up two, Joseph who is called Barsabbas, surnamed Justus, and Matthias. And they prayed and spoke."
11 Καὶ ἄλλα δὲ ὁ αὐτὸς ὡς ἐκ παραδόσεως ἀγράφου εἰς αὐτὸν ἥκοντα παρατέθειται ξένας τέ τινας παραβολὰς τοῦ σωτῆρος καὶ διδασκαλίας αὐτοῦ καί τινα ἄλλα μυθικώτερα·11 And the same man sets out other things also as having come to him from unwritten tradition, certain strange parables of the savior and teachings of his, and certain other more mythical things.
12 ἐν οἷς καὶ χιλιάδα τινά φησιν ἐτῶν ἔσεσθαι μετὰ τὴν ἐκ νεκρῶν ἀνάστασιν, σωματικῶς τῆς Χριστοῦ βασιλείας ἐπὶ ταυτησὶ τῆς γῆς ὑποστησομένης· ἃ καὶ ἡγοῦμαι τὰς ἀποστολικὰς παρεκδεξάμενον διηγήσεις ὑπολαβεῖν, τὰ ἐν ὑποδείγμασι πρὸς αὐτῶν μυστικῶς εἰρημένα μὴ συνεορακότα.12 Among which also he says that there will be a certain millennium of years after the resurrection of the dead, the kingdom of Christ being established bodily upon this very earth. Which things, I suppose, he got by having welcomed the apostolic accounts, not having seen that the things spoken through them were spoken mystically, in patterns.
13 Σφόδρα γάρ τοι σμικρὸς ὢν τὸν νοῦν, ὡς ἂν ἐκ τῶν αὐτοῦ λόγων τεκμηράμενον εἰπεῖν, φαίνεται, πλὴν καὶ τοῖς μετ' αὐτὸν πλείστοις ὅσοις τῶν ἐκκλησιαστικῶν τῆς ὁμοίας αὐτῷ δόξης παραίτιος γέγονεν τὴν ἀρχαιότητα τἀνδρὸς προβεβλημένοις, ὥσπερ οὖν Εἰρηναίῳ καὶ εἴ τις ἄλλος τὰ ὅμοια φρονῶν ἀναπέφηνεν.13 For indeed, that his mental capacity was very small, as is proven from his words, is apparent. But he also was responsible for so very many of the churchmen after him being of his same opinion, putting forward the antiquity of the man, like Irenaeus then, and any other if he has proclaimed that he thinks the same things.
14 Καὶ ἄλλας δὲ τῇ ἰδίᾳ γραφῇ παραδίδωσιν Ἀριστίωνος τοῦ πρόσθεν δεδηλωμένου τῶν τοῦ κυρίου λόγων διηγήσεις καὶ τοῦ πρεσβυτέρου Ἰωάννου παραδόσεις· ἐφ' ἃς τοὺς φιλομαθεῖς ἀναπέμψαντες, ἀναγκαίως νῦν προσθήσομεν ταῖς προεκτεθείσαις αὐτοῦ φωναῖς παράδοσιν ἣν περὶ Μάρκου τοῦ τὸ εὐαγγέλιον γεγραφότος ἐκτέθειται διὰ τούτων·14 And in his own writing he delivers also other accounts of the abovementioned Aristion of the words of the Lord, and the traditions of the elder John, to which we send those who love learning. Necessarily we now add to his reports set forth before a tradition which, about Mark who wrote the gospel, he sets out through these words:
15 «Καὶ τοῦθ' ὁ πρεσβύτερος ἔλεγεν· Μάρκος μὲν ἑρμηνευτὴς Πέτρου γενόμενος, ὅσα ἐμνημόνευσεν, ἀκριβῶς ἔγραψεν, οὐ μέντοι τάξει τὰ ὑπὸ τοῦ κυρίου ἢ λεχθέντα ἢ πραχθέντα. Οὔτε γὰρ ἤκουσεν τοῦ κυρίου οὔτε παρηκολούθησεν αὐτῷ, ὕστε ρον δὲ, ὡς ἔφην, Πέτρῳ· ὃς πρὸς τὰς χρείας ἐποιεῖτο τὰς διδασκαλίας, ἀλλ' οὐχ ὥσπερ σύνταξιν τῶν κυριακῶν ποιούμενος λογίων, ὥστε οὐδὲν ἥμαρτεν Μάρκος οὕτως ἔνια γράψας ὡς ἀπεμνημόνευσεν. Ἑνὸς γὰρ ἐποιήσατο πρόνοιαν, τοῦ μηδὲν ὧν ἤκουσεν παραλιπεῖν ἢ ψεύσασθαί τι ἐν αὐτοῖς».15 "And the elder would say this: 'Mark, who had become the interpreter of Peter, wrote accurately, yet not in order, as many things as he remembered of the things either said or done by the Lord. For he neither heard the Lord nor followed him, but later, as I said, Peter, who would make the teachings to the needs, but not making them as an ordering together of the lordly oracles, so that Mark did not sin having thus written certain things as he remembered them. For he made one provision, to leave out nothing of the things that he heard or falsify anything in them.'"
16 Ταῦτα μὲν οὖν ἱστόρηται τῷ Παπίᾳ περὶ τοῦ Μάρκου· περὶ δὲ τοῦ Ματθαίου ταῦτ' εἴρηται· «Ματθαῖος μὲν οὖν Ἑβραΐδι διαλέκτῳ τὰ λόγια συνετάξατο, ἡρμήνευσεν δ' αὐτὰ ὡς ἦν δυνατὸς ἕκαστος».16 These things therefore are recorded by Papias about Mark. But about Matthew he says these: "Matthew therefore in the Hebrew dialect ordered together the oracles, and each one interpreted them as he was able."
17 Κέχρηται δ' ὁ αὐτὸς μαρτυρίαις ἀπὸ τῆς Ἰωάννου προτέρας ἐπιστολῆς καὶ ἀπὸ τῆς Πέτρου ὁμοίως, ἐκτέθειται δὲ καὶ ἄλλην ἱστορίαν περὶ γυναικὸς ἐπὶ πολλαῖς ἁμαρτίαις διαβληθείσης ἐπὶ τοῦ κυρίου, ἣν τὸ καθ' Ἑβραίους εὐαγγέλιον περιέχει. Καὶ ταῦτα δ' ἡμῖν ἀναγκαίως πρὸς τοῖς ἐκτεθεῖσιν ἐπιτετηρήσθω.17 And he himself used testimonies from the first epistle of John and similarly from that of Peter, and set out also another record about a woman who was charged for many sins before the Lord, which the gospel according to the Hebrews has. And let these things also be necessarily observed by us on top of the things that have been set out.

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Re: Papias and the disciples of the Lord.

Post by John2 » Thu Jun 01, 2017 10:01 am

This is a fantastic OP, Ben. And Peter's observation about the missing phrase in some versions of Eusebius is interesting. I don't have anything to contribute to it, but it was fun to read and I wanted to give you a pat on the back for it.
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Re: Papias and the disciples of the Lord.

Post by Secret Alias » Thu Jun 01, 2017 10:41 am

Sounds right. Have you checked Eisler's opinion about an interpolation in his book about the Fourth Gospel
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Re: Papias and the disciples of the Lord.

Post by Ben C. Smith » Thu Jun 01, 2017 11:54 am

John2 wrote:This is a fantastic OP, Ben. And Peter's observation about the missing phrase in some versions of Eusebius is interesting. I don't have anything to contribute to it, but it was fun to read and I wanted to give you a pat on the back for it.
Thanks, John. :) I appreciate that.
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Re: Papias and the disciples of the Lord.

Post by Ben C. Smith » Thu Jun 29, 2017 12:28 pm

Secret Alias wrote:Sounds right. Have you checked Eisler's opinion about an interpolation in his book about the Fourth Gospel
No, I have not. Do you have access to that book? I currently do not.
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Re: Papias and the disciples of the Lord.

Post by Ben C. Smith » Thu Jun 29, 2017 1:00 pm

I wish to give another possible reason for suspecting that neither Aristion nor the elder John were disciples of the Lord:

Eusebius, History of the Church 3.39.4: 4 «Εἰ δέ που καὶ παρηκολουθηκώς τις τοῖς πρεσβυτέροις ἔλθοι, τοὺς τῶν πρεσβυτέρων ἀνέκρινον λόγους, τί Ἀνδρέας ἢ τί Πέτρος εἶπεν ἢ τί Φίλιππος ἢ τί Θωμᾶς ἢ Ἰάκωβος ἢ τί Ἰωάννης ἢ Ματθαῖος ἤτις ἕτερος τῶν τοῦ κυρίου μαθητῶν, ἅ τε Ἀριστίων καὶ ὁ πρεσβύτερος Ἰωάννης, [οἱ] τοῦ κυρίου μαθηταὶ, λέγουσιν. Οὐ γὰρ τὰ ἐκ τῶν βιβλίων τοσοῦτόν με ὠφελεῖν ὑπελάμβανον ὅσον τὰ παρὰ ζώσης φωνῆς καὶ μενούσης». / 4 And if anyone chanced to come along who had followed the elders, I inquired as to the words of the elders, what Andrew or what Peter, or what Philip or what Thomas or James or what John or Matthew or any other of the disciples of the Lord had said, which things both Aristion and the elder John, [the] disciples of the Lord, were saying. For I did not suppose that things from books would profit me as much as things from a living and remaining voice.

The main sentence is underlined; it is a past general condition (with the optative ἔλθοι in the protasis and the imperfect ἀνέκρινον in the apodosis) with the basic meaning, "If or whenever X would happen, I would do Y." After this comes a boldfaced clause riding on the accusative τί, which I take to be in apposition to λόγους. The urge to view τί as an accusative of reference or some such (sometimes jokingly called "the accusative of last resort") seems misguided to me when the apposition is so clean and easy; apposition is also extremely common. If I am correct, then the "words of the elders" are the same thing as "what Andrew and company said" — and now we come to a highlighted relative clause which hangs upon the accusative relative pronoun ἅ (a plural "which" or "which things"). The trick here is that, in Greek as in English, the main verb of a relative clause does not have to conform to the tense or mood of any main clause. For example, I can say that "Donald Trump, who is still President, was elected in 2016." The main verb of this sentence ("was elected") is in the past tense, thus speaking of a past event (the election of 2016), but the verb of the relative clause introduced by "who" ("is") is in the present tense with respect to my own time of speaking; that is, Trump is President at this very moment as I type this, despite the fact that the main clause of the sentence is in the past tense. The tense and mood of the relative clause can "jump out" of the sentence to speak to a different time frame than the main clause(s).

And I suggest that this is what is happening in Papias. The things which Andrew and the rest of the disciples said (εἶπεν, aorist tense) are in the past, because those disciples are by now dead. But the things which Aristion and the elder John say or are saying (λέγουσιν, present tense) are in the present, because those two figures were still alive at the time Papias was writing. The attempts to make this present tense verb apply to a time already past with respect to Papias penning his five volumes are necessary only because it is hard to imagine Aristion and the elder John both having been disciples of the Lord and being still alive while Papias is writing; without such constraints, these two men can easily be alive at the time (which has been estimated to be as early as 110 to as late as 150, at least).

In other words, if the second instance of τοῦ κυρίου μαθηταὶ is a gloss, then the sentence becomes so easy both to translate and to interpret that even a second-year Greek student could do it without issue.
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Re: Papias and the disciples of the Lord.

Post by Ben C. Smith » Thu Jun 29, 2017 1:28 pm

I mentioned Polycrates in the OP, but wish to deal with a potential counterpoint to what I wrote. Here again is the epistle from Polycrates to Victor, according to Eusebius, History of the Church 5.24.1-7:

1 Τῶν δὲ ἐπὶ τῆς Ἀσίας ἐπισκόπων τὸ πάλαι πρότερον αὐτοῖς παραδοθὲν διαφυλάττειν ἔθος χρῆναι διισχυριζομένων ἡγεῖτο Πολυκράτης· ὃς καὶ αὐτὸς ἐν ᾗ πρὸς Βίκτορα καὶ τὴν Ῥωμαίων ἐκκλησίαν διετυπώσατο γραφῇ τὴν εἰς αὐτὸν ἐλθοῦσαν παράδοσιν ἐκτίθεται διὰ τούτων· / 1 But the bishops of Asia, led by Polycrates, decided to hold to the old custom handed down to them. He himself, in a letter which he addressed to Victor and the church of Rome, set forth in the following words the tradition which had come down to him:
  • 2 «Ἡμεῖς οὖν ἀρᾳδιούργητον ἄγομεν τὴν ἡμέραν, μήτε προστιθέντες μήτε ἀφαιρούμενοι. Καὶ γὰρ κατὰ τὴν Ἀσίαν μεγάλα στοιχεῖα κεκοίμηται· ἅτινα ἀναστήσεται τῇ ἡμέρᾳ τῆς παρουσίας τοῦ κυρίου, ἐν ᾗ ἔρχεται μετὰ δόξης ἐξ οὐρανῶν καὶ ἀναζητήσει πάντας τοὺς ἁγίους, Φίλιππον τῶν δώδεκα ἀποστόλων, ὃς κεκοίμηται ἐν Ἱεραπόλει καὶ δύο θυγατέρες αὐτοῦ γεγηρακυῖαι παρθένοι καὶ ἡ ἑτέρα αὐτοῦ θυγάτηρ ἐν ἁγίῳ πνεύματι πολιτευσαμένη ἐν Ἐφέσῳ ἀναπαύεται· 3 ἔτι δὲ καὶ Ἰωάννης ὁ ἐπὶ τὸ στῆθος τοῦ κυρίου ἀναπεσών, ὃς ἐγενήθη ἱερεὺς τὸ πέταλον πεφορεκὼς καὶ μάρτυς καὶ διδάσκαλος· οὗτος ἐν Ἐφέσῳ κεκοίμηται, 4 ἔτι δὲ καὶ Πολύκαρπος ἐν Σμύρνῃ, καὶ ἐπίσκοπος καὶ μάρτυς· καὶ Θρασέας, καὶ ἐπίσκοπος καὶ μάρτυς ἀπὸ Εὐμενείας, ὃς ἐν Σμύρνῃ κεκοίμηται. 5 Τί δὲ δεῖ λέγειν Σάγαριν ἐπίσκοπον καὶ μάρτυρα, ὃς ἐν Λαοδικείᾳ κεκοίμηται, ἔτι δὲ καὶ Παπίριον τὸν μακάριον καὶ Μελίτωνα τὸν εὐνοῦχον, τὸν ἐν ἁγίῳ πνεύματι πάντα πολιτευσάμενον, ὃς κεῖται ἐν Σάρδεσιν περιμένων τὴν ἀπὸ τῶν οὐρανῶν ἐπισκοπὴν ἐν ᾗ ἐκ νεκρῶν ἀναστήσεται; 6 Οὗτοι πάντες ἐτήρησαν τὴν ἡμέραν τῆς τεσσαρεσκαιδεκάτης τοῦ πάσχα κατὰ τὸ εὐαγγέλιον, μηδὲν παρεκβαίνοντες, ἀλλὰ κατὰ τὸν κανόνα τῆς πίστεως ἀκολουθοῦντες· « Ἔτι δὲ κἀγὼ ὁ μικρότερος πάντων ὑμῶν Πολυκράτης, κατὰ παράδοσιν τῶν συγγενῶν μου, οἷς καὶ παρηκολούθησά τισιν αὐτῶν. Ἑπτὰ μὲν ἦσαν συγγενεῖς μου ἐπίσκοποι, ἐγὼ δὲ ὄγδοος· καὶ πάντοτε τὴν ἡμέραν ἤγαγον οἱ συγγενεῖς μου ὅταν ὁ λαὸς ἤρνυεν τὴν ζύμην.7 Ἐγὼ οὖν, ἀδελφοί, ἑξήκοντα πέντε ἔτη ἔχων ἐν κυρίῳ καὶ συμβεβληκὼς τοῖς ἀπὸ τῆς οἰκουμένης ἀδελφοῖς καὶ πᾶσαν ἁγίαν γραφὴν διεληλυθώς, οὐ πτύρομαι ἐπὶ τοῖς καταπλησσομένοις· οἱ γὰρ ἐμοῦ μείζονες εἰρήκασι « Πειθαρχεῖν δεῖ θεῷ μᾶλλον ἢ ἀνθρώποις». / 2 We observe the exact day; neither adding, nor taking away. For in Asia also great lights have fallen asleep, which shall rise again on the day of the Lord's coming, when he shall come with glory from heaven, and shall seek out all the saints. Among these are Philip, one of the twelve apostles, who fell asleep in Hierapolis; and his two aged virgin daughters, and another daughter, who lived in the Holy Spirit and now rests at Ephesus; and, moreover, John, who was both a witness and a teacher, who reclined upon the bosom of the Lord, and, being a priest, wore the sacerdotal plate. 3 He fell asleep at Ephesus. 4 And Polycarp in Smyrna, who was a bishop and martyr; and Thraseas, bishop and martyr from Eumenia, who fell asleep in Smyrna. 5 Why need I mention the bishop and martyr Sagaris who fell asleep in Laodicea, or the blessed Papirius, or Melito, the Eunuch who lived altogether in the Holy Spirit, and who lies in Sardis, awaiting the episcopate from heaven, when he shall rise from the dead? 6 All these observed the fourteenth day of the passover according to the Gospel, deviating in no respect, but following the rule of faith. And I also, Polycrates, the least of you all, do according to the tradition of my relatives, some of whom I have closely followed. For seven of my relatives were bishops; and I am the eighth. And my relatives always observed the day when the people put away the leaven. 7 I, therefore, brethren, who have lived sixty-five years in the Lord, and have met with the brethren throughout the world, and have gone through every Holy Scripture, am not affrighted by terrifying words. For those greater than I have said, "We ought to obey God rather than men" [Acts 5.29].

It is sometimes urged that Polycrates apparently did not think of John as one of the twelve, because he calls Philip one of the twelve but fails to do so in the case of John. But I do not think that this difference means that Polycrates was thinking of John as a disciple (who leaned back on the breast of the Lord) who was not one of the twelve:
  • Polycrates already has a lot to say about John ("who was both witness and a teacher, who reclined upon the bosom of the Lord, and, being a priest, wore the sacerdotal plate"), but most of what he has to say about Philip is not about Philip at all, but rather about his daughters. Therefore he may have added "one of the twelve" just to have something to say about this man, who apparently never even served as bishop.
  • Polycrates apparently knows the book of Acts, since he quotes from Acts 5.29. However, the book of Acts famously has two Philips, one an apostle (Acts 1.13) and the other a deacon and evangelist (Acts 6.5; 8.5-6, 12-13, 26, 29-31, 34-35, 37-40). It is the deacon and evangelist who, according to Acts 21.8-9, had virgin prophetesses for daughters, not the apostle. But here Polycrates says that Philip the evangelist had virgins for daughters (he mentions only three, whereas Acts mentions four; but Polycrates does not claim to be exhaustive here). So, if Polycrates knows or at least thinks that the famous Philip who sleeps in Hierapolis with two of his daughters, with another daughter sleeping in Ephesus, was the apostle himself and not just a deacon or evangelist, then he has every reason to mention this explicitly in the case of Philip (and no necessary motivation to do so in the case of John), to make sure that Victor knows just how important this Philip is.
Thus it seems likely to me that the difference between Polycrates calling Philip one of the twelve and him failing to do the same for John may have more to do with Philip needing such a reference than with it being inappropriate for John; therefore, we ought not to read too much into John not being called one of the twelve at this juncture.
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Re: Papias and the disciples of the Lord.

Post by DCHindley » Thu Jun 29, 2017 5:51 pm

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Secret Alias wrote:Sounds right. Have you checked Eisler's opinion about an interpolation in his book about the Fourth Gospel
No, I have not. Do you have access to that book? I currently do not.
I think he means Robert Eisler, The Enigma of the Fourth Gospel - Its Author and its Writer (1938).

Mr Macson posted a link to it here:

http://www.earlywritings.com/forum/view ... pel#p62186

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Re: Papias and the disciples of the Lord.

Post by Ben C. Smith » Thu Jun 29, 2017 6:03 pm

DCHindley wrote:
Ben C. Smith wrote:
Secret Alias wrote:Sounds right. Have you checked Eisler's opinion about an interpolation in his book about the Fourth Gospel
No, I have not. Do you have access to that book? I currently do not.
I think he means Robert Eisler, The Enigma of the Fourth Gospel - Its Author and its Writer (1938).

Mr Macson posted a link to it here:

http://www.earlywritings.com/forum/view ... pel#p62186

DCH
Oh! Thanks. I was thinking of a completely different book.
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Re: Papias and the disciples of the Lord.

Post by John T » Sun Jul 02, 2017 3:58 am

Could Eusebius account appear disjointed because he is lifting two different lines from two different documents of Papias and is joining them together for thoroughness and accuracy?

Without going into the casing of Greek words, could not the plain language suggest that Papias was trying to distinguish between the sayings he personally heard from the followers of the disciples from those he personally heard from the disciples himself? That he categorized them and kept them separate?

As a reminder, Aristion was from the larger group of 72 disciples and John from the inner 12 twelve disciples of Jesus.

What is clear, Papias says he preferred to learn about the life/teaching of Jesus from those who knew him personally.

Sincerely,

John T
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