I think gmx was referring to that spot where Justin says that the memoirs "are called gospels" (καλεῖται εὐαγγέλια), plural. But yes, elsewhere Justin refers to a singular "gospel" at a couple of spots.
No problem.gmx wrote: ↑Thu Sep 06, 2018 4:22 amThanks Ben for your brilliant post.Ben C. Smith wrote: ↑Wed Sep 05, 2018 7:02 amAdd into all of this the oral traditions from which Papias and Hegesippus are said to have drawn, and the fact that already, from the time of our earliest extant manuscript and textual evidence, there is a split between the so-called Western text and (at the very least) the Alexandrian text, and I think that the idea that there was a lot of textual variation early on deserves a very serious hearing. As you pointed out, gmx, the nomina sacra permeate our extant manuscripts; but, at the same time, variation also permeates our manuscripts:gmx wrote: ↑Wed Sep 05, 2018 4:16 amHowever, from the surviving ancient manuscript evidence of the NT, given the number of copies of each document likely to have been in circulation by 400 CE (arbitrarily chosen), and given the length of the major NT documents, does the manuscript record indicate a "free for all" attitude to adding / modifying the source material, or does the manuscript record indicate a high degree of reverence for the text itself and a reluctance to modify it en masse?
Well, it all depends on the dates for those manuscripts. Vaticanus and Sinaiticus are usually dated to century IV, Bezae and Alexandrinus to century V, but there are some lengthy papyri which are apparently earlier, including Ƿ45 and Ƿ75, for example.So, in our earliest manuscript evidence, we have at least two established text types, which are now essentially stable, and which exhibit a pervasive use of nomina sacra. What are we thinking the year is? 300 CE?
Irenaeus names more than four gospels, but emphasizes that only four are (to be) accepted in the churches.Irenaeus (180 CE) names the four gospels. Has the Western / Alexandrian schism occurred yet?
That schism is usually argued to have occurred sometime in century II, before Irenaeus. Irenaeus himself appears to use the Western text type. (His readings often agree with, say, Bezae over and against, say, Vaticanus.)
He also shows familiarity with Lucan material and, at least once, distinctively Marcan material.Justin (140 CE) refers to memoirs of the apostles, and possibly (interpolation?) refers to them as Gospels. He seems primarily familiar with Matthew or its sources.
Well, it appears to me that our canonical Luke and John postdate Papias, who refers only to Matthew and Mark in Eusebius' quotations of him. I think Eusebius would have quoted Papias' words about those two gospels had he mentioned them (the possible exception to this being that perhaps Papias said something supremely unflattering about one or both of them which Eusebius thought best not to repeat). I doubt that Papias knew the disciple John; and I have given reasons to doubt that Papias considered his informant John to have been a disciple.Papias (95 CE) refers to "the oracles" and says:
So, what possibilities exist that make sense describing a transition from 95 CE -> 140 CE -> 180 CE -> 300 CE ?
- The Elder also said this, “Mark, being the interpreter of Peter, whatsoever he remembered...
- Concerning Matthew these other things were said, “Therefore, Matthew set in order the logia (“divine oracles”) in a Hebrew dialect, and...
I suspect that somebody named Mark probably penned some kind of gospel text; at least, the reasons I have seen for imagining that the obscure figure of Mark was attached to this text artificially fail to convince me, and similar hypotheses about Marcion do likewise. Whether that Mark is the same as John Mark from Acts and/or the Mark mentioned in 1 Peter and the Pauline epistles is still an open question for me; those connections could well be coincidental, since Mark was an extremely common Roman name. On the other hand, a decent but purely circumstantial case can be made for the connection, as well. Overall, my mind is hardly made up on any of these points about Mark!
I suspect that somebody named Matthew penned "the logia," but note that "logia" can mean more than just dominical sayings. A place for this Matthew was later made in the apostolic lists, in a process by which Matthew basically displaced Levi.
When Papias says that Mark was "not written in order," I think he had a Johannine order in mind: not that he knew the gospel of John, which (as I said) I think postdates Papias, but rather that both Papias and John drew from the emerging Asian chronological tradition (which was probably at least partly oral) that eventually led to the Quartodeciman controversy. The early church took notice of the chronological differences between John and the synoptics to a greater degree than (and seemingly long before) it concerned itself with the comparatively paltry differences among the three synoptic gospels themselves. The Muratorian canon probably also has this controversy in mind when it says that the miracles in John are listed "in order."
I think that all of the gospels which can lay claim to being early, both canonical and noncanonical, bears signs of layering. In the case of Matthew we can tell that one of its layers probably looked a lot like our canonical Mark. In the case of Luke I think that both Luke and Marcion drew from a common gospel text, one to which Luke added more extra material than Marcion (including the infancy narrative). In the cases of Mark and John we probably do not possess the proto-gospel texts upon which they drew. There are also materials upon which both Luke and Matthew drew, though I seriously doubt that our modern reconstructions of Q come anywhere close to those materials; sometimes (as proponents of the Farrer theory have shown) Luke betrays dependence upon materials found in Matthew, while elsewhere (as I have attempted to show) Matthew is the one betraying dependence upon materials found in Luke. In the case of Thomas we know that the Oxyrhynchus papyri differ from the Coptic version so far as order of the sayings is concerned in at least one spot (the location of saying 77b, and there are reasons to think that sayings 6 and 14 were once connected. In the case of Peter there are some significant differences between the papyri Oxyrhynchus 2949 and Cairensis 10759, possibly implying two different recensions even of this strange gospel.