Did Papias report not the "sayings of the Lord" but "the oracles concerning the Lord"?

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
Giuseppe
Posts: 4636
Joined: Mon Apr 27, 2015 5:37 am
Location: Vicenza (Italy)

Did Papias report not the "sayings of the Lord" but "the oracles concerning the Lord"?

Post by Giuseppe » Tue Nov 27, 2018 9:56 am

"Logiôn kuriakôn exègèseis" is translated generally as :

"explanations of the sayings of the Lord".

The French mythicist Alfaric translated it as:

"explanations of the oracles concerning the Lord".

If the latter was the original sense , then Papias reported only presumed prophecies and oracles concerning the Christ (who had therefore an entirely passive role as not the author of these sayings).
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

User avatar
DCHindley
Posts: 2546
Joined: Mon Oct 07, 2013 9:53 am
Location: Ohio, USA

Re: Did Papias report not the "sayings of the Lord" but "the oracles concerning the Lord"?

Post by DCHindley » Tue Nov 27, 2018 3:00 pm

Giuseppe wrote:
Tue Nov 27, 2018 9:56 am
"Logiôn kuriakôn exègèseis" is translated generally as :

"explanations of the sayings of the Lord".

The French mythicist Alfaric translated it as:

"explanations of the oracles concerning the Lord".

If the latter was the original sense , then Papias reported only presumed prophecies and oracles concerning the Christ (who had therefore an entirely passive role as not the author of these sayings).
Well, G, the day has come when I agree with you on something!

Woo-hoo!!

Kidding aside, I agree that the "logia" probably referred to oracles that Christians believed predicted Jesus' ministry, death and resurrection.

To see this kind of imaginative prophesy mining in action today, in our country, all you have to do is visit a "fundamentalist" church, and pick out a tract from the wall rack. I remember seeing some tracts that had hundreds of passages listed. Ben has probably seen that kind of thing among the churches his dad was a missionary for.

DCH

User avatar
Ben C. Smith
Posts: 5948
Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2015 2:18 pm
Location: USA
Contact:

Re: Did Papias report not the "sayings of the Lord" but "the oracles concerning the Lord"?

Post by Ben C. Smith » Tue Nov 27, 2018 4:22 pm

DCHindley wrote:
Tue Nov 27, 2018 3:00 pm
To see this kind of imaginative prophesy mining in action today, in our country, all you have to do is visit a "fundamentalist" church, and pick out a tract from the wall rack. I remember seeing some tracts that had hundreds of passages listed. Ben has probably seen that kind of thing among the churches his dad was a missionary for.
Among those American churches which sponsored my father's mission, yes, absolutely: tracts with 100+ prophecies fulfilled by Jesus. Laughably, some of those tracts were actually nominally intended for Jews, to create more "Jews for Jesus" by persuading them that Jesus really was/is their Messiah.
ΤΙ ΕΣΤΙΝ ΑΛΕΘΕΙΑ

John2
Posts: 2395
Joined: Fri May 16, 2014 4:42 pm

Re: Did Papias report not the "sayings of the Lord" but "the oracles concerning the Lord"?

Post by John2 » Wed Nov 28, 2018 12:21 pm

Giuseppe wrote:
Tue Nov 27, 2018 9:56 am
"Logiôn kuriakôn exègèseis" is translated generally as :

"explanations of the sayings of the Lord".

The French mythicist Alfaric translated it as:

"explanations of the oracles concerning the Lord".

If the latter was the original sense , then Papias reported only presumed prophecies and oracles concerning the Christ (who had therefore an entirely passive role as not the author of these sayings).
I have a hard time buying this argument since Eusebius is under the impression that Papias is referring to the gospel of Matthew (like in his preceding comment about the gospel of Mark).

EH 3.39.15-16:
These things are related by Papias concerning Mark. But concerning Matthew he writes as follows: “So then Matthew wrote the oracles in the Hebrew language, and every one interpreted them as he was able.”


I suppose the options are that someone named Matthew compiled a list of OT prophecies "about" Jesus in Hebrew which was translated a number of times into Greek (or interpreted by more than one person, whether in writings or orally), or Papias is referring to the gospel of Matthew, like Eusebius says, and it was originally written in Hebrew and translated a number of times into Greek (like the Hebrew and variant Greek versions of Matthew that are said to have been used by Jewish Christians).
Tell me all that you know and I'll show you snow and rain.

Giuseppe
Posts: 4636
Joined: Mon Apr 27, 2015 5:37 am
Location: Vicenza (Italy)

Re: Did Papias report not the "sayings of the Lord" but "the oracles concerning the Lord"?

Post by Giuseppe » Wed Nov 28, 2018 12:39 pm

John2 wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 12:21 pm

I have a hard time buying this argument since Eusebius is under the impression that Papias is referring to the gospel of Matthew (like in his preceding comment about the gospel of Mark).
frankly what matters here are the words reported by Papias, not their late interpretation or "impressions" by Eusebius. But I see that even you admit the revelatory origin of these "sayings" insofar they were a mere list of OT prophecies to be used on Jesus (my suspicion: to judaize him?):
a list of OT prophecies "about" Jesus in Hebrew
So where are you disagreeing with me precisely? Yourself are saying that these "sayings" were not really spoken by a man named Jesus but were (believed by Papias as) spoken by others (the OT prophets) about Jesus (who could be also a celestial entity, for that matter).
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

User avatar
Ben C. Smith
Posts: 5948
Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2015 2:18 pm
Location: USA
Contact:

Re: Did Papias report not the "sayings of the Lord" but "the oracles concerning the Lord"?

Post by Ben C. Smith » Wed Nov 28, 2018 1:35 pm

John2 wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 12:21 pm
I have a hard time buying this argument since Eusebius is under the impression that Papias is referring to the gospel of Matthew (like in his preceding comment about the gospel of Mark).

EH 3.39.15-16:
These things are related by Papias concerning Mark. But concerning Matthew he writes as follows: “So then Matthew wrote the oracles in the Hebrew language, and every one interpreted them as he was able.”


I suppose the options are that someone named Matthew compiled a list of OT prophecies "about" Jesus in Hebrew which was translated a number of times into Greek (or interpreted by more than one person, whether in writings or orally), or Papias is referring to the gospel of Matthew, like Eusebius says, and it was originally written in Hebrew and translated a number of times into Greek (like the Hebrew and variant Greek versions of Matthew that are said to have been used by Jewish Christians).
I think your first instinct is closer to correct. As probable as I think it is that such catenae of prooftexts from the Hebrew scriptures existed early, and as certain as I am that they existed later, I do not think that Papias' words have anything to do with them.

Already Papias' words about Matthew cast doubt on the idea: "Matthew therefore in the Hebrew dialect ordered together [συνετάξατο] the oracles/logia [τὰ λόγια], and each one interpreted them as he was able." Perhaps the "ordering together" is some kind of literary arrangement, but surely it is at least questionable that the mention of interpreting the oracles from the Hebrew dialect makes more sense of interpreting a chain of verses from the Jewish scriptures than of other options.

It is when we read Papias' words about Mark, however, that I feel some of those other options gain the upper hand in a definitive way: "Mark, who had become the interpreter of Peter, wrote accurately, yet not in order [οὐ μέντοι τάξει], 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/logia [τῶν κυριακῶν... λογίων], 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." Peter's teachings are here said to consist of the logia, and those teachings are characterized as "the things either said or done by the Lord." Therefore, almost mathematically speaking, the logia are "things either said or done by the Lord." If those things are actually things predicted of the Lord, things which the scriptures said he would say or do, then the passage is weirdly silent on that point. I for one have little doubt that many/most of the things we find attributed to the Lord in any and all of our extant gospels do derive from scripture, but I do not think that is what Papias is talking about. I think that the logia are, for him, literally the things said or done by the Lord, which (according to Papias or his elder) Mark could not put down in order because Peter was preaching ad hoc rather than systematically.
ΤΙ ΕΣΤΙΝ ΑΛΕΘΕΙΑ

John2
Posts: 2395
Joined: Fri May 16, 2014 4:42 pm

Re: Did Papias report not the "sayings of the Lord" but "the oracles concerning the Lord"?

Post by John2 » Wed Nov 28, 2018 1:53 pm

Giuseppe wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 12:39 pm
John2 wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 12:21 pm

I have a hard time buying this argument since Eusebius is under the impression that Papias is referring to the gospel of Matthew (like in his preceding comment about the gospel of Mark).
frankly what matters here are the words reported by Papias, not their late interpretation or "impressions" by Eusebius. But I see that even you admit the revelatory origin of these "sayings" insofar they were a mere list of OT prophecies to be used on Jesus (my suspicion: to judaize him?):
a list of OT prophecies "about" Jesus in Hebrew
So where are you disagreeing with me precisely? Yourself are saying that these "sayings" were not really spoken by a man named Jesus but were (believed by Papias as) spoken by others (the OT prophets) about Jesus (who could be also a celestial entity, for that matter).
I'm saying that of the two options I mentioned above I prefer the second one, that Papias is referring to the gospel of Matthew being originally written in Hebrew and translated a number of times into Greek. This fits with what church fathers say about Jewish Christians, that they used a Hebrew Matthew and variant Greek Matthews.
Tell me all that you know and I'll show you snow and rain.

User avatar
Secret Alias
Posts: 10065
Joined: Sun Apr 19, 2015 8:47 am

Re: Did Papias report not the "sayings of the Lord" but "the oracles concerning the Lord"?

Post by Secret Alias » Wed Nov 28, 2018 2:00 pm

But don't you see how incompatible (a) our desire for certainty is while (b) we have will-o-wisp allusions to texts and traditions? This doesn't apply just to Papias but Marcion and virtually every other 'thing' in the early Christian world. We should take a pledge from the outset to acknowledge that all of our theories are about as certain as a determining a person through his shadow.
“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
Ben C. Smith
Posts: 5948
Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2015 2:18 pm
Location: USA
Contact:

Re: Did Papias report not the "sayings of the Lord" but "the oracles concerning the Lord"?

Post by Ben C. Smith » Wed Nov 28, 2018 3:02 pm

Secret Alias wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 2:00 pm
But don't you see how incompatible (a) our desire for certainty is while (b) we have will-o-wisp allusions to texts and traditions? This doesn't apply just to Papias but Marcion and virtually every other 'thing' in the early Christian world. We should take a pledge from the outset to acknowledge that all of our theories are about as certain as a determining a person through his shadow.
There is no certainty in this field. Nor, however, is there any use in pointing out how little certainty there is every time someone prefers one theory over another. It certainly does not stop you from preferring one theory over another. :cheers:

I view it somewhat like the branches, twigs, and tendrils of a tree. On a few generic questions of the most superficial relevance, we can have some certainty that this branch is more likely than that branch. As we keep drilling down to more and more specific questions, however, each twig and tendril depends upon decisions made further up the branch, as it were. Even if we are making decisions that are, on their own, 75% likely to be accurate, every time we make another 75% likely decision which is dependent upon those earlier decisions, the probability of the overall picture being correct keeps dropping (75% x 75% = 56.25%), all too soon dipping down to well below 50% (75% x 75% x 75% = 42.1875%).

But that does not stop us from speculating and trying to make the most accurate choice each time. We keep coming back and trying again.
ΤΙ ΕΣΤΙΝ ΑΛΕΘΕΙΑ

User avatar
Secret Alias
Posts: 10065
Joined: Sun Apr 19, 2015 8:47 am

Re: Did Papias report not the "sayings of the Lord" but "the oracles concerning the Lord"?

Post by Secret Alias » Wed Nov 28, 2018 3:16 pm

I don't have a horse in this race. Just making an observation (which I have made many times before). But then again we all repeat ourselves here.
“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

Post Reply