Not Enough Papias

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cantonin_01
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Not Enough Papias

Post by cantonin_01 » Wed Jan 15, 2020 7:54 pm

I have a specific question about Papias. We are told that he wrote five volumes. Yet for hundreds of years, the only testimonies from early writers involve the same few “facts”. In some instances they even state that they’re quoting from Papias’ “book 2” or “book 5” or whatever, but they rarely offer much that adds to Irenaeus’ original testimony. But is it normal that for such a crucial witness to John, that about 95% of this guy’s books would be ignored by the early Christian writers?

1. Papias a hearer of John (anti-Marcionite prologues, Irenaeus, Eusebius, Jerome)

2. 10,000 clusters of grapes (Irenaeus, Eusebius, Maximus the Confessor, Anastasius of Sinai)

3. Jesus replies to Judas about the end of the world (Irenaeus, Hippolytus)

4. The Papias Quote (“For I did not rejoice over those who spoke many things”) (Irenaeus, Eusebius, Victorinus, Jerome, Philip Sidetes)

5. Justus drank poison and suffered no harm (Eusebius)

6. Papias knew 1 John and the adultery pericope (Eusebius)

7. Judas death (Apollinarius)

8. James and John killed by Jews (P. Sidetes)

It’s also confusing because at one point Eusebius says that according to Irenaeus, the five books are the only writings of Papias (whom Eusebius cutely calls “the Papias now being explained”), implying that Papias’ works were lost by Eusebius’ time. But then he goes on later to quote other Papias material that’s NOT in Irenaeus.

To put it another way, shouldn’t we have a lot more Papias?

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Ben C. Smith
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Re: Not Enough Papias

Post by Ben C. Smith » Wed Jan 15, 2020 8:59 pm

cantonin_01 wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 7:54 pm
I have a specific question about Papias. We are told that he wrote five volumes. Yet for hundreds of years, the only testimonies from early writers involve the same few “facts”. In some instances they even state that they’re quoting from Papias’ “book 2” or “book 5” or whatever, but they rarely offer much that adds to Irenaeus’ original testimony. But is it normal that for such a crucial witness to John, that about 95% of this guy’s books would be ignored by the early Christian writers?

1. Papias a hearer of John (anti-Marcionite prologues, Irenaeus, Eusebius, Jerome)

2. 10,000 clusters of grapes (Irenaeus, Eusebius, Maximus the Confessor, Anastasius of Sinai)

3. Jesus replies to Judas about the end of the world (Irenaeus, Hippolytus)

4. The Papias Quote (“For I did not rejoice over those who spoke many things”) (Irenaeus, Eusebius, Victorinus, Jerome, Philip Sidetes)

5. Justus drank poison and suffered no harm (Eusebius)

6. Papias knew 1 John and the adultery pericope (Eusebius)

7. Judas death (Apollinarius)

8. James and John killed by Jews (P. Sidetes)

It’s also confusing because at one point Eusebius says that according to Irenaeus, the five books are the only writings of Papias (whom Eusebius cutely calls “the Papias now being explained”), implying that Papias’ works were lost by Eusebius’ time. But then he goes on later to quote other Papias material that’s NOT in Irenaeus.

To put it another way, shouldn’t we have a lot more Papias?
A few points:
  1. Your list is lacking several quotations and allusions by name.
  2. Papias was a chiliast, and chiliasm fell out of favor at about the time of Constantine.
  3. The church fathers before Eusebius far more frequently plagiarized each other anonymously than quoted each other by name. It is therefore rather likely that writers like Eusebius, Hippolytus, and others do contain Papian material, but without attribution. This likelihood does not help us very much, obviously, because it leaves us merely guessing at what may have come from Papias, but those are the breaks.
  4. Eusebius, who is the one who popularized long verbatim quotations of earlier patristic authors by name, was contemporaneous with Constantine. Therefore, by a quirk of history, we would not expect authors before Constantine to quote Papias much by name because that is not how they usually operated, and we would not expect authors after Constantine to quote Papias much at all because chiliasm was no longer the preferred doctrine (and also because Eusebius, whose work was widely read and emulated, had basically called Papias an idiot).
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MrMacSon
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Re: Not Enough Papias

Post by MrMacSon » Thu Jan 16, 2020 6:12 pm

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 8:59 pm
2. Papias was a chiliast, and chiliasm fell out of favor at about the time of Constantine.
Is that ever discussed or expalined by Eusebius or others who might have been involved in such a change in theology or doctrine?

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MrMacSon
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Re: Not Enough Papias

Post by MrMacSon » Thu Jan 16, 2020 6:16 pm

cantonin_01 wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 7:54 pm

... We are told that [Papias] wrote five volumes. Yet for hundreds of years, the only testimonies from early writers involve the same few “facts”. In some instances they even state that they’re quoting from Papias’ “book 2” or “book 5” or whatever, but they rarely offer much that adds to Irenaeus’ original testimony. But is it normal that for such a crucial witness to John...would be ignored by the early Christian writers?

< . . snip . . >

... at one point Eusebius says that, according to Irenaeus, the five books are the only writings of Papias ... But then he goes on later to quote other Papias material that’s NOT in Irenaeus.

To put it another way, shouldn’t we have a lot more Papias?
.
I agree it's all a bit weird concerning Papias.

Welcome.

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Ben C. Smith
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Re: Not Enough Papias

Post by Ben C. Smith » Thu Jan 16, 2020 6:24 pm

MrMacSon wrote:
Thu Jan 16, 2020 6:12 pm
Ben C. Smith wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 8:59 pm
2. Papias was a chiliast, and chiliasm fell out of favor at about the time of Constantine.
Is that ever discussed or explained by Eusebius or others who might have been involved in such a change in theology or doctrine?
Eusebius was probably just following in the footsteps of Origen and other early nonchiliasts/amillennialists.

It is not clear that there ever was a change in doctrine; both viewpoints seem to go back about as far as we can trace them.

Chiliasm/(pre)millennialism did not completely die out even after Constantine. But it fell into a minority position, whereas before Constantine it may even have constituted a majority.
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cantonin_01
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Re: Not Enough Papias

Post by cantonin_01 » Fri Jan 17, 2020 9:16 am

MrMacSon wrote:
Thu Jan 16, 2020 6:16 pm

I agree it's all a bit weird concerning Papias.

Welcome.

Thank you; looking forward to learning and joining the discussions; there’s a lot of weird elements of early Christianity in those first 2 centuries.

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