What Are the Implications that Peter Taught in 'Anecdotes'?

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
User avatar
Ben C. Smith
Posts: 7393
Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2015 2:18 pm
Location: USA
Contact:

Re: What Are the Implications that Peter Taught in 'Anecdotes'?

Post by Ben C. Smith » Sun Mar 22, 2020 6:59 am

Bernard Muller wrote:
Sat Mar 21, 2020 9:55 pm
to Ben,
"Oracle" is probably a misleading translation for logion in a case like this for many people; I doubt you are alone in that.

But that logia can consist of "words and deeds" is beyond dispute; the term is used both of sayings and of narrated portions of the Hebrew scriptures, for example. It is not only what God (for example) said; it is also what God did
But you translated yourself λογίων by "oracles". And everywhere I looked, λογίων is always translated by "oracles".
Yes, because that is one of the primary meanings of the word. But its meaning shifted over time, as I (and many others) have shown elsewhere.
And if the author wanted to mean logia, why did he not use that word instead of λογίων?
Those are the same word: logia is the English transliteration of λόγια, and λογίων is the genitive plural of λόγια.
Do you know of any examples in ancient Greek writings where λογίων obviously mean logia instead of just "oracles"?
All of them. :D Logia is just the direct transliteration of λόγια, letter for letter. The definition of logia is: whatever λόγια means. :D

Some scholars mistakenly took the use of the term logia in Papias to mean a sayings gospel like Q, but that mistake has since been rectified, even among diehard Q scholars, who find their justification for that document elsewhere. At any rate, while that mistake was still in full force, the term logion (the singular of logia) was generally applied only to sayings by Jesus such as those we find in Thomas. But that is not a defensible restriction.
PS: correction: According to one of Secret Alias post, λογίων is translated by "sayings".

That does not seem to be a valid translation for me. And that does not include the deeds which Papias declared to be out of order also.
The word logion (the singular of logia) comes from the same root word as logos, "word" or "saying." That is its root meaning.

An analogy to how that term came to be used over time may be found in the English expression, the "word of God." Well, originally that phrase meant, quite literally, words which God spoke (as on Mount Sinai). But eventually all of the scriptures came to be regarded as having originated from God, so the entire Bible is now the "word of God." But the Bible contains both words and deeds, both of God and of others. "God caused it to rain" (a deed) is just as much the "word of God," in the religious sense, as "God said to Moses, 'Do not commit adultery'" (a word).

Papias (or his Elder John) appears to be using the term logia much as religious people today use the term "word of God." Matthew wrote down the logia, authoritative statements about the Lord Jesus, in order (and in Hebrew), while Mark, depending either upon anecdotal teaching or teaching "to the needs" from Peter, wrote down the logia, authoritative statements about the Lord Jesus (both his words and his deeds), out of order.

ETA: Here is what I hope will be a handy reference for this apparently troublesome word:

λόγιον (nominative singular, for when the word is the subject of a sentence)
λογίου (genitive singular, for when the word is possessive)
λογίῳ (dative singular, for when the word is the indirect object of a sentence)
λόγιον (accusative singular, for when the word is the direct object of a sentence)

λόγια (nominative plural, for when the word is the subject of a sentence)
λογίων (genitive plural, for when the word is possessive)
λογίοις (dative plural, for when the word is the indirect object of a sentence)
λόγια (accusative plural, for when the word is the direct object of a sentence)

logion (English transliteration of the nominative singular)
logia (English transliteration of the nominative plural)

English preserves the various cases (nominative, genitive, dative, accusative) only in its pronouns (he, his, him; she, her, her), not in its nouns (except that we still retain the difference between singular and plural); therefore, in English it is customary to use the nominative of Greek or Latin nouns (logion or logia, not logiou or logiwn).

Also, it should be noted that, while I have related each of the above cases to its standing in the grammar of a sentence (subject, direct or indirect object, possessive), each case is also used for a lot of other purposes, too many to list here. (That is what grammar books are for. I bet Smyth lists 15 or 20 distinct uses for the dative alone.)
ΤΙ ΕΣΤΙΝ ΑΛΗΘΕΙΑ

User avatar
Secret Alias
Posts: 11753
Joined: Sun Apr 19, 2015 8:47 am

Re: What Are the Implications that Peter Taught in 'Anecdotes'?

Post by Secret Alias » Sun Mar 22, 2020 9:47 am

I will say as the resident insane person that while it was common to do so in antiquity developing a 'history' out of anecdotes of another person doesn't seem to allow for the gospel to be 'taken literally' - when it comes to the life and times of Jesus. Especially when Papias opens the door to Mark taking these anecdotes and puttiing them in the wrong order. Whatever the wrong order of Mark was we are left trusting Eusebius and Irenaeus's 'thumbs up' to Papias's claim that Matthew got the order right. Even though it is difficult to see how Papias can be talking about our canonical Mark and Matthew. When you layer on top of this that Luke says that he is writing after previous attempts to develop an orderly account it is a hopelessly bad situation. Irenaeus's discussion in Against Heresies 1.8 of stones of a mosaic being rearranged according to dogma matters seem more serious than the minor differences between canonical Matthew and Mark.
“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

Bernard Muller
Posts: 3309
Joined: Tue Oct 15, 2013 6:02 pm
Contact:

Re: What Are the Implications that Peter Taught in 'Anecdotes'?

Post by Bernard Muller » Sun Mar 22, 2020 10:47 am

to Ben,
Thank you for your lesson on ancient Greek.

I understand "oracles" as a translation for λογίων is misleading and rather should be replaced by "sayings".
But if "the lordly sayings" (or "the sayings of the Lord") is correct, and if "Lord" means Christ, "the sayings of the Lord" does not include the deeds of Christ. There would be a problem here. Or maybe we should read "the sayings about the Lord (but I don't think the Greek allows for that). What is your opinion on this?
But is "the lordly sayings" (or "the sayings of the Lord") is correct, and if "Lord" means God, "the sayings of the Lord" would make Mark a "voice" of God. Is it realistic?

And in "Matthew put together the sayings" (instead of oracles), then if the sayings are from (of) Jesus, that would put Matthew as a compiler of sayings and therefore not the alleged author of the gospel according to Matthew.
But if Matthew is said to be the compiler of the sayings of God, that would put Matthew a voice of God (and the alleged author of the gospel).
What do you think on that?

Cordially, Bernard
I believe freedom of expression should not be curtailed

User avatar
Ben C. Smith
Posts: 7393
Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2015 2:18 pm
Location: USA
Contact:

Re: What Are the Implications that Peter Taught in 'Anecdotes'?

Post by Ben C. Smith » Sun Mar 22, 2020 11:24 am

Bernard Muller wrote:
Sun Mar 22, 2020 10:47 am
I understand "oracles" as a translation for λογίων is misleading and rather should be replaced by "sayings".
This part is not correct. Also, "oracles" is misleading only if one is not grasping what the Greek word is trying to say. Way, way too many assumptions are habitually imported into this context.
But if "the lordly sayings" (or "the sayings of the Lord") is correct, and if "Lord" means Christ, "the sayings of the Lord" does not include the deeds of Christ.
Logia are, in the way the word is used, authoritative statements. This is why "oracles" can often be a perfectly good translation of the term. Logia can be a virtual synonym for the "scriptures," for example, and the scriptures consist of far more than just words spoken directly by God; the scriptures include words about God, as well.
There would be a problem here. Or maybe we should read "the sayings about the Lord (but I don't think the Greek allows for that). What is your opinion on this?
The Greek is ambiguous on this, because "lordly" is an adjective. A "royal arrival" means that somebody royal is arriving; the royal person is the subject of the sentence implied by the phrase; but a "naval disaster" means that something disastrous has happened to the navy, or at least to one of its ships; the navy is the object (whether direct or indirect) of the sentence implied by the phrase. Likewise, "lordly oracles" could be either things said by or things said about or even to the Lord. ("Political news" is news about politics; the "evening news" is news delivered during the evening; "British news" is news delivered by the British news companies; you can see how flexible adjectives can be with relation to the verb actions they imply!)

The translation "sayings of/by the Lord" hails from that time period when it was assumed (rather than argued) that the sayings had to be by Jesus, and we know now that this is not necessarily the case.

If "sayings" were all that the term logia had in view, then one would presumably have to wonder why an author would not just use the usual word for sayings, logos (singular) or logoi (plural), which is exactly what Papias himself does elsewhere, when he says in Eusebius, History of the Church 3.39.4, that he inquired after the "sayings"/"words" (λόγους) of the elders. That term is clear enough; he was inquiring about what Thomas and Peter and the rest had said (likely what they had said about the Lord). But when he writes about what Matthew and Mark were doing, he no longer uses this very clear term. He (or his Elder John) opts for logion/logia. Furthermore, he makes very clear in his paragraph about Mark that logia include both what the Lord said and what the Lord did. This is one of several excellent reasons to interpret the logia in this context as basically the Christian equivalent to calling certain Jewish texts "the Hebrew scriptures." (Of course, only a generation or two later Christians would begin to call their writings "scripture." But in Papias' time this apparently had not started yet, and his preferred term was logia. Another important distinction is that logia do not have to be written, while scriptures do; what is the same about both terms is their sense of divine authority.)

Hopefully this will be helpful:

logoi (λόγοι) = words, sayings (whether spoken or written)
logia (λόγια) = divinely authoritative or inspired statements (whether spoken, like "oracles," or written, like "scriptures")
graphai (γραφαί) = scriptures (written)

ΤΙ ΕΣΤΙΝ ΑΛΗΘΕΙΑ

User avatar
Ben C. Smith
Posts: 7393
Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2015 2:18 pm
Location: USA
Contact:

Re: What Are the Implications that Peter Taught in 'Anecdotes'?

Post by Ben C. Smith » Sun Mar 22, 2020 12:27 pm

Logia can be written:

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].

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.

Ignatius to the Smyrnaeans 3.4 (long recension): 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 the oracles say, "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."

Polycarp to the 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 firstborn of Satan.

Philo calls the Jewish scriptures logia, while pseudo-Ignatius and Polycarp calls the Christian scriptures logia.

Logia can be spoken:

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

It is worth pointing out that, according to Eusebius, Papias knew and used this epistle.

I am betting that Papias, then, considered what Matthew wrote to be logia ("scriptures") and what Peter taught to be logia ("oracles"). He is explicit about the former and implicit about the latter.
ΤΙ ΕΣΤΙΝ ΑΛΗΘΕΙΑ

Post Reply