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

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

Post by DCHindley » Wed Nov 28, 2018 5:07 pm

Let's not forget that Papias must have had a job that involved a lot of travel, as he was encountering folks who at least claimed to have heard the teachings of the first and second generation apostles and key disciples. Like Hegesippus, he probably used a notebook as a diary where he recorded the tales he heard and the teachings relayed to him.

Ideally, he wrote things as he heard them like a court recorder does.

Less ideally is to summarize his recollections of the information made privy to him, making periodic diary entries, summarizing the accounts using his brain, which will rationalize away the inconsistencies between accounts. A lot of mental rationalizing goes on even between hearing something interesting at dinner and a diary record at dusk or (gasp) the next morning.

Finally, when Papias decided to publish a summary of the things he had recorded in his notebook, what he edited for publication again passed through his brain. As he further organized the accounts in their entirety, he will notice contradictions that had previously passed by him, and the brain again rationalizes these away as best as it can.

By the time Eusebius read it, his own brain interprets Papias' presentation of them, as well as being aware of a wider variety of Christian parties than Papias seemed to be, but Eusebius did not like Papias' fascination with the concept of a super fruitful earthly kingdom on earth. Eusebius had thrown his lot in with the Augustus Constantine (in charge, oddly, of a region far from Syria, keeping unruly Gauls and Germans in line). The Augustus Licinius rid Eusebius of his nemesis, the Augustus Maximinus who ruled Asia Minor and Syria. So when he evaluates Papias' contributions, he calls him both learned (enough to record the things he did) and stupid (because he believed in a coming earthly 1,000 year kingdom).

Eusebius' issue with an earthly kingdom, which I think Jesus did preach, was in something he must have said about the state of the faithful between when they might die until the time they were resurrected at the last day. Perhaps, like Jehovah's Witnesses today, he said their souls rest in a state of nothingness, while Eusebius believed that the faithful rested in bliss heaven in no real hurry to live on that trifling 1,000 yr earthly kingdom, but waiting instead for a new heavens & earth, while they cheer the living faithful down below from their box seats in heaven.

If this seems strange, remember the Book of revelation has BOTH an 1,000 year kingdom on earth AND an eternal new heavens & earth. These ideals may have co-existed much like Catholics and Protestants did in the late middle ages, or Sunni & Shia in Islam. The eternal KoG in a new earth was the winner historically.

DCH

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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 5:13 pm

DCHindley wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 5:07 pm
Let's not forget that Papias must have had a job that involved a lot of travel, as he was encountering folks who at least claimed to have heard the teachings of the first and second generation apostles and key disciples.
I am not so sure about that. He writes, "And if anyone should chance to come along who had followed the elders...." It sounds like people were coming to him, not like he was going to them.
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Re: Did Papias report not the "sayings of the Lord" but "the oracles concerning the Lord"?

Post by gmx » Thu Nov 29, 2018 4:49 am

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 5:13 pm
DCHindley wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 5:07 pm
Let's not forget that Papias must have had a job that involved a lot of travel, as he was encountering folks who at least claimed to have heard the teachings of the first and second generation apostles and key disciples.
I am not so sure about that. He writes, "And if anyone should chance to come along who had followed the elders...." It sounds like people were coming to him, not like he was going to them.
And as I've remarked previously, of the quotations we have from Papias' Expositions.... very few seem to have anything to do with the "sayings of the Lord". They're about Philip and his daughters, or Judas and his entrails, or as Eusebius says, "some other more fantastical things". If Papias' 5 volumes was primarily concerned with the sayings of the Lord, why is it only Papias' tangential content has been preserved ?
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Re: Did Papias report not the "sayings of the Lord" but "the oracles concerning the Lord"?

Post by Ben C. Smith » Thu Nov 29, 2018 7:57 am

gmx wrote:
Thu Nov 29, 2018 4:49 am
And as I've remarked previously, of the quotations we have from Papias' Expositions.... very few seem to have anything to do with the "sayings of the Lord". They're about Philip and his daughters, or Judas and his entrails, or as Eusebius says, "some other more fantastical things". If Papias' 5 volumes was primarily concerned with the sayings of the Lord, why is it only Papias' tangential content has been preserved ?
I think that is because of Eusebius' overall policy for quotations. He rarely quotes writers quoting earlier writers, and almost never quotes writers quoting scripture (both Testaments). He mainly quotes writers for what they can offer that is either unique or the earliest extant instance of something in Christian history; he also quotes them in conjunction with other writers when the detail they agree on is unusual or interesting. Here, for example, is how he treats Irenaeus in the first four books of his History of the Church:

Eusebius, History of the Church 2.13.5 (statement that Irenaeus agrees with Justin Martyr on the topic of Simon Magus).
Eusebius, History of the Church 3.18.2-3 (date and provenance of the Apocalypse of John).
Eusebius, History of the Church 3.23.2-4 (John's abode in Ephesus until the time of Trajan).
Eusebius, History of the Church 3.26.1-2 (details concerning Menander).
Eusebius, History of the Church 3.28.6 (account, on the authority of Polycarp, of John and Cerinthus in the bathhouse).
Eusebius, History of the Church 3.36.12 (anonymous quote from the Ignatian epistles proving that Irenaeus knew them).
Eusebius, History of the Church 3.39.1 (statement that Papias wrote only five books, nothing more).
Eusebius, History of the Church 3.39.13 (opinion that the millennial views of Irenaeus were Papias' fault).
Eusebius, History of the Church 4.7.4 (details concerning Saturninus and Basilides).
Eusebius, History of the Church 4.7.9 (details concerning Carpocrates).
Eusebius, History of the Church 4.10.1 (martyrdom of Telesphorus, currency of Valentinus and Cerdon in Rome).
Eusebius, History of the Church 4.11.3-5 (details concerning Valentinus and Marcus).
Eusebius, History of the Church 4.14.1-8 (details concerning Polycarp).
Eusebius, History of the Church 4.18.9 (details concerning Justin Martyr).
Eusebius, History of the Church 4.21.1 (simple notice of when Irenaeus and his contemporaries flourished).
Eusebius, History of the Church 4.22.8 (agreement of Irenaeus and Hegesippus in what they call the book of Proverbs).
Eusebius, History of the Church 4.25.1 (mention of Irenaeus' work against Marcion).
Eusebius, History of the Church 4.29.1-3 (details concerning Tatian).

Irenaeus quotes and expounds upon numerous scriptures at length, yet Eusebius generally does not touch those parts of Irenaeus' work. He has no reason to do so.

What we get from Eusebius on Papias is pretty much what we would expect, I think: the weird stuff (the bits about the millennium, for example), the first stuff (Papias being the earliest extant writer to link Peter with the gospel of Mark, for example), the unique stuff. I do not know why we would expect Eusebius to quote Papias quoting the gospels; that is not his usual tactic elsewhere. Nor would we expect Eusebius to quote Papias' interpretations at any length, Papias being a chiliast and all. Eusebius does sometimes quote writers quoting from more obscure New Testament books, especially the ones being debated in his own time (the Apocalypse, James, Jude, 2 Peter), but the gospels (along with the Pauline epistles) he regards as bedrock. No need to establish their authority in the church!
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Re: Did Papias report not the "sayings of the Lord" but "the oracles concerning the Lord"?

Post by DCHindley » Thu Nov 29, 2018 5:17 pm

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 5:13 pm
DCHindley wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 5:07 pm
Let's not forget that Papias must have had a job that involved a lot of travel, as he was encountering folks who at least claimed to have heard the teachings of the first and second generation apostles and key disciples.
I am not so sure about that. He writes, "And if anyone should chance to come along who had followed the elders...." It sounds like people were coming to him, not like he was going to them.
Yes, I thank you for that observation. So he may have lived, at some time, near a busy road, and had occasion to meet some notables.

I'm not sure that bishops in the mid to later half of the 2nd century were compensated for their duties, and if so, maybe not much, so he could have had an outside occupation. Like I said, it makes a difference whether he was a court recorder or a merchant or just a literate slave. But I think the way he came into contact with these Christian notables was in connection with his status as a bishop.

Bishops would, I think, be responsible for finding lodging for travelers stopping for the night or even longer (say on business) who were of the Christian persuasion. "Hey, I've got a room for you at my house! C'mon over and I'll have my significant other make you a hot supper." Then they all sat around and told tales and exchanged questions and answers by the light of clay lamps and the embers of the hearth.

When he decides to write it all up, he summarizes the stories about Jesus that he heard, along with some factoids about his sources, but what he adds are passages from sacred scripture that he felt had somehow foretold these events told about Jesus.

While Christianity had a long history of creating proof texts about certain key events in Jesus' life, the scriptures Papias' proposed to be validations of these stories were not adopted, as chiliasm (belief in 1,000 yr earthly kingdom) was rapidly being replaced by a grander scenario which would not upset the authorities (afterlife in heaven). So Papias' work became a curiosity, then almost forgotten, except in legend. Eusebius dug up a copy of it and summarized his heterodox legends, but warns "he's a dummy."

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

Post by Ken Olson » Fri Nov 30, 2018 10:53 am

There's a good discussion of the various proposals as to what Papias' logia, as recorded by Eusebius, meant in Donald Carson & Douglas Moo A Introduction to the New Testament (2009) 141-146 (preview available in Google Books):

I would agree with the Carson and Moo's conclusion in the paragraph quoted below from p. 145 that Papias uses the word logia to refer to both the words and deeds of Jesus; the logia of the lord means something like "the sacred tradition about the Lord."

Best,

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

Post by Ben C. Smith » Fri Nov 30, 2018 11:26 am

Ken Olson wrote:
Fri Nov 30, 2018 10:53 am
There's a good discussion of the various proposals as to what Papias' logia, as recorded by Eusebius, meant in Donald Carson & Douglas Moo A Introduction to the New Testament (2009) 141-146 (preview available in Google Books):

I would agree with the Carson and Moo's conclusion in the paragraph quoted below from p. 145 that Papias uses the word logia to refer to both the words and deeds of Jesus; the logia of the lord means something like "the sacred tradition about the Lord."
That is essentially my understanding, as well.
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Re: Did Papias report not the "sayings of the Lord" but "the oracles concerning the Lord"?

Post by John2 » Fri Nov 30, 2018 2:37 pm

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Fri Nov 30, 2018 11:26 am
Ken Olson wrote:
Fri Nov 30, 2018 10:53 am
There's a good discussion of the various proposals as to what Papias' logia, as recorded by Eusebius, meant in Donald Carson & Douglas Moo A Introduction to the New Testament (2009) 141-146 (preview available in Google Books):

I would agree with the Carson and Moo's conclusion in the paragraph quoted below from p. 145 that Papias uses the word logia to refer to both the words and deeds of Jesus; the logia of the lord means something like "the sacred tradition about the Lord."
That is essentially my understanding, as well.
Me too. It seems like the best way to explain why Jewish Christians are said to have used a Hebrew Matthew (with Nazarenes being able to read it and other NT writings only in Hebrew) and the variant Greek version(s) of Matthew Jewish Christians used that are cited by numerous church fathers (and the canonical Matthew). Papias, in my view, is simply the first link in the chain of these other witnesses.
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Re: Did Papias report not the "sayings of the Lord" but "the oracles concerning the Lord"?

Post by Ben C. Smith » Fri Nov 30, 2018 3:23 pm

John2 wrote:
Fri Nov 30, 2018 2:37 pm
Ben C. Smith wrote:
Fri Nov 30, 2018 11:26 am
Ken Olson wrote:
Fri Nov 30, 2018 10:53 am
I would agree with the Carson and Moo's conclusion in the paragraph quoted below from p. 145 that Papias uses the word logia to refer to both the words and deeds of Jesus; the logia of the lord means something like "the sacred tradition about the Lord."
That is essentially my understanding, as well.
Me too. It seems like the best way to explain why Jewish Christians are said to have used a Hebrew Matthew (with Nazarenes being able to read it and other NT writings only in Hebrew) and the variant Greek version(s) of Matthew Jewish Christians used that are cited by numerous church fathers (and the canonical Matthew). Papias, in my view, is simply the first link in the chain of these other witnesses.
Or maybe John the elder is?
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Re: Did Papias report not the "sayings of the Lord" but "the oracles concerning the Lord"?

Post by John2 » Fri Nov 30, 2018 3:56 pm

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Fri Nov 30, 2018 3:23 pm
John2 wrote:
Fri Nov 30, 2018 2:37 pm
Ben C. Smith wrote:
Fri Nov 30, 2018 11:26 am
Ken Olson wrote:
Fri Nov 30, 2018 10:53 am
I would agree with the Carson and Moo's conclusion in the paragraph quoted below from p. 145 that Papias uses the word logia to refer to both the words and deeds of Jesus; the logia of the lord means something like "the sacred tradition about the Lord."
That is essentially my understanding, as well.
Me too. It seems like the best way to explain why Jewish Christians are said to have used a Hebrew Matthew (with Nazarenes being able to read it and other NT writings only in Hebrew) and the variant Greek version(s) of Matthew Jewish Christians used that are cited by numerous church fathers (and the canonical Matthew). Papias, in my view, is simply the first link in the chain of these other witnesses.
Or maybe John the elder is?
Maybe so. Papias is a very early link at least, and the first one we can be sure about. But since John appears to have been Papias' source for information about Mark, he might have also been his source for information about Matthew, and if so, then yes, John (or at least someone besides Papias) would be the first link in the chain (assuming that Papias didn't make it up).

EH 3.39.14-16:
14. Papias gives also in his own work other accounts of the words of the Lord on the authority of Aristion who was mentioned above, and traditions as handed down by the presbyter John; to which we refer those who are fond of learning. But now we must add to the words of his which we have already quoted the tradition which he gives in regard to Mark, the author of the Gospel.

15. “This also the presbyter said: Mark, having become the interpreter of Peter, wrote down accurately, though not in order, whatsoever he remembered of the things said or done by Christ. For he neither heard the Lord nor followed him, but afterward, as I said, he followed Peter, who adapted his teaching to the needs of his hearers, but with no intention of giving a connected account of the Lord's discourses, so that Mark committed no error while he thus wrote some things as he remembered them. For he was careful of one thing, not to omit any of the things which he had heard, and not to state any of them falsely.” These things are related by Papias concerning Mark.

16. 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.”
.
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