RE: [Synoptic-L] The Case against The Logia, Thomas, or Q
- [Re-posting: first try seems not to have gone through]
On June 29, Ron Price wrote:
KEN 1: I take Papias to be contrasting
Mark with Matthew .....
RON: You are assuming that Eusebius correctly preserved the context of what
Papias wrote. This is by no means certain. Papias could have made the
statement about Matthew and the oracles at a different time and place from
the time and place of the statement about Mark.
KEN : I am assuming that what Papias
says in other places (according to Eusebius� reports) may be used to interpret
what he says here. Particularly when he uses groups of words together
(interpret, arrange, logia) in relation to the evangelists on different
occasions, they mean something close to the same thing and are dealing with the
same issues. Further, while it is possible that Eusebius is taking the statement
about Matthew from a significantly different location in Papias� text, that
theory is hardly required by the evidence.
KEN 1: > The theory that "the
logia" referred to a specific document is possible but
> unwarranted. I take Papias to be ..... saying ..... Matthew made an
> arrangement of the Jesus tradition.
RON: If this wasn't in a document, what was it in?
KEN : The logia were in Matthew�s head
and Peter�s as well. Matthew put them into an arrangement in his gospel. Papias�
concern is to show that the gospels are the authentic witness of the apostles
to Jesus and have not been adulterated in transmission, and the variation
between them is due differences in translation of the underlying material and
the occasional nature of Peter�s teaching versus Matthew�s �marshaling� (arrangement
in proper order) of the material. So the logia are the Jesus tradition which
the apostle Matthew knew, which Matthew put into a an orderly arrangement in
his gospel. It would even be possible to understand Papas� as meaning Matthew
did his arranging of the Hebrew logia in his head, but that the logia were not
written down until he enscribed them in his Greek gospel. However, it appears
that Eusebius thought Matthew to have written a Hebrew gospel which was then
translated into Greek (HE 3.24.6) and he probably understood Papias to be
saying this. Parenthetically, while I have been using the terms tradition and
transmission, they are a bit misleading. Papias is concerned to minimize the
stages of transmission and the points at which inauthentic material may have
come in through other people (see especially what he says in HE 3.39.3). The
words and deeds of Jesus were witnessed by the apostles. Matthew wrote them
down and translated them himself, while Peter�s teaching was translated and
written down by Mark �accurately.. but not in order�.
> KEN 1: In any event, the first step is to read HE 3.39.14-16 and try to
> the issues Papias was addressing .....
RON: Only one issue if, as seems quite likely from the introductory clause PERI
DE TOU MATQAIOU TAUT EIRHTAI ..., Eusebius took the statement about Matthew
from a different context.
KEN: You can�t simply set aside the
larger context of what Papias and Eusebius say elsewhere as a tool for interpreting
what he says here about Matthew. If you did, you wouldn�t know that the Matthew
referred to here is the apostle Matthew or that the logia he collected have
something to do with Jesus. You have to trust that Papias is not using words in
contexts that are wildly different from the way he uses them elsewhere and that
Eusebius is introducing a quotation/paraphrase that is relevant to the topic
he�s discussing in the HE. When Papias uses the words interpret or arrange of
Matthew, we can interpret these in relation to their use with Mark. This is
especially so if we take �each interpreted/translated as well as he was able�
to refer to the evangelists (as you and I both do, though you include Luke in
addition to Matthew and Mark).
KEN 1: > ..... rather than to put it into service of our source theories.
RON: I prefer to call it choosing a
theory which matches the evidence, the match
in this case being:
KEN: The problem is that way you score
what will count as a �match� is arbitrary. You want to set aside interpretations
that see Papias as comparing/contrasting Mark and Matthew on the grounds that
the contexts are possibly different and thus leave your interpretation about
what *could* be the case as a sort of last man standing and thus the
default correct interpretation. When you do this you�re dismissing a strong
reading of Papias on the grounds that it *could* be wrong and
substituting a weaker (perhaps I should say �more speculative�) reading on the
grounds it *could* be right.
(1) RON: Matthew (the apostle) *could* have edited a sayings collection, but
could not have written the gospel which is known by his name.
KEN: You could find scholars that would
contest either of these points, but my objection is that you�re proposing a
criterion of judgment that holds that the theory that best preserves the
historical accuracy of Papias� claim is to be preferred. I don�t see that Papias is actually concerned with the
literary history of the gospels and the methods
of composition used by the evangelists. He seems to have missed the fact
(as you and I both take it) that Matthew used Mark. I�m proposing instead that
the theory is theory to be preferred is that which best explains what Papias
claims here in the context of what he says elsewhere , and that theory is that
he wants to explain the differences in wording between Mark and Matthew as
translation variants. He also wants to explain how Jesus sayings in
Aramaic/Hebrew wound up in Greek. That either he or the elder who may have been
his source actually had knowledge of a Hebrew/Aramaic document is unnecessary.
They could just as easily just be positing its existence.
(2) RON: "the sayings" (R.E.Brown's translation of TA LOGIA)
While I have great respect for Brown as
a NT scholar, I do not think his authority is a decisive factor here. I can see
no reason to set aside what LOGIA means in Greek in general, what it means in
Eusebius, what Eusebius seems to have taken it to mean in Papias, and what
Papias seems to mean by it in other contexts. I�d have to know Brown�s reasons
for giving that particular translation here in order to evaluate them against
the others reasons given against that translation. (Parenthetically, I don�t
think it would affect my case very much if we did take logia to mean sayings.
Matthew and Peter would still be pulling them from their own memories and
Matthew would still be arranging them in his gospel and Mark writing them down
as Peter said them, but in Greek).
(3) RON: My posited sayings collection *could* have been written in
Hebrew/Aramaic, which Q (according to Kloppenborg et al.) could not.
KEN 2: See my remarks under point 1. Eusebius
appears to be taking Papias to be explaining the production of Matthew�s gospel
in Greek, and I think he was probably right to do so.
(4) RON: The reconstruction on the web page below is a superbly "orderly
arrangement" (to quote the phrase you used above).
KEN 2: An �orderly arrangement� also
describes canonical Matthew, at least in the eyes of the early church. And canonical
Matthew has the advantage of being a non-hypothetical document that has come
down to us with Matthew�s name attached to it, and to which Eusebius appears to
have taken Papias to be referring.
(5) RON: The "each one interpreted/translated as he was able"
translation) matches the observation of certain translation variants in the
posited logia (see esp. the comments on sayings D2 and D7 on the next web
KEN 2: It also �matches� the theory
that the early church needed to explain the differences in wording between the
gospels of Mark and Matthew while preserving their accuracy � which is the
issue with which Papias and Eusebius are concerned. The gospels preserve
authentic apostolic witness to Jesus, Matthew providing his own translation and
Mark providing a translation of the teaching of Peter. Again, Eusebius seems to
have taken Papias to be referring to the canonical gospels.
In summary, I think the advantage that
your theory has in taking seriously Papias� claim that there was a Hebrew
document (or possibly not a document, but something in Hebrew) is much
outweighed by the advantages of the opposing theory that Papias (or the elder,
or the elder�s source) was referring to canonical Matthew and positing a Hebrew
original to explain divergences from the other canonical gospels, or at least
Mark. These advantages include that the document has come down to us from the
early church, with the name Matthew, that it�s what Eusebius took Papias to be
referring to, and that it fits with Papias interest exhibited elsewhere in differentiating
between the authentic apostolic Jesus tradition and the adulterated opinions of
Ken Olson, Vacationing PhD Candidate, New Testament, Duke University
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
- Ken Olson wrote:
> I am assuming that what Papias says in other places (according to Eusebius‚Ken,
> reports) may be used to interpret
> what he says here. Particularly when he uses groups of words together
> (interpret, arrange, logia) in relation to the evangelists on different
> occasions, they mean something close to the same thing .....
NT scholars don't always use the word "gospel" in the same sense. The
variation in meaning parallels almost exactly the variation in meaning
between Eusebius/Papias, where logia usually refers to general traditions
(c.f. e.g. Luke's gospel), and what I think Papias meant re what Matthew
produced - logia as sayings (c.f. the 'Gospel of Thomas'). Why should we
expect the ancients to be more consistent than the highly educated products
of modern universities?
> Papias' concern is to show that the gospels are the authentic witness of theThere appears to be a significant weakness in your assessment of the
> apostles to Jesus and have not been adulterated in transmission, and the
> variation between them is due differences in translation of the underlying
> material .....
statement by Papias, namely your interpretation of his "translation".
Firstly it assumes that Eusebius' HE 3.24.6 reflects the understanding of
Papias, which is not necessarily the case (and I think you admitted this).
Secondly I don't see any evidence that Papias (or Eusebius) was making
inadequate translation an excuse for variations between the gospels.
Thirdly, if I've understood you correctly, your interpretation envisages an
awkward sentence in which Matthew did a good job with the logia, yet is
included in the "each one" whose ability at translation was being
questioned. This doesn't seem to me likely. In my interpretation, Matthew
(the apostle) is not included in the "each one". Indeed I'm wondering
whether it could have been this very statement which Eusebius and/or others
misunderstood, leading to the apostle Matthew being taken to have been the
author of the gospel which we know as Matthew's gospel.
> You can't simply set aside the larger context of what Papias and Eusebius sayBut what about the wider context of the synoptic problem? There are
> elsewhere as a tool for interpreting what he says here about Matthew.
phenomena in NT books that can only be explained satisfactorily if there
existed in the first century a written Aramaic document containing sayings
attributed to Jesus, and if copies of this document were available to the
2. Aramaic word play
3. extensive Semitic parallelism
4. blocks of aphorisms in each of the synoptic gospels
5. comments by Paul (esp. in 1 Cor) which seem to be best understood as
allusions to such a document
Such observations should lead us to *expect* that there was an Aramaic
sayings source, and surely it would be reasonable to take this expectation
as tipping the balance as to what Papias actually meant.