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RE: [Synoptic-L] The Case against The Logia, Thomas, or Q

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  • Ken Olson
    [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
    Message 1 of 52 , Jul 1 2:52 PM
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      [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
      orderly

      > 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
      figure out

      > 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"
      (R.E.Brown's

      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

      page).



      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
      others.



      Best,



      Ken






      Ken Olson, Vacationing PhD Candidate, New Testament, Duke University


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Ronald Price
      ... Ken, 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
      Message 52 of 52 , Jul 4 8:14 AM
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        Ken Olson wrote:

        > 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 .....

        Ken,

        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 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 .....

        There appears to be a significant weakness in your assessment of the
        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 say
        > elsewhere as a tool for interpreting what he says here about Matthew.

        But what about the wider context of the synoptic problem? There are
        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
        synoptic writers.

        1. mistranslations
        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.

        Ron Price,

        Derbyshire, UK

        http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/syno_home.html
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