RE: [Synoptic-L] Papias
- I am not sure that one can debate whether Papias
is good evidence for one or another view of what
he is said to have asserted about some of the texts
without taking into account the strangeness of some
of the other material attributed to Papias. Would
I be alone in finding some of that weird?
David Mealand, University of Edinburgh
The University of Edinburgh is a charitable body, registered in
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- 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.