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Re: testimony of Papias

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  • Dennis C. Sullivan
    Thanks, Yuri! Excellent article! Jack Kilmon expressed the ideas that were going through my head as I read your observations. I m sure the JohnLITR newsgroup
    Message 1 of 10 , Dec 6, 1998
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      Thanks, Yuri!

      Excellent article!

      Jack Kilmon expressed the ideas that were going through my head as I read
      your observations.

      I'm sure the JohnLITR newsgroup would enjoy reading your article sometime!

      Regards,

      Dennis Sullivan
    • Maluflen@aol.com
      In a message dated 98-12-06 16:01:08 EST, yuku@globalserve.net writes:
      Message 2 of 10 , Dec 6, 1998
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        In a message dated 98-12-06 16:01:08 EST, yuku@... writes:

        <<
        "Papias, bishop of Hierapolis, having been a hearer of John the theologian
        and companion of Polycarp, wrote five treatises on the DOMINICAL ORACLES.
        In them he made an enumeration of apostles, and after naming Peter and
        John, Philip and Thomas and Matthew, recorded as "disciples of the Lord"
        Aristion and another John whom he also called "elder"." (p. 117-118)

        So this, as preserved by Philip, is what Papias probably said, and
        Eusebius may have omitted. If we accept these things as indeed having been
        said by Papias, this would explain quite a lot. So there would have been
        two apostles named John according to Papias -- the brother of James, plus
        John the Elder.

        And the same epitome continues further on,

        "Papias in the second treatise says that John the theologian and James his
        brother were slain by the Jews." (p. 119)

        Now, this is quite a statement. Papias, it seems, was well aware that John
        the brother of James was martyred early. And is it possible that he also
        thought that the gospel of John was written by another John -- not John
        Boanerges, although also apostle? Let's call this hypothesis #1.
        >>

        Yuri, you speak twice in the above of a second John the "apostle". Is this
        really what Philip says? It looks to me from your citation that he thought of
        the second John as a disciple of Jesus, but not necessarily an apostle. Am I
        missing something?

        Regards,
        Leonard
      • Yuri Kuchinsky
        ... You may be right, Leonard. I m not really sure, perhaps your interpretation is better. But then the question that comes next is What would be the
        Message 3 of 10 , Dec 7, 1998
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          On Sun, 6 Dec 1998 Maluflen@... wrote:

          > In a message dated 98-12-06 16:01:08 EST, yuku@... writes:
          >
          > <<
          > "Papias, bishop of Hierapolis, having been a hearer of John the theologian
          > and companion of Polycarp, wrote five treatises on the DOMINICAL ORACLES.
          > In them he made an enumeration of apostles, and after naming Peter and
          > John, Philip and Thomas and Matthew, recorded as "disciples of the Lord"
          > Aristion and another John whom he also called "elder"." (p. 117-118)

          ...

          > >>

          > Yuri, you speak twice in the above of a second John the "apostle". Is
          > this really what Philip says? It looks to me from your citation that
          > he thought of the second John as a disciple of Jesus, but not
          > necessarily an apostle. Am I missing something?

          You may be right, Leonard. I'm not really sure, perhaps your
          interpretation is better. But then the question that comes next is What
          would be the significance of this? I don't think this would make much
          difference for my general argument.

          For my own part, I don't think apostles were known as apostles until
          post-Easter. They were probably all disciples when the historical Yeshu
          was still around.

          Regards,

          Yuri.

          Yuri Kuchinsky || Toronto

          http://www.trends.net/~yuku/bbl/bbl.htm

          The goal proposed by Cynic philosophy is apathy, which is
          equivalent to becoming God -=O=- Julian
        • Yuri Kuchinsky
          Thank you, Jack and Dennis, for your kind words. On Sun, 6 Dec 1998, Jack Kilmon wrote: [Yuri:] ... Yes, Jack, I think it is entirely possible that some of the
          Message 4 of 10 , Dec 7, 1998
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            Thank you, Jack and Dennis, for your kind words.

            On Sun, 6 Dec 1998, Jack Kilmon wrote:

            [Yuri:]
            > > (It needs to be said that yet another interpretation is possible here, as
            > > noted by Schoedel. Let's call this hypothesis #2. Perhaps, according to
            > > Papias, John Boanerges _was_ martyred very early, but he wrote his gospel
            > > _also_ very early, perhaps ca. 44, i.e. at the time of Claudius?
            >
            > I think this is a possibility, Yuri. It's my opinion that an early
            > Aramaic narrative lies imbedded, in translational Greek, within the
            > largely compositional Greek of 4G.

            Yes, Jack, I think it is entirely possible that some of the Greek gospel
            passages may be based on some early Aramaic narratives.

            > This Aramaic "proto-John/signs" narrative, written sometime in the
            > 40's PRIOR to Mark, could have been a foundation upon which John the
            > Elder composed 4G.

            But, just to be precise, this would rather be my Hypothesis #1 (John the
            Elder authoring Jn, according to Papias). Nevertheless, both #1 and #2
            would indicate that Eusebius omitted some commentary of Papias re Jn
            because it conflicted with Church traditions re Jn authorship that were
            firmly established later, and that are still accepted by conservative
            Christian commentators.

            Best regards,

            Yuri.

            Yuri Kuchinsky || Toronto

            http://www.trends.net/~yuku/bbl/bbl.htm
          • Jack Kilmon
            ... How would this fit in with the possibility that Papias himself was a contributor to the authorship of the Greek 4G? Jack
            Message 5 of 10 , Dec 7, 1998
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              Yuri Kuchinsky wrote:

              > On Sun, 6 Dec 1998, Jack Kilmon wrote:
              >
              > [Yuri:]
              > > > (It needs to be said that yet another interpretation is possible here, as
              > > > noted by Schoedel. Let's call this hypothesis #2. Perhaps, according to
              > > > Papias, John Boanerges _was_ martyred very early, but he wrote his gospel
              > > > _also_ very early, perhaps ca. 44, i.e. at the time of Claudius?
              > >
              > > I think this is a possibility, Yuri. It's my opinion that an early
              > > Aramaic narrative lies imbedded, in translational Greek, within the
              > > largely compositional Greek of 4G.
              >
              > Yes, Jack, I think it is entirely possible that some of the Greek gospel
              > passages may be based on some early Aramaic narratives.
              >
              > > This Aramaic "proto-John/signs" narrative, written sometime in the
              > > 40's PRIOR to Mark, could have been a foundation upon which John the
              > > Elder composed 4G.
              >
              > But, just to be precise, this would rather be my Hypothesis #1 (John the
              > Elder authoring Jn, according to Papias). Nevertheless, both #1 and #2
              > would indicate that Eusebius omitted some commentary of Papias re Jn
              > because it conflicted with Church traditions re Jn authorship that were
              > firmly established later, and that are still accepted by conservative
              > Christian commentators.

              How would this fit in with the possibility that Papias himself was a
              contributor to the authorship of the Greek 4G?

              Jack
            • Larry Swain
              ... But it makes sense ony if you judge Papias words as being dismissive. And while many scholars have posited it so, as many have thought otherwise. I
              Message 6 of 10 , Dec 7, 1998
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                Yuri Kuchinsky wrote:
                >

                > TESTIMONY OF PAPIAS
                >
                > The idea that Papias was a proponent of Jn is well accepted among
                > patristic scholars. So could Papias' rather vague and somewhat dismissive
                > comments about Mk and Mt have been motivated primarily by him judging the
                > Synoptics somewhat unfavourably by the higher, for him, standard of J
                > This seems reasonable to me. This view in fact has been advanced by quite
                > a few commentators.


                But it makes sense ony if you judge Papias' words as being dismissive.
                And while many scholars have posited it so, as many have thought
                otherwise. I suppose we could get into a discusion of whose list of
                authorities is longer, but it reminds me of soemthing we did as
                teenagers. I would prefer actually dealing with the primary evidence.
                I'll produce a short form of my article on this question if folks are
                interested. But I argue in it that these comments are positive and
                supportive rather than dismissive.

                > And of course we also need to keep in mind that we only know what Papias
                > said as it was reported by Eusebius. It is quite probable that Eusebius
                > chose not to report some things that Papias said. Specifically, why do we
                > hear nothing about Papias's attitude towards the gospel of John? There is
                > a very curious silence there... This seems like an interesting and
                > important question, and I think the answer is possible to find.

                Perhaps we do. See: The Journal of Theological Studies, Volume 49,
                Issue 2: October 1998.

                What Papias said about John (and Luke)

                CE Hill

                Pages 582-629

                > But first, we will need to deal with the question of the man, or more
                > likely men, named John. Papias was supposed to have been a disciple of
                > "John". But which John? We may suppose that there were at least 3 men
                > named John who would be relevant here.
                >
                > 1. John the Apostle, the brother of James. These were the Boanerges
                > brothers.
                >
                > 2. John the author of Revelation. Most biblical scholars nowadays consider
                > that the author of the Revelation was not also the author of the gospel,
                > although in ancient times, the opinion on this was divided. While for the
                > most part common authorship for these two documents was assumed, some
                > ancient commentators already doubted this. We can note here especially
                > Dionysius the bishop of Alexandria (latter half of the third century), a
                > surprisingly perceptive literary critic, who purported to demonstrate
                > conclusively that these two works could not have been written by the same
                > author. Dionysius, while accepting that John Boanerges indeed wrote the
                > gospel, also suggested that it was John the Elder who wrote the Revelation
                > (Eusebius, vii. 25).
                >
                > 3. John the Elder. While the identity of this personage is not entirely
                > clear, we will see further what his role may have been.

                I argue in my article that there is one John, in the earliest levels of
                the tradition.

                > Now, Eusebius mentions both John the Apostle and John the Elder as being
                > present in Asia Minor. According to Eusebius, Papias was a pupil of the
                > former and a colleague of the latter, but such version of events doesn't
                > seem historically valid on the whole.

                I do have a question of methodology for you Yuri. To quote you when I
                cited Eusebius: "You don't think Eusebius is historical do you"? or
                words that effect. So my question is how do you deal with this source?
                Is it historical? Or is it historical only when it fits your argument?
                Or when one of your secondary sources cites it in support of their
                argument?



                > Is it any wonder that Eusebius would have suppressed such uncomfortable
                > information had he found it in Papias? One can well see why he would have
                > done so, since this would have contradicted the established orthodox
                > traditions.

                Why would this be uncomfortable information? Two other gospels are
                accepted whose authors only have connections to apostles, and not to the
                pen of an apostle, so why is the apostleship of the author of the 4th
                gospel so much more important for 5th century writers? Why is John the
                Elder (if such existed) who was an actual disciple of Jesus less
                authoritative than Luke?
                Irenaeus who is so important in this regard makes his list of bishops to
                demonstrate the inviolable nature of his tradition and you suggest that
                a man who heard the very words of Jesus and stands in good stead in that
                tradition is less authoritative than Mark or Luke and so therefore
                suspect? Doesn't quite make sense. yes, I know others scholars have
                argued this and you are merely passing on the tradition and can easily
                provide the citations. But can you answer the questions?

                > To summarize, Papias probably did say something about the authorship of Jn
                > in his commentary, and what he said was either unknown or, yet more
                > likely, omitted by Eusebius. What Papias probably said [Hypothesis #1] was
                > that John Boanerges was martyred early together with his brother James,

                And the book of Acts is silent on the issue only mentioning James? And
                Josephus as well? Doesn't quite add up.

                > and that Jn was authored by yet another John, viz. John the Elder whom
                > Papias took to be also one of the 12. Since such an account would have
                > come into serious conflict with the traditions of the Church that were
                > solidifying soon after the time of Papias, it is entirely possible that
                > this account of Papias was omitted by Eusebius.
                >

                And would also have been ommitted by Polycarp, Irenaeus, Clement of
                Alexandria, the Muratorian Canon, Origen et al? Unlikely.

                > It should also be noted that John the Elder would have been an amazingly
                > long-lived disciple of the Lord to meet Papias in person. A commentator
                > may wonder if Papias indeed knew him personally. More likely, as Loisy
                > notes, would have been that Papias simply received both the gospel and the
                > tradition of John the Elder from the other Elders with whom he was
                > familiar in his younger years.

                Not at all. If he's young when he's a disciple, say 20, in 36, and if
                he lives until he's 80, that puts him at the year 96. And Polycarp and
                Papias know him the last 10-15 years of his life, which makes it
                entirely believable that men who are old in the 150s (Polycarp anyway
                who according the Martyrdom has known "Christ" for 80 years) would have
                known an old man in 80s.
                It all depends on how one dates Papias and Polycarp, and that differs
                from scholar to scholar.

                Larry Swain
              • Maluflen@aol.com
                In a message dated 98-12-07 13:00:09 EST, yuku@globalserve.net writes:
                Message 7 of 10 , Dec 8, 1998
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                  In a message dated 98-12-07 13:00:09 EST, yuku@... writes:

                  << (LEONARD)
                  > Yuri, you speak twice in the above of a second John the "apostle". Is
                  > this really what Philip says? It looks to me from your citation that
                  > he thought of the second John as a disciple of Jesus, but not
                  > necessarily an apostle. Am I missing something?

                  YURI: You may be right, Leonard. I'm not really sure, perhaps your
                  interpretation is better. But then the question that comes next is What
                  would be the significance of this? I don't think this would make much
                  difference for my general argument.

                  For my own part, I don't think apostles were known as apostles until
                  post-Easter. They were probably all disciples when the historical Yeshu
                  was still around.

                  LEONARD: OK, but my problem is your assumption that when a second John is
                  alluded to by Papias as a disciple of Jesus, could this not also be a post-
                  easter reference to discipleship? The terminology certainly (or at least
                  probably) was used in the post-Easter communities, a la Acts of the Apostles.

                  Regards,
                  Leonard Maluf
                • Jack Kilmon
                  ... How about Greek-speaking John the Elder as one of the 70? John the disciple was probably martyred not too distant from his brother. All of them were
                  Message 8 of 10 , Dec 8, 1998
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                    Maluflen@... wrote:

                    > In a message dated 98-12-07 13:00:09 EST, yuku@... writes:
                    >
                    > << (LEONARD)
                    > > Yuri, you speak twice in the above of a second John the "apostle". Is
                    > > this really what Philip says? It looks to me from your citation that
                    > > he thought of the second John as a disciple of Jesus, but not
                    > > necessarily an apostle. Am I missing something?
                    >
                    > YURI: You may be right, Leonard. I'm not really sure, perhaps your
                    > interpretation is better. But then the question that comes next is What
                    > would be the significance of this? I don't think this would make much
                    > difference for my general argument.
                    >
                    > For my own part, I don't think apostles were known as apostles until
                    > post-Easter. They were probably all disciples when the historical Yeshu
                    > was still around.
                    >
                    > LEONARD: OK, but my problem is your assumption that when a second John is
                    > alluded to by Papias as a disciple of Jesus, could this not also be a post-
                    > easter reference to discipleship? The terminology certainly (or at least
                    > probably) was used in the post-Easter communities, a la Acts of the Apostles.

                    How about Greek-speaking John the Elder as one of the 70? John the disciple
                    was probably martyred not too distant from his brother. All of them were
                    called Talmuddaya so John the Elder would have indeed been the last
                    living disciple when he died in 100 CE...just not one of the 12 and
                    not cousin Yohanon.

                    Jack
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