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Re: [Synoptic-L] Papias/Jerome

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  • Larry J. Swain
    ... These are all possible, but so are earlier dates. Eusebius places him as fl. about 100-contemporary with Ignatius and Trajan s reign and the only
    Message 1 of 9 , Aug 1, 1999
      Wieland Willker wrote:

      > About: when did Papias live?
      > I have in my notes (without source):
      > c.70 - 155 Papias
      > c.75 - c.160 Polycarp
      > Thus it is possible that Papias wrote as late as c. 140-150. Maybe he
      > started collecting in 120?

      These are all possible, but so are earlier dates. Eusebius places him as
      fl. about 100-contemporary with Ignatius and Trajan's reign and the only
      information I know of that would contradict this is Philip of Side. (more on
      dear Philip in a moment). Further, Irenaeus' description of him as a man of
      "old time" suggests that he is an older contemporary of Polycarp and died
      sooner than Polycarp. Given this, it is possible that he was born say
      around 50, died around 120, started collecting say about 75, and wrote
      anytime between 74 and 120. The question is, which is the more likely given
      WHAT he wrote and why he wrote it combined with the information we have: the
      later or earlier date possibilities? I say again, that both are possible
      and reasonable.

      > It is possible that he got earlier reports. He possibly met Polycarp who
      > met the apostle John who has met Jesus (reported by Irenaeus).
      > I think with the facts we have it is possible that the apostle John said
      > to Polcarp something like: "Yes, Matthew, my Sunmatetes wrote down Jesus
      > stories in Aramaic."

      Very likely he received earlier reports. Even if he we give him the late
      date, and even if we say he did not know the "elders" and "disciples of the
      lord" but was talking to their disciples, that puts his information
      comfortably into the first century. Irenaeus is another case in point,
      student of Polycarp, so that although he is writing in the 180s, some of the
      information he argues for goes back to the first century. I'm not saying it
      was right information, meets my criteria for historigraphy, or represents a
      monolithic Christianity, things I've been painted with before here, but I am
      saying that he is a traductor of traditions that go back to the first
      century even though his writings are all too close to the third. Another
      example would be Eusebius some of whose information obviously goes back to
      the first century because someone like Papias, Polycarp, Irenaeus and the
      like took things they were told and wrote them down....4th century chap
      reporting first century information. How reliable? Different question.
      All of that to say that I think it quite likely that Papias' information
      goes back to the first century. I don't really think we have any grounds
      for doubting Irenaeus' story that Papias and Polycarp knew each other or
      that they were disciples of this John the Elder chap...another Papian
      mystery...so modern equivalence aside (possibly he knew Polycarp, possibly
      knew John...) I would say that it is likely to be true, if for no other
      reason than that I find it unlikely that the Bishop of Smyrna, no mean place
      at the time, and another bishop in the area didn't have at least a nodding
      acquaintance with each other. And this information probably came from two
      sources: Papias probably said it in his work, and Irenaeus knew it from
      Polycarp, and everyone after them accepted it.The last part regarding
      Aramaic Jesus stories depends on what we make of HEBRAIDI DIALEKTW and I'm
      not convinced that it means "Hebrew (Aramaic) tongue", but I'll leave that
      discussion for the moment.

      Finally there is Phillip of Side.....I can only find references to him in
      secondary works. I've searched all the standard works of Patristic fathers
      and editions but find no Phillip published anywhere. Am I missing
      something, because I would really like to check him out.

      Larry Swain
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