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8258Papias Works : Fabricius Notes & Trithemius citation in the best edition of the Scriptores Ecclesiastici : Question

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  • isaac_chauncy
    Feb 4, 2014
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      I recently stumbled across Dr. Colson's excellent page translating Harnack's citations of possible extant works of Papias in the Middle Ages.
      I am very interested in the Trithemius citation from Scriptores Ecclesiastici. (below)
      However, a review from 1853 refutes any possibility that Trithemius was claiming Papias works were extant.
      Apparently, the reviewer states: "A reference to Grabe's Spicilegium, to the Nimes Inventory in Menard, and to Trithemius in the best edition of the Scriptores Ecclesiastici, with Fabricius' notes, would have shown how utterly baseless was the fabric of this vision." (full citation below)
      It this simply an overconfident dismissal of Trithemius?

      ====== Harnack: ==========
      Author: Harnack, Adolf von, 1851-1930; Preuschen, Erwin, 1867-1920
      Geschichte der Altchristlichen Litteratur bis Eusebius
      [ENGLISH: History of Early Christian Literature until Eusebius]
      Subject: Christian literature, Early; Fathers of the church
      Publisher: Leipzig : J. C. Hinrichs
      Year: 1893
      Language: German
      Digitizing sponsor: Emory University, Pitts Theology Library
      === 4. ===
      3) Trithemius, de scriptor. eccl. 9 schreibt: „Papias, auditor S. Ioannis atque discipulus, Hierapolitanus in Asia episcopus, fidei Christianae constantissimus propagator et defensor, sanctorum apostolorum discipulus et studiosus imitator scripsit non spernendae auctoritatis opuscula. E quibus exstat opus insigne quinque voluminibus distinctum, quod praenotavit sic: Explanatio sermonum domini, libris quinque. Alia quae scripsit non vidimus.“
      ########## [translation from Dr. Colson's Page: http://hypotyposeis.org/weblog/author/Hypotyposeis/page/92]
      3) Tritheim, de scriptor. eccl. 9 writes: “Papias, hearer and also disciple of St. John, bishop of Hierapolis in Asia, most steady propagator and defender of the Christian faith, disciple and diligent follower of the holy apostles wrote works whose authority must not be rejected. From which a noted work, separated in five volumes, which he designated thus: Explanation of the Lord’s Sayings, five books. We have not seen others that he wrote.”
      ======= Review: =====
      Title    The Christian Remembrancer, Volume 26
      Contributors    William Scott, Francis Garden, James Bowling Mozley
      Publisher    F.C. & J. Rivington, 1853
      Original from    the New York Public Library
      Digitized    Nov 21, 2007
      p. 218 ff


      p. 221-222
      d. As for any imagined confirmation of the notion, that it was the work of the Apostolical Papias, from the words of Trithemius, who says, "there is extant Papias' Explanatio Sermonum Domini, in five books;" and adds, that he had not seen any other writings of his -- (to say nothing of the difference of the title from the imagined "librum de Verbis domini") -- the note of Fabricius on the place entirely dissipates any such view; he shows that this is Trithemius' usual mode of stating that he found a work of this title recorded as having existed, i.e., in Jerome, and had not met with the *names* of any others.
      We wish that the Editors of the Spicilegium had referred to the original sources of the evid3ence -- if evidence it can be called -- for the existence of this work of Papias in the middle ages. It existed in Greek in the time of Jerome, and he did not consider himself qualified, so he says, to translate it. This of itself makes it sufficiently improbable that it was ever translated. A reference to Grabe's Spicilegium, to the Nimes Inventory in Menard, and to Trithemius in the best edition of the Scriptores Ecclesiastici, with Fabricius' notes, would have shown how utterly baseless was the fabric of this vision.
      It is a troublesome work to test the truth of stories of this kind; it requires no great wit, but the same kind of perseverance in looking into minute details which is necessary for sifting into the original grounds of any rumour which has been accepted as truth by the world; the responsibility of ascertaining the truth rests on those who promulgate or propagate it. This holds good in still stronger degree when any one publishes a work as genuine production of a giv4en writer or age. It is *his* business to sift the evidence, not that of the public. The first editor is the person who ought to go through the labor of examining and research necessary for establishing the genuineness of a book. For, once published under a given name as genuine, it naturally is received as such.