Papias took pleasure in the Truth

I found this on Wikipedia.  I like what Papias says about how he gathered information, especially that he wanted the truth and that he didn’t feel information from books was that advantageous compared to “the voice which yet lives and remains”. This is appropriate since the MESSIAH/CHRIST is the WORD of ELOHIM [Hebrew word for God], ELOHIM’S Voice on earth through HIS WORD made flesh.  ELOHIM’S Voice on earth through HIS Word in Scripture. Isaiah [Yesha’yahu] 55:11 “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.”.

Another note of interest are detailed accounts listed below from early church leaders that give information that the Gospels and other books from the New Testament were originally written in a Hebrew Dialect. Aramaic was the primary language at the time and also was spoken by CHRIST. I will be going into this more with another study. There is a primacy dispute going on between Greek vs Aramaic as the original language of the Gospels and other books of the New Testament.

From “

Papias (Greek: Παπίας) (writing in the first third of the 2nd century) was a bishop of the early Church, canonized as a saint. Eusebius of Caesarea calls him “Bishop of Hierapolis” (modern Pamukkale, Turkey) which is 22 km from Laodicea and near Colossae (see Col. 4:13), in the Lycus river valley in Phrygia, Asia Minor, not to be confused with the Hierapolis of Syria.

His Interpretations of the Sayings of the Lord (his word for “sayings” is logia) in five books, would have been a prime early authority in the exegesis of the sayings of Jesus, some of which are recorded in the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke, however the book has not survived and is known only through fragments quoted in later writers, with neutral approval in Irenaeus‘s Against Heresies and later by Eusebius in Ecclesiastical History, the earliest surviving history of the early Church.

Papias describes his way of gathering information:

I will not hesitate to add also for you to my interpretations what I formerly learned with care from the Presbyters and have carefully stored in memory, giving assurance of its truth. For I did not take pleasure as the many do in those who speak much, but in those who teach what is true, nor in those who relate foreign precepts, but in those who relate the precepts which were given by the Lord to the faith and came down from the Truth itself. And also if any follower of the Presbyters happened to come, I would inquire for the sayings of the Presbyters, what Andrew said, or what Peter said, or what Philip or what Thomas or James or what John or Matthew or any other of the Lord’s disciples, and for the things which other of the Lord’s disciples, and for the things which Aristion and the Presbyter John, the disciples of the Lord, were saying. For I considered that I should not get so much advantage from matter in books as from the voice which yet lives and remains.[citation needed]

Thus Papias reports he heard things that came from an unwritten, oral tradition of the Presbyters, a “sayings” or logia tradition that had been passed from Jesus to such of the apostles and disciples as he mentions in the fragmentary quote. The scholar Helmut Koester considers him the earliest surviving witness of this tradition.[1]

Eusebius held Papias in low esteem, perhaps because of his work’s influence in perpetuating, through Irenaeus and others, belief in a millennial reign of Christ upon earth, that would soon usher in a new Golden Age. Eusebius calls Papias ‘a man of small mental capacity[2] who mistook the figurative language of apostolic traditions’. Whether this was so to any degree is difficult to judge without the text available. However, Papias’s millennialism (according to Anastasius of Sinai, along with Clement of Alexandria and Ammonius he understood the Six Days (Hexaemeron) and the account of Paradise as referring mystically to Christ and His Church) was nearer in spirit to the actual Christianity of the sub-apostolic age, especially in western Anatolia (e.g., Montanism), than Eusebius realized.[3]

[edit] Traditions related by Papias

About the origins of the Gospels, Papias (as quoted by Eusebius) wrote this:

Mark having become the interpreter of Peter, wrote down accurately whatsoever he remembered. It was not, however, in exact order that he related the sayings or deeds of Christ. For he neither heard the Lord nor accompanied Him. But afterwards, as I said, he accompanied Peter, who accommodated his instructions to the necessities [of his hearers], but with no intention of giving a regular narrative of the Lord’s sayings. Wherefore Mark made no mistake in thus writing some things as he remembered them. For of one thing he took especial care, not to omit anything he had heard, and not to put anything fictitious into the statements. Matthew put together the oracles [of the Lord] in the Hebrew language, and each one interpreted them as best he could [4]

Citing this text, many argue that Papias claimed that Matthew was written in the Hebrew language, (as it is often translated in English). This claim of the Semitic origins of the New testament writings is also testified to by other Church Fathers including Ireneus, Origen, Eusebius, Pantaeneus, Epiphanius, Jerome, Isho’dad, as well as, Clement of Alexandria. Some would argue, however, that Papias’ comment in Greek, (Ματθαῖος μέν οὖν Ἑβραίδι διαλέκτῳ τά λόγια, “Hebrew dialect”) is a common construction in Greek and is seen in many different sources and contexts and seems to consistently refer to a style or subset of a language being spoken; and, this is distinguished from the general Greek term for language or tongue, “γλῶσσα”. Papias’ statement seems to signify a style of language or dialect being used by the “Hebrews”, (or in other words, the style or subset of a language being used by the Hebrew race). In the historical context, the “dialect of the Hebrews”, (Ἑβραίδι διαλέκτῳ), was most probably a reference to the Hebrew dialect of Aramaic. Due to the testimony of so many other sources, including Papias’ contemporaries, this argument seem likely to overlook the other sources for this same claim. In fact all of the previously listed Church Fathers are quoted in their own writings as testifying to the Semitic origins of, at the very least, the Gospel of Matthew. Other scholars on the language of the New Testament have also argued that at least potions of the New Testament writings were originally penned in a Semitic tongue. This has been asserted of all four Gospels, Acts and Revelation. The following is just some of what these scholars have written on the topic:

“When we turn to the New Testament we find that there are reasons for suspecting a Hebrew or Aramaic original for the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, John and for the apocalypse.” – Hugh J. Schonfield; An Old Hebrew Text of St. Matthew’s Gospel; 1927; p. vii

“The material of our Four Gospels is all Palestinian, and the language in which it was originally written is Aramaic, then the principle language of the land …” -C. C. Torrey; Our Translated Gospels; 1936 p. ix

Another group of scholars states that the 4 Gospels including Acts up to 15:35 are translated directly from Aramaic and from a written Aramaic text: “My own researches have led me to consider Torrey’s position valid and convincing that the Gospels as a whole were translated from Aramaic into Greek.”- Frank Zimmerman; The Aramaic Origin of the Four Gospels; KTAV; ‘79

“Thus it was that the writer turned seriously to tackle the question of the original language of the 4th Gospel; and quickly convincing himself that the theory of an original Aramaic document was no chimera, but a fact which was capable of the fullest verification …” – Charles Fox Burney; The Aramaic Origin of the Fourth Gospel; 1922; p. 3

“… this [Old Syriac] Gospel of St. Matthew appears at least to be built upon the original Aramaic text which was the work of the Apostle himself.” – William Cureton; Remains of a Very Ancient Recension of the Four Gospels in Syriac; 1858; p. vi)

“… the Book of Revelation was written in a Semitic language, and that the Greek translation .. is a remarkably close rendering of the original.” – C. C. Torrey; Documents of the Primitive Church 1941;p.160

“We come to the conclusion, therefore that the Apocalypse as a whole is a translation from Hebrew or Aramaic …” – R. B. Y. Scott; The Original Language of the Apocalypse 1928;p.6

“The question of the Luke/Acts tradition holds particular interest to us. This is because the common wisdom has been to portray Luke as a Greek speaking, Greek writing Gentile who wrote his account to the Gentiles. The reality of the matter is (whether Luke himself knew Greek or not) that Luke was most certainly written in a Semitic language as Charles Cutler Torrey states: In regard to Luke it remains to be said, that of all the Four Gospels it is the one which gives by far the plainest and most constant evidence of being a translation. – C.C. Torrey; Our Translated Gospels p. lix

Flavius Jospehus Antiquities of the Jews Bk 5, Sec 121: … δὲ ὄνομα τοῦτο σημαίνει Ζεβεκηνῶν κύριος: ἀδωνὶ γὰρ τῇ Ἑβραίων διαλέκτῳ κύριος γίνεται:
Diodorus Siculus, Library: Bk 13, Chap 35: … ἢ ἐξηγητὴν τοῦ νομοθέτου, διὰ τὸ τοὺς νόμους γεγραμμένους ἀρχαίᾳ διαλέκτῳ δοκεῖν εἶναι δυσκατανοήτους. μεγάλης δὲ οὔσης κατὰ τὴν νομοθεσίαν
Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers Bk 2, Chap 8: … διάλογοι πέντε καὶ εἴκοσιν, οἱ μὲν Ἀτθίδι, οἱ δὲ Δωρίδι διαλέκτῳ γεγραμμένοι οἵδε: 84 Ἀρτάβαζος.
Acts, Chap 2: … τὸ πλῆθος καὶ συνεχύθη, ὅτι ἤκουσεν εἷς ἕκαστος τῇ ἰδίᾳ διαλέκτῳ λαλούντων αὐτῶν: ἐξίσταντο δὲ καὶ ἐθαύμαζον λέγοντες Οὐχὶ ἰδοὺ… λαλοῦντες Γαλιλαῖοι; καὶ πῶς ἡμεῖς ἀκούομεν ἕκαστος τῇ ἰδίᾳ διαλέκτῳ ἡμῶν ἐν ᾗ ἐγεννήθημεν; Πάρθοι καὶ Μῆδοι καὶ

There is question whether the documents which Papias knew as the Gospels of Matthew and Mark are the same ones that we have today: Matthew is a narrative, rather than a sayings gospel with commentary, and some scholars reject the thesis that it was originally written in Hebrew. (See the Gospel according to the Hebrews.) [5]

Papias also related a number of traditions that Eusebius had characterized as “some strange parables and teachings of the savior, and some other more mythical accounts.”[6][7] For example, Eusebius indicated that Papias heard stories about Justus, surnamed Barsabas, who drank poison but suffered no harm and another story via a daughter of Philip the Evangelist concerning the resurrection of a corpse.[8]

Eusebius states that Papias “reproduces a story about a woman falsely accused before the Lord of many sins.” J. B. Lightfoot identified this story with the Pericope Adulterae, and included it in his collection of fragments of Papias’ work. However, Michael W. Holmes has pointed out that it is not certain “that Papias knew the story in precisely this form, inasmuch as it now appears that at least two independent stories about Jesus and a sinful woman circulated among Christians in the first two centuries of the church, so that the traditional form found in many New Testament manuscripts may well represent a conflation of two independent shorter, earlier versions of the incident.”[9]

According to a scholium attributed to Apollinaris of Laodicea, Papias also related a tradition on the death of Judas Iscariot, in which Judas became so swollen that he could not pass where a chariot could easily and was crushed by a chariot, so that his bowels gushed out. The only problem with this is that this report contradicts the hanging of Judas found in Matthew, as well as the details of the account in Acts in which Judas fell headlong in a field, and this being the cause of his death rather than a chariot. This lessens the reliability of Papias.[10]

[edit] Papias’ dates

Concerning the date of his writing, there is Irenaeus‘ statement, later in the 2nd century, that Papias was “a hearer of John, and companion of Polycarp, a man of old time.” (Adversus Haereses V 33.4) If Polycarp was in fact born not later than AD 69, then there may be no reason to depend on a further, but disputed tradition, that Papias shared in the martyrdom of Polycarp (ca AD 155). In sum, the fact that Irenaeus thought of Papias as Polycarp’s contemporary and “a man of the old time,” together with the affinity between the religious tendencies described in the fragment from Papias’s Preface quoted by Eusebius and those reflected in the Epistles of Ignatius and of Polycarp, all point to his having flourished in the first quarter of the 2nd century.

Indeed, Eusebius, who deals with him along with Clement and Ignatius (rather than Polycarp) under the reign of Trajan, and before referring at all to Hadrian‘s reign, suggests that he wrote “as early as 110 and probably no later than the early 130s, with several scholars opting for the earlier end of the spectrum”.[11] No known fact is inconsistent with c. 60-135 as the period of Papias’s life. It should be noted that, though he was probably writing as an old man in Hierapolis, the enquiries he made took place a long time beforehad, and some of his eyewitnesses could well have met Jesus or the Apostles, or both. Eusebius (3.36) calls him “bishop” of Hierapolis, but whether with good ground is uncertain. In this putative capacity as bishop, Papias was supposedly succeeded by Abercius of Hieropolis.

English translations of the surviving fragments of his writings can be found in links at the Ante-Nicene Fathers.

[edit] Footnotes

  1. ^ Ancient Christian Gospels (Harrisburg: Trinity Press, 1990), pp. 32f
  2. ^ Historia Ecclesiastica 3.39.13.
  3. ^ See Funk, fragments 6 and 7; translated by Michael W. Holmes in The Apostolic Fathers in English (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2006), p. 314.
  4. ^ Eusebius, Church History, Book 3, Chapter 39.15-16
  5. ^ For a more detailed discussion of this passage, see Raymond E. Brown, An Introduction to the New Testament (New York: Doubleday, 1997), pp. 158ff, on which the material in this paragraph is based.
  6. ^ However, G.A. Williamson’s translation for Penguin Classics (New York, 1965, pp. 151f) puts this passage in these words: “some otherwise unknown parables and teachings of the Saviour, and other things of a more allegorical character.”
  7. ^ It remains unknown whether or not these were earlier versions of the Jesus story. Papias only informs his reader of their existence, nothing else.
  8. ^ Hist. Eccl. 3.39.
  9. ^ Holmes, The Apostolic Fathers, p. 304. This observation was first made by Bart D. Ehrman, “Jesus and the Adulteress,” New Testament Studies 34 (1988) 24-44.
  10. ^ Funk, Fragment 3; translated by Holmes, Apostolic Fathers, p. 316
  11. ^ C.E. Hill (2006), p.309

[edit] References

[edit] External links

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