EARLY CHRISTIANITY: Papias of Hierapolis – Enjoyed the Lord’s Sayings

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The Epistle to the Hebrews PAUL AND LUKE ON TRIAL

Papias (writing in the first third of the 2nd century) was an overseer of the early Church. He was an associate of Polycarp, who had studied with the apostle John. Eusebius of Caesarea calls him “Bishop of Hierapolis” (modern Pamukkale, Turkey), which is 22 km from Laodicea and near Colossae (see Col. 4:12-13), in the Lycus river valley in Phrygia, Asia Minor, not to be confused with the Hierapolis of Syria.

EARLY CHRISTIANITY: Polycarp of Smyrna – Martyred for His Faith

He wrote extensively about the Christian Oral Tradition. The 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 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.[1]

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.[2]

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[3] 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.[4]

Traditions Related by Papias

About the origins of the Gospels, Papias (as quoted by Eusebius) Quoting John the Elder wrote:

`And this the Presbyter used to say [this is in the plural implying John the Elder would employ this argument multiple times in defense of Mark’s Gospel]: “Mark, being the recorder of Peter, wrote accurately but not in order whatever he [Peter] remembered of the things either said or done by the Lord; for he [Mark] had neither heard the Lord nor followed him, but later, as I said, Peter, who used to make teachings according to the cheias, [a special kind of anecdote] but not making as it were a systematic composition of the Lord’s sayings; so that Mark did not err at all when he wrote certain things just as he had recalled [them]. For he had but one intention, not to leave out anything he had heard, nor to falsify anything in them”. This is what was related by Papias about Mark. But about Matthew`s this was said: “For Matthew composed the logia [sayings] in Hebrew style; but each recorded them as he was able”`[5] [author incomplete]. This last part is translated into English as every one interpreted them as he was able by Dr. Arthur C. McGiffert and Dr. Ernest C. Richardson.[6]

APOSTOLIC FATHERS Lightfoot APOSTOLIC FATHERS

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 (Aramaic primacy or Hebrew primacy) of the New Testament writings is also testified to by other Church Fathers including Irenaeus, Origen, Eusebius, Pantaeneus, Epiphanius, Jerome, Isho’dad, as well as, Clement of Alexandria. Some would argue, however, that Papias’ comment in Greek, “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”. 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”, 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 portions of the New Testament writings were originally penned in a Semitic tongue.

What Is the Synoptic Problem of Matthew, Mark, and Luke and What is the Hypothetical So-Called Q Document?

There is question by liberal scholarship, of course, 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 Did Matthew Write his Gospel First in Hebrew?)[7]

Here are three articles that offer insights into the mindset of modern-day scholarship:

The Synoptic Gospels In Early Christianity: Why Is the Preferred Choice the Testimony to the Priority of the Gospel of Matthew?

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.”[8] 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.[9]

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.”[10]

AN ENCOURAGING THOUGHT_01

Matthew 27:3-5 BDC: What was it that Judas Iscariot regretted? Could he have been saved?

According to a scholium attributed to Apollinaris of Laodicea, Papias also related a tradition on the death of Judas Iscariot, which was clearly not true:

Judas did not die by hanging, but lived on, having been cut down before he was suffocated. And the Acts of the Apostles show this, that falling head long he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out. This fact is related more clearly by Papias, the disciple of John, and the fourth book of the Expositions of the Oracles of the Lord as follows:

Judas walked about in this world a terrible example of impiety; his flesh swollen to such an extent that, where hay wagon can pass with ease, he was not able to pass, no, not even the mass of his head merely. They say that his eyelids swelled to such an extent that he could not see the light at all, while as for his eyes they were not visible even by a physician looking through an instrument, so far have they sunk from the surface.

His genitals appeared entirely disfigured, nauseous and large. When he carried himself about discharge and worms flowed from his entire body through his private areas only, on account of his outrages. After many agonies and punishments, he died in his own place. And on account of this the place is desolate and uninhabited even now. And to this day no one is able to go by that place, except if they block their noses with their hands. Such judgment was spread through his body and upon the earth.[11]

Jesus Paul THE EVANGELISM HANDBOOK

Matthew 27:5 BDC: says that Judas hanged himself, while Luke at Acts 1:18 says that “falling headlong he [Judas] burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out.” So, which is it?

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.

Mosaic Authorship HOW RELIABLE ARE THE GOSPELS

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”.[12] 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 inquiries he made took place a long time beforehand, 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.

THE FRAGMENTS of PAPIAS

The following extracts contain not only the fragments of Papias’ writings which survive, but also the scanty notices of his life and theological opinions which have come down to us. As therefore all the facts about him are placed before the reader herewith, it will only be necessary to add that Papias was born probably between a.d. 60–70 and published his Exposition of Oracles of the Lord late in life (c. a.d. 130–140). For a full account of the man, and of his evidence to the Canon of the New Testament, the reader is referred to Dr Lightfoot’s Essays on the Work entitled Supernatural Religion, pp. 142–216 (Macmillan and Co. 1889). Reasons are there given (p. 194 sq.) for assigning to Papias the two anonymous fragments quoted by Irenæus, which appear below (pp. 548, 549) among the Reliques of the Elders (Nos. xiii, xvii).

For convenience of reference the actual quotations from Papias are given in larger type than the introductory matter and personal notices.

TRANSLATION of the FRAGMENTS OF PAPIAS

I Irenæus and others record that John the Divine and Apostle survived until the times of Trajan; after which time Papias of Hierapolis and Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna, his hearers, became well known.

Eusebius Chronicon (Syncell. 655, 14) for Olymp. 220.

II At this time flourished in Asia Polycarp, a disciple of the Apostles, who had received the bishopric of the church in Smyrna at the hands of the eye-witnesses and ministers of the Lord. At which time Papias, who was himself also bishop of the diocese of Hierapolis, became distinguished.

Eusebius Hist. Eccl. iii. 36. 1. 2.

III Five books of Papias are extant, which bear the title Expositions of Oracles of the Lord. Of these Irenæus also makes mention as the only works written by him, in the following words: ‘These things Papias, who was a hearer of John and a companion of Polycarp, an ancient worthy, witnesseth in writing in the fourth of his books. For there are five books composed by him.’ 2So far Irenæus.

Yet Papias himself, in the preface to his discourses, certainly does not declare that he himself was a hearer and eye-witness of the holy Apostles, but he shows, by the language which he uses, that he received the matters of the faith from those who were their friends:—

3But I will not scruple also to give a place for you along with my interpretations to everything that I learnt carefully and remembered carefully in time past from the elders, guaranteeing its truth. For, unlike the many, I did not take pleasure in those who have so very much to say, but in those who teach the truth; nor in those who relate foreign commandments, but in those (who record) such as were given from the Lord to the Faith, and are derived from the Truth itself. 4And again, on any occasion when a person came (in my way) who had been a follower of the Elders, I would inquire about the discourses of the elders—what was said by Andrew, or by Peter, or by Philip, or by Thomas or James, or by John or Matthew or any other of the Lord’s disciples, and what Aristion and the Elder John, the disciples of the Lord, say. For I did not think that I could get so much profit from the contents of books as from the utterances of a living and abiding voice.

5Here it is worth while to observe that he twice enumerates the name of John. The first he mentions in connexion with Peter and James and Matthew and the rest of the Apostles, evidently meaning the Evangelist, but the other John he mentions after an interval and classes with others outside the number of the Apostles, placing Aristion before him, and he distinctly calls him an Elder. 6So that he hereby makes it quite evident that their statement is true who say that there were two persons of that name in Asia, and that there are two tombs in Ephesus, each of which even now is called (the tomb) of John. And it is important to notice this; for it is probable that it was the second, if one will not admit that it was the first, who saw the Revelation which is ascribed by name to John. 7And Papias, of whom we are now speaking, confesses that he had received the words of the Apostles from those who had followed them, but says that he was himself a hearer of Aristion and the Elder John. At all events he mentions them frequently by name, and besides records their traditions in his writings. So much for these points which I trust have not been uselessly adduced.

8It is worth while however to add to the words of Papias given above other passages from him, in which he records some other wonderful events likewise, as having come down to him by tradition. 9That Philip the Apostle resided in Hierapolis with his daughters has been already stated; but how Papias, their contemporary, relates that he had heard a marvellous tale from the daughters of Philip, must be noted here. For he relates that in his time a man rose from the dead, and again he gives another wonderful story about Justus who was surnamed Barsabas, how that he drank a deadly poison, and yet, by the grace of the Lord, suffered no inconvenience. 10Of this Justus the Book of the Acts records that after the ascension of the Saviour the holy Apostles put him forward with Matthias, and prayed for the (right) choice, in place of the traitor Judas, that should make their number complete. The passage is somewhat as follows; ‘And they put forward two, Joseph, called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias; and they prayed, and said.’ 11The same writer has recorded other notices as having come down to him from oral tradition, certain strange parables of the Saviour and teachings of His, and some other statements of a rather mythical character. 12Among which he says that there will be a period of some ten thousand years after the resurrection, and that the kingdom of Christ will be set up in material form on this earth. These ideas I suppose he got through a misunderstanding of the apostolic accounts, not perceiving that the things recorded there in figures were spoken by them mystically. 13For he evidently was a man of very mean capacity, as one may say judging from his own statements: yet it was owing to him that so many church fathers after him adopted a like opinion, urging in their own support the antiquity of the man, as for instance Irenæus and whoever else they were who declared that they held like views. 14Papias also gives in his own work other accounts of the words of the Lord on the authority of Aristion who has been mentioned above, and traditions of the Elder John. To these we refer the curious, and for our present purpose we will merely add to his words, which have been quoted above, a tradition, which he has related in the following words concerning Mark who wrote the Gospel:—

15And the Elder said this also: Mark, having become the interpreter of Peter, wrote down accurately everything that he remembered, without however recording in order what was either said or done by Christ. For neither did he hear the Lord, nor did he follow Him; but afterwards, as I said, (attended) Peter, who adapted his instructions to the needs (of his hearers) but had no design of giving a connected account of the Lord’s oracles. So then Mark made no mistake, while he thus wrote down some things as he remembered them; for he made it his one care not to omit anything that he heard, or to set down any false statement therein.

Such then is the account given by Papias concerning Mark. 16But concerning Matthew, the following statement is made (by him):

So then Matthew composed the oracles in the Hebrew language, and each one interpreted them as he could.

The same writer employed testimonies from the First Epistle of John, and likewise from that of Peter. And he has related another story about a woman accused of many sins before the Lord, which the Gospel according to the Hebrews contains.

Eusebius Hist. Eccl. iii. 39.

IV And they went every man unto his own house; but Jesus went unto the mount of Olives. And early in the morning He came again unto the temple, [and all the people came unto Him; and He sat down, and taught them]. And the Scribes and the Pharisees bring a woman taken in adultery; and having set her in the midst, they say unto Him, Master, this woman hath been taken in adultery, in the very act. Now in the law Moses commanded [us] to stone such: what then sayest thou? [And this they said, tempting Him, that they might have (whereof) to accuse Him.] But Jesus stooped down, and with His finger wrote on the ground. But when they continued asking [Him], He lifted up Himself, and said [unto them], He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again He stooped down, and wrote on the ground. And they, when they heard it, went out one by one, beginning from the eldest: and He was left alone, and the woman, where she was, in the midst. And Jesus lifted up Himself, and said unto her, Woman, where are they? Did no man condemn thee? And she said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said, Neither do I condemn thee: go thy way; from henceforth sin no more.

Pericope Adulterae; see Westcott and Hort The New Testament in the Original Greek I. P. 241, 11. pp. 82 sq, 91; Lightfoot Essays on Supernatural Religion p. 203 sq.

V Papias, bishop of Hierapolis, who was a disciple of John the Divine, and a companion of Polycarp, wrote five books of Oracles of the Lord, wherein, when giving a list of the Apostles, after Peter and John, Philip and Thomas and Matthew he included among the disciples of the Lord Aristion and a second John, whom also he called ‘The Elder.’ [He says] that some think that this John is the author of the two short and catholic Epistles, which are published in the name of John; and he gives as the reason that the primitive (fathers) only accept the first epistle. Some too have wrongly considered the Apocalypse also to be his (i.e. the Elder John’s) work. Papias too is in error about the Millennium, and from him Irenæus also. Papias in his second book says that John the Divine and James his brother were killed by the Jews. The aforesaid Papias stated on the authority of the daughters of Philip that Barsabas, who is also called Justus, when challenged by the unbelievers drank serpent’s poison in the name of the Lord, and was shielded from all harm. He makes also other marvellous statements, and particularly about the mother of Manaim who was raised from the dead. As for those who were raised from the dead by Christ, (he states) that they survived till the time of Hadrian.

Philippus of Side (?) Hist. Christ.

VI After Domitian Nerva reigned one year, who recalled John from the island (i.e. Patmos), and allowed him to dwell in Ephesus. He was at that time the sole survivor of the twelve Apostles, and after writing his Gospel received the honour of martyrdom. For Papias, bishop of Hierapolis, who was an eye-witness of him, in the second book of the Oracles of the Lord says that he was killed by the Jews, and thereby evidently fulfilled, together with his brother, Christ’s prophecy concerning them, and their own confession and undertaking on His behalf. For when the Lord said to them; Are ye able to drink of the cup that I drink of?, and they readily assented and agreed, He said; My cup shall ye drink, and with the baptism that I am baptized shall ye be baptized. And reasonably so, for it is impossible for God to lie. So too the learned Origen affirms in his interpretation of S. Matthew’s Gospel that John was martyred, declaring that he had learnt the fact from the successors of the Apostles. And indeed the well-informed Eusebius also in his Ecclesiastical History says; ‘Thomas received by lot Parthia, but John, Asia, where also he made his residence and died at Ephesus.’

Georgius Hamartolus Chronicon.

VII Papias, a hearer of John, (and) bishop of Hierapolis in Asia, wrote only five books, which he entitled An Exposition of Discourses of the Lord. Wherein, when he asserts in his preface that he is not following promiscuous statements, but has the Apostles as his authorities, he says:—

I used to inquire what had been said by Andrew, or by Peter, or by Philip, or by Thomas or James, or by John or Matthew or any other of the Lord’s disciples, and what Aristion and the Elder John, the disciples of the Lord, were saying. For books to read do not profit me so much as the living voice clearly sounding up to the present day in (the persons of) their authors.

From which it is clear that in his list of names itself there is one John who is reckoned among the Apostles, and another the Elder John, whom he enumerates after Aristion. We have mentioned this fact on account of the statement made above, which we have recorded on the authority of very many, that the two later epistles of John are not (the work) of the Apostle, but of the Elder. This (Papias) is said to have promulgated the Jewish tradition of a Millennium, and he is followed by Irenæus, Apollinarius and the others, who say that after the resurrection the Lord will reign in the flesh with the saints.

Jerome de vir. illust. 18.

VIII Further a false rumour has reached me that the books of Josephus and the writings of Papias and Polycarp have been translated by me; but I have neither leisure nor strength to render such works as these with corresponding elegance into another tongue.

Jerome ad Lucinium Epist. 71 (28) c. 5.

IX Irenæus, a disciple of Papias who was a hearer of John the Evangelist, relates.

Jerome ad Theodoram Epist. 75 (29) c. 3.

X With regard however to the inspiration of the book (i.e. the Apocalypse) we hold it superfluous to speak at length; since the blessed Gregory (I mean, the Divine) and Cyril, and men of an older generation as well, Papias, Irenæus, Methodius and Hippolytus, bear testimony to its genuineness.

Andreas of Cæarea preface to the Apocalypse.

XI But thus says Papias, (I quote him) word for word:—

To some of them, clearly the angels which at first were holy, He gave dominion also over the arrangement of the universe, and He commissioned them to exercise their dominion well.

And he says next:—

But it so befel that their array came to nought; for the great dragon, the old serpent, who is also called Satan and the devil, was cast down, yea, and was cast down to the earth, he and his angels.

Andreas of Cæsarea in apocalypsin c. 34 serm. 12.

XII Taking their start from Papias the great, of Hierapolis, the disciple of the Apostle who leaned on Christ’s bosom, and Clement, Pantænus the priest of the Alexandrians and Ammonius, the great scholar, those ancient and first expositors who agree with each other in understanding all the work of the six days (as referring) to Christ and His Church.

Anastasius of Sinai Contempl. Anagog. in Hexaëm. i.

XIII So then the more ancient expositors of the churches, I mean Philo, the philosopher, and contemporary of the Apostles, and the famous Papias of Hierapolis, the disciple of John the Evangelist … and their associates, interpreted the sayings about Paradise spiritually, and referred them to the Church of Christ.

Anastasius of Sinai Contempl. Anagog. in Hexaëm. vii.

XIV The blessing thus foretold belongs undoubtedly to the times of the Kingdom, when the righteous shall rise from the dead and reign, when too creation renewed and freed from bondage shall produce a wealth of food of all kinds from the dew of heaven and from the fatness of the earth; as the elders, who saw John the disciple of the Lord, relate, that they had heard from him, how the Lord used to teach concerning those times, and to say,

The days will come, in which vines shall grow, each having ten thousand shoots, and on each shoot ten thousand branches, and on each branch again ten thousand twigs, and on each twig ten thousand clusters, and on each cluster ten thousand grapes, and each grape when pressed shall yield five-and-twenty measures of wine. And when any of the saints shall have taken hold of one of their clusters, another shall cry, I am a better cluster; take me, bless the Lord through me. Likewise also a grain of wheat shall produce ten thousand heads, and every head shall have ten thousand grains, and every grain ten pounds of fine flour, bright and clean, and the other fruits, seeds and the grass shall produce in similar proportions, and all the animals, using these fruits which are products of the soil, shall become in their turn peaceable and harmonious, obedient to man in all subjection.

These things Papias, who was a hearer of John and a companion of Polycarp, an ancient worthy, witnesseth in writing in the fourth of his books, for there are five books composed by him. And he added, saying,

But these things are credible to them that believe. And when Judas the traitor did not believe, and asked, How shall such growths be accomplished by the Lord? he relates that the Lord said, They shall see, who shall come to these (times).

Irenæus Haer. v. 33. 3, 4.

XV Those who practised guilelessness towards God they used to call children, as Papias also shows in the first book of the Expositions of the Lord, and Clement of Alexandria in the Paedagogue.

Maximus The Confessor Schol. in libr. Dionys. Areopag. de eccl. hierarch. c. 2.

XVI This he says, darkly indicating, I suppose, Papias of Hierapolis in Asia, who was a bishop at that time and flourished in the days of the holy Evangelist John. For this Papias in the fourth book of his Dominical Expositions mentioned viands among the sources of delights in the resurrection.… And Irenæus of Lyons says the same thing in his fifth book against heresies, and produces in support of his statements the aforesaid Papias.

Maximus The Confessor Schol. in libr. Dionys. Areopag. de eccl. hierarch. c. 7.

XVII Nor again (does Stephanus follow) Papias, the bishop and martyr of Hierapolis, nor Irenæus, the holy bishop of Lyons, when they say that the kingdom of heaven will consist in enjoyment of certain material foods.

Photius Bibliotheca 232, on Stephanus Gobarus.

XVIII Apollinarius. ‘Judas did not die by hanging, but lived on, having been cut down before he was suffocated. And the Acts of the Apostles show this, that falling headlong he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out. This fact is related more clearly by Papias, the disciple of John, in the fourth (book) of the Exposition of the Oracles of the Lord as follows:—

Judas walked about in this world a terrible example of impiety; his flesh swollen to such an extent that, where a waggon can pass with ease, he was not able to pass, no, not even the mass of his head merely. They say that his eyelids swelled to such an extent that he could not see the light at all, while as for his eyes they were not visible even by a physician looking through an instrument, so far had they sunk from the surface.…’

Complied from Cramer Catena ad Acta SS. Apost. (1838) p. 12 sq. and other sources.

XIX Here beginneth the argument to the Gospel according to John.

The Gospel of John was made known and given to the Churches by John, while he yet remained in the body; as (one) Papias by name, of Hierapolis, a beloved disciple of John, has related in his five exoteric (read exegetical) books; but he wrote down the Gospel at the dictation of John, correctly.

A Vatican ms of the ninth century.

XX For, last of these, John, surnamed the Son of Thunder, when he was now a very old man, as Irenæus and Eusebius and a succession of trustworthy historians have handed down to us, about the time when terrible heresies had cropped up, dictated the Gospel to his own disciple, the virtuous Papias of Hierapolis, to fill up what was lacking in those who before him had proclaimed the word to the nations throughout all the earth.

Catena Patr. Graec. in S. Joan. published by B. Corder.[1]

[1] Joseph Barber Lightfoot and J. R. Harmer, The Apostolic Fathers (London: Macmillan and Co., 1891), 513–535.

Attribution: This article incorporates text from the public domain: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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[1] Michael William Holmes, The Apostolic Fathers in English, page 309 (Baker Academic, 2006).

[2] Ancient Christian Gospels (Harrisburg: Trinity Press, 1990), pp. 32f

[3] Historia Ecclesiastica 3.39.13.

[4] See Funk, fragments 6 and 7; translated by Michael W. Holmes in The Apostolic Fathers in English (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2006), p. 314.

[5] Eusebius, Church History, Book 3, Chapter 39.15-16

[6] Eusebius, Church History, Book 3, Chapter 39.16, translated by Dr. Arthur C. McGiffert and Dr. Ernest C. Richardson, Nicene and Post-Nicene Library of the Christian Fathers, WM. B. EERDMANS PUBLISHING COMPANY, GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN, 1890

[7] 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.

[8] 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.” / It remains unknown whether or not these were earlier versions of the Jesus story. Papias only informs his reader of their existence, nothing else.

[9] Hist. Eccl. 3.39.

[10] 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.

[11] A catena compiled by Cramer vol 3 p12 (translation from chronicon.net)

[12] C.E. Hill (2006), p.309

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