Papias: 11 New Fragments Found

I added 11 new fragments of Papias to my website.  Two are from John of Dara which I gratefully found in the 3rd edition of “Apostolic Fathers: Texts and English translations” by Michael Holmes (2007), one I found preserved in the Chronicle by Prosper of Aquitania, and the other eight from the Ecclesiastical History of Nicephorus Callistus Xanthopoulos (which to my knowledge has never been translated before). All of these seem to stem originally from Eusebius, but they are still valuable (John’s may come from Apollonarius and Irenaeus).

I also added two hypothetical fragments that are proposed by Charles Hill and Richard Baukham. These are very intriguing. Do read them.  I also added information about various ancient translations of fragments from Eusebius, Jerome, and Andrew of Caesarea.  Some of these ancient translations alter the wording of the original in significant ways, which  I will show below.

I also  added a note to Vardan Arewelts’i calling into question the accuracy of his statement about Papias which I learned from Norelli (2005).  Norelli thinks that one of these fragments refers to Pappus of Alexandria not Papias.  I also fixed and changed some other things, which you can read in my “update” section.

My page on Papias is getting rather muddled with all the information I have on it (there are  inconsistencies in quotations, translation methods, etc) so I ask that anyone using it checks all sources to make sure there are no mistakes.

Here is the Syriac translation (found here) of one of Eusebius’ quotes of Papias compared with the Greek (differences are underlined, omissions are given in brackets):

“But I shall not hesitate also to put down for you along with my interpretations whatsoever things I have at any time learned carefully from the elders and carefully remembered, guaranteeing their truth. For I did not, like the multitude, take pleasure in those that speak much, but in those that teach the truth; not in those that relate strange commandments, but in those that deliver the commandments given by the Lord to faith, and springing from the truth itself. If, then, any one came, who had been a follower of the elders, I questioned him in regard to the words of the elders,-what Andrew or what Peter said, or what was said by Philip, or by Thomas, or by James, or by John, or by Matthew, or by any other of the disciples of the Lord, and what things Aristion and the presbyter John, the disciples of the Lord, say. For I did not think that what was to be gotten from the books would profit me as much as what came from the living and abiding voice.”
“I do not scruple to adduce for thee in these interpretations of mine that also which I well learned [] from the Elders and well remember. And I attest on behalf of these men the truth. For I did not take delight in those who have much to say, as many do, but in those who teach the truth; neither in the those who recall commandments of strangers, but in those who transmit what was given by our Lord to the faith, and is derived and comes from the Truth (itself). Neither did I when anyone came along who had been a follower of the Elders, compare the words of the Elders: what Andrew said, or what Peter said, or what Philip, or what Thomas, or what James, or what John, or Matthew, or any other of the disciples of our Lord. Nor what Aristo or what John the Elder []. For I did not think that I could so profit from their books, as from the living and abiding utterance.”

This Syriac translation of Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History was probably done shortly after the work was published in Greek, so the translator may have had first hand knowledge of Papias. The translator’s alterations seem to indicate that Papias was specifically claiming that he indeed heard the elders, the disciples of Jesus, himself and that he did not bother with reading books written by other people who had heard those disciples.

Here is the Armenian translation of one of Andrew of Caesarea’s quotes of Papias compared with the Greek [given here] (The Greek and Armenian parallel columns continue immediately after the quote from Revelation 12:9, but WordPress won’t let me embed tables so it looks like there is a gap):

And Papias has thus word for word: “some of them, that is, the divine Angels of old, [130] he gave (authority) to rule over the earth and commanded (them) to rule well.” And then says the following: “And it happened that their arrangement came to nothing.”
[Rev. 12:9] And the great dragon was thrown (down), the ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world, he was thrown to the earth, and his angels were thrown (down).
Naturally. For heaven does not bear an earthly mentality, because darkness has nothing in common with light. If it is placed with the article “the Satan,” it is not as (though) another is been placed alongside the devil -and if it is placed like an overstatement, such as “the devil and the Satan”-rather he is called by two (names)-the one (the devil) because he slanders virtues and those who desire them and he (slanders) God himself to human beings, as he represented him (God) slanderously to Adam, and the other (Satan), as he is opposed to both the master and his servants. One must know that the fall of the devil that happened after the cross is not that (of) place, (but) as (a fall to) inefficacy from those former (powers), just as he also confessed to Anthony, the verse of the song had been fulfilled in him. “The swords of the enemy he utterly destroyed to the end.” Therefore, his fall is the annulment of his evil [131] machinations, after the complete rejection of him from heaven and the rule belonging to him, as it is said. It had been said by the blessed Justin the martyr (that) after the coming of Christ and the decree against him (to send him) to Gehenna, the devil is to become a creature blasphemer even (to the extent that) he had never before so shamelessly blasphemed God.
-On the Apocalypse Book 12.34
And Papias, in his discourses, put it this way: Heaven did not countenance his earthly plans, since communication between light and darkness is impossible. He [satan] fell to earth to dwell here, and people came to where he lived. However, he did not let them enjoy their natural passions, rather, he beguiled them into many evils. But Michael and his forces who are overseers of the world helped humanity, as Daniel learned. They established laws and made the prophets wise. All this constituted a battle against the dragon [satan] who [always] set obstacles for humanity. And this struggle extended to Heaven , to Christ. Then Christ came, and the law which had been impossible for others [to fulfill] He realized in His own body, according to the Apostle. He caused sin to retreat and condemned satan, and by His death He spread His righteousness over everyone. Once this happened, the victory of Michael and his forces was realized, and the dragon was unable to resist any longer. This was because the death of Christ made a laughing-stock of him and hurled him to earth. Christ spoke about this, saying: “I saw satan fall from heaven like a bolt of lightning”. The Doctors of the Church (the vardapet s) understood this to refer not to his first fall, but to his second which occurred because of the crucifixion. This [second] fall was not one which occurred in a particular place as the first [fall] had, but rather concerned the expectation of future judgement and punishment . For he had failed in battle, as Anton [St. Anthony] himself confessed in a psalm he wrote about this: “The enemy’s weapons were completely destroyed.” For Christ had judged him and he fell absolutely. The Doctors of the Church teach that until this fall he [satan] had hopes of returning to his former glory, but afterwards he fell completely. On this [topic] Irenaeus takes the words of the martyr Justin as follows… -On the Apocalypse Armenian translation by Robert Bedrosian

I have always wondered what the original Greek said in this portion of Andrew Caesarea’s Commentary on the Apocalypse. The two most striking things about the Armenian translation is that the quotation of Papias comes almost immediately after a previous quotation of him and also that the Armenian translation contains more accurate testimony about the source of Andrew’s statement concerning Justin the martyr; the Greek claims that Andrew is quoting from Justin directly, but the Armenian more accurately states that he is quoting Justin from a quote given by Irenaeus. Even if we are to discount this Papias fragment as an interpolation by the translator, the Armenian translator is clearly a learned man given his “correction” of Andrew’s reference to Justin, and therefore may have had knowledge of Papias himself.

Finally, I have four or five other fragments and testimonies of Papias that I have discovered, I hope to publish them on my website when I get a chance.  As always, leave a comment if you have found any mistakes I have made, or if you have any suggestions.

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3 Responses to Papias: 11 New Fragments Found

  1. Pingback: More Papias fragments at Roger Pearse

  2. Chris Zeichmann says:

    If you’re interested, I wrote a short study on Papias’ death of Judas that got published a year ago, which notes some of the more recent publications to discuss it. Zeichmann, Christopher B. “Papias as Rhetorician: Ekphrasis in the Bishop’s Account of Judas’ Death.” New Testament Studies 56 (2010): 427-429.

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