Bauckham’s Jesus and the Eyewitnesses. Chapter 2/WIFTA

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by Neil Godfrey

Chapter 2 WIFTA (What I Forgot To Add — to be regularly updated I am sure)

9.00 am, 26th Jan 07

Online sources re dates of Papias
Wace Introduction (Early Christian Writings: Fragments of Papias)

The date of Papias used to be regarded as determined by a notice in the Paschal Chronicle, which was thought to record his martyrdom at Pergamus under A.D. 163.

Handbook of Patrology (Early Christian Writings: Fragments of Papias)

Zahn places this composition in A. D. 125-130; Bardenhewer, 117-138; Harnack, 140-160; Batiffol, c. 150.

Schoedel cites Schoedel (Early Christian Writings: Fragments of Papias)

It is notable that Eusebius, in spite of his desire to discredit Papias, still places him as early as the reign of Trajan (A.D. 98-117); and although later dates (e.g., A.D. 130-140) have often been suggested by modern scholars, Bartlet’s date for Papias’ literary activity of about A.D. 100 has recently gained support (Schoedel 1967: 91-92; Kortner 1983: 89-94, 167-72, 225-26).

Time of Hadrian and the genealogy of right/heretical teaching
I commented that Papias’s reference to the time of Hadrian may (only possibly) point to a turning point in emerging genealogies being created to distinguish the roots of ‘heretical’ christianities from ‘correct’ ones. I have since had a chance to consult my source and find I have to retract any impression I had that there was a gererally widespread view emerging in orthodoxy to be that the time of Hadrian was the starting point for heretics — it was the view of Clement of Alexandria. Here is the ref :

Hoffmann’s Marcion, on the restitution of Christianity

He cites Clement of Alexandria (p.64) who clearly distinguishes the time of truth (up to the time of Hadrian, 117) from the time of error (from the time of Hadrian, 117) , with the former further subdivided between the time of the Lord’s teaching (ending in 30) and the Time of the Apostles (ending in 68).

Tertullian in AM V sets the time of heresy later — to the Antonines (p.66)

Which John, according to Papias, wrote the gospel?
It was surprising to read that Bauckham interprets Papias’s prologue as indicating that Papias knew only John the Elder and understood John the apostle to have been dead by the time he was interviewing disciples of eyewitnesses. Ancient sources make much of Papias having known John the Apostle. Bauckham, however, says that the John the Papias knew was not John the Apostle, but only John the Elder. Bauckham tells the reader in chapter 2 that he will later argue that it was John the Elder who was the author of the Gospel John and Revelation. Hence it was in the time of Papias’s interviews (Bauckham puts this around 80-90 ce) that Matthew, Luke and John (the Elder) were composing their gospels.


Bauckham on the absence of Papias’s stories from the canonical gospels:
I expressed some difficulty with Bauckham’s case given the fact that we know of none of Papias’s stories making it into the canonical gospels. I should have included there Bauckham’s reply to this problem:

Of the traditions of the words and deeds of Jesus that Papias collected very few have come down to us . . . . We should probably assume that the majority were simply versions of stories and sayings to be found in the Gospels . . . . (p.29)

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Neil Godfrey

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