Thursday, May 17, 2007

Papias and the Synoptic Problem

I am currently reading (like everyone else in the blogosphere Bauckham's Jesus and the Eyewitnesses) and I was intrigued by his remark where he intimates the possibility that Papias might be the earliest possible reference to Marcan priority or at least Matthean dependence on Mark:

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.

Does "interpreted them" refer to the words of Jesus or does it refer to interpretation of Peter's account of Jesus' words as contained in Mark? I wouldn't bet my house on it, but it is thought provoking.


Peter M. Head said...


This supposed quotation is a conflation of two separate quotations in Eusebius.

Michael F. Bird said...

Thanks, I have indicated a break in the text where Eusebius' remarks would otherwise be.

Neil Cadman said...

Matthew was not copied from Mark as really only a cursory study of the dialogue proves, for in the Baptism of Jesus it is plain that neither is copied from the other. It is as follows.

(That which John the Baptist heard)

"This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."

cf. Jn.12:30

Mk.1:11.And …

(That which Jesus heard)

"You are my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.") cf. Jn.12:29

It is plain that Matthew and Mark recorded different facets of the life of Christ rather than differing versions from an original human source. To the best of my knowledge there is no evidence that Mark was not one of the multitudes who followed Jesus.

Moreover there is sufficent evidence to prove that all the Gospels were first written in Greek.

See for more.