Essays on "Supernatural Religion"
by J. B. Lightfoot
VI. PAPIAS OF HIERAPOLIS (Continued).
It has been seen that, in the meagre fragments of his work which alone survive, Papias mentions by name the Evangelical records of St Matthew and St Mark. With the Third and Fourth Gospels the case is different. Eusebius has not recorded any reference to them by Papias, and our author therefore concludes that they were unknown to this early writer. I have shown in a previous paper on the 'Silence of Eusebius' [178:1], that this inference is altogether unwarrantable. I have pointed out that the assumption on which it rests is not justified by the principles which Eusebius lays down for himself as his rule of procedure [178:2], while it is directly refuted by almost every instance in which he quotes a writing now extant, and in which therefore it is possible to apply a test. I have proved that, as regards the four Gospels, Eusebius only pledges himself to give, and (as a matter of fact) only does give, traditions of interest respecting them. I have proved also that it is not consistent either with his principles or with his practice to refer to mere quotations, however numerous, even though they are given by name. Papias therefore might have quoted the Third Gospel any number of times as written by Luke the companion of Paul, and the Fourth Gospel not less frequently as written by John the Apostle; and Eusebius would not have cared to record the fact.
All this I have proved, and the author of _Supernatural Religion_ is unable to disprove it. In the preface to his last edition [179:1] he does indeed devote several pages to my argument; but I confess that I am quite at a loss to understand how any writer can treat the subject as it is there treated by him. Does he or does he not realize the distinction which underlies the whole of my argument--the distinction between _traditions about_ the Gospels on the one hand, and _quotations from_ the Gospels on the other?
At times it appears as if this distinction were clearly before him. He quotes a passage from my article, in which it is directly stated [179:2], and even argues upon it. I gave a large number of instances where ancient authors whose writings are extant do quote our Canonical Scriptures, sometimes directly, sometimes indirectly, sometimes anonymously, sometimes by name, and where nevertheless Eusebius does not mention the circumstance. This is his mode of dealing with such facts--
That he omitted to mention a reference to the Epistle to the Corinthians in the Epistle of Clement of Rome, or the reference by Theophilus to the Gospel of John, and other supposed quotations, might be set down as much to oversight as intention [179:3].
Does it not occur to him that he is here cutting the throat of his own argument? The reference to the First Epistle to the Corinthians is the single direct reference by name to the Canonical Scriptures of the New Testament in Clement; the reference to the Gospel of St John again is the single direct reference by name in the extant work of Theophilus. What would be said of a traveller who paid a visit to the Gorner-Grat for the express purpose of observing and recording the appearance of the Alps from this commanding position, and returned from his survey without having noticed either the Matterhorn or Monte Rosa? If Eusebius could have overlooked these most obvious notices, he could have overlooked anything. His gross and habitual carelessness would then cover any omission. Nor again, I venture to think, will our author deceive any fairly intelligent person, who has read my article with moderate care, by his convenient because cloudy expression, 'other supposed quotations.' I need only remind my readers that among these 'other supposed quotations' are included (to take only one instance) numerous and direct references by name to the Acts of the Apostles and to eleven Epistles of St Paul in IrenŠus [180:1], of which Eusebius says not a word, and they will judge for themselves by this example what dependence can be placed on the author's use of language.
But our author speaks of the 'ability' of my article, as a reason for discrediting its results. I am much obliged to him for the compliment, but I must altogether decline it. It is the ability of facts which he finds so inconvenient. I brought to the task nothing more than ordinary sense. I found our author declaring, as others had declared before him, that under certain circumstances Eusebius would be sure to act in a particular way. I turned to Eusebius himself, and I found that, whenever we are able to test his action under the supposed circumstances, he acts in precisely the opposite way. I discovered that he not only sometimes, but systematically, ignores mere quotations from the four Gospels and the Acts and the thirteen Epistles of St Paul, however numerous and however precise. I cannot indeed recollect a single instance where he adduces a quotation for the mere purpose of authenticating any one of these books.
But our author asks [180:2],
Is it either possible or permissible to suppose that, had Papias known anything of the other two Gospels [the third and fourth], he would not have inquired about them from the presbyters and recorded their information? And is it either possible or permissible to suppose that if Papias had recorded any similar information regarding the composition of the third and fourth Gospels, Eusebius would have omitted to quote it?
To the first question I answer that it is both possible and permissible to make this supposition. I go beyond this, and say that it is not only possible and permissible, but quite as probable as the opposite alternative. In the absence of all definite knowledge respecting the motive of Papias, I do not see that we are justified in giving any preference to either hypothesis over the other. There is no reason for supposing that Papias made these statements respecting St Mark and St Matthew in his preface rather than in the body of his work, or that they were connected and continuous, or that he had any intention of giving an exhaustive account of all the documents with which he was acquainted. On the contrary, these notices bear every mark of being incidental. If we take the passage relating to St Mark for instance, the natural inference is that Papias in the course of his expositions stumbled on a passage where this Evangelist omitted something which was recorded by another authority, or gave some incident in an order different from that which he found elsewhere, and that in consequence he inserted the notice of the presbyter respecting the composition of this Gospel, to explain the divergence. He might, or might not, have had opportunities of inquiring from the presbyters respecting the Gospel of St Luke. They might, or might not, have been able to communicate information respecting it, beyond the fact which every one knew, and which therefore no one cared to repeat, that it was written by a companion of St Paul. He might, or might not, have found himself confronted with a difficulty which led him to repeat his information, assuming he had received any from them.
As regards the second question, I agree with our author. I am indeed surprised that after ascribing such incredible carelessness to Eusebius as he has done a few pages before, he should consider it impossible and impermissible to suppose him guilty of any laches here. But I myself have a much higher opinion of the care manifested by Eusebius in this matter. So far as I can see, it would depend very much on the nature of the information, whether he would care to repeat it. If Papias had reported any 'similar' information respecting the two last Gospels, I should certainly expect Eusebius to record it. But if (to give an illustration) Papias had merely said of the fourth Evangelist that 'John the disciple of the Lord wished by the publication of the Gospel to root out that error which had been disseminated among men by Cerinthus, and long before by those who are called Nicolaitans,' or language to that effect, it would be no surprise to me if Eusebius did not reproduce it; because IrenŠus uses these very words of the fourth Gospel [182:1], and Eusebius does not allude to the fact.
But our author argues that, 'if there was a Fourth Gospel in his knowledge, he [Papias] must have had something to tell about it' [182:2]. Perhaps so, but it does not follow either that he should have cared to tell this something gratuitously, or that any occasion should have arisen which led him to tell it. Indeed, this mode of arguing altogether ignores the relations in which the immediate circle addressed by Papias stood to St John. It would have been idle for Papias to have said, as IrenŠus says, 'John the disciple of the Lord, who also lay upon His breast, published his Gospel, while living in Ephesus of Asia' [182:3]. It would have been as idle as if a writer in this Review were to vouchsafe the information that 'Napoleon I was a great ruler of the French who made war against England.' On the hypothesis of the genuineness of the Fourth Gospel, such information would have been altogether superfluous. Papias might incidentally, when quoting the Gospel, have introduced his quotation in words from which a later generation could gather these facts; but he is not at all likely to have communicated them in the form of a direct statement. And, if he did not, there is no reason to think that Eusebius would have quoted the passage.
So far however, our author seems to recognize the distinction which I drew between stories about, and quotations from, the Gospels. But elsewhere, when the practical consequences become inconvenient, he boldly ignores it. Take, for instance, the following passage:--
The only inference which I care to draw from, the silence of Eusebius is precisely that which Dr Lightfoot admits that, both from his promise and his practice, I am entitled to deduce. When any ancient writer 'has something to _tell about_' the Gospels, 'any _anecdote_ of interest respecting them,' Eusebius will record it. This is the only information of the slightest value to this work which could be looked for in these writers [183:1].
What? does our author seriously maintain that, supposing Papias to have quoted the Fourth Gospel several times by name as the work of John the Apostle, this fact would not be of 'the slightest value' in its bearing on the question at issue between us--the antiquity and genuineness of that Gospel--because, forsooth, he did not give any anecdote respecting its composition?
So again a few pages later, he writes--
Eusebius fulfils his pledge, and states what disputed works were used by Hegesippus and what he said about them, and one of these was the Gospel according to the Hebrews. He does not, however, record a remark of any kind regarding our Gospels, and the legitimate inference, and it is the only one I care to draw, is that Hegesippus did not say anything about them [183:2].
Yes; 'did not say anything _about_ them,' in the sense of not recording any traditions respecting them, though he may have quoted them scores of times and by name. If this is the only inference which our author cares to draw, I cannot object. But it is not the inference which his words would suggest to the incautious reader; and it is not the inference which will assist his argument at all. Moreover this passage ignores another distinction, which I showed to be required by the profession and practice alike of Eusebius. Eusebius relates of Hegesippus that he 'sets down some things from the Gospel according to the Hebrews' [183:3]; but, as our author correctly says, he does not directly mention his using our four Canonical Gospels. This is entirely in accordance with his procedure elsewhere. I showed that he makes it his business to note every single quotation from an apocryphal source, whereas he deliberately ignores any number of quotations from the Canonical Gospels, the Acts, and the Pauline Epistles. How else (to take a single instance) can we explain the fact that, in dealing with IrenŠus, he singles out the one anonymous quotation from the Shepherd of Hermas [184:1], and is silent about the two hundred quotations (a very considerable number of them by name) from the Pauline Epistles?
But the passage which I have just given is not the only one in which the unwary reader will be entirely misled by this juggle between two meanings of the preposition 'about'. Thus our author has in several instances [184:2] tacitly altered the form of expression in his last edition; but the alteration is made in such a way as, while satisfying the letter of my distinction, to conceal its true significance. Thus he writes of Dionysius [184:3]--
EARLIER EDITIONS. | LAST EDITION [184:4].
It is certain that, had Dionysius | It is certain that had Dionysius
_mentioned_ books of the New | _said anything about_ books
Testament, Eusebius would, as | of the New Testament, Eusebius
usual, have stated the fact. | would, as usual, have stated the
And again of Papias [184:5]--
EARLIER EDITIONS. | LAST EDITION.
Eusebius, who never fails to | Eusebius, who never fails to
_enumerate the works of the New | _state what the Fathers say about
Testament to which the Fathers | the works of_ the New Testament,
refer_, does not pretend that | does not mention that Papias
Papias knew either the Third or | knew either the Third or Fourth
Fourth Gospels. | Gospels.
These alterations tell their own tale. One meaning of the expression, 'say about,' is suggested to the reader by the context and required by the author's argument, while another is alone consistent with the facts.
Elsewhere however the distinction is not juggled away, but boldly ignored. Thus he still writes--
The presumption therefore naturally is that, as Eusebius did not mention the fact, he did not find any reference to the Fourth Gospel in the work of Papias [185:1].
I have shown that there is not any presumption--even the slightest--on this side.
Elsewhere he affirms still more boldly of Hegesippus--
It is certain that had he mentioned our Gospels, and we may say particularly the Fourth, the fact would have been recorded by Eusebius [185:2].
I have proved that, so far from this being certain, the probability is all the other way.
I confess that I cannot understand this treatment of the subject. It may indeed serve an immediate purpose. It may take in an unwary reader, or even a stray reviewer. I must suppose that it has even deceived the writer himself. But _magna est veritas_. My paper on the Silence of Eusebius was founded on an induction of facts; and therefore I feel confident that, unwelcome as these results are to the author of _Supernatural Religion_, and unexpected as they may be to many others, they must be ultimately accepted in the main.
The absence therefore of any direct mention by Eusebius respecting the use of the Third and Fourth Gospels by Papias affords no presumption one way or the other; and we must look elsewhere for light on the subject.
Unfortunately the fragments and notices of the work of Papias which have been preserved are very scanty. They might easily be compressed into less than two ordinary octavo pages, though the work itself extended to five books. It must therefore be regarded as a mere accident, whether we find in these meagre reliques the indications which we seek.
As regards St Luke, these indications are precarious and inadequate. They may afford a presumption that Papias used this Gospel, but they will not do more. Independent writers indeed, like Credner and Hilgenfeld, are satisfied, from certain coincidences of expression in the preface of Papias, that he was acquainted with this Evangelist's record, though he did not attach any value to it; but I agree with the author of _Supernatural Religion_ in thinking that the inference is not warranted by the expressions themselves. It seems to me much more to the purpose that an extant fragment of Papias, in which he speaks of the overthrow of Satan and his angels, and their fall to the earth, appears to have been taken from an exposition of Luke x. 18 [186:1]. At least there is no other passage in the Gospels to which it can so conveniently be referred. But obviously no great stress can be laid on this fact. It must indeed seem highly improbable that Papias should have been unacquainted with a Gospel which Marcion, a contemporary and a native of Asia Minor, thought fit to adapt to his heretical teaching, and which at this time is shown by the state of the text to have been no recent document [186:2]. But this is a consideration external to the evidence derivable from Papias himself.
The case with the Fourth Gospel however is quite different. Here we have a combination of circumstantial evidence, which is greater than we had any right to expect beforehand, and which amounts in the aggregate to a very high degree of probability.
1. In the first place, Eusebius informs us that Papias 'has employed testimonies from the first (former) Epistle of John, and likewise from that of Peter.' The knowledge of the First Epistle almost necessarily carries with it the knowledge of the Gospel. The identity of authorship in the two books, though not undisputed, is accepted with such a degree of unanimity that it may be placed in the category of acknowledged facts.
But, if I mistake not, their relation is much closer than this. There is not only an identity of authorship, but also an organic connection between the two. The first Epistle has sometimes been regarded as a preface to the Gospel. It should rather be described, I think, as a commendatory postscript. This connection will make itself felt, if the two books are read continuously. The Gospel seems to have been written or (more properly speaking) dictated for an immediate circle of disciples. This fact appears from special notices of time and circumstance, inserted here and there, evidently for the purpose of correcting the misapprehensions and solving the difficulties of the Evangelist's hearers. It is made still more clear by the sudden transition to the second person, when the narrator breaks off, and looking up (as it were), addresses his hearers--'He that saw, it hath borne record ... that _ye_ might believe.' 'These things are written that _ye_ might believe' [187:1]. There were gathered about the Apostle, we may suppose, certain older members of the Church, like Aristion and the Presbyter John, who, as eye-witnesses of Christ's earthly life, could guarantee the correctness of the narrative. The twenty-fourth verse of the last chapter is, as it were, the endorsement of these elders--'This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things, and _we know_ that his testimony is true.' After the narrative is thus ended, comes the hortatory postscript which we call the First Epistle, and which was intended (we may suppose) to be circulated with the narrative. It has no opening salutation, like the two Epistles proper--the second and third--which bear the same Apostle's name. It begins at once with a reference to the Gospel narrative which (on this hypothesis) has preceded--'That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we beheld and our hands handled, of the Word of Life ... that which we have seen and heard declare we unto you.' The use of the plural here links on the opening of the Epistle with the close of the Gospel. The Apostle begins by associating with himself the elders, who have certified to the authorship and authenticity of the narrative. Having done this, he changes to the singular, and speaks in his own name--'I write.' The opening phrase of the Epistle, 'That which was from the beginning,' is explained by the opening phrase of the Gospel, 'In the beginning was the Word.' The whole Epistle is a devotional and moral application of the main ideas which are evolved historically in the sayings and doings of Christ recorded in the Gospel. The most perplexing saying in the Epistle, 'He that came by water and by blood,' illustrates and itself is illustrated by the most perplexing incident in the Gospel, 'There came forth water and blood.' We understand at length, why in the Gospel so much stress is laid on the veracity of the eye-witness just at this point, when we see from the Epistle what significance the writer would attach to the incident, as symbolizing Christ's healing power.
This view of the composition of the Gospel and its connection with the Epistle has been suggested by internal considerations; but it is strongly confirmed by the earliest tradition which has been preserved. The Muratorian fragment [188:1] on the Canon must have been written about A.D. 170. As I shall have occasion to refer to this document more than once before I have done, I will here give an account of the passage relating to the Gospels, that it may serve for reference afterwards.
The fragment is mutilated at the beginning, so that the passage describing the First Gospel is altogether wanting. The text begins with the closing sentence in the description of the Second Gospel--obviously St Mark--which runs thus: 'At which however he was present, and so he set them down.'
'The Third Book of the Gospel' is designated 'according to Luke.' The writer relates that this Luke was a physician, who after the Ascension of Christ became a follower of St Paul, and that he compiled the Gospel in his own name. 'Yet,' he adds, 'neither did _he_ (nec ipse) see the Lord in the flesh, and he too set down incidents as he was able to ascertain them [189:1]. So he began his narrative from the birth of John.' Then he continues--
'The Fourth Gospel is (the work) of John, one of the (personal) disciples [189:2] (of Christ). Being exhorted by his fellow-disciples and bishops, he said, "Fast with me to-day for three days, and let us relate to one another what shall have been revealed to each." The same night it was revealed to Andrew, one of the Apostles, that John should write down everything in his own name, and all should certify (ut recognoscentibus cunctis Johannes suo nomine cuncta describeret). And therefore, although various elements (principia) are taught in the several books of the Gospels, yet it makes no difference to the faith of the believer, since all things in all of them are declared by one Supreme Spirit, concerning the nativity, the passion, the resurrection, His intercourse with His disciples, and His two advents, the first in despised lowliness, which is already past, the second with the magnificence of kingly power, which is yet to come. What wonder then, if John so boldly puts forward each statement in his Epistle ([Greek: tais epistolais]) [189:3] also saying of himself, "What we have seen with our eyes and heard with our ears, and our hands have handled, these things we have written unto you?" For so he avows himself to be not only an eye-witness and a hearer, but also a recorder, of all the wonderful things of the Lord in order.'
After speaking of the Acts and Epistles of St Paul, this anonymous writer arrives at the Catholic Epistles; and here he mentions _two_ Epistles of St John as received in the Church.
I shall have something to say presently about the coincidences with Papias in this passage. For the moment I wish to call attention to the account which the writer gives of the origin of St John's Gospel [190:1]. There may be some legendary matter mixed up with this account; the interposition of Andrew and the dream of John may or may not have been historical facts; but its general tenor agrees remarkably with the results yielded by an examination of the Gospel itself. Yet it must be regarded as altogether independent. To suppose otherwise would be to ascribe to the writer in the second century an amount of critical insight and investigation which would do no dishonour to the nineteenth. But there is also another point of importance to my immediate subject. The writer detaches the First Epistle of St John from the Second and Third, and connects it with the Gospel. Either he himself, or some earlier authority whom he copied, would appear to have used a manuscript in which it occupied this position.
But our author attempts to invalidate the testimony of Eusebius respecting the use of the First Epistle by Papias. He wrote in his earlier editions:--
As Eusebius however does not quote the passages from Papias, we must remain in doubt whether he did not, as elsewhere, assume from some similarity of wording that the passages were quotations from these Epistles, whilst in reality they might not be. Eusebius made a similar statement with regard to a supposed quotation in the so-called Epistle of Polycarp (^5) upon very insufficient grounds [191:1].
In my article on the Silence of Eusebius [191:2], I challenged him to produce any justification of his assertion 'as elsewhere.' I stated, and I emphasized the statement, that '_Eusebius in no instance which we can test gives a doubtful testimony_.' I warned him that, if I were not proved to be wrong in this statement, I should use the fact hereafter. In the preface to his new edition he has devoted twelve pages to my article on Eusebius; and he is silent on this point.
Of his silence I have no right to complain. If he had nothing to say, he has acted wisely. But there is another point in the paragraph quoted above, which demands more serious consideration. In my article [191:3] I offered the conjecture that our author had been guilty of a confusion here. I called attention to his note (^5) which runs, 'Ad Phil. vii.; Euseb. _H.E._ iv. 14,' and I wrote:--
The passage of Eusebius to which our author refers in this note relates how Polycarp 'has employed certain testimonies from the First (former) Epistle of Peter.' The chapter of Polycarp, to which he refers, contains a reference to the First Epistle _of St John_, which has been alleged by modern writers, but _is not alleged by Eusebius._ This same chapter, it is true, contains the words 'Watch unto prayer,' which presents a coincidence with 1 Pet. iv. 7. But no one would lay any stress on this one expression: the strong and unquestionable coincidences are elsewhere. Moreover our author speaks of a single 'supposed quotation,' whereas the quotations from 1 Peter in Polycarp are numerous.
I then pointed out ten other coincidences with the First Epistle of St Peter, scattered through Polycarp's Epistle. Some of these are verbal; almost all of them are much more striking and cogent than the resemblance in c. vii. Our author will not allow the error, but replies in his preface:--
I regret very much that some ambiguity in my language (_S.R._ I. p. 483) should have misled, and given Dr Lightfoot much trouble. I used the word 'quotation' in the sense of a use of the Epistle of Peter, and not in reference to any one sentence in Polycarp. I trust that in this edition I have made my meaning clear [192:1].
Accordingly, in the text, he substitutes for the latter sentence the words:--
Eusebius made a similar statement with regard to the use of the Epistle of Peter in the so-called Epistle of Polycarp, upon no more definite grounds than an apparent resemblance of expressions [192:2].
But the former part of the sentence is unaltered; the assertion 'as elsewhere' still remains unsubstantiated; and what is more important, he leaves the note exactly as it stood before, with the single reference to c. vii. Thus he has entirely misled his readers. He has deliberately ignored more than nine-tenths of the evidence in point of amount, and very far more than this proportion in point of cogency. The note was quite appropriate, supposing that the First Epistle of St John were meant, as I assumed; it is a flagrant _suppressio veri_, if it refers to the First Epistle of St Peter, as our author asserts that it does. The charge which I brought against him was only one of carelessness, which no one need have been ashamed to confess. The charge which his own explanation raises against him is of a far graver kind. Though he regrets the trouble he has given me, I do not regret it. It has enabled me to bring out the important fact that Eusebius may always be trusted in these notices relating to the use made of the Canonical Scriptures by early writers.
2. But this is not the only reason which the fragments in Eusebius supply for believing that Papias was acquainted with the Fourth Gospel. The extract from the preface suggests points of coincidence, which are all the more important because they are incidental. In the words, 'What was said by Andrew, or by Peter, or by Philip, or by Thomas or James, or by John or Matthew,' the first four names appear in the same order in which they are introduced on the scene by this Evangelist. As this order, which places Andrew before Peter, is anything but the natural order, the coincidence has a real significance. Moreover, three of these four hold a prominent place in the Fourth Gospel, which they do not hold in the others--Philip and Thomas being never once named by the Synoptic Evangelists, except in their lists of the Twelve. It has been said indeed that the position assigned to the name of John by Papias in his enumeration is inconsistent with the supposition that this Apostle wrote a Gospel, or even that he resided and taught in Asia Minor, because so important a personage must necessarily have been named earlier. But this argument proves nothing because it proves too much. No rational account can be given of the sequence, supposing that the names are arranged 'in order of merit.' Peter, as the chief Apostle, must have stood first; and John, as a pillar Apostle, would have been named next, or (if the James here mentioned is the Lord's brother) at all events next but one. This would have been the obvious order in any case; but, if Papias had any Judaic sympathies, as he is supposed to have had, no other is imaginable. This objection therefore is untenable. On the other hand, it is a remarkable fact that the two names, which are kept to the last and associated together, are just those two members of the Twelve to whom alone the Church attributes written Gospels. As Evangelists, the name of John and Matthew would naturally be connected. On any other hypothesis, it is difficult to account for this juxtaposition.
Again, it should be noticed that when Papias speaks of incidents in our Lord's life which are related by an eye-witness without any intermediation between Christ and the reporter, he describes them as 'coming from the Truth's self' [193:1] ([Greek: ap' autŕs tŕs alŕtheias]). This personification of Christ as 'the Truth' is confined to the Fourth Gospel.
3. When we turn from Eusebius to IrenŠus, we meet with other evidence pointing to the same result. I refer to a passage with which the readers of these articles will be familiar, for I have had occasion to refer to it more than once [194:1]; but I have not yet investigated its connection with Papias. IrenŠus writes [194:2]:--
As the elders say, then also shall they which have been deemed worthy of the abode in heaven go thither, while others shall enjoy the delight of paradise, and others again shall possess the brightness of the city; for in every place the Saviour shall be seen, according as they shall be worthy who see him. [They say] moreover that this is the distinction between the habitation of them that bring forth a hundred-fold, and them that bring forth sixty-fold, and them that bring forth thirty-fold; of whom the first shall be taken up into the heavens, and the second shall dwell in paradise, and the third shall inhabit the city; and that therefore our Lord has said, 'In my Father's abode are many mansions' ([Greek: en tois tou patros mou monas einai pollas]); for all things are of God, who giveth to all their appropriate dwelling, according as His Word saith that allotment is made unto all by the Father, according as each man is, or shall be, worthy. And this is the banqueting-table at which those shall recline who are called to the marriage and take part in the feast. The presbyters, the disciples of the Apostles, say that this is the arrangement and disposal of them that are saved, and that they advance by such steps, and ascend through the Spirit to the Son, and through the Son to the Father, the Son at length yielding His work to the Father, as it is said also by the Apostle, 'for He must reign until He putteth all enemies under his feet,' etc. [194:3]
I am glad to be saved all further trouble about the grammar of this passage. Our author now allows that the sentence with which we are mainly concerned is oblique, and that the words containing a reference to our Lord's saying in St John's Gospel are attributed to the elders who are mentioned before and after. He still maintains however, that 'it is unreasonable to claim' the reference 'as an allusion to the work of Papias,' He urges in one place that there is 'a wide choice of presbyters, including even evangelists, to whom the reference of IrenŠus may with equal right be ascribed' [195:1]; in another, that 'the source of the quotation is quite indefinite, and may simply be the exegesis of his own day' [195:2]. To the one hypothesis it is sufficient to reply that no such explanation is found in the only four Evangelists whom IrenŠus recognized; to the other, that when IrenŠus wrote there were no 'disciples of the Apostles' living, so that he could have used the present tense in speaking of them.
This reference to the tense leads to a distinction of real importance. Critics have remarked that these reports of the opinions of the presbyters in IrenŠus must be accepted with reserve; that the reporter may unconsciously have infused his own thoughts and illustrations into the account; and that therefore we cannot adduce with entire confidence the quotations from the canonical writings which they contain. This caution is not superfluous, but it must not be accepted without limitation. The reports in IrenŠus are of two kinds. In some cases he repeats the _conversations_ of his predecessors; in others he derives his information from _published records_. The hesitation, which is prudent in the one case, would be quite misplaced in the other. We shall generally find no difficulty in drawing the line between the two. Though there may be one or two doubtful instances, the language of IrenŠus is most commonly decisive on this point. Thus, when he quotes the opinions of the elder on the Two Testaments, he is obviously repeating oral teaching; for he writes, 'The presbyter used to say,' 'The presbyter would entertain us with his discourse,' 'The old man, the disciple of the Apostles, used to dispute' [196:1]. On the other hand, when in the passage before us he employs the present tense, 'As the elders say,' 'The presbyters, the disciples of the Apostles, say,' he is clearly referring to some _document_. No one would write, 'Coleridge maintains,' or 'Pitt declares,' unless he had in view some work or speech or biographical notice of the person thus quoted.
We may therefore safely conclude that in the passage before us IrenŠus is citing from some _book_. So far as regards the main question at issue, the antiquity of the Fourth Gospel, it matters little whether this book was the exegetical work of Papias or not. Indeed the supposition that it was a different work is slightly more favourable to my position, because it yields additional and independent testimony of the same date and character as that of Papias. But the following reasons combined make out a very strong case for assigning the passage to Papias. (1) It entirely accords with the _method_ of Papias, as he himself describes it in his preface [197:1]. Scriptural passages are interpreted, and the sayings of the elders are interwoven with the interpretations. It accords equally well with the _subject_ of his Expositions; for we know that he had a great fondness for eschatological topics, and that he viewed them in this light. (2) The possibilities are limited by the language, which confines our search to written documents. So far as we know there was, prior to the time of IrenŠus, no Christian work which would treat the same subject in the same way, and would at the same time satisfy the conditions implied in the words, 'The elders, the disciples of the Apostles, say.' (3) The connection with a previous passage is highly important in its bearing on this question. In the thirty-third chapter of his fifth and last book IrenŠus gives the direct reference to Papias which has been considered already [197:2]; in the thirty-sixth and final chapter occurs the passage with which we are now concerned. Is there reason to believe that the authority in these two passages is the same or different? Several considerations aid us in answering this question, and they all tend in the same direction. (i) The subject of the two passages is the same. They both treat of the future kingdom of Christ, and both regard it from the same point of view as a visible and external kingdom. (ii) In the next place the authorities in the two passages are described in similar terms. In the first passage they are designated at the outset 'the elders who saw John, the disciple of the Lord,' while at the close we are told that 'Papias records these things in writing in his fourth book: It is not clear whether these elders are the authorities whom Papias quotes, or the class to whom Papias himself belongs, and whom therefore he represents. Since IrenŠus regards Papias as a direct hearer of St John, this latter alternative is quite tenable, though perhaps not as probable as the other. But this twofold possibility does not affect the question at issue. In the second passage the authorities are described in the opening as 'the elders' simply, and at the close as 'the elders, the disciples of the Apostles.' Thus the two accord. Moreover, in the second passage 'the elders' are introduced without any further description, as if they were already known, and we therefore naturally refer back to the persons who have been mentioned and described shortly before. (iii) The subject is continuous from the one passage to the other, though it extends over four somewhat long chapters (c. 33-36). The discussion starts, as we have seen, from Christ's saying about drinking the fruit of the vine in His kingdom [198:1]. The authority of the elders, recorded in the work of Papias, is quoted to support a literal interpretation of these words, as implying a material recompense of the believers. IrenŠus then cites those prophecies of Isaiah which foretell the reign of peace on God's Holy Mountain (xi. 6 sq, lxv. 25 sq). This leads him to the predictions which announce the future triumphs of Israel and the glories of the New Jerusalem, all of which are interpreted literally as referring to a reign of Christ on earth. Creation thus renovated, he argues, will last for ever, as may be inferred from the promise of the new heavens and the new earth (Isaiah lxvi. 22). Then follows the passage in question, which contains the interpretation, given by the elders, of Christ's saying concerning the many mansions in His Father's house. A few lines lower down IrenŠus refers again to the words respecting the fruit of the vine from which he had started; and after two or three sentences more the book ends.
These seem to be very substantial reasons for assigning the words to Papias. And probably the two passages which I have been considering do not stand alone. In an earlier part of this same fifth book IrenŠus writes [198:2]:--
Where then was the first man placed? In paradise plainly, as it is written 'And God planted a paradise....;' and he was cast out thence into this world, owing to his disobedience. Wherefore also the elders, disciples of the Apostles, say that those who were translated were translated thither (for paradise was prepared for righteous and inspired men, whither also the Apostle Paul was carried....) and that they who are translated remain there till the end of all things ([Greek: he˘s sunteleias]), preluding immortality.
On this passage our author remarks:--
It seems highly probable that these 'presbyters the disciples of the Apostles' who are quoted on paradise are the same 'presbyters the disciples of the Apostles' referred to on the same subject (v. 36. žž 1, 2), whom we are discussing [199:1].
With this opinion I entirely agree. 'But,' he adds, 'there is nothing whatever to connect them with Papias.' Here I am obliged to join issue. It seems to me that there are several things. In the first place, there is the description of the authorities, 'the elders, the disciples of the Apostles,' which exactly accords with the statement in Papias' own preface [199:2]. Next there is the subject and its treatment. This latter point, if I mistake not, presents some considerations which strongly confirm my view of the source of these references in IrenŠus. The elders here quoted maintain that the paradise of Genesis is not a terrestrial paradise; it is some region beyond the limits of this world, to which Enoch and Elijah were translated; it is the abode, as IrenŠus says, of the righteous and the spiritual ([Greek: pneumatikoi]), of whom these two respectively are types; their translation preludes the immortality of the faithful in Christ. In the second passage where paradise is mentioned by these elders, it is declared to be one of the 'many mansions' in the Father's house. But it is clear from this latter passage that the work from which these sayings of the elders are quoted must have contained much more about paradise. The intermediate position there assigned to it between the celestial and the terrestrial kingdom does not explain itself, and must have required some previous discussion. Is there any reason to think that Papias did directly occupy himself with this subject?
The work of Papias was in the hands of Anastasius of Sinai, who (as we have seen) set a very high value on it [200:1]. He tells us in his 'Hexaemeron' [200:2] that 'the more ancient interpreters ... contemplated the sayings about paradise _spiritually_, and referred them to the Church of Christ.' They 'said that there was a certain _spiritual_ paradise' [200:3]. Among these 'more ancient interpreters,' of whom he gives a list, he names 'the great Papias of Hierapolis, the scholar of John the Evangelist, and IrenŠus of Lyons.' Here the two are associated together as dealing with this same subject in the same way. How much of the exegesis which Anastasius gives in the context, and attributes to these ancient interpreters, may be due to Papias in particular, it is impossible to say. But it may be observed that the expression 'the delight of the paradise,' in the saying of the elders reported by IrenŠus, is taken from the Septuagint of Ezekiel xxviii. 13, where the Prince of Tyre is addressed, 'Thou wast in the delight of the paradise of God;' and that Anastasius represents 'the interpreters' (among whom he had previously mentioned Papias) as 'especially confirming their views of a spiritual paradise' by appealing to this very passage, 'where God seems to reveal to us enigmatically the fall of the devil from heaven,' the Prince of Tyre being interpreted as Satan, and the 'stones of fire' the hosts of intelligent beings; and he immediately afterwards quotes in illustration our Lord's words in Luke x. 18, 'I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven' [201:1]. 'See,' he concludes, 'we have heard plainly that he was cast down to the earth from some paradise of delight high above, and from the cherubic coals of fire. (Ezek. xxviii. 16)'
From the Hexaemeron of Anastasius I turn to the Catena on the Apocalypse, bearing the names of Oecumenius and Arethas, which was published by Cramer [201:2], and here I find fresh confirmation. On Rev. xii. 9, the compiler of this commentary quotes the same passage of St Luke to which Anastasius refers. He then goes on to explain that there was a twofold fall of Satan--the one at the time of the creation of man, the other at the Incarnation; and he proceeds--
Seeing then that Michael, the chief captain [of the heavenly hosts], could not tolerate the pride of the devil, and had long ago cast him out from his own abode by warlike might, according as Ezekiel says, that 'he was cast out by the cherubim from the midst of the stones of fire,' that is to say, the angelic ranks, because 'iniquities were found in him' (xxviii. 15, 16); again at the coming of Christ, as has been said ... he hath fallen more completely. This is confirmed by the tradition of the fathers, especially of Papias ([Greek: kai pater˘n paradosis kai Papiou]), a successor of the Evangelist John who wrote this very Apocalypse with which we are concerned. Indeed Papias speaks thus concerning the war in these express words: 'It so befell that their array,' that is, their warlike enterprise, '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' [201:3].
I turn again to Anastasius; and I read in him that 'the above-mentioned interpreters' gave these explanations of paradise to counteract the teaching of divers heretics, among whom he especially mentions the Ophites who 'offered the greatest thanksgivings to the serpent, on the ground that by his counsels, and by the transgression committed by the woman, the whole race of mankind had been born' [202:1]. This notice again confirms the view which I adopted, that it was the design of Papias to supply an antidote to the false exegesis of the Gnostics. Thus everything hangs together, and we seem to have restored a lost piece of ancient exegesis. If this restoration is uncertain in its details, it has at least materially strengthened my position, that the two sayings of the elders respecting paradise, quoted by IrenŠus, must be attributed to the same authority, Papias, whom IrenŠus cites by name in the intermediate passage relating to the millennial kingdom. I must add my belief also that very considerable parts of the fifth book of IrenŠus, which consists mainly of exegesis, are borrowed from the exegetical work of Papias. It is the unpardonable sin of Papias in the eyes of Eusebius, that he has misled subsequent writers, more especially IrenŠus, on these eschatological subjects. This is speaking testimony to the debt of IrenŠus. Literary property was not an idea recognized by early Christian writers. They were too much absorbed in their subject to concern themselves with their obligations to others, or with the obligations of others to them. Plagiarism was not a crime, where they had all literary things in common. Hippolytus, in his chief work, tacitly borrows whole paragraphs, and even chapters, almost word for word, from IrenŠus. He mentions his name only twice, and does not acknowledge his obligations more than once [202:2]. The liberties, which Hippolytus takes with his master IrenŠus, might well have been taken by IrenŠus himself with his predecessor Papias.
4. Eusebius tells us that Papias 'relates also another story concerning a woman accused of many sins before the Lord,' and he adds that it is 'contained in the Gospel according to the Hebrews.'
The story in question is allowed to be the narrative of the woman taken in adultery, which appears in the common texts of the Fourth Gospel, vii. 53-viii. 11. In the oldest Greek MS which contains this pericope, the _Codex BezŠ_, the words 'taken in adultery' are read 'taken in sin.' In the _Apostolic Constitutions_ [203:1], where this incident is briefly related, the woman is described as 'having sinned.' And again Rufinus, who would possibly be acquainted with Jerome's translation of the Gospel according to the Hebrews, boldly substitutes 'a woman, an adulteress,' for 'a woman accused of many sins,' in his version of Eusebius.
But it is equally certain that this pericope is an interpolation where it stands. All considerations of external evidence are against it. It is wanting in all Greek MSS before the sixth century; it was originally absent in all the oldest versions--Latin, Syriac, Egyptian, Gothic; it is not referred to, as part of St John's Gospel, before the latter half of the fourth century. Nor is the internal evidence less fatal. It is expressed in language quite foreign to St John's style, and it interrupts the tenor of his narrative. The Evangelist is here relating Christ's discourses on the last day, that great day, of the feast' of Tabernacles. Our Lord seizes on the two most prominent features in the ceremonial--the pouring out of the water from Siloam upon the altar, and the illumination of the city by flaming torches, lighted in the Temple area. Each in succession furnishes Him with imagery illustrating His own person and work. In the uninterrupted narrative, the one topic follows directly upon the other. He states first, that the streams of _living water_ flow from Him (vii. 37 sq). He speaks 'again' ([Greek: palin]), and declares that He is the _light of_ _the world_ (viii. 12 sq). But the intervention of this story dislocates the whole narrative, introducing a change of time, of scene, of subject.
On the other hand, it will be felt that the incident, though misplaced here, must be authentic in itself. Its ethical pitch is far above anything which could have been invented for Him by His disciples and followers, 'whose character and idiosyncrasies,' as Mr Mill says, 'were of a totally different sort' [204:1]. They had neither the capacity to imagine nor the will to invent an incident, which, while embodying the loftiest of all moral teaching, would seem to them dangerously lax in its moral tendencies.
But, if so, how came it to find a place in the copies of St John's Gospel? Ewald incidentally throws out a suggestion [204:2] that it was originally written on the margin of some ancient manuscript, to illustrate the words of Christ in John viii. 15, 'Ye judge after the flesh; I judge no man.' This hint he has not followed up, but it seems to me to be highly valuable. The pericope in question occurs, in most authorities which contain it, after vii. 52; in one MS however it stands after vii. 36; and in several it is placed at the end of the Gospel. This is just what might have been expected if it was written, in the first instance, on the margin of a MS containing two or three columns on a page. When transferred from the margin to the text, it would find a place somewhere in the neighbourhood, where it least interfered with the narrative, or, if no suitable place appeared, it would be relegated to the end of the book. It should be added, that some good cursives give it at the end of the twenty-first chapter of St Luke--the most appropriate position, historically, that could be found for it. Whether this was an independent insertion in St Luke, or a transference from St John made on critical grounds, it is not easy to say.
But if this was the motive of the insertion, what was its source? Have we not here one of those illustrative anecdotes which Papias derived from the report of the elders, and to which he 'did not scruple to give a place along with his interpretations' of our Lord's sayings? Its introduction as an illustration of the words in John viii. 15 would thus be an exact parallel to the treatment of the saying in Matthew xxvi. 29, as described in the first part of this paper [205:1]. A reader or transcriber of St John, familiar with Papias, would copy it down in his margin, either from Papias himself or from the Gospel of the Hebrews; and hence it would gain currency. The _Codex BezŠ_, the oldest Greek manuscript by two or three centuries which contains this narrative, is remarkable for its additions. May we not suspect that others besides this pericope (I would name especially our Lord's saying to the man whom He found working on the sabbath) were derived from this exegetical work of Papias? At all events Eusebius speaks of it as containing 'some strange parables and teachings of the Saviour, and some other matters more or less fabulous ([Greek: muthik˘tera]),' which Papias derived from oral tradition.
5. I have already suggested [205:2] that the notice relating to St Mark in Papias might have been given to explain some peculiarities in the Second Gospel, _as compared with St John_. This conjecture, standing alone, appears to have a very slight value, but it assumes a higher importance when we find that a writer who was a younger contemporary of Papias speaks of St Mark's Gospel in this same way and with this same motive.
The extract from the Muratorian fragment relating to the Gospels has been given above [205:3]. The writer is obviously desirous of accounting for the differences in the four Evangelists. As the fragment is mutilated at the beginning, we cannot say what he wrote about the First Gospel. But the half sentence which alone survives of his account of the Second Gospel tells its own tale; 'Quibus interfuit et ita tamen posuit.' It is evident that he, like Papias, describes St Mark as dependent on the oral preaching of St Peter for his information respecting Christ's life. He 'set down' such facts as he knew from having been 'present' when the Apostle related them to his hearers. If the words themselves had left any room for doubt, it would be cleared up by his account of the Third Gospel, which follows immediately. St Luke, he tells us, was a follower of St Paul, and so wrote his Gospel; 'but _neither_ did _he_ ([Greek: all' oud' autos]) see the Lord in the flesh,' and so he gave such information as came within his reach. On the other hand, he declares that the Fourth Gospel was written by John, a personal _disciple_ of Christ, at the instance and with the sanction of other personal disciples like himself. Hence, he argues, though there must necessarily be differences in detail, yet this does not affect the faith of believers, since there is perfect accordance on the main points, and all the Gospels alike are inspired by the same Spirit. At the same time, the authority of the Fourth Gospel is paramount, as the record of an immediate eye-witness; and this claim John asserts for himself in the opening of his Epistle, when he declares that he has written what he himself had seen and heard.
Probably, if the notice of St Mark had not been mutilated, the coincidence would have been found to be still greater. Even as it stands, this account throws great light on the notice of Papias. The Muratorian writer lays stress on the secondary character of St Mark's account; so does Papias. The Muratorian writer quotes from the First Epistle of St John in evidence; so did Papias. We are not told with what object Papias adduced this testimony from the Epistle; but it is at least a plausible hypothesis that he had the same end in view as the Muratorian writer. It should be observed also that Eusebius mentions Papias as quoting not only the First Epistle of St John, but also the First Epistle of St Peter. May not the two have been connected together in the context of Papias, as they are in the notice of Eusebius? It is quite clear that Papias had already said something of the relations existing between St Peter and St Mark previously to the extract which gives an account of the Second Gospel; for he there refers back to a preceding notice, 'But afterwards, _as I said_, he followed Peter.' Would he not naturally have quoted, as illustrating these relations, the reference to the Evangelist in the Apostle's own letter, 'Marcus my son saluteth you' (1 Pet. v. 13)? If the whole of the Muratorian writer's notice of the Second Gospel had been preserved, we should not improbably have found a parallelism here also. But, however this may be, the resemblance is enough to suggest that the Muratorian writer was acquainted with the work of Papias, and that he borrowed his contrast between the secondary evidence of St Mark and the primary evidence of St John from this earlier writer. And such a contrast offers a highly natural explanation of Papias' motive. The testimony of the elder respecting the composition of St Mark's Gospel was introduced by him, as we saw, to explain its phenomena. Though strictly accurate in its relation of facts, as far as it went, this Gospel had, he tells us, two drawbacks, which it owed to its secondary character. The account could not be taken as _complete_, and the order could not be assumed to be strictly _chronological_. In other words, compared with other evangelical narratives which Papias had in view, it showed _omissions_ and _transpositions_. A comparison with St John's narrative would yield many instances of both. We have ample evidence that within a very few years after Papias wrote, the differences between St John and the Synoptic Gospels had already begun to attract attention. The Muratorian writer is a competent witness to this, nor does he stand alone. Claudius Apollinaris, who succeeded Papias in the see of Hierapolis, perhaps immediately, certainly within a very few years, mentions that on the showing of some persons 'the Gospels seem to be at variance with one another' [207:1]. He is referring especially to the account of the Crucifixion in St Matthew and St John respectively.
It is much to be regretted that the Muratorian writer's account of St Matthew also has not been preserved; for here again we should expect much light to be thrown on the corresponding account in Papias. Why did Papias introduce this notice of the Hebrew original of St Matthew? We may suspect that the same motive which induced him to dwell on the secondary character of St Mark's knowledge led him also to call attention to the fact that St Matthew's Gospel was not an original, but a translation. I turn to an exegetical work of Eusebius, and I find this father dealing with the different accounts of two Evangelists in this very way. He undertakes to solve the question, why St Matthew (xxviii. 1) says that the resurrection was revealed to Mary Magdalene on the evening of (or 'late on') the sabbath ([Greek: opse sabbat˘n]), whereas St John (xx. 1) places this same incident on the first day of the week [Greek: tŕ mia t˘n sabbat˘n]; and among other explanations which he offers is the following:--
The expression 'on the evening of the sabbath' is due to the translator of the Scripture; for the Evangelist Matthew published [Greek: pared˘ke] his Gospel in the Hebrew tongue; but the person who rendered it into the Greek language changed it, and called the hour dawning on the Lord's day [Greek: opse sabbat˘n] [208:1].
He adds, that each Evangelist corrects any misapprehension which might arise--St Matthew by adding 'as it began to dawn towards the first day of the week,' St John by a similar qualifying expression 'when it was yet dark.' Being acquainted with the work of Papias, Eusebius might have borrowed this mode of explanation, if not this very explanation, from him.
But it may be urged that on this hypothesis the motive of Papias must have appeared in the context, and that, if it had so appeared, Eusebius must have quoted it. The reply is simple. Papias must in any case have had some object or other in citing this testimony of the presbyter, and none is given. But I would answer further, that under the supposed circumstances Eusebius was not likely to quote the context. As a matter of fact, he has not done so in a very similar case, where he tears out a fragment from a passage in IrenŠus which intimately affects the relations of the Evangelists to one another [209:1]. He commences in the middle of a sentence, and extracts just as much as serves his immediate purpose, leaving out everything else. On this point, I am glad that I can reckon beforehand on the assent of the author of _Supernatural Religion_ himself. Speaking of this extract from IrenŠus, he says, 'Nothing could be further from the desire or intention of Eusebius than to represent any discordance between the Gospels [209:2].' I do not indeed join in the vulgar outcry against the dishonesty of Eusebius. Wherever I have been able to investigate the charge, I have found it baseless. We have ample evidence that Eusebius was prepared to face the difficulties in harmonizing the Gospels, when the subject came properly before him. But here he might fairly excuse himself from entering upon a topic which had no bearing on his immediate purpose, and which once started would require a lengthy discussion to do justice to it. Moreover it is obvious that he is very impatient with Papias. He tells us twice over that he has confined his extracts to the very narrowest limits which bare justice to his subject would allow [209:3]; he warns his readers that there are a great many traditions in Papias which he has passed over; and he refers them to the book itself for further information. Though exceptionally long in itself compared with his notices of other early Christian writers, his account of Papias is, we may infer, exceptionally brief in proportion to the amount of material which this father afforded for such extracts.
6. I have said nothing yet about the direct testimony of a late anonymous writer, which (if it could be accepted as trustworthy) would be decisive on the point at issue.
In an argument prefixed to this Gospel in a Vatican MS, which is assigned to the ninth century, we read as follows:--
The Gospel of John was made known (manifestatum), and given to the Churches by John while he yet remained in the body (adhuc in corpore constituto); as (one) Papias by name, of Hierapolis, a beloved disciple of John, has related in his exoteric, that is, in his last five books (in exotericis, id est, in extremis quinque libris); but he wrote down the Gospel at the dictation of John, correctly (descripsit vero evangelium dictante Johanne recte). But Marcion the heretic, when he had been censured (improbatus) by him, because he held heretical opinions (eo quod contraria sentiebat), was cast off by John. Now he had brought writings or letters to him from the brethren that were in Pontus [210:1].
No stress can be laid on testimony derived from a passage which contains such obvious anachronisms and other inaccuracies; but the mention of Papias here courts inquiry, and time will not be ill spent in the endeavour to account for it. It will be worth while, at all events, to dispose of an erroneous explanation which has found some favour. When attention was first called to this passage by Aberle and Tischendorf, Overbeck met them with the hypothesis that the notice was taken from a spurious work ascribed to Papias. He supposed that some one had forged five additional books in the name of this father, in which he had gathered together a mass of fabulous matter, and had entitled them 'Exoterica,' attaching them to the genuine five books. To this work he assigned also the notice respecting the four Maries which bears the name of Papias [210:2]. This explanation might have been left to itself if it had remained as a mere hypothesis of Overbeck's, but it has been recently accepted by Hilgenfeld. He speaks of these five 'exoteric' books, as attached to 'the five esoteric or genuine books;' and to this source he attributes not only the account of the four Maries, but also a notice relating to the death of St John which is given by Georgius Hamartolos on the authority of Papias [211:1].
This however seems to be altogether a mistake. We find no notice or trace elsewhere of any such spurious work attributed to Papias. Moreover these titles are quite unintelligible. There is no reason why the five genuine books should be called 'esoteric,' or the five spurious books 'exoteric.' About the notice of the four Maries again Hilgenfeld is in error. It is not taken from any forged book fathered upon the bishop of Hierapolis, but from a genuine work of another Papias, a Latin lexicographer of the eleventh century. This is not a mere hypothesis, as Hilgenfeld assumes, but an indisputable fact, as any one can test who will refer to the work itself, of which MSS exist in some libraries, and which was printed four times in the fifteenth century [211:2]. Nor again does the passage in Georgius Hamartolos give any countenance to this theory. This writer, after saying that St John survived the rest of the twelve and then suffered as a martyr ([Greek: marturiou katŕxi˘tai]), continues:--
For Papias, the bishop of Hierapolis, having been an eye-witness of him, says in the second book [Greek: log˘] of the 'Oracles of the Lord' ([Greek: t˘n kuriak˘n logi˘n]) that he was slain by the Jews, having, as is clear, with his brother James, fulfilled the prediction of Christ.... 'Ye shall drink my cup,' etc. [211:3]
Here we have an obvious error. The fate which really befell James is attributed to John. Georgius Hamartolos therefore cannot be quoting directly from Papias, for Papias cannot have reported the _martyrdom_ of John. But, on the other hand, Papias seems plainly to have been the ultimate source of his information. The work is precisely and correctly quoted. The general tenor accords with the main object of Papias' book--the exposition of a saying of Christ, and the illustration of it by a story derived from tradition. This being so, the error is most easily explained by a lacuna. In the intermediate authority from whom Georgius got the reference, some words must have dropped out; a line or two may have been omitted in his copy; and the sentence may have run in the original somewhat in this way; [Greek: Papias ... phaskei hoti I˘annŕs [men hupo tou Rh˘mai˘n basile˘s katedikasthŕ martur˘n eis Patmon, Iak˘bos de] hupo Ioudai˘n anŕrethŕ], 'Papias says that John [was condemned by the Roman emperor (and sent) to Patmos for bearing witness (to the truth) while James] was slain by the Jews' [212:1].
The hypothesis of a spurious Papias therefore is wholly unsupported; and we must seek some other explanation of the statement in the Vatican MS. This passage seems to be made up of notices gathered from different sources. The account of Marcion, with which it closes, involves an anachronism (to say nothing else), and seems to have arisen from a confusion of the interview between St John and Cerinthus and that between Polycarp and Marcion, which are related by IrenŠus in the same context [213:1]. The earlier part, referring to Papias, is best explained in another way--by clerical errors and mistranslation rather than by historical confusion. The word 'exotericis' ought plainly to be read 'exegeticis' [213:2]. In some handwritings of the seventh or eighth century, where the letters have a round form, the substitution of OT for EG would be far from difficult [213:3]. In this case _extremis_, which should perhaps be read _externis_, is the Latin interpretation of the false reading _exotericis_. Thus purged of errors, the reference to Papias presents no difficulties. We may suppose that Papias, having reported some saying of St John on the authority of the elders, went on somewhat as follows: 'And this accords with what we find in his own Gospel, which he gave to the Churches when he was still in the body' [Greek: eti en t˘ s˘mati kathest˘tos]. In this contrast between the story repeated after his death and the Gospel taken down from his lips during his lifetime, we should have an explanation of the words _adhuc in corpore constituto_, which otherwise seem altogether out of place. The word _constituto_ shows clearly, I think, that the passage must have been translated from the Greek. If St John's authorship of the Gospel had been mentioned in this incidental way, Eusebius would not have repeated it, unless he departed from his usual practice. On the other hand, the statement that Papias was the amanuensis of the Evangelist can hardly be correct, though it occurs elsewhere [213:4]. Whether it was derived from a misunderstanding of Papias, or of some one else, it would be impossible to say. But I venture to suggest a solution. Papias may have quoted the Gospel 'delivered by John to the Churches, which _they_ wrote down from his lips' ([Greek: ho apegraphon apo tou stomatos autou]); and some later writer, mistaking the ambiguous [Greek: apegraphon], interpreted it, '_I_ wrote down,' thus making Papias himself the amanuensis [214:1]. The _dictation_ of St John's Gospel is suggested, as I have said already [214:2], by internal evidence also. Here again, so far as we can judge from his practice elsewhere, Eusebius would be more likely than not to omit such a statement, if it was made thus casually. This seems to me the most probable explanation of the whole passage. But obviously no weight can be attached to such evidence. Like the statement of John Malalas respecting Ignatius, which I considered in a former paper [214:3], it is discredited by its companionship with an anachronism, though the anachronism is not so flagrant as those of John Malalas, and the statement itself does not, like his, contradict the unanimous testimony of all the preceding centuries.
But the author of _Supernatural Religion_ closes with an argument, which he seems to think a formidable obstacle to the belief that Papias recognized the Fourth Gospel as the work of St John:--
Andrew of CŠsarea, in the preface to his commentary on the Apocalypse, mentions that Papias maintained 'the credibility' ([Greek: to axiopiston]) of that book, or in other words, its Apostolic origin.... Now, he must, therefore, have recognized the book as the work of the Apostle John, and we shall hereafter show that it is impossible that the author of the Apocalypse is the author of the Gospel; therefore, in this way also, Papias is a witness against the Apostolic origin of the Fourth Gospel [214:4].
This argument however is an anachronism. Many very considerable critics of the nineteenth century, it is true, maintain that the two works cannot have come from the same author. I do not stop now to ask whether they are right or wrong; but the nineteenth century is not the second. In the second century there is not the slightest evidence that a single writer felt any difficulty on this score, or attempted to separate the authorship of the two books. It is true that Eusebius mentions one or two authors, whose works unfortunately are lost, as using the Apocalypse, while he does not mention their using the Gospel; and this negative fact has obviously misled many. But here again the inference arises from a fundamental misconception of his purpose. I have shown [215:1] that his principles required him to notice quotations from and references to the Apocalypse in every early writer, because the authorship and canonicity of the work had been questioned by Church writers before his time; whereas it would lead him to ignore all such in the case of the Fourth Gospel, because no question had ever been entertained within the Church respecting it. This indeed is precisely what he does with Theophilus; he refers to this father's use of the Apocalypse, and he ignores his direct quotations from the Gospel. The inference therefore must be set aside as a fallacy. Beyond this, all the direct evidence points the other way. There was indeed a small sect or section of men outside the pale of the Church, before the close of the second century, who rejected the Gospel, but they rejected the Apocalypse also. Moreover they ascribed both _to a single author_, and (what is more important still) this author was Cerinthus, _a contemporary of St John_ [215:2]. Thus the very opponents of the Gospel in the second century are witnesses not only to the very early date of the two writings, but also to the identity of authorship. On the other hand, every Church writer without exception during this century (so far as our knowledge goes) who accepted the one accepted the other also. The most doubtful case is Justin Martyr, who refers by name to the Apocalypse; but even Hilgenfeld says that it is difficult to deny the use of the Gospel of St John in his case [216:1]. Melito again commented on the Apocalypse; and there is ample evidence (as I trust to show hereafter) that he recognized the Fourth Gospel also. Both books alike are used in the Letter of the Gallican Churches (A.D. 177). Both alike are accepted by Theophilus of Antioch, by the Muratorian writer, by IrenŠus, and by Clement. It is the same during the first half of the third century. Tertullian and Cyprian, Hippolytus and Origen, place them on an equal footing, and attribute them to the same Apostle. The first distinct trace of an attempt to separate the authorship of the two books appears in Dionysius of Alexandria [216:2], who wrote about the middle or early in the second half of the third century. Even he argues entirely upon considerations of internal criticism, and does not pretend to any traditional evidence. He accepts both works as canonical; and he questions the Apostolic authorship, not of the Gospel, but of the Apocalypse.
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