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Monthly Archives: September 2021

“Paul within Judaism” Symposium

Last week Michael Bird and Ridley College, with the support of the Australian College of Theology, hosted a Symposium on the “Paul within Judaism” perspective. It is now available on Youtube. There were many different papers on Paul’s understanding of Christ, the Torah, Israel, or the nations “in Christ” as well as the reception of Paul in later sources (e.g., Acts, the Pastorals, Ignatius, the Patristic heresiologists). It was great, as a junior scholar, to interact with some of the leading scholars on Paul. My paper focused on the reception of Paul among Jewish Christ followers who were known as Ebionites or Nazoraeans, though much of it was on the difficulties with reconstructing what they believed and practiced based on the Patristic reports about them. It was around 4:30 am when I was presenting and I was trying to skim through a 30 page paper, so hopefully I did not put anyone to sleep during my longer presentation and communicated the most important points. I am sure it will all become clear if you read my chapter in the volume that will come out of the conference. There are four videos for each day of the conference and an open discussion in the last half of the last video. If you are interested in this approach to Paul, you should check out the conference.

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Papias on Mark and Matthew’s “Oracles of the Lord”

What did Papias meant by the Greek plural noun logia that appears in his title (i.e. Exposition of the Oracles of the Lord) and in Papias’s excerpts about the Evangelists Mark and Matthew? The general consensus is that the term should be generally translated as “oracles” from divine beings in Greek and Roman sources and from the God of Israel in the Septuagint (i.e. the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible). In the New Testament and early Christian literature in the first half of the second century, the term is used in the following ways:

  • Acts 7:38 – Moses received living oracles on Mount Sinai
  • Romans 3:2 – the Jewish people were entrusted with the oracles of God
  • Hebrews 5:12 – the readers are shamed for needing to be instructed in the basic principles concerning the oracles of God
  • 1 Peter 4:11 – Christ followers should exercise their spiritual gift in speaking as if speaking the very oracles of God
  • 1 Clement 13:4 – a scriptural quotation that refers to God’s words
  • 1 Clement 19:1 – commending those receive God’s oracles in fear and truth
  • 1 Clement 53:1- equating the Scriptures with the oracles of God
  • 1 Clement 62:3 – the importance of looking into the oracles for instruction form God
  • Polycarp, Epistle to the Philippians 7:1 – condemning those who twist the oracles of the Lord (i.e. Jesus)
  • 2 Clement 13:3 – the Gentiles blaspheme when they hear the Christians’ admirable oracles of the Lord yet see their misdeeds
  • Justin, Dialogue with Trypho the Jew 17.1 – Trypho has read about Jesus’s oracles

In light of this data, there are different options for what Papias may have meant by the oracles:

  • The oracles were the Hebrew Scriptures that predicted Jesus
  • The oracles were the sayings of Jesus that were either contained in written Gospels or written sayings collections
  • The oracles were the oral traditions about the sayings and deeds of Jesus and other noteworthy individuals
  • The oracles were the written Gospels about Jesus, whether the New Testament Gospels associated with Mark and Matthew or other lost Gospels such as the Gospel according to the Hebrews

Stephen Carlson defends his theory that Papias’s work was focused on the Scriptural oracles. First, Papias’s title could be translated as “explanation” (exēgēsis) of the oracles “pertaining to the Lord” (Papias of Hierapolis Exposition of Dominical Oracles, 35-36). Second, Eusebius repeated uses the term “oracles” or “the divine oracles” (ta theia logia) in the sense of the Scriptures, though he had a scriptural canon containing both Testaments while it is unlikely that Papias elevated any Christian writing to the status of the Jewish Scriptures (37). Third, Papias’s preface could be read as differentiating “the interpretations” (tais hermēneiais), which in the missing larger context may have been his biblical exegesis, from the sayings of the elders or their oral traditions (38). Fifth, he has a new interpretation of Papias’s conclusions about the Evangelists Mark and Matthew. Mark is faulted for both not putting Jesus sayings and deeds that he received from Peter in “order” (taxis) and, more importantly, for only writing down “some” (enia) scripture oracles as he remembered them because Peter did not make a “composition” (syntaxis) of the “oracles of the Lord” (39, 39n.191). The Gospel of Matthew notes a greater number of biblical oracles that Jesus fulfilled but, since Papias refers to Matthew compiling them in Hebrew, Papias may have been referring to a source of scriptural quotations that were eventually incorporated into this Greek Gospel (39).

Check out Carlson’s book if you want to read his argument in further detail. I will be interested in him elaborating on these points further, but I think that I remain persuaded that the “oracles” could also be inspired oral traditions including the stories about Jesus’s words and deeds in Mark’s Gospel. Papias may have been comparing how Mark and Matthew arranged these oracles in their Gospels. Perhaps it also includes other inspired oral traditions about the activities and biblical interpretations of other early Christian figures. I hope to engage these views more in a future publication.

The Reception of the Elder John in Eusebius’s Ecclesiastical History

Stephen Carlson (Papias of Hierapolis Exposition of Dominical Oracles, 34-35) does not spend a lot of space on whether Eusebius correctly interpreted the Greek grammar of Papias’s prologue in differentiating the Apostle John from the Elder John. He notes that Eusebius quoted Papias’s prologue to refute Irenaeus’s position that Papias was the hearer of the Apostle John and that the payoff for him was that he could attribute the book of Revelation to Papias’s non-apostolic Elder John. I have summarized the grammatical issues in Papias’s prologue and the ideological motivations for why Irenaeus and Eusebius differed over whether the identity of Papias’s informant John in my online article “Would the Real Elder John Please Stand Up” over at website The Bible and Interpretation. If I could rewrite this article, I would correct a few minor errors in the references and add a couple of sources. Dean Furlong’s The Identity of John the Evangelist: Revision and Reinterpretation in Early Christian Sources (New York: Lexington Books, 2020) offers new arguments for differentiating the Lord’s disciples from the elders, distinguishing the Apostle John from the Elder John, defending the historicity of the tradition of the Apostle John’s martyrdom, and identifying the Elder John as a significant disciple in Asia Minor and the source of the Johannine corpus. Luke Stevens “Did Eusebius Read Papias?Journal of Theological Studies 70.1 (2019): 163-183 argues that Eusebius may have only had select fragments of Papias’s work and thus missed what Papias may have written about John. I will engage the latter article in a future post.

The Reception of Papias in Eusebius’s Chronicle

In Eusebius’s Chronicle 2114 AM, there is an entry that reads “Irenaeus relates that John the apostle remained alive until the time of Trajan; after whom his hearers became known, Papias of Hierapolis and Polycarp bishop of Smyrna” (translation of the reconstructed Greek text from Stephen Carlson, Papias of Hierapolis Exposition of Dominical Oracles, 137). Eusebius simply assumed that Irenaeus was right that Papias was the “hearer of John” and a companion of Polycarp (cf. Against Heresies 5.33.4); the only additional information in this notice was that Papias was from Hierapolis (33). Eusebius changed his mind when he wrote his Ecclesiastical History. The reason may be because he had read Papias’s work for himself, plus he was convinced by the third-century scholar Dionysius of Alexandria’s case that the John who wrote Revelation could not have been the author of the Gospel and Epistles attributed to the Apostle John (34; cf. Ecclesiastical History 7.25.6-27). Dionysius also noted that there were two tombs or memorial sites for John in Ephesus to support the differentiation between the two Johns (3.39.6; 7.25.16).

Irenaeus of Lyon and John, the Disciple of the Lord

Here are the references in which John is described as “the disciple of the Lord” in Irenaeus’s Against Heresies:

  • John is the author of the prologue to the Fourth Gospel (1.8.5; 2.2.5; 5.18.2). Note that, in the context of refuting the Valentinian “Gnostic” Ptolemy’s exegesis of the prologue, John is called an apostle (1.9.2-3).
  • John wrote the second epistle of John and warned against greeting false teachers (1.16.3; cf. 2 John 1:11)
  • John wrote about the events that happened in the Fourth Gospel (e.g., turning water into wine at the wedding of Cana or conversing with the Samaritan woman) and provides a longer chronology for Jesus’s ministry than just one year (2.22.3).
  • The elders who interacted with John during the reign of the Roman emperor Trajan (ca. 98-117 CE) testify that Jesus lived into his forties (2.22.5; cf. 2.22.6; John 8:57), so Jesus’s ministry lasted longer than a year.
  • John was the one who leaned on Jesus’s chest in John 13:23 and published his Gospel during his residence at Ephesus (3.1.1).
  • Polycarp, who had been instructed by the “apostles” in Asia Minor, told a story about how John ran away from a bathhouse in Ephesus because he expected the walls to collapse because the heretic Cerinthus was inside. He lived until the reign of Trajan (3.3.4). In Irenaeus’s letter to Florinus, he reminds him that they both studied with Polycarp the bishop of Smyrna in their youth and that Polycarp used to share stories about John (cf. Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 5.20.5-6; 24.16)
  • John wrote the Fourth Gospel, especially the prologue, to repudiate the false Christological views of Cerinthus (3.11.1). Irenaeus continues to use John’s Gospel to oppose the Valentinians (3.11.3).
  • John wrote the concluding purpose statement of the Fourth Gospel (cf. John 20:31) and the letter against antichrists (cf. 1 John 2:18-22), because he foresaw that false teachers would divide the human Jesus from the divine Christ (3.16.5). Likewise, he warned against false teachers who denied that Jesus Christ came in the flesh (3.16.8; cf. 1 John 4:1-3).
  • John pointed to the full humanity of Jesus by noting that he needed to sit to rest (3.22.2; cf. John 4:6).
  • John wrote the book of Revelation and, when he fell down at the sight of Jesus’s glory, the Word reminded him that he was the one who had reclined next to him at the supper (4.20.11). He saw the plagues that the nations would suffer (4.30.4), the judgment on Babylon (5.26.1), and the new Jerusalem (5.35.2)
  • The elders who saw John related that Jesus taught about the abundant fertility of the earth during the millennium (5.33.3). Note that, in the next verse, Papias is described as the “hearer of John” and as another witness to this tradition about the millennium (5.33.4)

The question is whether Irenaeus understood this figure to be the same John as the Apostle who was in Jesus’s inner circle of three disciples (2.24.14; 3.12.15) and was one of the leaders of the Jerusalem Church alongside Peter (3.12.3-5). Most scholars would say yes, though the case has been explicitly defended by Lorne Zelyck, “Irenaeus and the Authorship of the Fourth Gospel” in The Origins of John’s Gospel (ed. Stanley E. Porter and Hughson T. Ong; Leiden: Brill, 2016), 239-258. I found Zelyck’s case to be persuasive in my work The Beloved Apostle? The Transformation of the Apostle John into the Fourth Evangelist (Eugene: Cascade, 2017), 92-94. Others would say no, including Richard Bauckham (cf. The Testimony of the Beloved Disciple: Narrative, History, and Theology in the Gospel of John [Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2007]; 70-71; Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony [2nd ed; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2017], 452-463) and Dean Furlong (The Identity of John the Evangelist: Revision and Reinterpretation in Early Christian Sources [Minneapolis: Lexington Books, 2020], 40-44).

Since Irenaeus does refer to John, the disciple of the Lord, as an apostle, this debate revolves around what Irenaeus meant by the term “apostle.” Irenaeus often refers to Jesus’s twelve disciples and Paul as apostles, but there are a few passages that could be interpreted as identifying other figures as apostles such as the seventy disciples (2.21.1), John the Baptizer (3.11.4), or the teachers of Polycarp (3.3.4). As Stephen Carlson (Papias of Hierapolis Exposition of the Dominical Oracles, 72n.318) summarizes the debate, an “apostle” for Irenaeus was either a “categorical” category (i.e. it denotes the Twelve and Paul) or a “functional” category (i.e. others could have an apostolic mission). Carlson also notes that Irenaeus may have borrowed the title “the disciple of the Lord” for John from Papias (20n.90).

However, it still seems to me that Irenaeus has conflated Papias’s Elder John with the Apostle John, the son of Zebedee. First, Papias may have nicknamed John as the “disciple of the Lord” based on the character of “the disciple whom Jesus loved” in the Fourth Gospel (cf. John 13:23-25; 18:14-15; 19:26-27, 35; 20:2-9; 21:7, 20-24) and likely reasoned that he must have been the apostle of the same name because he participated in the Last Supper and was often paired with Peter. Second, Irenaeus could have easily misremembered which John Polycarp was talking about, for individuals with the same name were often confused in the early church. Indeed, I reviewed a book on how John Mark was later confused with the Apostle John too; one could add that the Apostle Philip was confused with the Evangelist Philip and the various women named Mary in the Gospels could be mixed up.

Irenaeus of Lyon and the Reception of Papias

Stephen C. Carlson’s discussion of the reception of Papias’s Exposition of the Oracles of the Lord in On the Detection and Overthrow of the Knowledge Falsely So-Called (or its shorter title Against Heresies) by Irenaeus, the late second-century bishop of Lyons, is found on pages 15-28 of Papias of Hierapolis Exposition of Dominical Oracles.

Carlson summarizes the fifth volume of Against Heresies: “[t]he first part concerns the power of God in the resurrection of the flesh, the second part relates to the identity of God the Creator and God the Father in the Work of Christ, and the third part, in which Papias is cited, ties the themes of the previous two parts together and argues for their identity in Scriptures prophecies of the final end” (17). Irenaeus drew on the Jewish Scriptures and the Gospels in repudiating the followers of the “Gnostic” teacher Valentinus for denying the future bodily resurrection of Christians. In Against Heresies 5.33.3, he notes that the promise that Jacob would be blessed with an abundance of grain and wine (cf. Genesis 27:27-29) was not fulfilled by the subsequent narrative, in which he had to migrate to Egypt due to the famine in his homeland, but would be fulfilled in the coming millennium (18). Then, he quotes the elders who saw John, the Lord’s disciple, about the abundance of grain and wine in the millennium. This statement seems to combine 2 Baruch 29:5 with Genesis 27:28 (19). In the next line, he adds that Papias also “testifies” (epimarturei) to “these things” (tauta) and wrote about Jesus’s reply to the traitor Judas’s doubts about such impressive yields (5.33.4).

Carlson charts a course between the “minimalists” who argue that Papias only wrote about the dialogue between Jesus and Judas and the maximalists who argue that much of Irenaeus’s fifth book was derived from Papias (16). Papias may have been one of Irenaeus’s “elders” who had seen John, the disciple of the Lord, since in 5.33.4 he was a “man of old” and a “hearer of John and comrade of Polycarp” (20). The Greek grammar implies that Papias also attested to the elders’ fertility tradition (22). The source of Papias’s tradition may have had a greater knowledge of Hebrew that Irenaeus did and was a capable exegete of the Hebrew Bible (23). Irenaeus may have condensed Papias’s detailed views about how the earth would be restored to a paradise in the new millennium (24-25). Finally, Carlson exercises caution in not attributing Irenaeus’s millenarian exegesis of other Gospel passages (e.g., 5.33.1-2 quotes Matthew 26:27-29, Luke 14:12-14, and Matthew 19:29), which later influenced the third-century bishop Victorinus of Pettau (cf. Commentary on the Apocalypse 21.6), back to Papias (26-28). This section, which I briefly reviewed, builds on the case advanced in “Eschatological Viticulture in 1 Enoch, 2 Baruch, and the Presbyters of Papias” VC 71.1 (2017): 37-58.

His argument seems persuasive to me. Papias received an oral tradition from one of the “elders” in Asia Minor about what Jesus allegedly taught about the conditions on the earth during the millennium. Although the future eschatological reign of God was central to the vision of Jesus, Papias’s oral tradition was probably unreliable and seems closer to 2 Baruch than the Gospels. It makes sense that Papias’s work was no longer preserved when his expectations about the future millennium fell out of favour with theologians who saw Christ’s millennial reign as a present reality. Indeed, Eusebius’ criticizes Papias’s low intelligence for not interpreting the millennium figuratively and leading Irenaeus astray on the topic (cf. Ecclesiastical History 3.39.12-13). Cerinthus, a heretical teacher in Asia Minor, had an even more materialistic vision of the millennium (3.28.2; 7.25.3), while Eusebius much preferred the third-century Alexandrian scholar Dionysius’s allegorical interpretation of the book of Revelation (7.25.5). The only point where I would advise caution is that, while Papias may have been regarded by Irenaeus as one of his elders, there are other times Irenaeus cites traditions of the elders without reference to Papias. Papias may corroborate the elders’ testimony about the millennium (5.33.4), but not their interpretation of John 8:47 as suggesting that Jesus lived to his forties or of John 14:2 on the dwelling places in heaven (2.22.5; 5.36.1-2).

Did Papias Die around 164 CE?

In the last post, I summarized the growing scholarly consensus that Papias’s Exposition of the Oracles of the Lord should be dated during the reign of Trajan. However, there is another reference to the date (i.e. 164 CE) and location (i.e. Pergamum) of Papias’s martyrdom in a seventh-century Byzantine chronicle of the history of the world known as the Chronicon Paschale. He allegedly died around the same time as Polycarp, the bishop of Smyrna. In the Martyrdom of Polycarp, a text that is part of the collection of the so-called Apostolic Fathers, Polycarp famously answered the Roman proconsul that he had served Christ for eighty-six years and would not renounce his king to save his own life (9:3). If Papias died at the same time as Polycarp, he lived to extreme old age too, at least by ancient standards.

There was a famous debate in the nineteenth century between the anonymous author of Supernatural Religion, which has been attributed to Walter Richard Cassels, and the bishop Joseph Barber Lightfoot about this passage. Cassels (Supernatural Religion, 448) had argued that Papias could not have been a hearer of the apostles if he was martyred during the early part of the reign of the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius (ca. 161-180 CE). Lightfoot (Essays on the Work Entitled Supernatural Religion, 148-149) responded that it was the ancient chronicler who made an error. He helpfully compares the passage with Eusebius’s entry in Ecclesiastical History 4.15.1, 48 and 4.16.1, showing that the chronicler copied Eusebius’s order of those who suffered martyrdom (i.e. Polycarp, Papylus, Justin) and accidentally wrote Papias rather than Papylus. One can read about the martyrdom of Papylus of Thyatira in the Acts of Carpus, Papylus, and Agathonicê.

Monte Shanks (Papias and the New Testament, 92-103) has presented the most recent challenge to Lightfoot’s conclusions, which have generally been accepted by scholars. Shanks makes the following arguments:

  • Lightfoot did not note any textual variants that had Papylus rather than Papias
  • Eusebius’s Ecclesiastical History may not have been the chronicler’s only source on these martyrs. There are other, albeit late, textual witnesses that seem to note that Papias died as a martyr (see Carlson, Papias of Hierapolis Exposition of Dominical Oracles, 86n.398 for the following list: Stephen Gobarus, in Photius, Bibliotheque 232; Chronicon ad annum 724; Zuqnin Chronicle; The Martyrology of Ado; The Martyrology of Usuard; The Martyrology of Notker; Vincent of Beauvais; Arnold of Gheyloven).
  • Against the objection over why Papias did not die in Hierapolis, where he was the bishop, or Ephesus, the capital of Asia Minor, Shanks suggests two possibilities. Papias either requested to be tried by the proconsul in Pergamum or was arrested when visiting there.
  • Papylus of Thyatira may not have been an unknown martyr, so Shanks wonders what the motive may have been to change his name to Papias.

Stephen Carlson  (Papias of Hierapolis Exposition of Dominical Oracles, 83-87) has persuasively defended Lightfoot’s position with the following arguments:

  • He points out that Theodore Zahn (Forschungen zur Geschicte des neutestamentlichen Kanons, 6.110n.1) had highlighted that Rufinus, who translated Eusebius’s Ecclesiastical History into Latin, had accidentally changed Papylus to the Papirius in the letter of the bishop Polycrates of Ephesus (cf. Ecclesiastical History 5.24.5). Ironically, Carlson notes that Shanks once accidentally wrote Papylas instead of Papylus (85n.393).
  • The name change from Papylus to Papias in the Chronicon Pascale may have been intentional rather than accidental, because Eusebius had earlier associated Papias with Polycarp (Ecclesiastical History 3.39.2). Francis Watson is credited with this suggestion (86n.397).
  • The fact that the chronicler had other sources does not disprove that he was following Eusebius’s order of the events in Ecclesiastical History 4.15-16.
  • There is no other historical evidence that Papias was executed in Pergamum and the silence of the earlier sources on the circumstances of Papias’s death, despite their veneration of Christians who were martyred, weighs against counting Papias as one of the martyrs.

I agree with Carlson that it is unlikely that Papias lived until the mid-160s, much less had his life ended in Pergamum. The best external evidence for dating Papias’s ministry and writing activity remains Eusebius’s Ecclesiastical History.

The Date of Papias and the De Boor Fragments

In my books on the reception of the Gospels of Mark and John, I joined an increasing number of scholars in dating the publication of Papias’s Exposition of the Oracles of the Lord to the first decade of the second century (see this bibliography). These scholars include Vernon Bartlet, William R. Schoedel, Ulrich H. J. Körtner, Robert W. Yarbrough, Robert Gundry, Monte Shanks, Dennis MacDonald, Luke J. Stevens, and Stephen Carlson. Robert Yarbrough has a good overview of the arguments for an early dating in his article for the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, though I think he dates Papias’s books a little too early when pushing them into the first century. Here is a quick summary of the arguments:

  • The late second-century bishop, Irenaeus of Lyon, identifies Papias as an “ancient man” (Against Heresies 5.33.4), so he may have been older that Irenaeus’s own teacher Polycarp of Smyrna.
  • Eusebius’s Chronicle notes that John died in the third year of the reign of the Roman emperor Trajan (ca. 98-117 CE). Eusebius identifies Papias as the hearer of this John, but we will leave aside the question about whether this was the Apostle John or another elderly man named John for a future post.
  • Eusebius places the bishops Papias of Hierapolis, Ignatius of Antioch, and Polycarp of Smyrna during the reign of Trajan (see Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 3.34.1; 36.1-2; 4.1.1).
  • The apostles, or at least the seven disciples of the Lord named in Papias’s prologue, had all died. Papias may have had contact with their followers or their followers’ followers (i.e. it depends on whether the “disciples of the Lord” and the “elders” were the same group or different groups). His other contacts include the daughters of Philip (probably the Evangelist Philip in Acts 21:8-9 rather than the Apostle Philip) who were prophetesses (see Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 3.39.4, 9).
  • Papias was dependent on the Gospels of Mark and Matthew and the epistles of 1 Peter and 1 John. It is a debated point, but I would argue that Papias was not literary dependent on the Gospels of Luke and John and think that the author of Luke-Acts was probably writing at the same time that Papias was.
  • Papias was writing before the ministries of Marcion and some of the influential “Gnostic” teachers such as Basilides or Valentinus.

The strongest argument against this early dating has always been that one of the De Boor Fragments (i.e. DBF 6C) seems to suggest that Papias spoke about how Jesus raised certain individuals from the dead who were still alive at the time of Hadrian, the emperor after Trajan (ca. 117-138 CE). This convinced scholars such as Martin Hengel (The Four Gospels and the One Gospel of Jesus Christ, 65) and, more tentatively, Enrico Norelli (Esposizione degli Oracoli del Signore, 52) to date the publication of Papias’s work during Hadrian’s reign. Carl De Boor isolated seven fragments allegedly from Papias in a section summarizing Eusebius’s Ecclesiastical History from a seventh-century Byzantine epitome of Church Histories. De Boor attributed these fragments to Philip, a fifth-century church historian from Side in Pamphylia. There were several responses from scholars who dated Papias’s work earlier. First, Philip of Side could be discredited as a poor historian (e.g., Schoedel, The Apostolic Fathers, 5.120). Second, it was pointed out that it was actually Quadratus of Athens, one of the first famous apologists for the Christian faith, who claimed that some of those whom Jesus raised from the dead were still living in his day in a writing that he addressed to Hadrian (cf. Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 4.3.1-2). Third, one scholar interpreted the De Boor fragment as speaking about Hadrian’s entire life, not just his reign (e.g., Shanks, Papias and the New Testament, 53-54; 216-219, 226).

After reading Luke J. Stevens, “The Origin of the De Boor Fragments Ascribed to Philip of Side” JECS 26.4 (2008): 631-657, I discovered how irrelevant the De Boor fragments really are to the question of dating Papias’s text. Stephen Carlson came to the same conclusion independently of Stevens and a few other scholars (Papias of Hierapolis Exposition of Dominical Oracles, 65-75). Basically, they show how there was little grounds for attributing the fragments to Philip of Side. Carlson does not really go into Stevens’ alternative hypothesis that some of them originated from Gelasius of Caesarea, a fourth-century church historian who wrote a continuation of Eusebius’s Ecclesiastical History, and others from a seventh-century epitomist. They also demonstrate how De Boor made a mistake in printing DBF 6A-C as one continuous fragment. They are adjacent fragments and the material immediately following the last one (i.e. DBF 6C on the resurrected ones who lived until the time of Hadrian) recaps the apologies written by Quadratus and Aristides. One of the manuscripts that De Boor did not have access to for these fragments, which is called Codex Vatopedi, even has a heading about Eusebius’s fourth book where these apologies were introduced. The epitomist moved on from Papias and was discussing Quadratus’s tradition about the resurrected saints.

The external and the internal evidence points to a date during Trajan’s reign for the publication of Papias’s Exposition of the Oracles of the Lord. The date could be narrowed down further if he wrote soon after the time he spent in the company of John. This is important because this allows scholars to date the emergence of the oldest traditions about the Evangelists Mark and Matthew. In the end, scholars should stop using the De Boor fragments to date Papias’s episcopacy and writing activity to a later period.