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A Rational Look at Christianity; Basing Reason in Truth

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In response to the comments on the huge post by Brain2 that was removed, "anonymous" makes the comment:

Because Jesus didn’t write the bible. From his alleged words (of which no one could’ve possibly scribed in wax, ink, or stone as quickly as he would’ve spoken) to the Bible you have in your hands is at LEAST 5 generations of hearsay, interpretation, and the good old game of “telephone”. I was being generous. It’s probably more like 10th- or 12th- hand accounts, what you are reading. That is, unless you’ve read the original tablets, scribes, and scrolls… which would themselves be at least 3rd- or 4th- hand themselves."

This is a pretty standard spin for most atheists on the boards. It's not that we have failed to refute it many times. Although, we have allowed atheists to remove the bible from the debate. We have allowed them to speak of it as garbage so many times that they just think of it as almost non existent. For the practical purposes of documenting Jesus life and teachings we might as well be using Lady's Home Journal.

In the interest of rectifying this situation I propose the following approach by way of answering this comment. I suggest we re-double our efforts and begin refuting again the outrageous viewpoint immediately. Let's look again at what was said.

Because Jesus didn’t write the bible. From his alleged words (of which no one could’ve possibly scribed in wax, ink, or stone as quickly as he would’ve spoken) to the Bible you have in your hands is at LEAST 5 generations of hearsay

This is a ludicrous comment. First because it assumes that if Jesus didn't write the gospels then they can't be first hand or eye-witness material. Of course that is absurd, but the reasoning is "well, they couldn't recorded his words as fast as he spoke them." Of course that assumes that we have to have a verbatim account or it's totally worthless. If that is the case then no account in history is of any value. Eye-witnesses to Ceasar's life could not produce a verbatim account and thus their views are worthless. So we know nothing about anyone in the ancient world. From this humble premise the author comes to the sweeping conclusion that it was five generations. Of course that assumes a late date for the authorship and so forth.

There are three general points I would like to make in defending the historical validity of the Gospels.

(1) We do know who wrote the Gospels

(2) Oral traditions is not wild rumor.

(3) The gap between event and writing is not that great.


Authorship of the Gospels.

The argument often made by atheists that "we don't know who wrote them" is totally misguided and wrong-headed. They are still thinking in terms of an individual author. Scholars no longer see the Gospels as the product of one individual author. They view them as the products of communities. The redaction process involved a whole community of people, the community is now seen as the author. The Gospels are understood as having been produced by communities to which we give the names of the gospels; the Matthew community, the John (Johannine) community, the Mark community. These were communal schools. Much has been written of documentary interest on this point. Unlike many of my friends in the CADRE, I am content to accept the idea that the namesakes did not write the Gospels. That does not mean they were not produced by eye-witnesses, they were produced by whole communities full of eye-witnesses. The community was the author.

We can see the early aspects of the communal structure in Acts:

Acts 2:42-47

42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching, to fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayers. 43 Then fear came over everyone, and many wonders and signs were being performed through the apostles. 44 Now all the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 So they sold their possessions and property and distributed the proceeds to all, as anyone had a need. 46 And every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple complex, and broke bread from house to house. They ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And every day the Lord added those being saved to them.


Oral Culture

In response to this argument atheists usually counter that the oral tradition is just a process of wild rumors. Even if there were eye-witnesses to something, we have no idea what they saw because it's all been exaggerated. They assume no attempt would have been made to control the flow information. This is a totally false assumption.

Jewish culture was an oral culture. Several other oral cultures can be seen around the world. We can still observe a few aspects of the bardic tradition in Ireland and in Turkey. In both cases bards memorize works of thousands of words, huge volumes such as Homer's Iliad, and they can recite them perfectly from start to finish at the drop of a hat. Now, of course, no one is suggesting that the Apostles memorized Jesus words verbatim as he spoke them. But the in the communal process the re-telling of the events of Jesus ministry over and over again would surely have been a topic of conversation. They lived in a culture where people did memorize the words of their teachers, and this is a proven fact. They moved in to communal living to study the Bible and develop their understanding of what happened and what it all meant. It's just absurd to think the dinner conversation would have been about sports or fishing or string beans.

The early community was filled witnesses who had seen Jesus and heard him speak. It was led by those whom Jesus trained extensively and they were with him every minute for three years. Why would they not make some attempt to organize the story and tell and it and retell it until everyone knew it by heart? Of course the witnesses would have ironed out any exaggerated rumors or falsehoods.

In the Handbook of Biblical Social Values (2000), Jerome Neyrey says,

The people in the bilbical world are dyadic. This means that individuals basically depend on others for thier sense of identity, for their understanding of their role and status in society, for clues to the duties and rights they have, and for indications of what is honorable and shameful behavior. Such people live in a world which is clearly and extensively ordered, a system which is well known to members of the group. Individuals quickly internalize this system and depend on it for needed clues to the way their world works. . . The tradition handed down by former members of the group is presumed valid and normative. . . Group orientation is clearly expressed in the importance given to authority. (p.94-7)

see also
- Bruce Malina & Richard Rohrbaugh, Social Science Commentary on the Synoptics, and Social-Science Commentary on the Gospel on John.
- See also John Pilch, Jerome Neyrey, and David deSilva. The Context Group publications are listed here.

"And the stories about Jesus were nothing if not important. Even the Jesus Seminar admits that Jesus was an itinerant wonder-worker. Very well. Supposing a woman in a village is suddenly healed after a lengthy illness. Even today, even in a non-oral culture, the story of such an event would quickly spread among friends, neighbors and relatives, acquiring a fixed form within the first two or three retellings and retaining it, other things being equal, thereafter. In a culture where storytelling was and is an art-form, a memorable event such as this, especially if it were also seen as a sign that Israel's God was now at last at work to do what he had always promised, would be told at once in specific ways, told so as to be not just a celebration of a healing but also a celebration of the Kingdom of God. Events and stories of this order are community-forming, and the stories which form communities do not get freely or loosely adapted. One does not disturb the foundations of the house in which one is living."[B.D. Chilton and C.A. Evans (eds.), Authenticating the Activities of Jesus (NTTS, 28.2; Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1998) p. 113-115.]


The Gap

This brings us to the final point: the gap between event and writing is not that great. Now atheists are especially bad at this. In the nineteenth century a lot of skeptics assumed that the Gospels were written in the second century. Some skeptics still make this argument even though it has been totally disproved by textual and manuscript evidence. What is even more important to note is that the Manuscripts as we know them today were written between AD 70 and AD 95 or so. But this does not mean that this is when the material originated. Even though conventional wisdom says that Mark wrote first, that in no way means that Mark was the original author of the material.

The Material of the Gospels, all canonical Gospels and the Gospel of Peter draw upon a single narrative that existed at mid century. This proven by textual critics and scholars such as Helmutt Koester and John Dominic Crosson. Atheist poo poo the science of textual criticism but they are quick enough to embrace its validity when the Jesus Seminar uses it to disprove and slander the New Testament. Textual criticism is a science and the findings are well proven. The argument is based upon the readings found in latter texts. When the readings in texts such as the Diatesseron (AD 172) prove to be earlier than the canonical Gospels then we know that there were earlier versions that had once circulated.

The unknown Gospel of Egerton 2 was discovered in Egypt in 1935 exiting in two different manuscripts. The original editors found that the handwriting was that of a type from the late first early second century. In 1946 Goro Mayeda published a dissertation which argues for the independence of the readings from the canonical tradition. This has been debated since then and continues to be debated. Recently John B. Daniels in his Clairmont Dissertation argued for the independence of the readings from canonical sources. (John B. Daniels, The Egerton Gospel: It's place in Early Christianity, Dissertation Clairmont: CA 1990). Daniels states "Egerton's Account of Jesus healing the leaper Plausibly represents a separate tradition which did not undergo Markan redaction...Compositional choices suggest that...[the author] did not make use of the Gospel of John in canonical form." (Daniels, abstract). The unknown Gospel of Egerton 2 is remarkable still further in that it mixes Johannie language with Synoptic contexts and vice versa. which, "permits the conjecture that the author knew all and everyone of the canonical Gospels." (Joachim Jeremias, Unknown Sayings, "An Unknown Gospel with Johannine Elements" in Hennecke-Schneemelcher-Wilson, NT Apocrypha 1.96). The Unknown Gospel preserves a tradition of Jesus healing the leper in Mark 1:40-44. (Note: The independent tradition in the Diatessaran was also of the healing of the leper). There is also a version of the statement about rendering unto Caesar. Space does not permit a detailed examination of the passages to really prove Koster's point here. But just to get a taste of the differences we are talking about:

Egerton 2: "And behold a leper came to him and said "Master Jesus, wandering with lepers and eating with them in the inn, I therefore became a leper. If you will I shall be clean. Accordingly the Lord said to him "I will, be clean" and immediately the leprosy left him.

Mark 1:40: And the leper came to him and beseeching him said '[master?] if you will you can make me clean. And he stretched out his hands and touched him and said "I will be clean" and immediately the leprosy left him.

Egerton 2: "tell us is it permitted to give to Kings what pertains to their rule? Tell us, should we give it? But Jesus knowing their intentions got angry and said "why do you call me teacher with your mouth and do not what I say"?

Mark 12:13-15: Is it permitted to pay taxes to Caesar or not? Should we pay them or not? But knowing their hypocrisy he said to them "why do you put me to the test, show me the coin?"

Koster:

"There are two solutions that are equally improbable. It is unlikely that the pericope in Egerton 2 is an independent older tradition. It is equally hard to imagine that anyone would have deliberately composed this apophthegma by selecting sentences from three different Gospel writings. There are no analogies to this kind of Gospel composition because this pericope is neither a harmony of parallels from different Gospels, nor is it a florogelium. If one wants to uphold the hypothesis of dependence upon written Gospels one would have to assume that the pericope was written form memory....What is decisive is that there is nothing in the pericope that reveals redactional features of any of the Gospels that parallels appear. The author of Papyrus Egerton 2 uses independent building blocks of sayings for the composition of this dialogue none of the blocks have been formed by the literary activity of any previous Gospel writer. If Papyrus Egerton 2 is not dependent upon the Fourth Gospel it is an important witness to an earlier stage of development of the dialogues of the fourth Gospel....(Koester , 3.2 p.215)

(In Koester p.218) Koester writes, "John Dominic Crosson has gone further [than Denker]...he argues that this activity results in the composition of a literary document at a very early date i.e. in the middle of the First century CE" (Ibid). Said another way, the interpretation of Scripture as the formation of the passion narrative became an independent document, a ur-Gospel, as early as the middle of the first century!

Koester:

"A third problem regarding Crossan's hypotheses is related specifically to the formation of reports about Jesus' trial, suffering death, burial, and resurrection. The account of the passion of Jesus must have developed quite eary because it is one and the same account that was used by Mark (and subsequently Matthew and Luke) and John and as will be argued below by the Gospel of Peter. However except for the appearances of Jesus after his resurrection in the various gospels cannot derive from a single source, they are independent of one another. Each of the authors of the extant gospels and of their secondary endings drew these epiphany stories from their own particular tradition, not form a common source." (Koester, p. 220)

"Studies of the passion narrative have shown that all gospels were dependent upon one and the same basic account of the suffering, crucifixion, death and burial of Jesus. But this account ended with the discovery of the empty tomb. With respect to the stories of Jesus' appearances, each of the extant gospels of the canon used different traditions of epiphany stories which they appended to the one canon passion account. This also applies to the Gospel of Peter. There is no reason to assume that any of the epiphany stories at the end of the gospel derive from the same source on which the account of the passion is based."(Ibid)

This means the events were circulating in writing about eighteen years or so after the events. The written testimony begins at a time when many eye witnesses would still be alive. It was the copying down of the oral tradition that killed that tradition. The original manuscript ceased to circulate when the material was incorporated into the standard Gospel format. This Explains why we do find fragments of Q or of the pre Markan passion narrative, or the Pre Markan redaction.

Of course we are not getting a word for word transcript of Jesus' words. But I don't know why we need one. We have the assurance of the early community and the chain of Apostolic succession that these teachings reflect the recollections of Jesus teachings and his deeds to the best of the witnesses abilities. They are not merely testified by two people (Mark and Luke were never said to be eye witnesses), but by whole communities.

For my complete essay on the authorship of the community see Community as Author on Doxa.

For my complete essay on written sources of the Pre Markan redaction see my essay The Gospel Behind the Gospels

13 comments:

I totally agree that an event need not be captured verbatim to be of historical value. This viewpoint is absurd, and if actually practiced, would leave the history section of our libraries remarkably empty.

However, i do challenge your comment that "we do know who wrote the gospels". Although mainstream scholarly opinion may point to community authorship, this does not tell us anything concrete about the authors; we may be able to label a community as Johannine, yet that does not tell us if the community were eyewitnesses to the events they describe, or whether they sought to accurately record those events; indeed, it tells us almost nothing about the methods or motivations of the community for writing the gospels.

Furthermore, although recognition that the Jewish culture was an oral culture may lend support to the accuracy of verbal transmission, it does not demonstrate that the words passed through the christian communities were actually trustworthy historical accounts at the outset. It is probable that wild exaggeration or falsehood may have been quickly stamped out if the verbal accounts/documents were actually intended as accurate historical narratives, recorded for posterity. But if the accounts/documents were intended to inspire or persuade the hearer/reader, to exalt and glorify Christ, and to demonstrate meaning rather than activity, it is also probable that historical aberrations and falsehoods may indeed be overlooked (the end justifying the means).

Richard Bauckham's book Jesus and the Eyewitnesses is an interesting contribution to all this. The "gap" between the life of Christ and the writing of the Gospels, the way your opponents spin it, is irrelevant since the eyewitnesses lived to guarantee the accuracy of their stories.

Bauckham also addresses the "communities" issue.

JR

JR,

Agreed. Even though his book has come under some understandable fire (I have some problems with it myself, on occasion), it's an important contribution (and update in some cases) to the scholarly discussion.

Hinch,

{{Although mainstream scholarly opinion may point to community authorship, this does not tell us anything concrete about the authors}}

Which is why it is important to study the features of the Gospel texts themselves, insofar as their initial composition form can be recovered (which is extremely far).

'Community authorship' may not, as a conclusion (and I'm one of the Cadrists who wouldn't press so far for _that_ kind of conclusion), tell us anything concrete about the authors. But the cultural situation of those communities on the one hand gives us a range of probabilities in which we can expect activity of this-or-that sort to be happening; and the material content of the texts, in its complex multi-facetedity (...um... I declare that to be a real word {g}), gives us intentional evidence of the concerns the authors/editors/final redactors/whatever had in doing their compositions.

This is especially the case when we can compare these texts with other compositions by pro-Christian authors of the period (Paul of Tarsus for instance) and in succeeding generations (the sub-apostolic and ante-Nicene Fathers, for instance; for purposes of this comparison we hardly need to stop there, but neither do we have to go any further.)

Whatever hay one wants to make out of the differences between St. Paul and the Gospels, insofar as historical detailage is concerned, the fact is that they _aren't_ the same genre. Neither are the other epistles. Neither is RevJohn. Neither are other probably-1st-c texts such as the Didache (itself a fairly unique category) and the Shepherd of Hermas.

What we have then is this situation: we have a metric buttload (as my pupil might say {g}) of pro-Christian, even avowedly orthodox-and-anti-heretical texts, dating from pre-70 onward for several _centuries_, including non-canonical Gospels; virtually all of which would be agreed by _everyone_ to have the primary intention and goal "to inspire or persuade the hearer/reader, to exalt and glorify Christ, and to demonstrate meaning rather than activity". And they're all _greatly_ different from the canonical Fab Four in genre composition.

(To which one could also add the exhortational speeches in Acts, which perfectly fit the inspire/persuade category above, with perhaps a little more connection to the-importance-of-actual-historical-recollection, but which are quite entirely different in structural composition and content from the surrounding material, not to say GosLuke's composition as a whole.)

This significant difference tells us something. It tells us that the Gospel authors, more-or-less independently of each other (for the differences obtain even in their single-source material), are doing _something_ different than the _usual_ result produced when a pro-Christian author of their times and places wanted to inspire or persuade the hearer/reader to exalt and glorify Christ.

Specifically, they're trying to demonstrate activity, as well as meaning. They're synching up, usually pretty good, with historical contexts. (Even better, from the perspective of someone whose profession _is_ in story analysis, the synching continues with unexpected resonances when the materials are carefully analyzed for harmonizations studies. My 'King of Stories' entries here on the Cadre Journal, feature numerous examples of this.)

This is not to dismiss or underplay the caution that historical aberrations, or even falsehoods, may indeed be overlooked in order for the end-in-view to be reached. But it does count as analytical evidence against the probability of widespread carelessness or invention, to _some_ degree.

JRP

Oh, and good article, Joe! {g}

"yet that does not tell us ... whether they sought to accurately record those events; indeed, it tells us almost nothing about the methods or motivations of the community for writing the gospels."

Well, at least one author reveals his motives for writing. We're all probably familiar with Luke's prologue:

"Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught." (Luke 1:3-4)

Of course just because he desired to write an "orderly account" doesn't mean that he was a trustworthy writer, or even that he had reliable sources. But we're all also probably familiar with the number of details in the second volume of Luke's two volume work that have been verified. This allows quite a lot of confidence that Luke not only desired to record reliably history, but that he was able to accomplish this as well.

Also, employing various criteria of authenticity alone (although by no means should we only use criteria of authenticity, of course) can give us confidence in the historicity in quite a bit of the gospel material. Even members of the Jesus Seminar concede that Jesus performed "wonders" (though they believe there are naturalistic explanations, of course) and that 20% or so of his words as recorded in the gospels are authentic. A lot less than more moderate scholars are willing to allow and way less than more conservative scholars allow; but a lot more than total historical skepticism. My point is that even the most skeptical scholars accept the authenticity of a chunk of the gospel material.

Good point about whether the first Christians -- the original sources of the gospel material -- were interested in presenting reliable history or only exalting Christ. But if they were only interested in exalting Christ, it would be quite odd that they exalted him in exceedingly blasphemous ways -- ways that guaranteed criticism and rejection (as well as risked their own salvation). Especially when they publicly preached in Jerusalem in the months and years following Jesus' death to all those who knew what "really happened."

It's true that there is more that needs to be known. I think we can make good arguments about indivudal authorship. Our own Chris Price has made as an argument as I've seen for Luke's authorship. Although wasn't an "eye witness" it ties his Gospel to the grape vine of Jesus people who had the Apostles at its core.

Motivations of the community itself are not mysterious or beyond our ability to know. At least if we can't really "know" we can have good educated guesses. The atheists bs that the Bible is totally useless and we can just forget it is crap. that's my point and I'm a Texan and I'll defend it like the Alamo.

"Of course just because he desired to write an "orderly account" doesn't mean that he was a trustworthy writer, or even that he had reliable sources. But we're all also probably familiar with the number of details in the second volume of Luke's two volume work that have been verified. This allows quite a lot of confidence that Luke not only desired to record reliably history, but that he was able to accomplish this as well"


>>The credibility of Luke is pretty well assured. First, this busienss the atheists have gotten into of doubting the honesty and sincerity of all religious people has just got to stop. that is nothing more than poisoning the well. They can show no better reason to doubt the veracity of Luke than simpley that they doubt the vercity of all Christians.

I doubt the veracity of atheists. Let's settle it in the street, guns or knives? That's where we are headed with the kind of thinking that says always doubt everyone you disagree with and don't listen to anything they say.

Secondly, the good histoircal habits of Luke are well proven. Every detail in acts was demonstrated as true by Sir William Ramsay and that has not been overturend.

Is it ok to find most of the Gospel of John written by the same eyewitness as who wrote the Johannine epistles?

Ive always had my doubts about the last chapter of GoJ, but I do find it compelling the beloved disciple wrote most of it.

-Cam

"Although wasn't an "eye witness" it ties his Gospel to the grape vine of Jesus people who had the Apostles at its core."

More than a grapvine, it seems; if I'm not mistaken, Luke met the apostle James and other elders of the Jerusalem church that no doubt included eyewitnesses during his visit there (Acts 21:18). The passage seems pretty clear but can anyone verify that reading?

Is it ok to find most of the Gospel of John written by the same eyewitness as who wrote the Johannine epistles?

What seems potentially interesting to me is the parallel use of "we" in John 21:24 and 1 John 1-4:

"This is the disciple who testifies to these things and who wrote them down. We know that his testimony is true." (John 21:24)

"That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life." (1 John 1)

It seems that the "we" in John 21:24 is the same "we" in 1 John 1. I haven't studied this indepth, though, so I can't say anything with certainty. Actually, it looks likes there may be a parallel between John 20:31 and 1 John 1:3, as well, concerning the author's purpose of writing, although maybe this isn't as strong:

"But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name." (John 20:31)

"We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ." (1 John 1:3)

(I can hear the skeptics yelling now: "See! He was writing to convince people to believe, not to report accurate history!" As if the two are mutually exclusive.)

Luke certainly makes a claim, right at the beginning, to have been in serious contact with numerous eyewitnesses; both as part of his (and his community's/ies') religious identity, and also in conjunction with his claimed ground for being competent to write the account:

"Since many have, in fact, already put their hands to drawing up [or putting together] an account of certain matters--of which we are fully assured among ourselves, as sure as those who, having become eyewitnesses and deputies of the Word since the beginning, have passed those things down to us--it seemed fitting for me, having traced everything carefully from the very first, to also write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus; so that you may know the certainty of the words about which you have been taught!" [GosLuke 1:1-4, my comparative translation]

He may be bluffing or outright lying or talking in some kind of historically useless terminology about these people having been eyewitnesses and servants of the _BIBLE_ (of all things--though ironically this is what I was taught in church for years) instead of using a Jewish divinity reference for the Memra (the logical foundational action of God, Who sends inspiration to the prophets). But on the face of it he's claiming to base his account on careful research of his own, distinct from those 'many others' who have already (whenever this is) taken their own shots at writing things up. His audience would have to be aware there were other _written_ Gospels already in existence (be those canonical, or heretical, or lost, or sources, or some combination).

I also suspect from my own studies that the original function of the written accounts, as Logia or whatever, was to serve as sourcebooks for the leaders of congregations to work from _orally_; and then later when the eyewitnesses began to die out, the texts were called into service for a wider audience (and probably received their final redactions at that point.) Luke's preface address would fit extremely well into that theory.

JRP

"Since many have, in fact, already put their hands to drawing up [or putting together] an account of certain matters--of which we are fully assured among ourselves, as sure as those who, having become eyewitnesses and deputies of the Word since the beginning, have passed those things down to us--it seemed fitting for me, having traced everything carefully from the very first, to also write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus; so that you may know the certainty of the words about which you have been taught!" [GosLuke 1:1-4, my comparative translation]


Excellent! Isn't it odd how we see something so many times we cease to see it at all?

I am not in agreement with community authorship of the Gospels. Your usage of Acts 2 does not make your point. The fact that the early church was devoted to the apostles' teaching does not imply they had a hand in authorship.

I agree that his usage of Acts 2 is hardly evidence for community authorship; but neither does Joe really mean that a community sat down and wrote the texts, either. {s} I think??

I'm about 80% sure he means that the authors (except for Luke maybe) were each compiling together the data most important or most frequently used in their communities. The fact that the Synoptics have a lot of overlap with each other, but hardly any with GosJohn (some intriguing synching between GosMark and GosJohn aside), would still tend to argue (as Joe admits) toward the existence of written originals being used by the community leaders as notebooks--as would the Q hypothesis, relatedly, though the material doesn't quite overlap.

That being said, the one text I have problems with being actually authored by the attributed author, is GosMatt (in its received form). Still, it isn't impossible that the Apostle Matthew followed the lead of Peter and other apostles in including a previously agreed-upon core narrative, plus data of his own he recalled himself (whether firsthand or secondhand), providing us with the received form we have today. The main problem with this is Papias, who (via Eusebius) testifies to a common belief in late 1st century (when he was doing his own research for a logia-text), that even though Matthew wrote first, it was in Hebrew (and/or Aramaic, more likely), after which other people made use of it as best they could; which on the face of it means GosMatt as we have it (in Greek) is at best 2nd gen.

That being said, Papias doesn't seem to have known of our canonical texts directly, except maybe for GosJohn. His hearsay account of GosMark's composition, for example, while important and interesting, complains about a narrative disjointedness in its chronology which I personally simply don't find there: after GosJohn, GosMark has the _fewest_ narrative disjunctions!

JRP

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