Axial Age scribbling down
verbal utterances of the
Oral Tradition - axioms,
adages and proverbs - of Akhenaten,
Moshe Rabbenu and
Pythagoras became widespread
with the use of written language.
The Gospel of Thomas, found in 1945, is
evidence collections existed.
The idea that the Greek gospels are based
on primitive collection of sayings (Greek: logia) goes back to the very first
commentary on the gospels.
Early in the 2nd century after the birth of
Jesus, Papias reported Matthew compiled the logia of Christ which others
interpreted as best they could.
Papias penned, a 5 volume commentary on
the sayings of Jesus from the accounts of second generation church leaders,
labeled an Exposition of the Sayings of the Lord.
Exposition of the Sayings of the Lord to this date provide the earliest
record of the composition of the
Papias' work is among the many texts claimed to be known
to ancient Christians that were destroyed by the
Roman Catholic Church.
From a fragment from the Exposition of the Sayings of the Lord
Papias affirms that he received the sayings of the apostles
from those who accompanied them, and he moreover asserts that he heard with his
own ears Aristion and the presbyter John.
Papias mentions them
frequently by name and his writings gives their traditions.
relates miraculous deeds, stating that he acquired the knowledge of them from
the Oral Tradition.
Papias set down other things as coming to him from unwritten tradition,
strange parables and instructions of Jesus - and
things of a fabulous nature.
One of these predicts that a
millennium after Jesus' resurrection from death,
the personal reign of
Jesus as Messiah will be established on Earth.
hands down, in his own writing, narratives given by Aristion of Jesus' sayings,
and the traditions of presbyter John.
given in the following words regarding the Gospel of Mark:
presbyter said this:
Mark having become the interpreter of Peter, wrote
down accurately whatsoever he remembered.
It was not in exact order that
he related the sayings or deeds of Jesus.
For he neither heard Jesus
nor accompanied Him.
Afterwards he accompanied Peter, who accommodated
his instructions to necessities, with no intention of giving
a regular narrative of Jesus'
Mark made no mistake in writing things as he
For of one thing he took especial care, not to omit anything he had
heard, and not to put anything fictitious into the statements."
With regard to the Gospel of Matthew,
Papias made the following statement:
"Matthew put together the sayings
in the Hebrew language, and each one interpreted them as best he could.
The same writer used proofs from the First Epistle of John, and
from the Epistle of Peter in like manner."
Papias also gives
another story of a woman who was
accused of many sins before Jesus, which is to be found in the Gospel
according to the Hebrews.
This fragment of the Exposition of the
Sayings of the Lord by Papias translated by the Reverend Alexander Roberts
and James Donaldson.
Excerpt from Volume I of The Ante-Nicene Fathers
(Reverend Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, editors); American Edition
copyright © 1885
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