I beleive the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated, copied, and interpreted correctly. In the course of my studies of the Bible, I've discovered that it has a long and convoluted history. So, these are my discoveries and my musings of Christian history and doctrines.

Location: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States

Thursday, May 12, 2005

The Lost Writings of Papias Part 2

In those days, Greek learning was extremely popular. Greek learning was like going to the Ivy League schools of today. You were really somebody important if you were taught in the ways of the Greeks. But Paul did not have a high opinion of Greek learning and wrote to the Colossians "Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ." (1)

In the centuries following the deaths of the apostles, Greek became more and more popular amongst the Christians, and eventually, almost all of the leaders of churches were men of great learning, especially in Greek. Eventually it became in vogue to interpret the scriptures using a Greek literary device called the allegory. An allegory is similar to a symbol, a metaphor or a simile, but yet it is different. These learned men sought to interpret the Hebrew writings not from a Hebrew perspective, but from a western, or Greek, perspective.

Around 70 to 155 A.D. there existed a man by the name of Papias, who is said to have been a bishop of Hierapolis, in Phrygia (located in what is now the southwestern part of Turkey, about 6 miles (10 km) north of the ruins of Laodicea). Papias wrote five volumes which he entitled The Sayings of the Lord Explained. In his preface, he writes that he learned the words of the apostles from their followers, but that he also listened to Aristion and the presbyter John (not the apostle John) with his own ears. Some scholars are of the opinion that these books may have contained much historical information in addition to the sayings of Christ. Quoting from his preface:

"I shall not hesitate to furnish you, along with the interpretations, with all that in days gone by I carefully learnt from the presbyters and have carefully recalled, for I can guarantee its truth. Unlike most people, I felt at home not with those who had a great deal to say, but with those who taught the truth; not with those who appeal to commandments from other sources but with those who appeal to the commandments given by the Lord to faith and coming to us from truth itself. And whenever anyone came who had been a follower of the presbyters, I inquired into the words of the presbyters, what Andrew or Peter had said, or Phillip or Thomas or James or John or Matthew, or any other disciple of the Lord, and what Aristion and the presbyter John, disciples of the Lord, were still saying. For I did not imagine that things out of books would help me as much as the utterances of a living and abiding voice. " (2)
  1. Colossians 2:8
  2. Eusebius, The History of the Church, Tr. By G.A. Williamson, Ed. By Andrew Louth. (London, England: Penguin Books, 1965), p. 102.


Blogger Mary A said...

Cool graphics, Scott! :>)

12:07 AM  

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