Michael Kok: The Rotten Foundation of Papias

Michael J. Kok, The Gospel on the Margins: The Reception of Mark in the Second Century (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2015), 104-105.

[Papias’] main source was the elder John, a figure who remains as elusive as ever. It is unlikely that he was a personal disciple of Jesus; he was probably a second-generation charismatic leader in Asia Minor. We have no clue about the elder’s connections outside Asia Minor or his general reliability. We know that Papias naively gave credence to local traditions about an original Hebrew or Aramaic edition of Matthew and other marvels (Hist. Eccl. 3.339.9, 16). If the foundation laid by Papias is rotten, how can we trust what subsequent writers build on it?

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