Papias on Mark

August 31, 2007

I’ve been puzzling over the Greek text of Papias (as found in Eusebius). Here’s my translation of the key portion, with some notes–and questions–about it. I’d welcome any feedback on this.
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Eusebius, EH 3.39.14b-15

. . . concerning Mark, who wrote the gospel. He [Papias] expounds with these [words]: “And the presbyter [i.e., John] also said this: ‘Mark, being the interpreter of Peter [Μάρκος μὲν ἑρμηνευτὴς Πέτρου γενόμενος], wrote accurately all that he remembered [ἐμνημόνευσεν] (but not, however, in order [οὐ μέντοι τάξει]) [of] the things which were spoken or done by our Lord,’ for he neither heard the Lord nor followed him, but later, as I said, [he followed] Peter (who provided instruction according to the need [ὅς πρὸς τὰς χρείας ἐποιεῖτο τὰς διδασκαλίας], but not as to make an arrangement [orderly account] of the Lord’s discourses); so that Mark did not err in anything in thus writing some things [“individual points”? so Loeb transl.] as he remembered them; for he was attentive to one thing, not to leave out anything that he heard or to make any false statements in them.” So then these things were recounted by Papias concerning Mark.

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This is my translation, which differs significantly from that given in Baker’s “Popular Edition” (127). For the Greek text I have used the Loeb edition of Eusebius, 1:296-97; see also D. Theron, Evidence of Tradition, 66-67 (Greek and translation). I have also revised the punctuation from that given in the Loeb edition to reflect what I think is a more accurate reading of the text. The most difficult question is where the quotation from “the presbyter” ends. I have made my best guess, but it is only that. The initial words cited above are those of Eusebius, who then quotes from Papias’ (“…”) who quotes “the presbyter” (‘…’) and then resumes his own [i.e., Papias’] explanation; the text cited concludes with Eusebius’ closing comment. I have taken the “…later, as I said …” to indicate that Papias is again speaking at this point, and it would then make best sense to see the γάρ clause as beginning his statement (“for he neither heard…”).

Any thoughts?

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