Papias: Ματθαῖος μὲν οὖν Ἑβραΐδι διαλέκτῳ τὰ λόγια συνετάξατο

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Jonathan Robie
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Papias: Ματθαῖος μὲν οὖν Ἑβραΐδι διαλέκτῳ τὰ λόγια συνετάξατο

Post by Jonathan Robie » May 22nd, 2018, 12:46 pm

ταῦτα μὲν οὖν ἱστόρηται τῷ Παπίᾳ περὶ τοῦ Μάρκου· περὶ δὲ τοῦ Ματθαῖου ταῦτ’ εἴρηται· Ματθαῖος μὲν οὖν Ἑβραΐδι διαλέκτῳ τὰ λόγια συνετάξατο, ἡρμήνευσεν δ’ αὐτὰ ὡς ἧν δυνατὸς ἕκαστος.
I'm surprised I couldn't find a discussion of this on B-Greek.

Stephen Carlson translates this as Hebrew manner of speech:
Now this is reported by Papias about Mark, but about Matthew this was said, Now Matthew compiled the reports in a Hebrew manner of speech, but each interpreted them as he could.
Several other translations say "in the Hebrew language".

What are the arguments for each of these translations? Are other translations also worth considering? Where can I find good articles on how best to interpret this and the best arguments for / against a Hebrew original for Matthew?
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Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: Papias: Ματθαῖος μὲν οὖν Ἑβραΐδι διαλέκτῳ τὰ λόγια συνετάξατο

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » May 22nd, 2018, 2:30 pm

I'm almost sure we have discussed this.

James R. Edwards, The Hebrew Gospel and the Development of the Synoptic Tradition, 2009.
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S Walch
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Re: Papias: Ματθαῖος μὲν οὖν Ἑβραΐδι διαλέκτῳ τὰ λόγια συνετάξατο

Post by S Walch » May 22nd, 2018, 2:43 pm

From LSJ (here):

διάλεκτ-ος , ἡ,
A.discourse, conversation, Hp.Art.30; “θεοῖς πρὸς ἀνθρώπους” Pl.Smp.203a; discussion, debate, argument, Id.Tht.146b; opp. ἔρις, Id.R.454a.
2. common language, talk, “δ. ἡ πρὸς ἀλλήλους” Arist.Po.1449a26; “ἡ εἰωθυῖα δ.” Id.Rh. 1404b24.
II. speech, language, Ar.Fr.685; “καινὴν δ. λαλῶν” Antiph. 171; δ. ἀμνίου, opp. τὰ ἔνδον δράκοντος, Hermipp.3; articulate speech, language, opp. φωνή, Arist.HA535a28; “τοῦ ἀνθρώπου μία φωνή, ἀλλὰ διάλεκτοι πολλαί” Id.Pr.895a6; but also, spoken, opp. written language, D.H.Comp.11.
2. the language of a country, Plb.1.80.6, D.S.5.6, etc.: esp. dialect, as Ionic, Attic, etc., Diog.Bab.Stoic.3.213, D.H.Comp.3, S.E.M.1.59, Hdn.Gr.2.932; also, local word or expression, Plu.Alex.31.
III. way of speaking, accent, D.37.55.
2. pl., modes of expression, Epicur.Ep.1p.24U.
IV. style, πανηγυρική, ποιητικὴ δ., D.H.Comp.23,21: esp. poetical diction, Phld.Po. 2 Fr.33, al.
V. of musical instruments, quality, 'idiom', Arist. de An.420b8.

So either understanding of Papias has support; guess only way to answer it would be to see if there's anything else from Papias that uses διάλεκτος in the same sort of way.

As for your 'best' requests...

I've only found one source that isn't from a fringe-group of loonies: http://markhaughwout.com/Bible/Matthew_Hebrew.htm

I'll let someone who knows the subject better answer the 'best' requests.

My 2c: I prefer Carlson's understanding. I would more expect to see γλῶσσα rather than διάλεκτος, with διάλεκτος to me having more a reference to spoken language, rather than written language.

Though, obviously, γλῶσσα and διάλεκτος overlap very much :)
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Re: Papias: Ματθαῖος μὲν οὖν Ἑβραΐδι διαλέκτῳ τὰ λόγια συνετάξατο

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » May 22nd, 2018, 3:20 pm

Some examples of Patristic use of the expression Ἑβραΐδι διαλέκτῳ from TLG open corpus:
1. ATHANASIUS Theol. Synopsis scripturae sacrae [Sp.] {2035.071} Volume 28 page 432 line 53
Τὸ μὲν οὖν κατὰ Ματθαῖον Εὐαγγέλιον ἐγράφη ὑπ’
αὐτοῦ τοῦ Ματθαίου τῇ Ἑβραΐδι διαλέκτῳ, καὶ ἐξ-
εδόθη ἐν Ἱερουσαλὴμ, ἡρμηνεύθη δὲ ὑπὸ Ἰακώβου


2. JOANNES CHRYSOSTOMUS Scr. Eccl. De prophetiarum obscuritate (homiliae 1-2) {2062.150} Volume 56 page 178 line 37
πρό γε τοῦ χρόνου τῆς παρουσίας τοῦ Χριστοῦ ἡρμη-
νεύθησαν ἅπασαι· ἐπεὶ εἰ ἔμενον ἐν τῇ Ἑβραΐδι
διαλέκτῳ μόνον, ἔλεγε δὲ ὁ Δαυῒδ, Αἴτησαι παρ’
ἐμοῦ, καὶ δώσω σοι ἔθνη τὴν κληρονομίαν σου,


3. JOANNES CHRYSOSTOMUS Scr. Eccl. In Acta apostolorum (homiliae 1-55) {2062.154} Volume 60 page 325 line 52
λαόν. Πολλῆς δὲ σιγῆς γενομένης, προσεφώνησε
τῇ Ἑβραΐδι διαλέκτῳ, λέγων.
αʹ. Ὅρα αὐτὸν, ὅταν πρὸς τοὺς ἔξω διαλέγηται, οὐ παραι-


4. JOANNES CHRYSOSTOMUS Scr. Eccl. In Acta apostolorum (homiliae 1-55) {2062.154} Volume 60 page 327 line 16
δὲ σιγῆς γενομένης, προσεφώνησε, φησὶ, τῇ (15)
Ἑβραΐδι διαλέκτῳ λέγων· Ἄνδρες ἀδελφοὶ καὶ πα-
τέρες, ἀκούσατέ μου τῆς πρὸς ὑμᾶς νῦν ἀπολογίας.


5. JOANNES CHRYSOSTOMUS Scr. Eccl. In Acta apostolorum (homiliae 1-55) {2062.154} Volume 60 page 327 line 26
λογίας· ἐν τάξει ἱκέτου ἑαυτὸν καθίστησιν. Ἀκούσαν- (25)
τες δὲ, ὅτι τῇ Ἑβραΐδι διαλέκτῳ προσεφώνει αὐτοῖς,
μᾶλλον παρέσχον ἡσυχίαν. Ὁρᾷς, πῶς αὐτοὺς εἷλε


6. JOANNES CHRYSOSTOMUS Scr. Eccl. In Acta apostolorum (homiliae 1-55) {2062.154} Volume 60 page 360 line 48
ἡμῶν εἰς τὴν γῆν, ἤκουσα φωνὴν λαλοῦσαν πρός
με καὶ λέγουσαν τῇ Ἑβραΐδι διαλέκτῳ· Σαοὺλ,
Σαοὺλ, τί με διώκεις; σκληρόν σοι πρὸς κέντρα λα-


7. JOANNES DAMASCENUS Scr. Eccl. et Theol. Commentarii in epistulas Pauli [Dub.] {2934.053} Volume 95 column 997 line 20
οὗ μέμνηται Παῦλος, ὃς καὶ ἐπίσκοπος Ῥωμαίων
ἐγένετο· ὡς Παύλου αὐτὴν Ἑβραίοις τῇ Ἑβραΐδι (20)
διαλέκτῳ συντάξαντος ἡρμηνεύθη, ὥς τινες, ὑπὸ
Λουκᾶ τοῦ εὐαγγελιστοῦ· ὡς δὲ ἄλλοι, ὑπὸ αὐτοῦ
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Stephen Carlson
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Re: Papias: Ματθαῖος μὲν οὖν Ἑβραΐδι διαλέκτῳ τὰ λόγια συνετάξατο

Post by Stephen Carlson » May 22nd, 2018, 6:30 pm

My old translation went with "Hebrew manner of speech" to preserve the vagueness of the original, but my sense now of the weight of the evidence (διάλεκτος with a geographical designation, plus interest elsewhere in Papias about translation or at least interpretation) is that it is on the side of the "Hebrew language." The harder issue is to determine just what composition he was thinking of.
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Jonathan Robie
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Re: Papias: Ματθαῖος μὲν οὖν Ἑβραΐδι διαλέκτῳ τὰ λόγια συνετάξατο

Post by Jonathan Robie » May 22nd, 2018, 6:39 pm

Stephen Carlson wrote:
May 22nd, 2018, 6:30 pm
The harder issue is to determine just what composition he was thinking of.
Anything useful to read on that question? Or can you walk us through the possibilities?
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Re: Papias: Ματθαῖος μὲν οὖν Ἑβραΐδι διαλέκτῳ τὰ λόγια συνετάξατο

Post by Stephen Carlson » May 23rd, 2018, 6:03 am

Jonathan Robie wrote:
May 22nd, 2018, 6:39 pm
Stephen Carlson wrote:
May 22nd, 2018, 6:30 pm
The harder issue is to determine just what composition he was thinking of.
Anything useful to read on that question? Or can you walk us through the possibilities?
Various possibilities include:

1. A Hebrew-language gospel, of uncertain relationship to our Greek Matthew. Papias could simply be mistaken or misinformed, so it need not have existed.

2. A Greek gospel, presumably our Matthew, written in a Hebrew style (whatever that means).

3. A sayings gospel (i.e. Q) written either in Greek (see #2) or Hebrew (see #1).

4. A testimony book of Messianic oracles from the Hebrew bible.
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Re: Papias: Ματθαῖος μὲν οὖν Ἑβραΐδι διαλέκτῳ τὰ λόγια συνετάξατο

Post by RandallButh » May 23rd, 2018, 6:28 am

Jonathan,

One of the problems is assuming that the tradition (that Papias mentioned) referred to our canonical Matthew. It is rather clear that our canonical Greek Matthew is not a translation but was originally written in Greek (howbeit with Semitic influences).
(Yes, I have articles that refer to this and support this. See Brill 2014 volume The Language Environment in First Century Judaea, edd Buth and Notley, [my articles (3+intro) on biblicallanguagecenter.com under community blog])

It is very likely that a Hebrew Gospel did exist and a translation of it influenced the composition of the synoptic gospels. Two quickie supports.
1. A Hebrew narrative book can be titled sefer divre XXXX, ספר דברי אאאא 'book of the things/word-of XXXX'. E.g. the Hebrew original to the book of Tobit (a long narrative+sayings), became "book of the words of Tobit" in Greek, Aramaic, and later translations.
2. Consider the language choice of another 'first-century end-time messianic' community: Qumran wrote their own texts in high Hebrew (as opposed to low, colloquial Hebrew).

High Hebrew was the natural language choice of a community following the second Moses (Jerusalem Yeshua-community), and Papias comment makes excellent sociolinguistic sense, including the title "the oracles of the Lord", despite our canonical Matthew being Greek composition with Semitic influences.

Further support requires long, arcane arguments. These have the greatest impact for people very comfortable in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. See articles on website above for a start, including footnotes referring to the article Buth-Kvasnica "Parable of the vineyard" where several additional features are listed and discussed.
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Re: Papias: Ματθαῖος μὲν οὖν Ἑβραΐδι διαλέκτῳ τὰ λόγια συνετάξατο

Post by Jonathan Robie » May 24th, 2018, 8:06 am

Thanks, Stephen and Randall - very helpful information.
RandallButh wrote:
May 23rd, 2018, 6:28 am
It is very likely that a Hebrew Gospel did exist and a translation of it influenced the composition of the synoptic gospels. Two quickie supports.
1. A Hebrew narrative book can be titled sefer divre XXXX, ספר דברי אאאא 'book of the things/word-of XXXX'. E.g. the Hebrew original to the book of Tobit (a long narrative+sayings), became "book of the words of Tobit" in Greek, Aramaic, and later translations.
This went over my head. Why is that a support?
2. Consider the language choice of another 'first-century end-time messianic' community: Qumran wrote their own texts in high Hebrew (as opposed to low, colloquial Hebrew).

High Hebrew was the natural language choice of a community following the second Moses (Jerusalem Yeshua-community), and Papias comment makes excellent sociolinguistic sense, including the title "the oracles of the Lord", despite our canonical Matthew being Greek composition with Semitic influences.
Yes, that makes sense.
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Re: Papias: Ματθαῖος μὲν οὖν Ἑβραΐδι διαλέκτῳ τὰ λόγια συνετάξατο

Post by RandallButh » May 24th, 2018, 10:24 am

It is support because a Hebrew "Oracles of the Lord" is internally consistent as reflecting a title from a Hebrew Gospel, a possibility that Papias probably could not have anticipated. Please note, I do not claim that the two points are sufficient proof, only support. For the proof, please look at the long articles in the two Brill volumes mentioned (Buth-Kvasnica is in an earlier Brill volume). The Hebrew work that Papias heard about was a full length gospel, not a sayings-only-source a la 20-c NT folk.
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