In my previous post I stressed that, contrary to what you sometimes may have heard or possibly will hear, Papias is not a *direct* witness to what the apostles of Jesus were saying. That is an important point because of the most important “testimony” that Papias gives, a testimony that is often taken as very strong evidence that the second Gospel of the NT was written by Mark, the companion of Peter, and that the first Gospel was really and truly written by Matthew, the disciple of Jesus. If these claims were right, they would be highly significant. Matthew would have been written by someone who was there to see these things happen; and Mark’s account would be based on arguably the most important witness to Jesus’ life..
Here is what Papias says. Remember, when he indicates what “the elder” says, he is indicating what he has learned from a person who was allegedly “companion” of the elder; the elder was someone who allegedly knew the apostles.
“And this is what the elder used to say,
‘When Mark was the interpreter [Or: translator] of Peter, he wrote down accurately everything that he recalled of the Lord’s words and deeds — but not in order. For he neither heard the Lord nor accompanied him; but later, as I indicated, he accompanied Peter, who used to adapt his teachings for the needs at hand, not arranging, as it were, an orderly composition of the Lord’s sayings. And so Mark did nothing wrong by writing some of the matters as he remembered them. For he was intent on just one purpose: to leave out nothing that he heard or to include any falsehood among them.’”
This then is what Papias says about Mark.
And this is what he says about Matthew:
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