1 vote, average: 5.00 out of 51 vote, average: 5.00 out of 51 vote, average: 5.00 out of 51 vote, average: 5.00 out of 51 vote, average: 5.00 out of 5 (1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
You need to be a registered member to rate this post.

Lake’s Apostolic Fathers

I mentioned that the first edition of the Loeb Apostolic Fathers was done by Kirsopp Lake and that I think he was a great scholar and that it was a great edition.  I’ve always looked up to him, as a brilliant scholar of an earlier generation with very many interests closely parallel to mine.   Our backgrounds could not be more different.  He grew up in England and went to Oxford; I grew up in Kansas and went to Moody Bible Institute.  J

Born in 1872, as a young man Lake experienced a serious illness that affected his health for life, and that at the time kept him from pursuing the rigors of the legal profession (he wanted to practice law).  His physicians evidently thought that the study of theology would be a tame enough pursuit for his frail frame, and he took his degree from Lincoln College, Oxford.   Lake was musically inclined — as a young curate in Durham England he conducted the Mikado — and was early in his career concerned principally with modern social problems; his first book, which remained unpublished, was on the London Dock Strike.  He is best known to most scholars today for his work in New Testament studies, especially for his extensive, significant, and sometimes ground breaking  publications on Greek palaeography and NT textual criticism.

FOR THE REST OF THIS POST, log in as a member. If you don’t belong yet, join!!

You need to be logged in to see this part of the content. Please Login to access.

A Common Criticism (of me!)
The Art of Translation



  1. Avatar
    Jim  November 4, 2012

    Probably this has been asked before. My question is not related to those wimpy wannabes (Apostolic Fathers), but about the guys who put the “A” in apostle. I’m not so convinced that 1 Peter represents a case of forgery as mentioned in your book “Forged”. Using a concordance that I picked up at a used book sale, this Peter claims to be an apostolos not a mathetes. There were a reasonable number of “apostles” in the good old days like the woman Junia that Paul mentions in Romans. Regarding a “witness” of the sufferings of Christ, I get the impression that the word of uncertain affinity “witness” can be literal or figurative (by analogy, a martyr), at least according to my two buck concordance. So I’m fine with the fact that this book wasn’t written by a guy equipped with a fishing net, but it could take a magical flying tuna for me to see that this book was a deliberate forgery and not jusy by some other guy named Peter who was considered a local apostle somewhere.

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  November 5, 2012

      Good question. The problem is not with the word apostolos but with the name PETROS. It wasn’t a name. No one else had it, so far as we can tell, before this particular person, Simon, was given it as a nickname by Jesus. So the idea that there could be *another* “Apostle Peter” seems really unlikely.

      • Avatar
        Jim  November 5, 2012

        Thanks, very logical (guess that’s why you’re a Prof and I’m not). I missed this point when I read Forged awhile back.

  2. Avatar
    Yentyl  November 5, 2012


  3. Avatar
    Jacobus  November 6, 2012

    To be honest about Lake’s translation of Eusebius, it seems very very idiomatic to me. I had to translate some parts from his first book recently for an examination and I realised how careful one must be of the English translation’s idiomatic English as it can cloud your reading of the Greek. Prof. Ehrman, could you at some time direct us on various Latin/Greek-English/German/Dutch texts of early Christian writers that had an impact on your thoughts about Christianity?

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  November 6, 2012

      I was always especially influenced by the second century authors as a corpus: apostolic fathers; apologists, heresiologists. Later I became very interested in the heterodox writings from the same period, although I have to admit that I have a much harder time really understanding some of the Gnostic texts as well as I (think I) understand the others.

  4. Avatar
    nsnyder  November 9, 2012

    Do you still think that Peter and Cephas were different individuals?

  5. Avatar
    fred  November 11, 2012

    “Well, I fluctuate. But, probably most of the time, no.”

    While I can understand that it’s interesting to study the possibilities, shouldn’t epistemological humility suggest that you should simply remain agnostic about it unless/until the argument in either direction is less equivocal?

    As a non-scholar with a strong interest in early Church history, I find it interesting that there’s a good bit of variation in the various scholarly depictions of the historical Jesus. Since I’m not in a position to do anything more than read the differing scholarly opinions, I feel that the only honest opinion I can form for myself is somewhat neutral – I can’t really assess whether you’re right, EP Sanders is right, Dominc Corrsan, or anyone else. Each book I read seems a plausible depiction, so I can only conclude the data is simply inadequate to draw definitive conclusions. So this is my own form of epistemological humility. It would seem to me that at some level this should apply to the scholar as well. Does it? While you’re at it, I’d be interested in your advice tot he non-scholar on this dilemma.

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  November 12, 2012

      Yes, my answer was meant to express epistemological humility in layperson’s terms. I fluctuate because I’m not sure, but I lean toward saying no. And it is indeed because of reasons (most important: Peter and Cephas were not personal names until this person got it — both names mean “rock” and so are nicknames; and it seems unlikely that two different people would simultaneously be given the exact same otherwise unattested nickname in two different languages).

      On divided expertise: not much I can say would help. You simply have to read the various views and see which ones seem to carry the most weight and cite what seems to you to be the best evidence. That’s one reason I say what drives a lot of people crazy, that “most scholars” think X Y or Z, because if most scholars think the evidence points in one direction, that in itself is not *evidence*, but it is certainly worth knowing! (I, for example, have no means of evaluating the claim that the Big Bang happened 13.8 billion years ago, and so I find it worthwhile to realize that there are not leading astronomers, phycisists, and cosmologists who think that the universe is only 6000 years old!)

  6. Avatar
    Maurices5000  October 31, 2015

    So what is your view of Matt 16:18? I’m sure you know the Catholic/Protestant tension here:
    “18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.”

    Who was the rock Christ built his Church on?

    • Bart
      Bart  November 1, 2015

      Peter, as a representative of the apostles who, collectively, started the church.

You must be logged in to post a comment.