Questions about the centurion at Jesus' Crucifixion


#1

Hey everyone. I have a few questions about the centurion who was present at Jesus’ crucifixion. Here is the story from the Bible:

Matthew 27:45-54 RSV-CE (45) Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. (46) And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, la’ma sabach-tha’ni?” that is, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (47) And some of the bystanders hearing it said, “This man is calling Eli’jah.” (48) And one of them at once ran and took a sponge, filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave it to him to drink. (49) But the others said, “Wait, let us see whether Eli’jah will come to save him.” (50) And Jesus cried again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit. (51) And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom; and the earth shook, and the rocks were split; (52) the tombs also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, (53) and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many. (54) When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe, and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!”

Who is the centurion in verse 54? Is that Saint Longinus, the centurion/soldier who pierced Jesus’ side with a lance? Or is it a different centurion? If it is a different centurion, he clearly expressed belief in Jesus Christ. Did he go to on to become a saint?


#2

[BIBLEDRB]Matthew 27:54[/BIBLEDRB]

I have read of St. Longinus being identified as the centurion who testified Jesus as the Son of God (in the Gospel of Matthew in the verse above). In research, I found this link in which St. Longinus is identified as this centurion. Perhaps this link could be of value?


#3

Yes it is saint longinus. He later became a monk and lived in the desert in solitude. When he was an old man he was martyred but first he had his teeth beaten out of him. He is the very soldier that pierced our Lord and converted on the spot. He is the good soldier in the passion of Christ movie


#4

Saint Longinus. There are a few different accounts of his life after his presence at the Crucifixion. Supposedly, he was healed from blindness in one eye, when Jesus's blood sprinkled in his eye after he pierced Christ with the Holy Lance.


#5

Thank you everyone for the answers! :slight_smile:

Saint Longinus, please pray for us. Amen.


#6

[quote="Immacolata, post:2, topic:334000"]
[BIBLEDRB]Matthew 27:54[/BIBLEDRB]

I have read of St. Longinus being identified as the centurion who testified Jesus as the Son of God (in the Gospel of Matthew in the verse above). In research, I found this link in which St. Longinus is identified as this centurion. Perhaps this link could be of value?

[/quote]

Off topic; sorry. I have heard that the Douay Rheims version is favored by many people here. I am unfamiliar with it. If this is representative though, it looks quite difficult. "the centurion and they that... were sore afraid" is strange to me.


#7

[quote="tp3192000, post:6, topic:334000"]
Off topic; sorry. I have heard that the Douay Rheims version is favored by many people here. I am unfamiliar with it. If this is representative though, it looks quite difficult. "the centurion and they that... were sore afraid" is strange to me.

[/quote]

It simply means that they were very afraid and that in their extreme fear they declared that Jesus is the Son of God.


#8

[quote="tp3192000, post:6, topic:334000"]
Off topic; sorry. I have heard that the Douay Rheims version is favored by many people here. I am unfamiliar with it. If this is representative though, it looks quite difficult. "the centurion and they that... were sore afraid" is strange to me.

[/quote]

"Sore" here is used in the sense of "dire" (as in, "to be in sore need of...") or "very;" in other words, they were "very afraid." In context, 'fear' is actually a common biblical response to supernatural divine acts.


#9

[quote="Holly3278, post:1, topic:334000"]
Who is the centurion in verse 54? Is that Saint Longinus, the centurion/soldier who pierced Jesus' side with a lance? Or is it a different centurion? If it is a different centurion, he clearly expressed belief in Jesus Christ. Did he go to on to become a saint?

[/quote]

'Longinus' is the (or rather a, since there are is at least one or two variants) name usually given to the soldier who pierced Jesus' side, yes.

In John's gospel it isn't really mentioned whether "one of the soldiers" who did it is the centurion who in the synoptics confesses Jesus as God's Son (although, in fairness, John doesn't mention the centurion at all). Given however the tendency amongst early Christians to conflate different minor characters in the Bible (Mary Magdalene is a famous case), sometimes you see 'Longinus' identified both as the soldier with the spear and the centurion.

In the 2nd century Gospel of Peter, the centurion in charge of the soldiers guarding Jesus' tomb is given the name Petronius. 'Longinus' as a named character meanwhile first appears in a 6th century work known as the Acta Pilati (Acts of Pilate). The Rabula Gospels (AD 586) is another early witness to the name: there it is spelled in Greek as Loginos.

http://img109.imageshack.us/img109/6816/uskt.jpg

Funny thing is, in an apocryphal Greek work sometimes appended to the Acta Pilati (The Letter of Herod to Pilate), Longinus is no saint. Instead, he is punished for his spearing Jesus in a way that kind of smells like Greek mythology: he is imprisoned in a cave where a lion comes every evening to maul him. When morning comes the lion leaves and his body regenerates, rinse and repeat until Doomsday.

Now concerning Longinus, the one who struck the side of Jesus with a spear: at this hour an angel of the Lord took him by his head and carried him across the Jordan to a wilderness place, and brought him further into the cave, and stretched him out on the ground in full view. And a lion was assigned to come forth at night and to destroy his body until dawn. The lion went away at dawn, and his body again became whole. This is the punishment he receives until the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Contradicting this portrait is another work (also Greek) which this time claims to be a letter from Pilate to Herod. Here Procla (Pilate's wife) and Longinus are both converted after personally meeting Jesus after the Resurrection. (For good measure, Pilate also becomes a Christian in this work as well.) Here Longinus is identified with the centurion:

Pilate, governor of Jerusalem, to Herod the tetrach, greetings.
Persuaded by you, I did a terrible thing on that day the Jews brought to me Jesus, the one who is called the Christ. They, along with the centurion, reported to me how he was crucified and arose from the dead on the third day. But I myself was persuaded to send messengers to Galilee. They saw him in the same flesh and in the same appearance; and he revealed himself in the same voice and with the same teaching to more than five hundred godly people, who as witnesses brought forth their testimony about this, expressing no doubts in the matter but preaching extensively the resurrection and declaring the eternal kingdom—so that the heavens and the earth appeared to rejoice at his holy teachings.

My own wife, Procla, came to believe because of the visions in which he appeared to her when I was about to hand him over to be crucified because of your advice. She left me, taking ten soldiers with her and Longinus, the faithful centurion, and went to catch sight of him—as if going to a great spectacle. They saw him seated in a plowed field, with a great crowd surrounding him; he was teaching the mighty works of the Father, so that all were amazed and astounded at how this one who suffered and was crucified was raised from the dead.

While everyone was watching and observing him, he became aware of their presence and spoke to them: “Do you still not believe in me, Procla and Longinus? Are you not the one who watched over my suffering and tomb? And you, woman, did you send a message to your husband about me? (…) the covenant the covenant of God that the Father made. Through my own death, which you have perceived, I will bring to life every fleshly being that has perished—I the one who was lifted up and suffered many things. Now, therefore, listen; every fleshly being who believes in God the Father and in me will not perish. For I have set loose the birth pangs of death and have slain the many-headed dragon. In my second coming that is about to occur, everyone will be raised in the body and mind that they now have, to praise my Father—I who was crucified under Pontius Pilate.”

When he said these things, my wife, Procla, heard them, along with the centurion Longinus, who had been entrusted to watch over the suffering of Jesus, and the soldiers who accompanied them. They all came, weeping and grieving, to proclaim these things to me.


#10

The Syriac Book of the Bee (ca. 13th century) records some traditions/legends about the Passion. The portrait of Longinus there isn't sympathetic either: the author says that Longinus is the soldier who not only stabbed Jesus' side, but also the one who spat on His face and struck His cheek! (Note that nowhere in this work is he said to be the centurion who confessed Jesus.) As if to add insult to injury, Longinus is identified with the paralytic who was healed by Jesus in the pool of Bethesda.

Three years and three months after His baptism, Judas Iscariot the son of Simon betrayed his Lord to death. He was called Iscariot (Sekhariôtâ) from the name of his town (Sekhariôt), and he had the sixth place among the disciples before he betrayed our Lord. Our Lord was crucified at the third hour of Friday, the ninth of Nisan. Caiaphas, who condemned our Lord, is Josephus. The name of Bar-Abbâ was Jesus. The name of the soldier who pierced our Lord with the spear, and spat in His face, and smote Him on His cheek, was Longinus; it was he who lay upon a sick bed for thirty-eight years, and our Lord healed him, and said to him, 'Behold, thou art healed; sin no more, lest something worse than the first befall thee.' (John 5:14) The watchers at the grave were five, and these are their names: Issachar, Gad, Matthias, Barnabas and Simon; but others say they were fifteen, three centurions and their Roman and Jewish soldiers.

Jacobus de Voragine's Legenda Aurea (The Golden Legend) really fixed the standard story of Longinus in the West. There Longinus (identified both as the centurion and the lance-bearer) quits his job after being healed of his blindness and after receiving instruction from the apostles at "Caesarea of Cappadocia" (modern Kayseri, Turkey) spends the next twenty-eight years as a hermit, all the while converting people. When he refused to worship idols, the local governor had all his teeth pulled out and his tongue cut off, but he was still miraculously able to speak. He then smashes the idols with an ax, and evil spirits came out of the idols and possess the governor and his attendants, who began "to rage and rant and to bark like dogs" and fall down at Longinus' feet. Upon being asked why they inhabited the idols, they confessed that they "can live anyplace where Christ's name is not heard and the sign of his cross is absent."

It is at this point that we are told that the governor had lost his eyesight. Longinus tells the governor that he will not be cured of his blindness unless he has him (Longinus) beheaded. The governor then orders Longinus' head be cut off, and then after coming near his body and begging repentance, regains his sight. The anecdote ends with the governor "[spending] the rest of his life in good works."

P.S. It's somewhat kind of funny that one of Julius Caesar's assassins is named Gaius Cassius Longinus. :p


#11

The author of Matthew based much of the narrative of Matthew on Mark's gospel. In Mark 15, the centurion is first described:
*"39 When the centurion who stood facing him saw how he breathed his last he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!” *

You can compare the redaction of Mark by Matthew to see what theological point the later author was trying to make (this is called redaction-criticism):
Matt 27
"54 The centurion **and the men with him who were keeping watch over Jesus feared greatly when they saw the earthquake and all that was happening, and they * said, “Truly, this {deleted: man} was the Son of God!”*

In Mark, the apostles are all pretty clueless as to who Jesus really was. The centurion was someone who recognized Jesus for what he was, like women, and other outcasts (including unclean spirits). In Matthew, the author has added more witnesses and removed the reference to Jesus as "man," suggesting that Matthew reflects Jesus as being less abandoned by his followers and also, more divine in an early example of Christological debate.


#12

[quote="fnr, post:11, topic:334000"]
The author of Matthew based much of the narrative of Matthew on Mark's gospel. In Mark 15, the centurion is first described:
*"39 When the centurion who stood facing him saw how he breathed his last he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!” *

You can compare the redaction of Mark by Matthew to see what theological point the later author was trying to make (this is called redaction-criticism):
Matt 27
"54 The centurion **and the men with him who were keeping watch over Jesus feared greatly when they saw the earthquake and all that was happening, and they ** said, “Truly, this {deleted: man} was the Son of God!”

In Mark, the apostles are all pretty clueless as to who Jesus really was. The centurion was someone who recognized Jesus for what he was, like women, and other outcasts (including unclean spirits).

[/quote]

This is the greatest irony of Mark's gospel: the only human in the gospel to ever proclaim Jesus as "son of God" isn't one of the disciples (who were supposed to be 'insiders' have access to the "mystery of the kingdom of God"), but a total stranger - the man heading the execution squad.

In Mark, there was really no grand reason for the centurion to make the declaration (there is no hint that he or anyone else saw the temple veil being torn at that exact moment - perhaps that is another dramatic irony); he had merely seen Jesus expire, and Mark's Jesus dies somewhat brutally and ignobly, with Psalm 22:1 and a scream as His last words.

It is because of this that some even think that Mark portrays the centurion's statement as simply an off-hand, sarcastic remark ("This guy (who just died shamefully) is God's son? Yeah right"). But whether one interprets it as an honest, if paradoxical confession - as it is usually interpreted - or simply another contribution to the chain of insults, both interpretations agree that Mark intended this piece of dialogue to proclaim Jesus' true title which no human in the narrative had ever before spoken. The irony (there's that word again) is that nowhere in the gospel had a human being recognized Jesus' identity as "son of God" in the context of confession. (Mark's Peter only proclaims Jesus as Christ, unlike Matthew's Peter who goes all the way: "the Christ, the son of the living God." Mark's high priest even uses the somewhat minced "the son of the Blessed"! :p) For most of the gospel, the only ones who say that Jesus is God's Son is either God Himself or demons - all supernatural beings. Most other human characters in the story (both Jesus' supporters and His opponents), by contrast, are puzzled and ignorant as to who Jesus really is. They are blind to the information that otherworldly beings (and the all-knowing reader) know and say outright before their faces.

It was not Jesus' display of power - all the miracles and the healings - which penetrate the blindness of the witnesses, but His frailty at the cross. It was upon seeing that corpse hanging limp and broken that prompts the centurion to make his statement.

In Matthew, the author has added more witnesses and removed the reference to Jesus as "man," suggesting that Matthew reflects Jesus as being less abandoned by his followers and also, more divine in an early example of Christological debate.

I think the proclamation of Matthew's centurion (and his men) is unambiguously positive compared to the more ambiguous statement of Mark's centurion. In a sense this can be attributed to the general tastes of the authors: Mark likes ambiguity whereas Matthew prefers things sorted out more neatly.

There is also a bit of irony here, albeit different in flavor from that of Mark's. The centurion and his men here "saw the earthquake and what took place" and "were filled with awe" as a result. As I mentioned earlier, awe/fear is a common biblical reaction to the divine. In a word, the execution squad had just seen the Jewish God vindicating Jesus in a tangible, eschatological sort of way (the whole universe - symbolized by the temple curtain (the heavens), the rocks (the earth), and the graves (under the earth) - literally breaks and splits at the moment Jesus dies as if to mark a boundary line between the old and the new age!), and this prompts them to switch their allegiance. Caesar is no longer the one they will call "son of God" - Jesus is. In effect, this makes them the firstfruits among gentiles who realize who Jesus is and confess Him.

Another level of irony is the use of the term "son of God." The soldiers are the only ones to use this title in a positive sense in the context of the crucifixion. Earlier both the passersby and the chief priests in Matthew use the term, but they use it in a mocking way. ("If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross ... He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he desires him. For he said, 'I am the Son of God.'") This time there's a similarity to Mark: these taunts unwittingly serve as proclamations to Jesus' true identity, and Matthew's soldiers pick up on it and use the title the right way. The execution squad joins the Matthaean disciples (way more brighter than the idiot crew in Mark) in proclaiming who Jesus really is (cf. Matthew 14:33).


#13

[quote="fnr, post:11, topic:334000"]
The author of Matthew based much of the narrative of Matthew on Mark's gospel.

[/quote]

Only if you believe that all the early Christian historians were seriously wrong (and therefore unreliable) regarding the sequence in which the gospels were written. It's beyond the scope of this thread, but the idea that Mark wrote first only became widespread in the mid-1800's. See churchinhistory.org/s3-matthew-first-gospel.htm for a much more extensive analysis than will fit here.


#14

It’s true that the consensus that Mark’s gospel is the first written of the synoptics is an Enlightenment and later concept. But it would be quite post-modern to suggest that modern scholarship using text-critical and historical-critical methods to come up with the “Synoptic Problem” is wrong just because it’s not ancient.


#15

If Mark wrote about 64 AD, and Matthew and Luke wrote much later, then it follows that these Gospels were authored by anonymous individuals who had never met Christ. This in turn calls the reliability of Scripture into question (because these individuals would have constructed stories of Christ not based on facts but on their personal faith), and undermines the evidence for the historical claim, by the Catholic Church, to having been founded by Christ.

A third theory has emerged (or, more properly, re-emerged) which can be summarized as follows: Matthew wrote for the Palestinian Jews about 45 AD. Luke, using Matthew and his own researches, wrote for the Gentiles about 60 AD. Then, at the request of Paul, Peter gave five talks to show his approval of Luke’s gospel. John then clarified and supplemented the three gospels, so the four gospels present the one Gospel of Jesus Christ. Supporting evindence for this can be found in The Authors of the Gospels.


#16

[quote="Erich, post:15, topic:334000"]
If Mark wrote about 64 AD, ... undermines the evidence for the historical claim, by the Catholic Church, to having been founded by Christ.

[/quote]

But Erich, Luke's gospel says it wasn't written by an eyewitness!

Luke 1:
"1 Since many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the events that have been fulfilled among us, 2 **just as those who were eyewitnesses from the beginning and ministers of the word have handed them down to us,* 3 I too have decided, after investigating everything accurately anew, to write it down in an orderly sequence for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4 so that you may realize the certainty of the teachings you have received. "*

There is also the fact that in the earliest manuscripts, there was no author listed on any of the gospels. All were originally published anonymously, and later tradition came to assign them the names of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

The gospels are inspired, and that's not because of their being four independent eyewitness accounts. They result from the apostolic witness passed along in oral tradition. Modern scholarship has identified four "source documents" for the synoptic gospels: Mark, Q (the common sayings of Jesus found in both Matthew and Luke), M-source (the independent source in Matthew), and L-source (the independent source in Luke). Each one of these sources is a truly inspired source that was redacted by inspired authors for a particular audience.

To underscore the importance of the oral tradition in the early church, we even have the apostolic father, St. Papias, writing in 110-140 AD that he preferred oral tradition to written tradition (that being said, he had some unusual descriptions of the fate of Judas Iscariot...):
"For I imagined that what was to be got from books was not so profitable to me as what came from the living and abiding voice."

This actually is a critical issue distinguishing Catholic (Orthodox and Anglican) theology from that of many Protestants who claim sola scriptura is the only basis of belief. In its Magisterium, the Church is the guardian of the faith handed down by the apostles. Scripture is one of the ways to understand the faith (and a way critically lacking in many Catholics). However,

A third theory has emerged (or, more properly, re-emerged) which can be summarized as follows: ...Supporting evindence for this can be found in The Authors of the Gospels.

There are many theories, but the Matthew-first theories are generally unsupported by most critical scholars.

To me, I read Matthew and see many identical passages from Mark. In Matthew, I see many identical passages from Luke. Here's an example, the anointing at Bethany and betrayal by Judas. I'm placing the text in Matthew that's not in Mark in bold.

Mark 14:
"3 When he was in Bethany reclining at table in the house of Simon the leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of perfumed oil, costly genuine spikenard. She broke the alabaster jar and poured it on his head.
4 There were some who were indignant. “Why has there been this waste of perfumed oil?
5 It could have been sold for more than three hundred days’ wages and the money given to the poor.” They were infuriated with her.
6 Jesus said, “Let her alone. Why do you make trouble for her? She has done a good thing for me.
7 The poor you will always have with you, and whenever you wish you can do good to them, but you will not always have me.
8 She has done what she could. She has anticipated anointing my body for burial.
9 Amen, I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed to the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.”
10 Then Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, went off to the chief priests to hand him over to them.
11 When they heard him they were pleased and promised to pay him money. Then he looked for an opportunity to hand him over. "

Matthew 26:
"6 Now when Jesus was in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper,
7 woman came up to him with an alabaster jar of costly perfumed oil *
[Deleted:, costly genuine spikenard. She broke the alabaster jar]** and poured it on his head while he was reclining at table.
8 When the disciples saw this, they were indignant and said, “Why [Deleted: has there been] this waste [Deleted: of perfumed oil?]?
9 It could have been sold for much **[Deleted: three hundred days’ wages], and the money given to the poor.” **[Deleted: They were infuriated with her.]
10 Since Jesus knew this, he said to them, “Why do you make trouble for the woman? She has done a good thing for me.
11 The poor you will always have with you; [Deleted: and whenever you wish you can do good to them,] but you will not always have me.
12 [Deleted: She has done what she could.] **In pouring this perfumed oil upon my body, she did it to prepare me for burial.
13Amen, I say to you, wherever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be spoken of, in memory of her.”
14 Then one of the Twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests
15 **and said, “What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?” They paid him thirty pieces of silver,

16 and from that time on he looked for an opportunity to hand him over"*


#17

To continue, comparing Mark 14 and Matthew 26, you can notice that Matthew omits the lines:
At the anointing:
"genuine spikenard,"
"three hundred days' wages,"
"They were infuriated with her,"
"She has done what she could."

At Judas' betrayal:
"What are you willing to give me?"
and removed
"When they heard him they were pleased and promised to pay him money."

Matthew diminishes lines about the expense of the perfumed oil (by removing the name of the spikenard and the price it would have yielded), the outrage of those who objected, and the phrase, "she has done what she could." In that, Matthew is revealing the theological emphasis in his gospel, which also includes the Sermon on the Mount, which is unique to Matthew.

In the Judas betrayal scene, Mark portrays the money as a reward to Judas for his self-motivated betrayal of Jesus. Matthew portrays it as a negotiated price for Judas to betray Jesus. The difference is subtle, but there. In Mark, Judas betrayed Jesus without knowing whether he'd be payed or not; in Matthew, he literally sold Jesus.


#18

If you want to start a new thread (since we're drifting from the OP), I'll meet you there. That said, I'll respond just briefly.

[quote="fnr, post:16, topic:334000"]
But Erich, Luke's gospel says it wasn't written by an eyewitness!

[/quote]

No one ever said all the gospels were written by eyewitnesses. Dei Verbum says they were written by "apostles and apostolic men." The apostles were Matthew and John; the apostolic men were Mark (companion of Peter) and Luke (companion of Paul)

[quote="fnr, post:16, topic:334000"]
Modern scholarship has identified four "source documents" for the synoptic gospels: Mark, Q (the common sayings of Jesus found in both Matthew and Luke), M-source (the independent source in Matthew), and L-source (the independent source in Luke).

[/quote]

There is not the slightest historical evidence, or even a hint, that 'Q' or its author ever existed. If 'Q' had existed, it would have been the most treasured, copied, precious scroll of Christianity during the first 50-70 years of the new religion. If 'Q' had been the key document containing the sayings of Christ, it would have been passed from hand to hand and read at Services. "Modern scholarship" would have us believe we owe the preservation of 'The Our Father' and 'The Beatitudes' to 'Q' since Mark did not bother to record them.

"Modern scholarship" would also have us believe that the community that produced 'Q' made such few copies that none have been found or have been mentioned by historians. Yet the anonymous authors of the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, unknown to each other, found two rare copies and made them the basis of their writings. Then the communities of both Matthew and Luke lost 'Q'. If 'Q' was so important, multiple copies would have been made for many communities. "Modern scholarship" has not explained how all copies of this key Christian document were lost. Also, how did all knowledge of 'Q' disappear without leaving even a vague reference or echo in any piece of Christian or heretical literature?

Those who hold the Markan theory demand the most stringent proof for the historicity of the Gospels, for which we have much historical evidence. Yet they accept conjectures and theories about 'Q', based on further conjectures and theories for which there is no evidence at all. In reality 'Q' was created out of nothing by theologians in the 19th century, to fill a hole in the Markan priority theory.

[quote="fnr, post:16, topic:334000"]
To underscore the importance of the oral tradition in the early church, we even have the apostolic father, St. Papias, writing in 110-140 AD ...

[/quote]

Papias was the bishop of Hieropolis. Eusebius reports that Papias wrote five books and mentions his commentaries on the Gospels of Matthew and John. Ancient Armenian literature records Papias writing commentaries on Luke and John. So, Papias had carefully studied at least three of the Gospels. Hieropolis was close to the Christian centers at Colossae and Laodicea, and a little over 90 miles from Ephesus along a good surfaced road. So contact with John the Apostle would have been easy. No doubt John took a great interest in Papias as he trained to be a bishop, and afterwards gave him good advice. His life span overlapped that of John by 30-40 years and Papias speaks of ‘The Presbyter’, who traditionally has been identified as John the Apostle. Papias also wrote the following, which is an extract from his fourth book as preserved by Eusebius:
‘And this the Presbyter used to say: "Mark, being the recorder of Peter, wrote accurately but not in order whatever he [Peter] remembered of the things either said or done by the Lord; for he [Mark] had neither heard the Lord nor followed him, but later, as I said, Peter, who used to make teachings according to the cheias, [a special kind of anecdote] but not making as it were a systematic composition of the Lords sayings; so that Mark did not err at all when he wrote certain things just as he had recalled [them]. For he had but one intention, not to leave out anything he had heard, nor to falsify anything in them". This is what was related by Papias about Mark. But about Matthew’s this was said: ‘For Matthew composed the logia [sayings] in Hebrew style; but each recorded them as he was able’.
Here we have Papias quoting John the Apostle’s words in defense of the style of the Gospel of Mark. So the ‘poor Greek’ of Mark was not first noticed in the 19th century.


#19

I have started a new thread here.


#20

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