Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Papias and the New Testament: Paperback – July 8, 2013
Customers who bought this item also bought
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top Customer Reviews
I gave the book 5 stars despite my disagreement with portions of it, simply because this is a sorely needed updated overview of the whole business.
One weakness of the book is that Shanks does such a good job defending Papias' integrity, that his logic would require that some of the more bizarre stuff Papias gave us (such as the talking grapes tale [Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 5.33.3-4]) really did come from the original apostles. Fundamentalist Christians will not have a problem with talking grapes anymore than Mormons have a problem with the obviously fraudulent nature of their book, but for the sensible person, talking grapes is too much, and at some point, the "god can do anything" excuse just doesn't sound convincing any more.
One strength of the book is Shank's correct view that the scholarly consensus has accepted Eusebius' correction of Irenaeus on how close Papias was to the apostles, as if Eusebius' view were gospel, when in fact Shanks views said correction as having only the slimmest exegetical justification. A possible reply is that Eusebius would have realized the closer Papias is to the apostles, the stronger witness for gospel authorship Papias' "Expositions" becomes. So if Eusebius chose to make expressly clear that Papias was not as close to the apostles as Irenaeus said, he likely had good reason to believe this.
Shanks also agrees with the party line that the only or major motive for Eusebius to distance Papias from the apostles was the fact that his famous comment that Papias was of "small intelligence" is made in a context showing that Eusebius disagrees with Papias' belief about a literal 1000-year reign of Christ on earth (chiliasm). Shanks argues that because Eusebius earlier denigrated the canonicity of the book of Revelation, he had a theological disagreement with Papias. But Shanks overlooks the possibility that Eusebius' rejection of the canonicity of Revelation was correct (Eusebius quotes Dionysius to the effect that Revelation teaches endless celebrating and sexual immorality and gluttony, suggesting our canonical Revelation was authored by Cerinthus the heretic and was textually sanitized before our earliest complete manuscript (Siniaticus, 350 a.d. earlier manuscripts only giving bits and pieces).
Shanks also does not adequately deal with the fact that in the same context, Eusebius says Papias conveys "strange tales" and "some more mythical things", so that the sleight against Papias' intelligence is not solely due to a theological disagreement, but arises somewhat from Eusebius' apparent belief that Papias was something of a second-cenury National Inquirer.
In my opinion, the pluses outweigh the minuses.
I hope Shank's work becomes required reading in bible colleges and seminaries, if it hasn't already. The extreme Christians are wrong to pretend that Papias and the apostles were truth-robots, and the extreme skeptics are wrong in saying Papias was little more than a gossip-monger.