Carlson, S. (2019). Origen's use of papias. B. Bitton-Ashkelony, O. Irshai, A. Kofsky, H. Newman and L. Perrone. Origeniana Duodecima: Origen’s legacy in the Holy Land - A tale of three cities: Jerusalem, Caesura and Bethlehem: Proceedings of the 12th International Origen Congress, Jerusalem, 25-29 June, 2017 535-545. Leuven, Belgium: Peeters.
[Extract] Did Origen know and use Papias? The question is difficult to answer, but we have some clues. On the one hand, Origen possessed a well-stocked library in Caesarea and had access to a broad stream of earlier Christian writers1, while Papias of Hierapolis was a second-century exegete who wrote five volumes of a work called Exposition of Dominical Oracles2. A copy of Papias’s work was in the hands of Eusebius of Caesarea two generations later when he composed his Ecclesiastical History3. Since much of Eusebius’s library stems from Origen4, there exists the possibility that Papias’s work may well have been among those in Origen’s library and available to Origen himself. On the other hand, we know hardly anything at all about the content of Papias’s work because it has largely perished, leaving merely fragments in the form of quotations by later writers, only a handful of which are of any substantial length. These fragments have been collected since the age of printing and none of them belong to Origen5. In other words, we do not possess any direct evidence, in the form of an explicit citation of Papias, for Origen’s knowledge and use of Papias within Origen’s incompletely but substantially preserved large body of work. This state of affairs forces us to consider indirect evidence, and this study looks at the overlaps of Origen and Papias in two different areas: on the question of chiliasm and on the origin of the Gospel of Mark.
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