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Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [1]


1. Ancient use of the term.

2. Modern use of the term; ( a ) of Jesus’ Sayings; ( b ) of compilations.

3. Tradition on transmission of the Sayings.

4. Criticism of the tradition; ( a ) Internal evidence of the tradition; ( b ) Internal evidence of the Gospels.

5. Conjectural reconstructions of the source.

6. Conclusions.


1. Ancient use of the term .—The Gr. λόγια is the plural of λόγιον ‘a brief utterance,’ ‘apothegm,’ ‘saying’ (so Schol. ad Aristoph. Ran . 969. 973). According to Liddell-Scott ( Lex. ) and Meyer (on  Romans 3:2), λόγιον is the neuter of λόγιος = ‘learned,’ ‘rational,’ and hence means ‘a wise saying.’ More correctly, according to Grimm-Thayer and others, it is a diminutive of λόγος ‘word,’ like βιβλἰον from βίβλος ‘book,’ plur. τὰ βιβλία ‘the (sacred) books,’ English ‘Bible.’ In secular writers (Herodotus, Thucyd., Aristoph., et al .) it is applied to the Divine oracles (because brief utterances), as those of the Sibyl of Dodona, of Delphi, etc. The same connotation of sacred utterances attaches to the use of the word as applied to the Hebrew Scriptures, as by Philo and Josephus. Thus the contents of the OT, as Divine utterances, are called τὰ λόγια τοῦ θεοῦ. In particular the Ten Words (English ‘Ten Commandments’) are called by Philo τὰ δἑκα λόλια (ed. Mangey ii. p. 180ff). By NT writers the term is applied to the Scriptures generally, as ‘oracles’ of God, or to individual inspired utterances of prophets, pre-Christian or Christian ( Acts 7:38,  Romans 3:2,  Hebrews 5:12,  1 Peter 4:11). In Ecclesiastical writers of the sub-Apostolic age πὰ λόγια τοῦ θεοῦ is used of the admonitions of God in Scripture (Clem. Rom. [Note: Roman.] ad Cor. liii. 1, in parallel with αἱ ἱεραί γραφαί), and τὰ λόγια τοῦ κυρίου, or simply τὰ λόγια, of the precepts of Jesus, not including embodying narrative. So especially Polycarp ad Phil . vii. 1, denouncing heretics, who ‘pervert the precepts of the Lord (τὰ λόγια τοῦ κυρέου) to their own lusts, denying that there is either (bodily) resurrection or (day of) judgment’ (cf. Hegesippus ap. Eus. Historia Ecclesiastica ii. xxiii. 9); and Papias ( ap. Euseb. Historia Ecclesiastica iii. 39), who interpreted ‘the oracles of the Lord’ (λόγια κυριακά) in accordance with the tradition of elders who had been followers of the Apostles. In Papias the λόγια are made equivalent to ‘the commandments (ἐντολαί) delivered by the Lord to the faith,’ and stand in contrast with ‘alien commandments’ (ἀλλότριαι ἐντολαί) of heretical teachers, and the ‘loquacity sought by the multitude’ (οὐχ ὥσπερ οἱ πολλοὶ τοῖς τὰ πολλὰ λἑγουσιν ἔχαιρον). The true interpretation of these logia is matter of tradition transmitted through (1) the Apostles, (2) the Elders ‘the disciples of these’ ( lege οἱ τούτων— 8c. τῶν τοῦ κυρίου μαθητῶν—μαθηταί [see Aristion-Aristo], Iren. Hœr . v. v. 1; οἱ πρεσβύτεροι [οἱ] τῶν ἀτοστόλων μαθηταί, Origen ap. Eus.: οἱ διάδοχοι τῶν ἀποστολων). Compare Polycarp ( I.e. ), ‘Wherefore leaving the vain talk (ματαιότητα) of the multitude and the false teachings (ψευδοδιδασκαλίας), let us turn to the word handed down by tradition from the beginning (τὸν ἑξ ἀρχῆς ἡμῖν παραδοθεντα λόγον).

At a much later time the term τὰ λόγια is applied to NT Scripture generally in the same sense as to the OT (Ignatius, ad Smyrn. iii. [longer form in the interpolated matter]). See in general Grimm-Thayer, Lexicon, s.v. λόγιον, and Lightfoot, Contemp. Rev. for Aug. 1875, p. 399 ff. On Papias’ use see Hall, Papias , 1899, p. 242.

2. The modern use of the term ‘logia’ is partly ( a ) conformed to the Patristic application to the precepts of Jesus conceived as ‘brief and pithy apothegms’ (Justin M. Apol. xiv.) of sacred authority; partly ( b ) designates a compilation, or compilations, antecedent to or parallel with the canonical Gospels, supposed to have been entitled or called τὰ λόγια; cf. the use of ‘Bible’ (Lat. Biblia = τὰ βιβλία), to mean ‘the (sacred) books’ of the Canon.

( a ) Of the former (correct) use it is enough to say that science has no better designation for the apothegms of Jesus in the form wherein tradition has transmitted them, whether in the Synoptic Gospels or as uncanonical agrapha . The connotation of sacredness in the designation logion , if we have regard to the later period of transmission, is not inappropriate. The cherished utterances of Jesus soon obtained such currency independently of our Gospels ( Acts 20:35, Clem. Rom. [Note: Roman.] ad Cor. xiii. 1, xlvii. 7, Polyc. ad Phil. [Note: Philistine.] vii. 2) as rightly to deserve it. The term is appropriate therefore to the sacred apothegms of Jesus as preserved in the Synoptic Gospels or independently. As against the simple λόγοι, it is probably a later form involving tacit comparison with the (sacred) precepts of the OT. It is less common than λόγοι, and certainly much less applicable to the discourses of the Fourth Gospel, where, even if traditional logia are embodied, dialogue, the favourite form for philosophic and religious exposition, predominates, and the traditionary interest is subordinated to that of expounding the Evangelist’s Christology.

( b ) The use of ‘Logia’ or ‘the Logia’ to designate a certain type of Gospel-composition is open to serious objection. The discovery by Grenfell and Hunt of papyri of the 2nd or 3rd century, in which Sayings attributed to Jesus are agglutinated with no more of narrative framework than the bare words, ‘Jesus saith’ (λέγει Ἰησοῦς), proves that such compilations actually circulated, fulfilling a function similar to the Pirke Aboth , or ‘Sayings of the Fathers’ in the contemporary and earlier Synagogue. But the later discovered superscription of the Oxyrhynchus collection itself (published 1904) condemns the editors’ hasty application of the title Λόγια Ἰησοῦ to the fragment of 1897, by using the simple λόγοι (οἱ τοῖοι οἱ λόγοι, κ.τ.λ).* [Note: This of course is ungrammatical. The editors propose to delete the first οἱ. Professor Swete prefers to read οὑτοι for οἱ τοῖοι (see ExpT xv. [1904] p. 490).] There is, in fact, absolutely no evidence that any book ever received the title λόγια, though there is a certain significance in the use of the word by Papias and Polycarp interchangeably with λόγοι to designate the precepts of Jesus, whether in literary embodiment or otherwise. For Papias these precepts are ‘commandments delivered by the Lord to the faith’ (ἐντολαὶ τῄ πίστει δεδομέναι), and hence comparable with ‘the oracles of God committed to Israel’ (ἐπιστεύθησαν τὰ λόγια τοῦ θεοῦ,  Romans 3:2); but he refers to just the same precepts as λόγοι, when in a connected clause he declares that Peter had no design of making a syntagma of the ‘sayings’ (οὐχ ὥσπερ σύνταξιν τῶν κυριακῶν ποιούμενος λόγων). Indeed, in all the earlier evidence we possess of the formation of such syntagmata , the expression used is always λόγοι, and never λόγια. Thus, besides the references already given to Acts, Clem. Rom. [Note: Roman.] ad Cor. , and Polycarp ad Phil. [Note: Philistine.] , the Pastoral Epistles have two references to ‘wholesome words’ (ὑγιαίνοντες λόγοι) which are more closely defined as ‘sayings of the faith’ (λόγοι τῆς πίστεως, cf. Papias, ἐντολαὶ τῇ πίστει δεδομέναι) ‘of the excellent teaching,’ and even explicitly as ‘the sayings of our Lord Jesus Christ’ (οἱ λόγοι τῆς πίστεως καὶ τῆς καλῆς διδασκαλίας, οἱ ὑγιαίνοντες λόγοι οἱ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, καἱ ἡ κατ ̓ εὐσέβειαν διδασκαλία, κ.τ.λ.,  1 Timothy 4:6;  1 Timothy 6:3).

More important for its bearing on the question of the name to be applied to the Matthaean syntagma are the structural phenomena of the canonical Mt., to be discussed later. At present we note only that, apart from the Markan narrative outline, the main framework of this Gospel consists of five great agglutinated discourses, each marked off by the resumption of the narrative in a stereotyped formula, ‘And it came to pass when Jesus had finished these words.’ In this formula the expression λόγοι is varied only by the expressions ‘parables’ and ‘directions to the Twelve,’ where the context requires ( Matthew 11:1;  Matthew 13:53), while the final group concludes: ‘And it came to pass when Jesus had finished all these words’ (πάντας τοὺς λόγους τούτους,  Matthew 26:1), in spite of the fact that the narrative continues: ‘he said to his disciples.’

In view of this earlier evidence it is manifestly unwarrantable to infer from the use by Papias of the term λόγια alongside of λόγοι, that ‘he refers to three documents, (1) St. Mark’s version of St. Peter’s teaching, (2) an anonymous collection of Sayings of the Lord , (3) the Logia of St. Matthew’ (K. Lake, Hibbert Journ. iii. 2 [Jan. 1905], p. 337). Papias is defining his authority for ‘the commandments given by the Lord to the faith.’ If he refers to these now, with  1 Timothy 4:6;  1 Timothy 6:3, as ‘sayings,’ of which Peter might have made a syntagma but did not, and now, with Polycarp ad Phil. [Note: Philistine.] vii., as ‘oracles,’ of which Matthew did make a syntagma , the difference is only that in the latter embodiment they seemed to him comparable with the ‘oracles of God’ given to Israel ( Acts 7:38,  Romans 3:2,  Hebrews 5:12,  1 Peter 4:11).

The relatively late date of Papias (145–160 a.d.) makes it certain that for him, if not already for Polycarp, τὰ λόγια meant the precepts of Jesus as embodied in narrative Gospels, pre-eminently in canonical Matthew. In later authorities, who take over the tradition, the term is gradually extended to cover the embodying narrative as well, until with Irenaeus and Tertullian the Divine utterance is coextensive with the canonical Gospel (‘ait Spiritus Sanctus per Matthaeum,’ applied by Irenaeus to utterances of the Evangelist). Whether at a stage anterior to its adoption by Papias the tradition regarding the λόγια had a narrower application, must be settled by a consideration of the expression in its context.

3. Tradition on transmission of the Sayings .—The fragments from the preface (προοίμιον) of Papias’ work in five books, entitled Exposition ( s? ) of the Oracles of the Lord , as given by Eusebius ( Historia Ecclesiastica iii. xxxix. 2, 16), are closely related to one another, and to the passage already referred to in the Epistle of Polycarp, Papias’ earlier contemporary and friend. As regards the ‘commandments’ which Papias sought to hear and to expound as ‘oracles,’ the fragment states as a tradition (probably from the same authority, ‘John the Elder, who gave that regarding Mark) that ‘Matthew made a compend (συνετάξατο v.l. συνεγράψατο) of the logia in the Hebrew (Aramaic?) tongue, and every man translated them as he was able.’ For Papias, and a fortiori for the later authorities who repeat the tradition in partly independent forms, it was a testimony to our canonical Matthew. This to them represented the syntagma of which the tradition spoke, though it was admitted not to be identical with it. That was in ‘Hebrew,’ this in Greek. Possibly a difference of contents as regards the narrative framework was also recognized, since Papias has no scruple in contradicting  Matthew 27:3-10 (cf. Lightfoot-Harmer, Apost. Fathers , Frgt. xviii.), and Jerome recognizes the independence of what he regarded as the ipsum Hebraicum , and which was in his day ‘called by most the authentic Gospel of Matthew,’ by translating it anew into both Greek and Latin. Surviving fragments, however, prove this work, the so-called Gospel according to the Hebrews , to have been another and much later product. In Papias’ time the Hebrew syntagma had disappeared from use (ἡρμήνευσεν), if ever known in his region; his idea of its relation to canonical Mt. was probably as vague as his successors’. He valued the tradition because it gave him Apostolic authority for the Gospel on which he relics in all known instances for his logia of the Lord (Frgt. xi. ibid. is not related, as Lightfoot supposed, to  Luke 10:18, but to  Matthew 12:22-29; see Heads against Caius , Frgt. v., and cf. Apollinaris, Frgt. ii. in Chron. Paseh. ). It also gave him a convenient explanation for their variation of form in the Greek Gospels current in his own day (Mt., Lk.); both went back to a common Apostolic original, but were more or less perfectly translated.

4. Criticism of the tradition .—Modern critics attribute great value to the tradition reported by Papias, partly because of its inapplicability to canonical Mt., which shows it to be in his hands an heirloom, not a manufacture; partly because it is independently attested; partly because it seems to be connected internally with the tradition concerning Mark explicitly ascribed to ‘the Elder’ (John of Jerusalem [d. a.d. 117]), and in that relation becomes both intelligible and historically probable in view of known conditions in the Palestinian Church.

Its inapplicability to canonical Mt. appears in that our Mt. is not a translation, whether from Hebrew or Aramaic; not (strictly) a syntagma of the Oracles  ; and, as concerns derivation from immediate ‘followers of the Lord,’ less authentic in its ‘order’ than Mk., since practically its entire historical outline is borrowed from our Second Gospel with arbitrary alteration (in chs. 1–14) of the order (see the Introductions to NT ). The tradition is also attested, however, by Pantaenus ( ap. Eus. Historia Ecclesiastica v. x. 3), Irenaeus, Origen, Cyril of Jerusalem, Eusebius, Chrysostom, Theophylact, Jerome, Augustine, and Euthymius Zigabenus. Not all of these can have derived all their data from Papias, so that the tradition cannot be his invention, although he clearly adapts it to his own use (cf. ὡς ἔφην in the Mk. fragment, referring probably to an inference of his own from  1 Peter 5:13 [Eus. Historia Ecclesiastica ii. xv. 2, iii. xxxix. 16]. Finally, the internal evidence of the tradition itself indicates a close relation to the testimony of ‘the Elder’ as to Mk., and agrees with known conditions in the Palestinian Church.

( a ) Holsten has pointed out ( Drei urspr. Evang., ad init. ) that the original motive of the Mark fragment is apologetic and harmonistic. It accounts for the incompleteness and lack of system in Mk. by contrast with some other writing which could be regarded as a complete σύνταξις τῶν κυριακῶν λόγων. No such compendium did Mark make, but only a transcript of certain discourses of Peter, accurate and complete so far as secondary testimony could go, but suffering from the inevitable limitations of one who had been a follower, not of the Lord (like Matthew), but, ‘as I (Papias) said, of Peter, afterward.’ The result was a mingled account of narratives about Christ, now a saying, now something done (ἢ λεχθέντα, ἢ πραχθέντα), incomplete (ἔνια, ὅσα ἐμνημόνευσεν) and without system (οὐ μέντοι τάξει), because Peter’s preaching, Mark’s only source of knowledge, had brought out the material in such irregular order as the occasion demanded (πρὸς τὴν χρεῖαν).

Our first concern must be with the motive of this conception of Mk., reserving the question of its historicity. Clearly, while unwilling to reject the narrative Gospel, it contends for the superiority of some other, whose characteristics may easily be inferred from what is denied to its rival. This authority of superior standing in the region whence Papias obtained his traditions (Palestine) emanated from one who had been a follower of the Lord Himself, not (like Mark) of an Apostle. It was more complete, and afforded a systematic, not necessarily chronological , arrangement of the Lord’s words (σύνταξιν τῶν τοῦ κυρἰου λόγων, συνέταξεν τὰ λόγια, οὐ μέντοι τάξει) serviceable to those in search of the ‘commandments given by the Lord to the faith.’ For, as soon as the general point of view is considered, the real significance of the complaint against Mk., so puzzling to modern critics, and perhaps not clear to Papias himself, becomes intelligible. The deficient τάξις of Mk. is explained by the contrasting statements regarding Peter and Matthew respectively, the former of whom did not aim at a σύνταξιν τῶν κυριακῶν λόγων [ v.l. λογίων], whereas the latter actually made such a compend (συνετάξατο [ v.l. συνεγράψατο] τὰ λόγια). The two fragments are parts of a single tradition, and the general point of view is that of a church to which the Gospel was primarily a new Torah, wherein the object of system (τάξις) is completeness in presenting ‘the commandments given to the faith.’ The historian-evangelist’s idea of ‘order’ as chronological sequence in the biography (καθεξῆς  Luke 1:3) is not that in consideration. In short, the tradition of Papias reflects the attitude of the Palestinian Church towards the rival claims of its own autochthonous Matthaean tradition, and the Petrine or Roman. It aims to adjust the two with recognition of the merits of the latter, while holding to the superiority of the former, just as the appendix to the Fourth Gospel (John 21) adjusts the secondary Petrine to its own primary authority, the Johannine (Asiatic).

Looked at thus, from the point of view suggested by its own internal relations, the tradition of Papias becomes not only intelligible but probable. It defines (no doubt correctly) the primary authority for the λόγια κυριακά which Papias proposed to expound in the light of the traditional authorities. If the Gospel of Lk. does not come into Papias’ consideration, and Mk. is treated as quite subordinate, it is because the object in view is the ἐντολαί delivered by the Lord, and tradition and Church usage were at one in pointing to Matthew as the fountain-head for such purposes.

Nor does the tradition stand alone in its distinction of syntagmata of the Logia of the Lord from Gospels of the Markan type.  Acts 1:1 refers to its author’s ‘former treatise’ as relating what ‘Jesus began both to do and to teach’ (ποιεῖν τε καὶ διδάσκειν), thereby properly classing Lk. with Mk. and similar Gospels made up of ‘both works and teachings’ (ἢ λεχθέντα ἢ πραχθέντα). Moreover, the implied distinction from syntagmata of the Sayings is precisely what we should expect in a church whose institutions and traditions were almost invariably based on the practice of the Synagogue. The teaching of the Synagogue was divided into (1) Halacha, i.e. ‘the Way,’ authoritative applications of the Mosaic law, precepts of life, and (2) Haggada, i.e. ‘tales,’ unauthoritative preaching, based mainly on OT narrative. Just so in the primitive Palestinian Church we soon find two types of Gospel composition—(1) the catechetic, for the converted, generally connected with the name of Matthew. Then (2) the evangelistic, for the unconverted, similarly associated with the name of Peter. To the latter type would belong the ‘testimony of the cross’ (τὸ μαρτύριον τοῦ σταυροῦ) rejected by the opponents of Polycarp ( l.c. ); to the former not only the ‘Sayings of the faith’ or ‘of the Lord Jesus’ ( 1 Timothy 4:6;  1 Timothy 6:3) compiled by Matthew and others, but examples of Christian catechesis, such as the little manuals of ethics or ‘teachings of baptisms’ which survive to us under such titles as ‘the Two Ways,’ or the ‘Teaching’ (Διδαχή, Διδασκαλία) of the Apostles. These were primarily of Jewish origin, and were intended for the instruction of neophytes and catechumens. Such writings, on the other hand, as the Preaching of Peter , of the apologetic or evangelistic type, are clearly addressed to the unconverted, and if we go back to the examples furnished in Acts of this evangelistic preaching, still attributed to ‘Peter,’ we may identify the already stereotyped outline of Synoptic story in  Acts 10:38-41, the so-called ‘lesser Gospel of Mark.’ Long ago the resemblance of this Synoptic outline to the haggadic type was observed by Jewish scholars such as Wünsche and Hirsch. Both types accordingly were current in the Palestinian Church. We might, in fact, presuppose it from the nature of the situation. But both would not there be equally esteemed. The indigenous product, adapted to the requirements of a church more given to the perpetuation than to the propagation of the gospel, a church where Jesus was pre-eminently the ‘Prophet like unto Moses,’ giver of ‘the perfect law of liberty,’ would be the authoritative syntagma of the Lord’s Sayings, halachic in the fundamental sense of the term. The Greek version of the Preaching of Peter , imported probably from Rome, would be received; but it would stand upon the lower footing of haggadic narrative. The lateness of the combination is attested not only by the reluctance manifest in the tradition, but by the fact that when Mk. was added to the Matthaean syntagma , the editor had so little else to add.

The correspondence of Papias’ tradition of the Matthaean syntagma with known Palestinian conditions is strongly confirmatory both of the tradition itself and of that interpretation of it which emphasizes the distinction between catechetic works and Gospels of the evangelistic type. It is characteristic of the Gospels which continued to circulate in Palestine independently of the canonical four so late as the time of Jerome and Epiphanius, that, while they conflate material drawn from the Greek Gospels with their own, they continue to represent their tradition in all cases as delivered by the Apostle Matthew (Preuschen, Antilegomena , Frgs. 2. 3. 12 of Ev. Hebrews , 6 of Ev. Naz. ).

( b ) The internal evidence of our Synoptic Gospels is the decisive factor in the question of the historicity and meaning of the tradition. Here we have only to subtract the material coincident with Mk. from Mt. and Lk. respectively, to see that what is left is in Lk. to a great extent, in Mt. almost exclusively, a mass of discourse-material, much of it reproduced in common by the two. So convincing is this general result of an application of the representations of early tradition to the actual structure of our Synoptic Gospels, that since the time of Schleiermacher the so-called ‘two-document’ theory of the Synoptic Gospels, which rests upon it, has won wider and wider assent, and is to-day in its general outline an almost universally accepted canon of criticism (see art. Gospels). Synoptic tradition consists in the main of the Markan story, filled out and expanded by masses of discourse-material which are otherwise almost devoid of historical setting.

But there is a great and significant difference in result when the subtraction is made from Mt. and when it is made from Luke. Subtract Mk. from Mt. and the narrative material which remains is exceedingly meagre in amount, somewhat apocryphal in character, and unconnected with any other source. It includes the Genealogy and Birth-stories (chs. 1, 2), Peter’s walking on the sea ( Matthew 14:28-31), the stater in the fish’s mouth ( Matthew 17:24-27), and a few traits in the story of the Passion and Resurrection—the suicide of Judas ( Matthew 27:3-10), Pilate’s wife’s dream, and his washing of his hands ( Matthew 27:19-24), the earthquake ( Matthew 27:51-53), watch at the tomb ( Matthew 27:62-66,  Matthew 28:11-15), and appearance to the women and to the Eleven in Galilee ( Matthew 28:9-10;  Matthew 28:16-20). A few other apparent Matthaean additions to the narrative of Mk. are illusive. The story of the centurion’s son ( Matthew 8:5-10;  Matthew 8:13) is the one great exception in character and attestation, being shared not only by Lk. ( Luke 7:2-10), but even by Jn. ( John 4:46-54). The real surplus of Mt. over Mk. consists pre-eminently in great aggregations of discourse -material, grouped in the live principal masses already referred to. These groups of agglutinated λόγοι consist of (1) the Sermon on the Mount (chs. 5–7), showing the new Way of Righteousness; (2) the Mission of the Disciples (ch. 10), showing the duty of Witness-bearing; (3) the Parables (ch. 13), treated as fulfilling the Scripture Is 6:9 ff. against a generation which had rejected both the Baptist and Christ; (4) Rules of conduct towards brethren in ‘the church’ (ch. 18); (5) Warnings of the Judgment (ch. 25) attached to the eschatological chapter (24) parallel to Mark 13. Each of the five groups is marked off by the formula καὶ ἐγένετο ὅτε ἐτέλεσεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς, κ.τ.λ., where the narrative is resumed; but groups (3) and (5) are enlarged by prefixing the two denunciatory sections (chs. 11–12 and 23), which are unaccompanied by the formula, and expand the total number of discourses to seven (cf. the seven parables of ch. 13, seven woes of ch. 23, seven petitions of the Lord’s Prayer expanded from five of Lk.). Thus our First Gospel, minus the Markan biographic outline and the few late narrative accretions, really consists of a systematic compendium of the teachings of the Lord, once framed in the favourite pentad structure of Torah, Psalm-book, and the Christian Διδαχή, but later expanded to a sevenfold form.

The same process applied to Lk. yields a very different but equally enlightening result. The subtraction of Mk. leaves a much more considerable narrative element, including, besides the Centurion’s Son, a whole series of incidents elsewhere unknown, of kindred animus. Such are the Penitent Harlot and Penitent Thief, Zacchaeus, the Ministering Women, the Samaritan Leper, the Crooked Woman, the Widow of Nain. But more important than the new incidents is a series of parables and teachings in the same vein, of which the Prodigal Son, Good Samaritan, Rich Man and Lazarus, Pharisee and Publican, are examples. The so-called Infancy chapters of Luke show the same favour towards the lowly, and partake otherwise to so high a degree of the linguistic and stylistic peculiarities of this material, that we must either suppose Luke to have had at command a ‘special source’ equally abundant in narrative-and discourse-material, and characterized by the humanitarian interest so manifest here, or else ascribe to him an extremely one-sided selection from a much more copious stream of tradition than would seem probable from Matthew and Mark. Thus the great outstanding difference in structure between the non-Markan element in Mt. and in Lk. is that in the former it is almost exclusively the λόγοι, arranged in groups as such; whereas in Lk. the logian material does not stand apart from narrative, but is connected with and framed into a narrative independent of Mk. and found in no other Gospel. Moreover, the combination of discourse with narrative in Lk. is not, as sometimes stated, a mere adaptation by the Evangelist of logian material to narrative settings of his own composition. There are examples ( Luke 14:1-7) of such fictitious settings, but who would dream of so describing the incident of the Repentant Harlot ( Luke 7:36-50), which-forms the setting of the parable of the Two Debtors? No explanation will here suffice but an admission that narrative and discourse have come down together from the earliest and most authentic sources. The same conclusion must be reached when the relation of this ‘pre-canonical Luke’ to Mk. and to the added sections of Mt. (Matthew 11 f. and Matthew 23) is studied (see art. Wisdom). Priority will be found to belong in both cases to the Lukan source.

Luke’s distribution of his discourse-material under various heads of narrative description, and his disposition of the non-Markan material at various points of a shorter and longer journey ( Luke 6:12 to  Luke 8:3,  Luke 9:51 to  Luke 18:14), indicate in what sense we should take his proposal to write ‘in order’ (καθεξῆς,  Luke 1:3). He aims, like the historian that he is, at chronological sequence; but certainly not without some better authority than his own conjecture. For while his discourse-material is sometimes without true connexion, it has a basis of order which indicates that, in the region whence this Gospel is derived, narrative and teaching had been combined at a much earlier time and with better resources than in our Matthew.

Critics who have attempted to reconstruct the Logia from Mt. and Lk. have unfortunately neglected this fundamental distinction, reconstructing their ultimate source, without regard for the difference in type (with  Matthew 28:20 cf.  Luke 1:4,  Acts 1:1), from the mere coincidence of Mt. and Lk. in a certain part of the discourse-material. This ultimate source, however, cannot be reached from the side of Lk. without first taking account of the so-called ‘special source’ from which some elements seem to have passed into Mt. ( e.g.  Matthew 3:7-12;  Matthew 4:1-11;  Matthew 6:19-34;  Matthew 8:5-10;  Matthew 11:1-27), and can even be shown with great probability to have affected canonical Mk. (With  Mark 1:2;  Mark 1:5 f., cf.  Luke 7:24-27;  Luke 7:33 f.; with  Mark 1:13,  Luke 4:2-12; with  Mark 2:1-22,  Luke 7:33 f.; with  Mark 3:22-30,  Luke 11:14-22; with  Mark 7:1-23,  Luke 11:37-54. Comparison with Mt. will in all these cases prove dependence by Mk. upon the source more fully recoverable from Mt. and Lk.). But the elements most naturally to be sought in a purely logian common source, such as the Sermon on the Mount and the Parables, display a very different degree of resemblance in Mt. and Lk. respectively. Instead of the exact verbal identity of long sentences in the sections outside the Matthaean pentad, there is within it for the most part an extreme divergence from the Lukan parallels. In general it would be difficult, if not impossible, to prove from this material any direct acquaintance with the Logia on the part of our Third Evangelist.

5. Conjectural reconstructions of the source .—Lost works have nevertheless been so frequently reconstructed in modern times by process of extraction from later documents into which they had been independently incorporated, as to offer a standing challenge in this supreme instance of the Matthaean Logia . If Krawutzky (to cite a single example) could reconstruct the Teaching of the Twelve from the Apostolic Constitutions and Apostolic Epitome , in advance of its discovery by Bryennios, why should not our First and Third Gospels yield up out of their common discourse-material the substance of the lost Logia? There have been thus far but two notable attempts to meet this challenge. Wendt’s Lehre Jesu (1886) presents in the first (untranslated) volume the author’s attempted reconstruction from Mt. and Lk. of the (Greek) Logia of Matthew. Unfortunately no account is taken of the third factor, Luke’s ‘special source,’ which certainly afforded much discourse-material not likely to have been connected with the Matthaean Logia , and may even have contained all that Luke shares with Matthew. Equally unfortunate was the failure to distinguish the difference in point of view between a ‘ syntagma of the Lord’s commandments’ in which ‘order’ must be topical, and a διήγησις καθεξῆς such as Luke’s, where the λόγοι are λόγοι τῆς χάριτος ( Luke 4:22) illustrative of the message of the Divine wisdom. The problem must not be treated as if a mere question of arithmetic: Elements common to Mt. and Lk., minus Mk. = the Logia . As a pioneer in the field, Wendt deserves credit for his work, but a process so simple could not be expected to solve so complicated a problem. Wendt himself could find no place for a non-Markan διήγησις such as the Centurion’s Son,  Luke 7:2-10 =  Matthew 8:5-13 =  John 4:46-54, which could not naturally be connected with the Matthaean Logia , but falls into place at once when account is taken of its relation to the Lukan context. Wendt’s results were not unjustly pronounced ‘a heap of interesting ruins, without beginning, without conclusion, without connexion’ (Resch).

A much more elaborate and detailed analysis is that of Alfred Resch, Dic Logia Jesu nach dem griechischen und hebräischen Text wiederhergestellt , Leipzig, 1898 (Hebrew text separately סֵפֶרחּוֹלְדוֹתיֵשׁוּעַ:דִּבְרֵייֵשׁוּעַחַמָּשׁיהַ, τὰ λόγια Ἰησοῦ). Here the attempt is made to restore the original Apostolic source not only in the Greek form assumed to be utilized in common by Mt. and Lk., but to retranslate into the Hebrew ( sic ) assumed to have been employed by the Apostle as the classical religious language in preference to the colloquial Aramaie spoken by Jesus Himself. Resch brings to his task an immense amount of learning and patience, especially in the accumulation of all possible (and many impossible) traces of extra-canonical logia . Unfortunately the process is again vitiated, not only by an extremely indiscriminate use of unsifted material, but by highly uncritical assumptions. Of these one of the most fatal is that the order of Lk. must be nearest that of the Logia because, in Resch’s judgment, nearest the historical; while another, wherein may be traced the influence of B. Weiss, attributes to the Logia the features of a narrative-Gospel. As will be apparent from our criticism of the tradition, and criticism of canonical Mt., all the evidence we possess should commend precisely the reverse principle. The Apostolic syntagma of Matthew was not a narrative, and cannot have had a historian’s order, and the structure of Mt. and Lk. respectively shows that in the one case the halachic , in the other the haggadic , principle was predominant from the first. On the other hand, Reseh’s gathering of the material was indispensable. His renewed consideration of the careful and scrupulous work of B. Weiss ( Matthäusevangelium , 1876; Markusevangelium , 1872) looking toward an Apostolic (?) source utilized in common by these Gospels, did better justice to another factor not to be neglected, namely, use of the Logia (?) in Mk.; and his tracing of the tradition of Matthaean authorship to a direct claim embodied in at least one of the early Palestinian Gospels ( Ev. Naz. Frg. 6 [ Preusch. ] σὲ τὸν Ματθαῖον), are contributions of permanent service. The experience of both Wendt and Resch, however, should warn against indiscriminate combination of Mt. and Lk., without regard for the structural evidence of the Gospels as we have them, or even for the avowed purpose of the Third Evangelist himself.

Besides Wendt and Reseh, mention should be made of the disposition of material in the Greek Synopticon of A. Wright, who devotes Division 2 of his presentation to material supposedly derived from the Logia of Matthew. The arbitrariness of the dealing with the Lukan material is amply demonstrated by the two supplementary divisions which follow. The work is unfortunately affected by inadmissible presuppositions regarding oral tradition.

6. Conclusions .—These may be briefly summarized in the following outline:—

(1) The term logia was applied to the Sayings of Jesus early in the 2nd century by those who held them as Divine utterances, but not as displacing the earlier λόγοι.

(2) The same individuals report a tradition of Palestinian derivation which contrasts the Markan type of Gospel with another, of Matthaean origin, consisting of syntagmata of the Sayings.

(3) Our present representative of the Matthaean tradition, disembarrassed of its Markan framework, displays this type-form, combining the teaching of Jesus in five agglutinations of Christian precepts corresponding to the five books of the Torah.

(4) Our Third Evangelist presents the discourse-material which he holds in common with Mt. from the historical point of view, and seems to have received it in a collection wherein narrative and discourse were intermingled from the first, the agglutination being effected with an eye to illustrate Jesus’ mission of grace rather than to form a new Torah (see art. Wisdom).

(5) If the actual work of the Apostle Matthew (Matthias?) be not too remote for recovery, it should be sought primarily in, or rather under, the accumulated aggregations of logian material in the five discourse groups of our First Gospel, with secondary comparison of the added groups (chs. 3 f., 11 f., 23) which have special aflinity by language and content with Lk., together with the rest of the Lukan material. It is not probable that the Matthaean syntagma can have been lost in any other way than through superimposition of new material. To extricate it from the mass of superimposed accretion is a task which still challenges the utmost skill of the critic.

Literature.—Besides the works of Wendt, Resch, and B. Weiss, above referred to, the reader should consult the excellent discussions of Hawkins, Horœ Synopticœ , and in Expos. Times xii. (1900–1901) pp. 72 ff. and 471 ff., also ib. xiii. (1902) p. 20, on ‘Some Internal Evidence for the use of the Logia in our First and Third Gospels,’ and ‘Use of Materials in Matthew 8-9’; also four articles by C. A. Briggs, ib. vols. vlii. ix. (1897–1898) on ‘The Wisdom of Jesus the Messiah.’ Many excellent observations are made by A. Wright in his Synopsis 2, 1903. A valuable discussion of the history of the logia embodied in the Sermon on the Mount will be found in the Extra Vol. of Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible, s.v. ‘Sermon on the Mount’ (C. W. Votaw). For an analysis of this conglomerate, and discussion of the process of transmission of this and related principal discourses of Jesus, see the present writer’s The Sermon on the Mount—its Literary Structure and Didactic Purpose , Macmillan, 1902. On the logian material of Lk. see art. Wisdom.

B. W. Bacon.

Holman Bible Dictionary [2]

logos  John 1:1 1:14

Exactly when the “logia” might have achieved written form is a subject of debate. In addition to New Testament evidence, two modern discoveries show that “logia” existed in early Christian communities. Around 1900, remnants of an actual “logia” were unearthed near Oxyrncus, Egypt. Three papyrus fragments were found containing sayings ascribed to Jesus. They have been dated to the A.D. 200s, but are probably copies of an older collection. Each saying begins with “Jesus says.” Some of them can be found in the Gospels, while others are known from the Church Fathers. In addition, two “logia” of a community with Gnostic tendencies were found in 1946 near Nag Hammadi, Egypt. Dating from between A.D. 300-400, they contain over 200 sayings attributed to Jesus.

The Gospels, as well as those New Testament sayings of Jesus found outside the Gospels (such as  Acts 20:35 ), and the modern discoveries all demonstrate the early Church's concern for preserving Jesus' sayings. The same concern can be seen today in our red-letter edition Bibles. See Gnosticism; Luke; Mark; Matthew; Nag Hammadi

Larry McKinney

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [3]

LOGIA. See Gospels, § 2 ( c ).