1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Logia

LOGIA, a title used to describe a collection of the sayings of Jesus Christ (λόγια Ἰησοῦ) and therefore generally applied to the “Sayings of Jesus” discovered in Egypt by B. P. Grenfell and A. S. Hunt. There is some question as to whether the term is rightly used for this purpose. It does not occur in the Papyri in this sense. Each “saying” is introduced by the phrase “Jesus says” (λέγει) and the collection is described in the introductory words of the 1903 series as λόγοι not as λόγια. Some justification for the employment of the term is found in early Christian literature. Several writers speak of the λόγια τοῦ κυρίου or τὰ κυριακὰ λόγια, i.e. oracles of (or concerning) the Lord. Polycarp, for instance, speaks of “those who pervert the oracles of the Lord.” (Philipp. 7), and Papias, as Eusebius tells us, wrote a work with the title “Expositions of the Oracles of the Lord.” The expression has been variously interpreted. It need mean no more (Lightfoot, Essays on Supernatural Religion, 172 seq.) than narratives of (or concerning) the Lord; on the other hand, the phrase is capable of a much more definite meaning, and there are many scholars who hold that it refers to a document which contained a collection of the sayings of Jesus. Some such document, we know, must lie at the base of our Synoptic Gospels, and it is quite possible that it may have been known to and used by Papias. It is only on this assumption that the use of the term Logia in the sense described above can be justified.

“The Sayings,” to which the term Logia is generally applied, consist of (a) a papyrus leaf containing seven or eight sayings of Jesus discovered in 1897, (b) a second leaf containing five more sayings discovered in 1903, (c) two fragments of unknown Gospels, the former published in 1903, the latter in 1907. All these were found amongst the great mass of papyri acquired by the Egyptian Exploration Fund from the ruins of Oxyrhynchus, one of the chief early Christian centres in Egypt, situated some 120 m. S. of Cairo.

The eight “sayings” discovered in 1897 are as follows:—

1. ... καὶ τότε διαβλέψεις ἐκβαλεῖν τὸ κάρφος τὸ ἐν τῷ ὀφθαλμῷ τοῦ ἀδελφοῦ σου.

2. Λέγει Ἰησοῦς ἐὰν μὴ νηστεύσητε τὸν κόσμον οὐ μὴ εὔρητε τὴν βασίλειαν τοῦ θεοῦ. καὶ ἐὰν μὴ σαββατίσητε τὸ σάββατον οὐκ ὄψεσθε τὸν πατέρα.

3. Λέγει Ἰησοῦς ἔ[σ]την ἐν μεσῷ τοῦ κόσμου καὶ ἐν σαρκὶ ὤφθην αὐτοῖς, καὶ εὖρον πάντας μεθύοντας καὶ οὐδένα εὖρον διψῶντα ἐν αὐτοῖς, καὶ πονεῖ ἡ ψυχή μου ἐπὶ τοῖς υὶοῖς τῶν ἀνθρώπων, ὅτι τυφλοί εἰσιν τῇ καρδίᾳ αὐτῶ[ν] κ[αὶ] ο̣ὐ̣ βλ̣έ[πουσιν]....

4. [Illegible: possibly joins on to 3] ... [τ]ὴν πτωχείαν.

5. [Λέγ]ει [Ἰησοῦς ὄπ]ου ἐὰν ὧσιν [β, οὐκ] ε[ἰσὶ]ν ἄθεοι καὶ [ὅ]που ε[ἶς] ἐστιν μόνος, [λέ]γω, ἐγώ εἰμι μετ᾽ αὐτ[οῦ] ἔγει[ρ]ον τὸν λίθον κἀκεῖ εὑρήσεις με, σχίσον τὸ ξύλον κἀγὼ ἐκεῖ εἰμι.

6. Λέγει Ἰησοῦς ούκ ἔστιν δεκτὸς προφήτης ἐν τῇ πατρίδι αὐτ[ο]ῦ, οὐδὲ ἰατρὸς ποιεῖ θεραπείας εἰς τοὺς γινώσκοντας αὐτόν.

7. Λέγει Ἰησοῦς πόλιςοἰ κοδομημένη ἐπ᾽ ἄκρον [ὄ]ρους ὑψηλοῦ καὶ ἐστηριγμένη οὔτε πε[σ]εῖν δύναται οὔτε κρυ[β]ῆναι.

8. Λέγει Ἰησοῦς ἀκούεις [ε]ἰ̣ς τ̣ὸ ἓ̣ν̣ ᾠ̣τ̣ίον σοῦ τ̣ὸ [δὲ ἕτερον συνέκλεισας].

Letters in brackets are missing in the original: letters which are dotted beneath are doubtful.

1. “... and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote that is in thy brother’s eye.”

2. “Jesus saith, Except ye fast to the world, ye shall in no wise find the kingdom of God; and except ye make the sabbath a real sabbath, ye shall not see the Father.”

3. “Jesus saith, I stood in the midst of the world and in the flesh was I seen of them, and I found all men drunken, and none found I athirst among them, and my soul grieveth over the sons of men, because they are blind in their heart, and see not....”

4. “... poverty....”

5. “Jesus saith, Wherever there are two, they are not without God, and wherever there is one alone, I say, I am with him. Raise the stone and there thou shalt find me, cleave the wood and there am I.”

6. “Jesus saith, A prophet is not acceptable in his own country, neither doth a physician work cures upon them that know him.”

7. “Jesus saith, A city built upon the top of a high hill and stablished can neither fall nor be hid.”

8. “Jesus saith, Thou hearest with one ear [but the other ear hast thou closed].”

The “sayings” of 1903 were prefaced by the following introductory statement:—

οἱ τοῖοι οἱ λόγοι οἱ [... οὓς ἐλάλησεν Ἰη(σοῦ)ς ὁ ζῶν κ[ύριος? ... καὶ Θωμᾷ καὶ εἶπεν [αὐτοῖς· πᾶς ὅστις ἂν τῶν λόγων τούτ[ων ἀκούσῃ θανάτου οὐ μὴ γεύσηται.

“These are the (wonderful?) words which Jesus the living (Lord) spake to ... and Thomas and he said unto (them) every one that hearkens to these words shall never taste of death.”

The “sayings” themselves are as follows:—

(1) [λέγει Ἰη(σοῦ)ς· μὴ παυσάσθω ὁ ζη[τῶν ...
ἕως ἄν εὕρῃ καὶ ὅταν εὔρῃ [θαμβηθήσεαι
καὶ θαμβηθεὶς βασιλεύσει κα[ὶ βασιλεύσας

(2) λέγει Ἰ[η(σοῦς ... τίνες ...
οἱ ἕλκοντες ἡμᾶς [εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν εἰ
ἡ βασιλεία ἐν οὐρα[νῷ ἐστιν;
τὰ πετεινὰ τοῦ οὐρ[ανοῦ καὶ τῶν θηρίων ὅ
τι ὑπὸ τὴν γῆν ἐστ[ιν ἤ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς καὶ
οἱ ἰχθύες τῆς θαλά[σσης οὖτοι οἱ ἕλκον-
τες ὑμᾶς καὶ ῇ βασ[ιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν
ἐντὸς ὐμῶν [ἐ]στι [καὶ ὅστις ἃν ἑαυτὸν
γνῷ ταύτην εὑρή[σει ...
ἑαυτοὺς γνώσεσθε [καὶ εἰδήσετε ὅτι υἱοὶ
ἔστε ὑμεῖς τοῦ πατρὸς τοῦ τ[ ...
γνώσ(εσ)θε ἐαυτοὺς ἐν[ ...
καὶ ὑ εῖς ἐστὲ ηπτο̣[

(3)       [   λέγει    Ἰη(σοῦ)ς
οὐκ ἀποκνήσει ἄνθ[ρωπος ...
ρων ἐπερωτῆσαι πα[ ...
ρων περὶ τοῦ τόπου τῆ[ς ...
σετε ὅτι πολλοὶ ἔσονται π[ρῶτοι ἔσχατοι καὶ
οἱ ἕσχατοι πρῶτοι καὶ [ ...

(4) λέγει Ἰη(σοῦ)ς· [πᾶν τὸ μὴ ἔμπροσ-
θεν τῆς ὅψεως σου καὶ[τὸ κεκρυμμένον
ἀπὸ σοῦ ἀποκαλυφ(θ)ήσετ[αί σοι. οὐ γάρ ἐσ-
τιν κρυπτὸν ὃ οὐ φανε[ρὸν γενήσεται
καὶ τεθαμμένον ὃ ο[ὐκ ἐγερθήσεται.

(5) [ἐξ] ετάζουσιν αὐτὸν ο[ἱ μαθηταἱ αὐτοῦ καὶ
[λέ]γουσιν· πῶς νηστεύ[σομεν καὶ πῶς ...
[ ... ] μεθα καὶ πῶς [ ...
[ ... κ]αὶ τί παρατηρήσ[ομεν ...
[ ... ]ν; λέγει Ἰη(σοῦ)ς· [ ...
[ ... ]ειται μὴ ποεῖτ[ε ...
[ ... ]ης ἀληθείας ἀν[ ...
[ ... ]ν ἀ[π]οκεκρ[υ ...
[ ... μα] κάρι[ός] ἐστιν [ ...
[ ... ]ω ἐστ[ι ...
[ ... ]ιν [ ...

1. “Jesus saith, Let not him who seeks ... cease until he finds and when he finds he shall be astonished; astonished he shall reach the kingdom and having reached the kingdom he shall rest.”

2. “Jesus saith (ye ask? who are those) that draw us (to the kingdom if) the kingdom is in Heaven? ... the fowls of the air and all beasts that are under the earth or upon the earth and the fishes of the sea (these are they which draw) you and the kingdom of Heaven is within you and whosoever shall know himself shall find it. (Strive therefore?) to know yourselves and ye shall be aware that ye are the sons of the (Almighty?) Father; (and?) ye shall know that ye are in (the city of God?) and ye are (the city?).”

3. “Jesus saith, A man shall not hesitate ... to ask concerning his place (in the kingdom. Ye shall know) that many that are first shall be last and the last first and (they shall have eternal life?).”

4. “Jesus saith, Everything that is not before thy face and that which is hidden from thee shall be revealed to thee. For there is nothing hidden which shall not be made manifest nor buried which shall not be raised.”

5. “His disciples question him and say, How shall we fast and how shall we (pray?) ... and what (commandment) shall we keep ... Jesus saith ... do not ... of truth ... blessed is he ...”

The fragment of a lost Gospel which was discovered in 1903 contained originally about fifty lines, but many of them have perished and others are undecipherable. The translation, as far as it can be made out, is as follows:—

1-7. “(Take no thought) from morning until even nor from evening until morning either for your food what ye shall eat or for your raiment what ye shall put on. 7-13. Ye are far better than the lilies which grow but spin not. Having one garment what do ye (lack)?... 13–15. Who could add to your stature? 15-16. He himself will give you your garment. 17-23. His disciples say unto him, When wilt thou be manifest unto us and when shall we see thee? He saith, When ye shall be stripped and not be ashamed ... 41-46. He said, The key of knowledge ye hid: ye entered not in yourselves, and to them that were entering in, ye opened not.”

The second Gospel fragment discovered in 1907 “consists of a single vellum leaf, practically complete except at one of the lower corners and here most of the lacunae admit of a satisfactory solution.” The translation is as follows:—

. . . before he does wrong makes all manner of subtle excuse. But give heed lest ye also suffer the same things as they: for the evil doers among men receive their reward not among the living only, but also await punishment and much torment. And he took them and brought them into the very place of purification and was walking in the temple. And a certain Pharisee, a chief priest, whose name was Levi, met them and said to the Saviour, Who gave thee leave to walk in this place of purification, and to see these holy vessels when thou hast not washed nor yet have thy disciples bathed their feet? But defiled thou hast walked in this temple, which is a pure place, wherein no other man walks except he has washed himself and changed his garments neither does he venture to see these holy vessels. And the Saviour straightway stood still with his disciples and answered him, Art thou then, being here in the temple, clean? He saith unto him, I am clean; for I washed in the pool of David and having descended by one staircase, I ascended by another and I put on white and clean garments, and then I came and looked upon these holy vessels. The Saviour answered and said unto him, Woe ye blind, who see not. Thou hast washed in these running waters wherein dogs and swine have been cast night and day and hast cleansed and wiped the outside skin which also the harlots and flute-girls anoint and wash and wipe and beautify for the lust of men; but within they are full of scorpions and all wickedness. But I and my disciples who thou sayest have not bathed have been dipped in the waters of eternal life which come from. . . . But woe unto thee. . . .

These documents have naturally excited considerable interest and raised many questions. The papyri of the “sayings” date from the 3rd century and most scholars agree that the “sayings” themselves go back to the 2nd. The year A.D. 140 is generally assigned as the terminus ad quem. The problem as to their origin has been keenly discussed. There are two main types of theory. (1) Some suppose that they are excerpts from an uncanonical Gospel. (2) Others think that they represent an independent and original collection of sayings. The first theory has assumed three main forms. (a) Harnack maintains that they were taken from the Gospel according to the Egyptians. This theory, however, is based upon a hypothetical reconstruction of the Gospel in question which has found very few supporters. (b) Others have advocated the Gospel of the Hebrews as the source of the “sayings,” on the ground of the resemblance between the first “saying” of the 1903 series and a well-authenticated fragment of that Gospel. The resemblance, however, is not sufficiently clear to support the conclusion. (c) A third view supposes that they are extracts from the Gospel of Thomas—an apocryphal Gospel dealing with the boyhood of Jesus. Beyond the allusion to Thomas in the introductory paragraph to the 1903 series, there seems to be no tangible evidence in support of this view. The second theory, which maintains that the papyri represent an independent collection of “sayings,” seems to be the opinion which has found greatest favour. It has won the support of W. Sanday, H. B. Swete, Rendel Harris, W. Lock, Heinrici, &c. There is a considerable diversity of judgment, however, with regard to the value of the collection. (a) Some scholars maintain that the collection goes back to the 1st century and represents one of the earliest attempts to construct an account of the teaching of Jesus. They are therefore disposed to admit to a greater or less extent and with widely varying degrees of confidence the presence of genuine elements in the new matter. (b) Sanday and many others regard the sayings as originating early in the 2nd century and think that, though not “directly dependent on the Canonical Gospels,” they have “their origin under conditions of thought which these Gospels had created.” The “sayings” must be regarded as expansions of the true tradition, and little value is therefore to be attached to the new material.

With the knowledge at our disposal, it is impossible to reach an assured conclusion between these two views. The real problem, to which at present no solution has been found, is to account for the new material in the “sayings.” There seems to be no motive sufficient to explain the additions that have been made to the text of the Gospels. It cannot be proved that the expansions have been made in the interests of any sect or heresy. Unless new discoveries provide the clue, or some reasonable explanation can otherwise be found, there seems to be no reason why we should not regard the “sayings” as containing material which ought to be taken into account in the critical study of the teaching of Jesus.

The 1903 Gospel fragment is so mutilated in many of its parts that it is difficult to decide upon its character and value. It appears to be earlier than 150, and to be taken from a Gospel which followed more or less closely the version of the teaching of Jesus given by Matthew and Luke. The phrase “when ye shall be stripped and not be ashamed” contains an idea which has some affinity with two passages found respectively in the Gospel according to the Egyptians and the so-called Second Epistle of Clement. The resemblance, however, is not sufficiently close to warrant the deduction that either the Gospel of the Egyptians or the Gospel from which the citation in 2 Clement is taken (if these two are distinct) is the source from which our fragment is derived.

The second Gospel fragment (1907) seems to be of later origin than the documents already mentioned. Grenfell and Hunt date the Gospel, from which it is an excerpt, about 200. There is considerable difficulty with regard to some of the details. The statement that an ordinary Jew was required to wash and change his clothes before visiting the inner court of the temple is quite unsupported by any other evidence. Nothing is known about “the place of purification” (ἁγνευτήριον) nor “the pool of David” (λίμνη τοῦ Δαυείδ). Nor does the statement that “the sacred vessels” were visible from the place where Jesus was standing seem at all probable. Grenfell and Hunt conclude therefore—“So great indeed are the divergences between this account and the extant and no doubt well-informed authorities with regard to the topography and ritual of the Temple that it is hardly possible to avoid the conclusion that much of the local colour is due to the imagination of the author who was aiming chiefly at dramatic effect and was not really well acquainted with the Temple. But if the inaccuracy of the fragment in this important respect is admitted the historical character of the whole episode breaks down and it is probably to be regarded as an apocryphal elaboration of Matt. xv. 1-20 and Mark vii. 1-23.”

See the Oxyrhynchus Papyri, part i. (1897), part iv. (1904), part v. (1908).  (H. T. A.)