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In New Testament scholarship, the term logia (Greek: "sayings, utterances, oracles", singular: logion) is primarily applied to a supposed collection of sayings of Jesus believed to be referred to by Papias. Many scholars identify this collection with the hypothetical Q document, which has been postulated to explain the many similarities between the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke that are not accounted for in the presumably earlier Gospel of Mark. More generally, logia refers to small portions of text that are not evidenced elsewhere and are generally unique.

The term is also used of the texts on two Oxyrhynchusmarker papyri discovered in 1897 and 1904, which are now considered to be either part of the Greek original of the noncanonical Gospel of Thomas or to be very close to it. Scholars divide the Gospel of Thomas itself into 114 logia rather than using the chapters and verses traditionally applied to the canonical gospels.

Papias and Q

Papias (c 60 - 130) was an Early Christian Bishop of Hierapolis in Anatolia, whose book, "Expositions of the Oracles of the Lord", in which he stated that "Matthew compiled the logia (τὰ λόγια) in the Hebrew language, and each person interpreted them as he was able", survives only in quotations made by Irenaeus and Eusebius.

As stated above, some scholars identify the work that Papias attributed to Matthew with the hypothetic Q document that would explain the many similarities between the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke that are not accounted for in the presumedly earlier Gospel of Mark.


The Apostle Paul ("Apostle to the Gentiles") may have been citing "isolated sayings and stories of Jesus" when he spoke of "remembering the words of the Lord Jesus" ( ), recording a famous saying of Jesus not found in any of the four gospels or elsewhere: "It is more blessed to give than to receive."

Saying of Jesus

The name "Sayings of Jesus" (logia of Jesus) was given by Grenfell and Hunt to a leaf of a papyrus codex that was among their first season's finds at Oxyrhynchusmarker in 1897. Written in the first half of the third century, Oxyrhynchus Papyrus 1 contains a collection of sayings of Jesus, each headed "Jesus says" ( ). In 1903 a fragment of a third-century papyrus scroll that had been used for an official register was discovered (Oxyrhynchus Papyrus 654, now British Museum Papyrus 1531 verso) with further sayings. Controversy centered on whether the two fragments formed part of the same work, what authority could be attached to them, and the correct restoration of lacunae in the texts (Bell and Skeat 1935). Oxyrhynchus 654 had a heading which seems to describe the work as a collection of "sayings" addressed to Thomas and some other disciple, and when the Nag Hammadimarker Gospel of Thomas was discovered in 1945, it was identified as a Coptic version of the Greek work of which these two were fragments. The Gospel of Thomas contains sayings attributed to Jesus, some of which are included in the canonical gospels, but many are not found elsewhere. The individual sayings are generally cited by logion number, which in most division schemes range from 1 to 114.

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