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*Papi/as), an early Christian writer. He is described by Irenaeus (ad v. Haeres. 5.33), whom Jerome calls a disciple of Papias, in a passage of which Eusebius (Euseb. Hist. Eccl. 3.39) has preserved the original Greek, as "a hearer of John and a companion of Polycarp" [Pολψξαρπυς]. Irenaeus also speaks of him as "an ancient man" (ἀρχαῖος ἀνήρ, an expression which, though ambiguous, may be understood as implying that he was still living when Irenaeus wrote. It has been disputed whether the John referred to in the statement of Irenaeus was the Apostle John, or John the Elder, an eminent Christian of the Church at Ephesus, to whom some have ascribed the book of Revelation (Euseb. l.c.). Jerome repeatedly describes Papias as a hearer of the Evangelist John; probably following Irenaeus, whom he apparently understood as speaking of the Apostle. Eusebius also appears to have understood Irenaeus to speak of the Apostle John, but he proceeds immediately to cite a passage from Papias himself, which indicates that he was never personally acquainted with John or with any of the Apostles. But it may be observed that the words of Papias equally exclude the supposition of his having been personally acquainted with John the Elder; though Eusebius, either not properly considering then, or referring to some other passage of his works now lost, says that he called himself a hearer of the elder John, as well as of Aristion, whom Papias mentions in conjunction with him. Eusebius states also that Papias embodied in his writings many particulars related by Aristion and John the Elder (αὐτῶν παραδόσεις), but it does not follow that he received them directly from their lips. (Euseb. l.c.) That Papias was a companion of Polycarp, his contemporary and the bishop of a church in the same province, Proconsular Asia, is likely enough; and we think it probable that the statement of Irenaeus (which with Eusebius and Jerome we understand of John the Apostle) was only a hasty and (as Papias' own words show) an erroneous inference that, as Polycarp had been a hearer of the Apostle, therefore his companion Papias must have been one too. Papias was bishop of Hierapolis, on the border of Phrygia (Euseb. Hist. Eccl. 3.36, 39), where he was acquainted with the daughters of the Apostle Philip, who had fixed his residence there, but must have died, as the passage referred to above as cited by Eusebius shows, before Papias' time. Papias speaks of himself as devoted more to inquiries about the traditions respecting the Apostles and their teachings, than to books; but his declaration must be understood as referring to other books than the Scriptures, and even then, must not be too strictly interpreted, for, according to Eusebius, he was not only well versed in the Scriptures, but was a man of great general information (τὰ πάντα ὅτι μάλιστα λογιώτατος). Eusebius, indeed, has elsewhere spoken slightingly of his intellects, saying (100.39) that he appears to have been "of small understanding," σμικρὸς ὢν τὸν νοῦν. We have observed that Papias may have been still living when Irenaeus wrote his book Adveersus Haereses; but the Paschal or Alexandrian Chronicle states that Papias suffered martyrdom at Pergamus, with several other persons, in the same year (A. D. 163) in which Polycarp suffered at Smyrna (Chron. Paschale, vol. i. p. 258, ed. Paris, p. 206, ed. Venice, p. 481, ed. Bonn). He is called Martyr by Stephanus Gobarus the Tritheist (Phot. Bibl. Cod. 232). That he was bishop of the Church at Pergamus, and that he is rebuked in the epistle to that Church in the Apocalypse (c. ii.), is a mere conjecture, founded apparently on Papias' belief in the Millennium, and on the place of his martyrdom. Halloix (Illustrium Oriental. Eccles. Scriptor. Vitae, S. Papias, 100.3) has cited, as referring to Papias of Hierapolis, a passage in certain Acla B. Onesimni, which states that he was taken to Rome, imprisoned and tortured for some time, and then released. But there is reason to believe that the Acta, if indeed they have any foundation in truth (comp. Tillemont, Mém. vol. ii. p. 298), refer to another Papias of much later date (Henschenius, in Acta Sanctorum, Februarii, vol. iii. p. 287). He is called Saint by Jerome, and is commemorated by the Romish Church on the twenty-second of February. The ancient Martyrologies, however, in many cases, assign him to other days.

Papias was a millenarian. "He says (we quote the words of Eusebius, Euseb. Hist. Eccl. 3.39) that there will be for a thousand years after the resurrection of the dead, a bodily reign of Christ on this earth." According to Stephanus Gobarus (apud Phot. l.c.) he held that there would be the enjoyment of sensible food in the Kingdom of Heaven, i. e. apparently during Christ's millennial reign. The millenarians were sometimes called, from Papias, Papianists, Παπιανισταί.


Λογίων γίων κυριακῶν ἐξηγήσεως βιβλία ε᾽,

Papias wrote a work in five books, entitled Λογίων γίων κυριακῶν ἐξηγήσεως βιβλία ε᾽, Explanationum Srmoonume Domini Libri V. The work is lost, except a few fragments which have been preserved by Irenaeus, Eusebius, Maximus Confessor, and other writers, down to Theophylact and Oecumenius. The fragments are valuable for the early traditions which they contain respecting the writings of the New Testament, and which, in great degree, were derived from John the Elder. According to these traditions the Gospel of Matthew was written in Hebrew, and each one interpreted ἡρμήνευσε) it as he was able; an obscure declaration which has caused much perplexity. The evangelist Mark is described as the interpreter (ἑρμηνευτὴς) of Peter, and as writing from his dictation. Papias also cited or mentioned the first Epistle of Peter and the first of John; and refers to the history of the woman taken in adultery contained in the Gospel of John, ch. viii. vs. 2, &c.


Several fragments of Papias were published by Halloix (Illustr. Orient. Eccles. Scriptor. Vitae) Grabe (Spicilegyium SS. PP. vol. i.), and Münter (Fragmenta Patrum Graecor. fascic. i. p. 13, &c.), and in the first volume of the Bibliotheca Patrum of Galland (fol. Venice, 1765), and of the Reliquiae Sacrae of Routh (8vo. Oxon. 1814). The last-named collection is the most complete.

Further Information

Hieron. De Viris Illustr. c. 18; Fabric. Biblioth. Graec. vol. vii. p. 151; Cave, Hist. Litt. ad ann. 108, vol. i. p. 47, ed. Oxford, 1740-1743; Tillemont, Méimoires, vol. ii. p. 296, &c.


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