Papias of Hierapolis.

Counted among the apostolic fathers.

Attributed text(s).
Exegesis of the Oracles of the Lord.

Available text(s).
On site: Fragments (present page).
Synoptic Problem Home Page: Gospel evidence (Greek and English).
Synoptic Problem Website: Gospel evidence (Greek and English).
Early Christian Writings: Fragments (English only).

Related text(s).
Apostolic fathers.
Traditions of the elders.

Useful links.
Papias at EarlyChurch.
Papias in the Catholic Encyclopedia.
Papias at Early Christian Writings.
Stephen Carlson, Hypotyposeis:

One of our many sources for primitive Christianity.

Papias lived either in the early going or toward the middle of the second century. I have seen dates ranging from circa 110 to 150. He is one of our most important witnesses for the origins of the canonical gospels, and is reckoned among the apostolic fathers. He is only known to have written five books, called the Exegesis of the Oracles of the Lord, which have unfortunately been lost except for patristic quotations. Papias was a contemporary of Ignatius and Polycarp.

I have included for each passage the numbers that J. B. Lightfoot and Michael Holmes in The Apostolic Fathers, on the one hand, and Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, on the other, assign to each text. At the bottom of this page is a table designed to coordinate their separate numbering systems.

My transliteration of some of the fragments themselves derives from Lightfoot and Holmes. Any translations are my own; I have not yet finished translating all the passages.

The Anti-Marcionite prologues.

Century II.

These prologues, also called the Old Latin prologues, precede each of the gospels in some copies of the Bible. Scholars disagree as to their exact date, but many place them in the late second century. A Matthean prologue is not extant.

I make no attempt here to present a true critical text of the Johannine prologue. The variants noted are only those that are in my judgment the most significant for the overall meaning of the texts; I have not listed those variants that are of an incidental or accidental nature. Nor have I listed which or how many Old Latin manuscripts witness to each variant. My only purpose is to preserve all significant readings. Suffice it to say that each variant is represented by two or more manuscripts. There are no stand-alones. For a critical text, refer to Jürgen Regul, Die antimarcionitischen Evangelienprologe, pages 16, 29-35.

A forward slash / separates different variants. A dash — indicates that some manuscripts lack the words of the variant altogether.

From the Anti-Marcionite (or Old Latin) prologue of John (Lightfoot-Holmes 19):

1aHoc igitur evangelium post apocalypsin scriptum manifestum et datum1b est ecclesiis in Asia2 a Iohanne adhuc in corpore constituto, sicut Papias nomine Heirapolitanus episcopus, discipulus Iohannis et carus, in exotericis suis, id est, in extremis quinque libris retulit; 3aqui hoc evangelium Iohanne sibi dictante conscripsit.3b verum Marcion hereticus, cum ab eo fuisset inprobatus eo quod contraria sentiebat, abiectus4 est a Iohanne. hic vero scripta vel epistulas ad eum pertulerat a fratribus missas qui in Ponto erant, 5afideles in Christo Iesu domino nostro.5b

1 hoc igitur... et datum / evangelium Iohannis manifestatum.
2 in Asia / .
3 qui hoc... conscripsit / descripsit vero evangelium dictante Iohanne recte.
4 abiectus / proiectus.
5 fideles... domino nostro / .

This gospel, then, after the apocalypse was written was made manifest and given to the churches in Asia by John, as yet still in the body, as the Heiropolitan, Papias by name, dear disciple of John, transmitted in his Exoteric, that is, the outside five books. He wrote down this gospel while John dictated. Truly Marcion the heretic, when he had been disapproved by him because he supposed contrary things, was thrown out by John. He in truth carried writings or epistles sent to him from the brothers who were in Pontus, faithful in Christ Jesus our Lord.


Late century II.

Irenaeus wrote in Greek from Lyon, France, but most of his work is extant only in Latin translation, including this excerpt from Against Heresies 5.33.3-4 (Lightfoot-Holmes 14; Roberts-Donaldson 4):

Praedicta itaque benedictio ad tempora regni sine contradictione pertinet, quando regnabunt iusti surgentes a mortuis, quando et creatura renovata et liberata multitudinem fructificabit universae escae, ex rore caeli et ex fertilitate terrae, quemadmodum presbyteri meminerunt, qui Iohannem discipulum domini viderunt, audisse se ab eo, quemadmodum de temporibus illis docebat dominus et dicebat:

The blessing thus predicted pertains, without [fear of] contradiction, to the times of the kingdom, when the just, rising from the dead, will reign, when even the creation, renewed and liberated, will produce a multitude of foods of all kinds from the dew of heaven and the fertility of the earth, just as the elders who saw John the disciple of the Lord remembered that they had heard from him how the Lord would teach about those times and would say:

Venient dies in quibus vineae nascentur, singulae decem millia palmitum habentes, et in unoquoque palmite dena millia brachiorum, et in unoquoque brachio dena millia flagellorum, et in unoquoque flagello dena millia botruorum, et in unoquoque botro dena millia acinorum, et unumquodque acinum expressum dabit vigintiquinque metretas vini. et cum eorum apprehenderit aliquis sanctorum botrum, alius clamabit botrus: Ego melior sum, me sume, per me dominum benedic. similiter et granum tritici decem millia spicarum generaturum, et unamquamque spicam habituram decem millia granorum, et unumquodque granum quinque bilibres similae clarae mundae; et reliqua autem poma et semina et herbam secundum congruentiam his consequentem, et omnia animalia his cibis utentia, quae a terra accipiuntur, pacifica et consentanea invicem fieri, subiecta hominibus cum omni subiectione.

The days will come in which vines will grow, each having ten thousand shoots, and on each shoot ten thousand branches, and on each branch ten thousand twigs, and on each twig ten thousand clusters, and in each cluster ten thousand grapes, and each grape, when pressed, will give twenty-five measures of wine. And, when one of those saints takes hold of a cluster, another cluster will clamor: I am better, take me, bless the Lord through me! Similarly a grain of wheat also will generate ten thousand heads, and each head will have ten thousand grains, and each grain five double pounds of clear and clean flour. And the remaining fruits and seeds and herbiage will follow through in congruence with these, and all the animals using these foods which are taken from the earth will in turn become peaceful and consenting, subject to men with every subjection.

Haec autem et Papias Iohannis auditor, Polycarpi autem contubernalis, vetus homo, per scripturam testimonium perhibit in quarto librorum suorum; sunt enim illi quinque libri conscripti. et adiecit dicens: Haec autem credibilia sunt credentibus. et Iuda, inquit, proditore non credente et interrogante: Quomodo ergo tales geniturae a domino perficientur? dixesse dominum: Videbunt qui venient in illa.

These things Papias too, who was a earwitness of John and companion of Polycarp, and an ancient man, wrote and testified in the fourth of his books. For there are five books written by him. And he adds, saying: But these things are believable by the believers. And, he says, Judas the traitor did not believe and asked: How therefore will such generations be brought to completion by the Lord? The Lord said: Those who come into those [times] will see.

This bit about Judas questioning the Lord may be echoed in Hippolytus, Commentary on Daniel 4.60:

Του ουν κυριου διηγουμενου τοις μαθηταις περι της μελλουσης των αγιων βασιλειας ως ειη ενδοξος και θαυμαστη, καταπλαγεις ο Ιουδας επι τοις λεγομενοις εφη· Και τις αρα οψεται ταυτα; ο δε κυριος εφη· Ταυτα οψονται οι αξιοι γενομενοι.

When therefore the Lord narrated to the disciples that the imminent kingdom of the saints would be glorious and wondrous, Judas, bewildered by these words, said: And who will see these things? But the Lord said: Those who have become worthy will see these things.

Source: A weblog entry by Stephen C. Carlson.

Papias was a chiliast, a believer in the millennial reign of Christ after the resurrection of the just but before the final resurrection and judgment. Confer the following:


Early century IV.

From the Chronicle (Greek text from Syncellus, Latin from Jerome; Lightfoot-Holmes 1):

Ιωαννην τον θεολογαν και αποστολον Ειρηναιος και αλλοι ιστορουσι παραμειναι τω βιω εως χρονων Τραιανου, μεθ ον Παπιας Ιεραπολιτης και Πολυκαρπος Σμυρνης επισκοπος ακουσται αυτου εγνωριζοντο.

Irenaeus and others report that John the theologian and apostle remained in life until the times of Trajan, after which his earwitnesses Papias the Heirapolitan and Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna, became known.

Iohannem apostolum usque ad Traiani tempora Irenaeus episcopus permanisse scribit, post quem auditores eius insignes fuerunt Papias Hierapolitanus episcopus et Polycarpus Zmyrnaeus et Ignatius Antiochenus.

Irenaeus the bishop writes that John the apostle remained up until the times of Trajan, after which his earwitnesses Papias the Heirapolitan bishop and Polycarp the Smyrnaean and Ignatius the Antiochene became famous.

From Eusebius, History of the Church 2.15 (Holmes 21):

Τοσουτον δ επελαμψεν ταις των ακροατων του Πετρου διανοιαις ευσεβειας φεγγος, ως μη τη εις απαξ ικανως εχειν αρκεισθαι ακοη μηδε τη αγραφω του θειου κηρυγματος διδασκαλια, παρακλησεσιν δε παντοιαις Μαρκον, ου το ευαγγελιον φερεται, ακολουθον οντα Πετρου, λιπαρησαι ως αν και δια γραφης υπομνημα της δια λογου παραδοθεισης αυτοις καταλειψοι διδασκαλιας, μη προτερον τε ανειναι η κατεργασαθαι τον ανδρα, και ταυτη αιτιους γενεσθαι της του λεγομενου κατα Μαρκον ευαγγελιου γραφης. γνοντα δε το πραχθεν φασι τον αποστολον αποκαλυψαντος αυτω του πνευματος, ησθηναι τη των ανδρων προθυμια κυρωσαι τε την γραφην εις εντευξιν ταις εκκλησιας.

And the light of religion lit up the minds of those who heard Peter, so much so that they were not sufficiently satisfied with one single hearing, nor with the unwritten teaching of the divine preaching, and with all kinds of encouragements they besought Mark, whose gospel is extant, a follower of Peter, that he might leave for them also a note, in writing, of the teaching that had been delivered to them through the word, and they did not cease before prevailing with the man, and becoming the causes of this writing of the gospel called according to Mark. And they say that the apostle, when he came to know what had been done, it having been revealed to him by the spirit, was pleased with the desire of men, and the writing was authorized for the petition of the churches.

Κλημης εν εκτω των υποτυπωσεων παρατεθειται την ιστοριαν, συνεπιμαρτυρει δε αυτω και ο Ιεραπολιτης επισκοπος ονοματι Παπιας, του δε Μαρκου μνημονευειν τον Πετρον εν τη προτερα επιστολη, ην και συνταξαι φασιν επ αυτης Ρωμης, σημαινειν τε τουτ αυτον, την πολιν τροπικωτερον Βαβυλωνα προσειποντα δια τουτων· Ασπαζεται υμας η εν Βαβυλωνι συνεκλεκτη και Μαρκος ο υιος μου.

Clement in the eighth of the Outlines sets forth the record, and the Heirapolitan bishop, Papias by name, also testifies with him, and they say that Peter remembers Mark in in the first epistle, which he also ordered together in Rome itself, signaling this very thing, calling the city Babylon most figuratively through these words: She who is in Babylon, elect with you, greets you, as well as Mark my son.*

* Confer the Latin of Rufinus in his translation of Eusebius: Sermo autem veritatis et lucis, qui per Petrum praedicabatur, universorum mentes placido inlustravit auditu, ita ut cottidie audientibus eum nulla umquam satietas fieret, unde neque auditio eis sola sufficit, sed Marcum discipulum eius omnibus precibus exorant uti ea quae ille verbo praedicabat ad perpetuara eorum commomtionem habendam scripturae traderet, quo domi forisque in huiuscemodi verbi meditationibus permanerent. nec prius ab obsecrando desistunt, quam quae oraverant inpetrarent. et haec fuit causa scribendi quod secundum Marcum dicitur evangelium. Petrus vero, ut per spiritum sanctum religioso se spoliatum conperit furto, delectatus est fidem eorum per haec devotionemque considerans factumque confirmavit, et in perpetuum legendam scripturam ecclesiis tradidit. Clemens in sexto dispositionum libro haec ita gesta esse describit, cuiciue simile dat testimonium etiam Hierapolites episcopus nomine Papias, qui et hoc dicit, quod Petrus in prima epistula sua, quam de urbe Roma scribit, meminerit Marci. in qua tropice Romam Babylonam nominarit cum dicit: Salutat vos ea quae in Babylone electa est, et Marcus filius meus. Confer also the Latin of Bede, Exposition on Mark, epistle to Acca: Cum Romanae urbi clarum veri dei lumen praedicante beato Petro apostolo fuisset exortum, adeo sermo veritatis universorum mentes placito illustrabat auditu, ut quotidie audientibus eum nulla unquam satietas fieret, unde neque auditio sola eis suffecit, sed Marcum discipulum eius omnibus precibus obsecrantes orant ut ea quae ille verbo praedicabat ad perpetuam eorum commonitionem habendam scripturae traderet, quo domi forisque in huiuscemodi verbi meditationibus permanerent. nec prius ab obsecrando desistunt quam quae oraverant impetrarent. Petrus vero, ut per spiritum sanctum religioso se spoliatum comperit furto, delectatus est, et fidem eorum devotionemque per haec considerans, factum confirmavit, et in perpetuum legendam scripturam ecclesiis tradidit. Clemens in sexto dispositionum libro haec ita gesta esse describit, cui simile dat testimonium etiam Hierapolites episcopus, nomine Papias, qui et hoc dicit, quod Petrus in prima epistola sua, quam de urbe Roma scripsit, meminerit Marci, in qua tropice Romam Babyloniam nominarit cum dicit: Salutat vos ea ecclesia quae in Babylone electa est, et Marcus filius meus.

From Eusebius, History of the Church 3.36.1-2 (Lightfoot-Holmes 2):

Διεπρεπε γε μην κατα τουτους επι της Ασιας των αποστολων ομιλητης Πολυκαρπος, της κατα Σμυρναν εκκλησιας προς των αυτοπτων και υπηρετων του κυριου την επισκοπην εγκεχειρισμενος, καθ ον εγνωριζετο Παπιας της εν Ιεραπολει παροικιας και αυτος επισκοπος.

In these [times] flourished Polycarp the follower of the apostles, in Asia, handpicked for the bishopric of the church in Smyrna by the eyewitnesses and ministers of the Lord, at which [time] Papias, who himself was bishop of the diocese in Heirapolis, became known.

From Eusebius, History of the Church 3.39.1-17 (Lightfoot-Holmes 3; Roberts-Donaldson 1, 6):

Του δε Παπια συγγραμματα πεντε τον αριθμον φερεται, α και επιγεγραπται λογιων κυριακων εξηγησεως. τουτων και Ειρηναιος ως μονων αυτω γραφεντων μνημονευει, ωδε πως λεγων· Ταυτα δε και Παπιας ο Ιωαννου μεν ακουστης Πολυκαρπου δε εταιρος γεγονως, αρχαιος ανηρ, εγγραφως επιμαρτυρει εν τη τεταρτη των εαυτου βιβλιων. εστιν γαρ αυτω πεντε βιβλια συντεταγμενα.

And there are extant five writings of Papias which are given the title of Exegesis of the Oracles of the Lord. Of these Irenaeus too makes mention as his only writings, thus saying as follows: These things Papias too, who was a earwitness of John and companion of Polycarp, and an ancient man, wrote and testified in the fourth of his books. For there are five books arranged by him.

Και ο μεν Ειρηναιος ταυτα· αυτος γε μην ο Παπιας κατα το προοιμιον των αυτου λογων ακροατην μεν και αυτοπτην ουδαμως εαυτον γενεσθαι των ιερων αποστολων εμφαινει, παρειληφεναι δε τα της πιστεως παρα των εκεινοις γνωριμων διδασκει δι ων φησιν λεξεων.

It was Irenaeus who wrote these things. But Papias himself rather, according to the preface of his volumes, by no means reveals himself to have been either an earwitness or an eyewitness of the holy apostles, but teaches by the words that he says that he received the things of the faith from those who knew them.

Ουκ οκνησω δε σοι και οσα ποτε παρα των πρεσβυτερων καλως εμαθον και καλως εμνημονευσα συγκαταταξαι ταις ερμηνειας, διαβεβαιουμενος υπερ αυτων αληθειαν. ου γαρ τοις τα πολλα λεγουσιν εχαιρον ωσπερ οι πολλοι, αλλα τοις ταληθη διδασκουσιν, ουδε τοις τας αλλοτριας εντολας μνηνευουσιν, αλλα τοις τας παρα του κυριου τη πιστει δεδομενας και απ αυτης παραγιγνομενας της αληθειας.

[Papias himself writes:] But I shall not hesitate to arrange alongside my interpretations as many things as I ever learned well and remembered well from the elders, confirming the truth on their behalf. For I did not rejoice, like many, over those who spoke many things, but [rather] over those who taught the truth, nor over those who related strange commands, but over those who related those given by the Lord by faith and coming from the truth itself.

Ει δε που και παρηκολουθηκως τις τοις πρεσβυτεροις ελθοι, τους των πρεσβυτερων ανεκρινον λογους, τι Ανδρεας η τι Πετρος ειπεν η τι Φιλιππος η τι Θωμας η Ιακωβος η τι Ιωαννης η Ματθαιος η τις ετερος των του κυριου μαθητων α τε Αριστιων και ο πρεσβυτερος Ιωαννης, του κυριου μαθηται, λεγουσιν. ου γαρ τα εκ των βιβλιων τοσουτον με ωφελειν υπελαμβανον οσον τα παρα ζωσης φωνης και μενουσης.

[Papias continues:] And if anyone chanced to come along who had followed the elders, I inquired as to the words of the elders, what Andrew or what Peter had said, or what Philip or what Thomas or James or what John or Matthew or any other of the disciples of the Lord [had said], the things which both Aristion and the elder John, disciples of the Lord, were saying. For I did not suppose that things from books would profit me as much as things from a living and remaining voice.

Ενθα και επιστησαι αξιον δις καταριθμιουντι αυτω το Ιωαννου ονομα, ων τον μεν προτερον Πετρω και Ιακωβω και Ματθαιω και τοις λοιποις αποστολοις συγκαταλεγει, σαφως δηλων τον ευαγγελιστην, τον δ ετερον Ιωαννην, διαστειλας τον λογον, ετεροις παρα τον των αποστολων αριθμον κατατασσει, προταξας αυτου τον Αριστιωνα, σαφως τε αυτον πρεσβυτερον ονομαζει.

It is worthwhile also to pay attention here to his twice counting the name of John, the first of which he groups with Peter and James and Matthew and the rest of the apostles, clearly indicating the evangelist, but the other John, with a change of wording, he arranges with others away from the number of the apostles, and clearly names him an elder.

Ως και δια τουτων αποδεικνυσθαι την ιστοριαν αληθη των δυο κατα την Ασιαν ομωνυμια κεχρησθαι ειρηκοτων δυο τε εν Εφεσω γενεσθαι μνηματα και εκατερον ετι νυν λεγεσθαι· οις και αναγκαιον προσεχειν τον νουν, εικος γαρ τον δευτερον, ει μη τις εθελοι τον πρωτον, την επ ονοματος φερομενην Ιωαννου αποκαλυψιν εορακεναι.

As also through these words he shows the story to be true of the two men in Asia called by the same name and that there are two tombs in Ephesus, and both are still now said [to be his], to which it is necessary to direct the mind, for it is likely the second, unless someone should be willing [to say] the first, that saw the apocalypse which bears the name of John.

Και ο νυν δε δηλουμενος Παπιας τους μεν των αποστολων λογους παρα των αυτοις παρηκολουθηκοτων ομολογει παρειληφεναι, Αριστιωνος δε και του πρεσβυτερου Ιωαννου αυτηκοον εαυτον φησι γενεσθαι· ονομαστι γουν πολλακις αυτων μνημονευσας εν τοις αυτου συγγραμμασιν τιθησιν αυτων παραδοσεις. και ταυτα δ ημιν ουκ εις το αχρηστον ειρησθω.

And the Papias now being explained confesses that he received the words of the apostles from those who followed them, and says that he was an earwitness of Aristion and of the elder John. At least he mentions them by their name often and gives their traditions in his writings. Let not these things have been said uselessly by us.

Αξιον δε ταις αποδοθεισαις του Παπια φωναις προσαψαι λεξεις ετερας αυτου, δι ων παραδοξα τινα ιστορει και αλλα ως αν εκ παραδοσεως εις αυτον ελθοντα.

But it is fitting to the words of Papias already given to add other passages of his through which he recounts certain paradoxes and other things as having come to him from tradition.

Το μεν ουν κατα την Ιεραπολιν Φιλιππον τον αποστολον αμα ταις θυγατρασι διατριψαι, δια των προσθεν δεδηλωται, ως δε κατα τους αυτους ο Παπιας γενομενος διηγησιν παρειληφεναι θαυμασιαν υπο των του Φιλιππου θυγατερων μνημονευει, τα νυν σημειωτεον. νεκρου γαρ αναστασιν κατ αυτον γεγονυιαν ιστορει, και αυ παλιν ετερον παραδοξον περι Ιουστον τον επικληθεντα Βαρσαββαν γεγονος, ως δηλητηριον φαρμακον εμπιοντος και μηδεν αηδες δια την του κυριου χαριν υπομειναντος.

That Philip the apostle lived in Heirapolis together with his daughters has been made clear before. But as regards them let it be noted that Papias, their contemporary, mentions a wondrous account that he received from the daughters of Philip. For he recounts a resurrection from the dead in his time, and yet another paradox about Justus who was surnamed Barsabbas, as having drunk a deadly poison and yet, through the grace of the Lord, suffered no harm.

Τουτον δε τον Ιουστον μετα την του σωτερος αναληψιν τους ιερους αποστολους μετα Ματθια στησαι τε και επευξασθαι αντι του προδοτου Ιουδα επι τον κληρον της αναπληρωσεως του αυτων αριθμου, η των πραξεων ωδε θως ιστορει γραφη· Και εστησαν δυο, Ιωσηφ τον καλουμενον Βαρσαββαν, ος επεκληθη Ιουστος, και Ματθιαν· και προσευξαμενοι ειπαν....

And that this Justus, after the taking up of the savior, the holy apostles stood up with Matthias and prayed for the filling up of their number instead of the traitor Judas, in his slot, the writing of the Acts records thus: And they stood up two, Joseph who is called Barsabbas, surnamed Justus, and Matthias. And they prayed and said....

Και αλλα δε ο αυτος ωσαν εκ παραδοσεως αγραφου εις αυτον ηκοντα παρατεθειται, ξενας τε τινας παραβολας του σωτηρος και διδασκαλιας αυτου, και τινα αλλα μυθικωτερα.

And the same man sets out other things also as having come to him from unwritten tradition, certain strange parables of the savior and teachings of his, and certain other more mythical things.

Εν οις και χιλιαδα τινα φησιν ετων εσεσθαι μετα την εκ νεκρων αναστασιν, σωματικως της Χριστου βασιλειας επι ταυτησι της γης υποστησομενης. α και ηγουμαι τας αποστολικας παρεκδεξαμενον δηγησεις υπολαβειν, τα εν υποδειγμασι προς αυτων μυστικως ειρημενα μη συνεωρακοτα.

Among which also he says that there will be a certain millennium* of years after the resurrection of the dead, the kingdom of Christ being established bodily upon this very earth. Which things, I suppose, he got by having welcomed the apostolic accounts, not having seen that the things spoken through them were spoken mystically, in patterns.

* Papias was a chiliast.

Σφοδρα γαρ τοι σμικρος ων τον νουν, ως αν εκ των αυτου λογων τεκμηραμενον ειπειν, φαινεται· πλην και τοις μετ αυτον πλειστοις οσοις των εκκλησιαστικων της ομοιας αυτω δοξης παραιτιος γεγονεν, την αρχαιοτητα τανδρος προβεβλημενοις, ωσπερ ουν Ειρηναιω, και ει τις αλλος τα ομοια φρονων αναπεφηνεν.

For indeed, that his mental capacity was very small, as is proven from his words, is apparent. But he also was responsible for so very many of the churchmen after him being of his same opinion, putting forward the antiquity of the man, like Irenaeus then, and any other if he has proclaimed that he thinks the same things.

Και αλλας δε τη ιδια γραφη παραδιδωσιν Αριστιωνος του προσθεν δεδηλωμενου των του κυριου λογων διηγησεις και του πρεσβυτερου Ιωαννου παραδοσεις, εφ ας τους φιλομαθεις αναπεμψαντες· αναγκαιως νυν προσθησομεν ταις προεκτεθεισαις αυτου φωναις παραδοσιν ην περι Μαρκου του το ευαγγελιον γεγραφοτος εκτεθειται δια τουτων·

And in his own writing he delivers also other accounts of the abovementioned Aristion of the words of the Lord, and the traditions of the elder John, to which we send those who love learning. Necessarily we now add to his reports set forth before a tradition which, about Mark who wrote the gospel, he sets out through these words:

Και τουθ ο πρεσβυτερος ελεγεν· Μαρκος μεν ερμηνευτης Πετρου γενομενος, οσα εμνημονευσεν ακριβως εγραψεν, ου μεντοι ταξει, τα υπο του κυριου η λεχθεντα η πραχθεντα. ουτε γαρ ηκουσεν του κυριου ουτε παρηκολουθησεν αυτω, υστερον δε, ως εφην, Πετρω, ος προς τας χρειας εποιειτο τας διδασκαλιας, αλλ ουχ ωσπερ συνταξιν των κυριακων ποιουμενος λογιων, ωστε ουδεν ημαρτεν Μαρκος ουτως ενια γραψας ως απεμνημοσευσεν. ενος γαρ εποιησατο προνοιαν, του μηδεν ων ηκουσεν παραλιπειν η ψευσασθαι τι εν αυτοις.

And the elder would say this: Mark, who had become* the interpreter of Peter, wrote accurately, yet not in order, as many things as he remembered of the things either said or done by the Lord. For he neither heard the Lord nor followed him, but later, as I said, Peter, who would make the teachings to the needs, but not making them as an ordering together of the lordly oracles, so that Mark did not sin having thus written certain things as he remembered them. For he made one provision, to leave out nothing of the things that he heard or falsify anything in them.

* S. C. Carlson has remarked to me as follows on the term γενομενος at this point of: Papias characterizes Mark's relationship with Peter as men hermeneutes Petrou genomenos (μὲν ἑρμηνευτὴς Πέτρου γενόμενος), which I have translated as "who had indeed been Peter's interpreter." Interestingly, Moulton and Milligan's study of the papyri discovered that genomenos should mean "former" or "ex-" (p. 126), even used in the phrase τῆς... γενομένης γυναικός ("of his former wife" or "of his ex-wife") (P Flor I.99.4 c. AD 100). Thus, according to Papias's informant he calls the presbyter, Mark was Peter's former interpreter.

Ταυτα μεν ουν ιστορηται τω Παπια περι του Μαρκου· περι δε του Ματθαιου ταυτ ειρηται· Ματθαιος μεν ουν Εβραιδι διαλεκτω τα λογια συνεταξατο, ηρμηνευσεν δ αυτα ως ην δυνατος εκαστος.

These things therefore are recorded by Papias about Mark. But about Matthew he says these: Matthew therefore in the Hebrew dialect ordered together the oracles, and each one interpreted them as he was able.

It is based on the very next words from the plume of Eusebius...:

Κεχρηται δ ο αυτος μαρτυριαις απο της Ιωαννου προτερας επιστολης και απο της Πετρου ομοιως, εκτεθειται δε και αλλην ιστοριαν περι γυναικος επι πολλαις αμαρτιαις διαβληθεισης επι του κυριου, ην το καθ Εβραιους ευαγγελιον περιεχει. και ταυτα δ ημιν αναγκαιως προς τοις εκτεθεισιν επιτετηρησθω.

And he himself used testimonies from the first epistle of John and similarly from that of Peter, and set out also another record about a woman who was charged for many sins before the Lord, which the gospel according to the Hebrews has. And let these things also be necessarily observed by us on top of the things that have been set out.

...that we tentatively identify John 7.53-8.11, known as the pericope de adultera, as a version of a story from Papias. (Lightfoot-Holmes 4):

Και επορευθησαν εκαστος εις τον οικον αυτου. Ιησους δε επορευθη εις το Ορος των Ελαιων. Ορθρου δε παλιν παρεγενετο εις το ιερον, και πας ο λαος ηρχετο προς αυτον, και καθισας εδιδασκεν αυτους. αγουσιν δε οι γραμματεις και οι Φαρισαιοι γυναικα επι μοιχεια κατειλημμενην, και στησαντες αυτην εν μεσω λεγουσιν αυτω· Διδασκαλε, αυτη η γυνη κατειληπται επ αυτοφωρω μοιχευομενη, εν δε τω νομω ημιν Μωυσης ενετειλατο τας τοιαυτας λιθαζειν· συ ουν τι λεγεις; τουτο δε ελεγον πειραζοντες αυτον, ινα εχωσιν κατηγορειν αυτου. ο δε Ιησους κατω κυψας τω δακτυλω κατεγραφεν εις την γην. ως δε επεμενον ερωτωντες αυτον, ανεκυψεν και ειπεν αυτοις· Ο αναμαρτητος υμων πρωτος επ αυτην βαλετω λιθον και παλιν κατακυψας εγραφεν εις την γην. οι δε ακουσαντες εξηρχοντο εις καθ εις αρξαμενοι απο των πρεσβυτερων, και κατελειφθη μονος και η γυνη εν μεσω ουσα. ανακυψας δε ο Ιησους ειπεν αυτη· Γυναι, που εισιν; ουδεις σε κατεκρινεν; η δε ειπεν· Ουδεις, κυριε. ειπεν δε ο Ιησους· Ουδε εγω σε κατακρινω πορευου· απο του νυν μηκετι αμαρτανε.

Later authors clearly misunderstood the connection between Papias, the gospel of John, and the pericope de adultera.

Victorinus (late century III), another chiliast, appears to reflect the Papian passage on Mark and Peter (Eusebius, History of the Church 3.39.15 redux)...:

Και τουθ ο πρεσβυτερος ελεγεν· Μαρκος μεν ερμηνευτης Πετρου γενομενος, οσα εμνημονευσεν ακριβως εγραψεν, ου μεντοι ταξει, τα υπο του κυριου η λεχθεντα η πραχθεντα. ουτε γαρ ηκουσεν του κυριου ουτε παρηκολουθησεν αυτω, υστερον δε, ως εφην, Πετρω, ος προς τας χρειας εποιειτο τας διδασκαλιας, αλλ ουχ ωσπερ συνταξιν των κυριακων ποιουμενος λογιων, ωστε ουδεν ημαρτεν Μαρκος ουτως ενια γραψας ως απεμνημοσευσεν. ενος γαρ εποιησατο προνοιαν, του μηδεν ων ηκουσεν παραλιπειν η ψευσασθαι τι εν αυτοις.

And the elder would say this: Mark, who had become the interpreter of Peter, wrote accurately, yet not in order, as many things as he remembered of the things either said or done by the Lord. For he neither heard the Lord nor followed him, but later, as I said, Peter, who would make the teachings to the needs, but not making them as an ordering together of the lordly oracles, so that Mark did not sin having thus written certain things as he remembered them. For he made one provision, to leave out nothing of the things that he heard or falsify anything in them. 4.4 of his commentary on the apocalypse of John:

Marcus, interpres Petri, ea quae in munere docebat commemoratus conscripsit, sed non ordine, et incipit prophetiae verbo per Esaiam praenuntiato.

Mark, the interpreter of Peter, having remembered the things that he taught in his duty wrote it down, but not in order, and began with the word of prophecy announced beforehand through Isaiah.

Source: A post by S. C. Carlson at the Internet Infidels Discussion Board.

And is it possible that Clement of Alexandria preserves a gnostic version of this theme of a traditional agent being the interpreter of Peter? He writes in his Miscellanies 7.106.4 (chapter 17) that the heretics regard a certain Glaucias as both the teacher of Basilides and the interpreter of Peter (τον Πετρου ερμηνεα). The entire passage runs as follows:

Η μεν γαρ του κυριου κατα την παρουσιαν διδασκαλια, απο Αυγουστου και Τιβεριου Καισαρος αρξαμενη, μεσουντων των Τιβεριου χρονων τελειουται, η δε των αποστολων αυτου μεχρι γε της Παυλου λειτουργιας επι Νερωνος τελειουται, κατω δε περι τους Αδριανου του βασιλεως χρονους οι τας αιρεσεις επινοησαντες γεγονασι, και μεχρι γε της Αντωνινου του πρεσβυτερου διετειναν ηλικιας, καθαπερ ο Βασιλειδης, καν Γλαυκιαν επιγραφηται διδασκαλον, ως αυχουσιν αυτοι, τον Πετρου ερμηνεα. ωσαυτως δε και Ουαλεντινον Θεοδα διακηκοεναι φερουσιν· γνωριμος δ ουτος γεγονει Παυλου.

For the teaching of our Lord at his advent, beginning with Augustus and Tiberius Caesar, was finished in the middle of the times of Tiberius. And that of the apostles, embracing the ministry of Paul, ends with Nero. And it was later, in the times of Hadrian the king, that those who invented the heresies arose; and they extended to the age of Antoninus the elder, like, for instance, Basilides, and he claims Glaucias as his teacher, as they themselves boast, the interpreter of Peter. Likewise they also allege that Valentinus was a hearer of Theudas. And he was the pupil of Paul.

This idea derives from Martin Hengel, Studies in the Gospel of Mark, page 153, note 64.

Apollinarius of Laodicea.

Late century IV.

From Apollinarius of Laodicea as reconstructed in Holmes from various compiled fragments (Lightfoot-Holmes 18; Roberts-Donaldson 3):

Ουκ απεθανε τη αγχονη Ιουδας, αλλ επεβιω καθαιρεθεις προ του αποπνιγηναι. και τουτο δηλουσιν αι των αποστολων πραξεις, οτι πρηνης γενομενος ελακησε μεσος, και εξεχυθη τα σπλαγχνα αυτου. τουτο δε σαφεστερον ιστορει Παπιας ο Ιωαννου μαθητης λεγων ουτως εν τω τεταρτω της εξηγησεως των κυριακων λογων·

Judas did not die by hanging, but lived on, having been cut down before choking. And this the Acts of the Apostles makes clear, that falling headlong his middle burst and his bowels poured forth. And Papias the disciple of John records this most clearly, saying thus in the fourth of the Exegeses of the Words of the Lord:

Μεγα δε ασεβειας υποδειγμα εν τουτω τω κοσμω περιεπατησεν ο Ιουδας πρησθεις επι τοσουτον την σαρκα, ωστε μηδε οποθεν αμαξα ραδιως διερχεται εκεινον δυνασθαι διελθειν, αλλα μηδε αυτον μονον τον της κεφαλης ογκον αυτου. τα μεν γαρ βλεφαρα των οφθαλμων αυτου φασι τοσουτον εξοιδησαι, ως αυτον μεν καθολου το φως μη βλεπειν, τους οφθαλμους δε αυτου μηδε υπο ιατρου {δια} διοπτρας οφθηναι δυνασθαι· τοσουτον βαθος ειχον απο της εξωθεν επιφανειας· το δε αιδοιον αυτου πασης μεν ασχημοσυνης αηδεστερον και μειζον φαινεσθαι, φερεσθαι δε δι αυτου εκ παντος του σωματος συρρεοντας ιχωρας τε και σκωληκας εις υβριν δ αυτων μονων των αναγκαιων. μετα πολλας δε βασανους και τιμωριας εν ιδιω, φασι, χωριω τελευτησαντος, απο της οδμης ερημον και αιοκητον το χωριον μεχρι της νυν γενεσθαι, αλλ ουδε μεχρι της σημερον δυνασθαι τινα εκεινον τον τοπον παρελθειν, εαν μη τας ρινας ταις χερσιν επιφραξη. τοσαυτη δια της σαρκος αυτου και επι της γης εκρυσις εχωρησεν.

Judas walked about as an example of godlessness in this world, having been bloated so much in the flesh that he could not go through where a chariot goes easily, indeed not even his swollen head by itself. For the lids of his eyes, they say, were so puffed up that he could not see the light, and his own eyes could not be seen, not even by a physician with optics, such depth had they from the outer apparent surface. And his genitalia appeared more disgusting and greater than all formlessness, and he bore through them from his whole body flowing pus and worms, and to his shame these things alone were forced [out]. And after many tortures and torments, they say, when he had come to his end in his own place, from the place became deserted and uninhabited until now from the stench, but not even to this day can anyone go by that place unless they pinch their nostrils with their hands, so great did the outflow from his body spread out upon the earth.


Early century V.

From Jerome, On Famous Men 18 (Lightfoot-Holmes 7):

Papias, Iohannis auditor, Heirapolitanus in Asia episcopus, quinque tantum scripsit volumina, quae praenotavit explanatio sermonum domini, in quibus, cum se in praefatione adserat non varias opiniones sequi, sed apostolos habere auctores, ait:

Papias, earwitness of John, Heirapolitan bishop in Asia, wrote just five volumes, which he entitled Explanation of the sermons of the Lord, in which, when in the preface he asserts that he does not follow various opinions, but holds the apostles as authorities, he says:

Considerabam quid Andreas, quid Petrus dixissent, quid Philippus, quid Thomas, quid Iacobus, quid Iohannes, quid Matthaeus vel alius quilibet discipulorum domini, quid etiam Artistion et senior Iohannes, discipuli domini, loquebantur. Non enim tantum mihi libri ad legendum prosunt quantum viva vox et usque hodie in suis auctoribus personans.

I would consider what Andrew, what Peter had said, what Philip, what Thomas, what James, what John, what Matthew or any other of the disciples of the Lord, as well as what Aristion and the senior John, disciples of the Lord, were saying. For books are not so useful to me to collect as a voice living and sounding through in its authorities until today.

Ex quo apparet ex ipso catalogo nominum alium esse Iohannem qui inter apostolos ponitur, et alium seniorem Iohannem quem post Aristionem enumerat. hoc autem dicimus propter superiorem opinionem, qua a plerisque retulimus traditam, duas posteriores epistulas Iohannis non apostoli esse sed prebyteri. hic dicitur mille annorum Iudaicam edidisse δευτερωσιν, quem secuti sunt Irenaeus et Apollinarius et caeteri, qui post resurrectionem aiunt in carne cum sanctis domimum regnaturum. Tertullianus quoque in libro de spe fidelium et Victorinus Petabionenses et Lactantius hac opinione ducuntur.

From which it appears from his own catalog of names that there is one John who is placed among the apostles and another senior John whom he numbered after Aristion. This we say, however, on account of the opinion above, that, inasmuch as we transmit a tradition from very many, the two latter epistles of John are not of the apostle but of the elder. This man is said to have promulgated the thousand years,* a Jewish second [advent], which Irenaeus and Apollinarius and the rest follow, who say that after the resurrection the Lord will reign in the flesh with the saints. Tertullian also in the book Concerning the Hope of the Faithful, and Victorinus of Petau and Lactantius, are led by this opinion.

* Papias was a chiliast.

From the epistle of Jerome to Lucinus, epistle 71.5 (Lightfoot-Holmes 8):

Porro Iosephi libros et sanctorum Papiae et Polycarpi volumina falsus ad te rumor pertulit a me esse translata: quia nec otii mei nec virium est tantas res eadem in alteram linguam exprimere venustate.

Furthermore, the rumor is bearing forth you that the books of Josephus and the volumes of the saints Papias and Polycarp have been translated by me; it is false. I have neither the leisure nor the strength to render such works as those beautifully enough in another language.

From the epistle of Jerome to Theodora, epistle 75.3 (Lightfoot-Holmes 9):

Irenaeus... Papiae auditoris evangelistae Iohannis discipulus....

Irenaeus... [was] a disciple of Papias the earwitness of John the evangelist....

Philip of Side.

Century V.

From the History of the Church according to Philip of Side, codex Baroccianus 142 (Lightfoot-Holmes 5):

Παπιας Ιεραπολεως επισκοπος ακουστης του θεολογου Ιωαννου γενομενος, Πολυκαρπου δε εταιρος, πεντε λογους κυριακων λογιων εγραψεν, εν οις απαριθμησιν αποστολων ποιουμενος μετα Πετρον και Ιωαννην, Φιλιππον και Θωμαν και Ματθαιον εις μαθητας του κυριου ανεγραψεν Αριστιωνα και Ιωαννην ετερον, ον και πρεσβυτερον εκαλεσεν. ως τινας οιεσθαι οτι {τουτου} του Ιωαννου εισιν αι δυο επιστολαι αι μικραι και καθολικαι, αι εξ ονοματος Ιωαννου φερομεναι, δια το τους αρχαιους την πρωτην μονην εγκρινειν. τινες δε και την αποκαλυψιν τουτου πλανηθεντες ενομισαν. και Παπιας δε περι την χιλιονταετηριδα σφαλλεται, εξ ου και ο Ειρηναιος.

Papias, bishop of Heirapolis, who was earwitness of the theologian John, and companion of Polycarp, wrote five volumes of the lordly oracles, in which, making an enumeration of the apostles, after Peter and John, Philip and Thomas and Matthew, to the disciples of the Lord he wrote up Aristion and another John, whom he also called elder, so that some suppose that of {this} John are the two short and catholic epistles which are extant from the name of John, because the ancients classified the first alone. And some who are deceived consider the revelation to be of this man. But Papias too was mistaken about the millennial years,* and from him also Irenaeus.

* Papias was a chiliast.

Παπιας εν τω δευτερω λογω λεγει οτι Ιωαννης ο θεολογος και Ιακωβος ο αδελφος αυτου υπο Ιουδαιων ανηρεθησαν. Παπιας ο ειρημενος ιστορησεν ως παραλαβων απο των θυγατερων Φιλιππου οτι Βαρσαβας ο και Ιουστος δοκιμαζομενος υπο των απιστων ιον εχιδνης πιων εν ονοματι του Χριστου απαθης διεφυλαχθη. ιστορει δε και αλλα θαυματα και μαλιστα το κατα την μητερα Μαναιμου την εκ νεκρων αναστασαν. περι των υπο του Χριστου εκ νεκρων ανασταντων, οτι εως Αδριανου εζων.

Papias in the second volume says that John the theologian and James his brother were done away with by Jews. The aforesaid Papias reported as having received it from the daughters of Philip that Barsabas who is Justus, tested by the unbelievers, drank the venom of a viper in the name of the Christ and was protected unharmed. He also reports other wonders and especially that about the mother of Manaemus, her resurrection from the dead. Concerning those resurrected by Christ from the dead, that they lived until Hadrian.

The date of the flourit of Papias depends in great part upon whether or not Philip Sidetes has reflected Papias accurately when he states that Papias wrote of those resurrected by Christ that they lived until the time of Hadrian. If Philip is correct, then Papias can not have written before 117, the year that Hadrian became Caesar, and probably even after 138, when Hadrian died, if he is looking back on his emperorship as a terminus.

However, it is probable that Philip has actually confused Papias with the apologist Quadratus, whom Eusebius affirms in his History of the Church to have written this very thing, that those raised by Jesus lived until Hadrian. If Philip has gotten the two early men confused, then the way is clear for an earlier date for Papias. Robert Gundry writes on page 1028 of his Commentary on Mark:

The only hard evidence favoring a late date consists in a statement by Philip of Side, who makes Papias refer to the reign of Hadrian (117-138; see the citation in Aland’s Synopsis 531). But we have good reasons to distrust Philip’s statement. he is notoriously unreliable and wrote appoximately a century later than Eusebius did (Philip — ca. 430; Eusebius — ca. 324). Comparison of Philip’s statement with Eusebius’s favors that Philip depended on Eusebius but garbled the information he got. Eusebius mentions a Christian writer named Quadratus, who addressed an apology to Hadrian, the very emperor during whose reign Philip puts Papias’s writings. The claim of Quadratus that some of the people whom Jesus healed and raised from the dead have lived up to his own day sounds something like the claim of Papias to have gotten information about the Lord’s commands "from the living and abiding voice" of the elders and other disciples of the Lord (see Eus. H.E. 3.39.1-4 with 4.3.1-2). More strikingly, however, when Philip quotes Papias, the phraseology sounds more like Eusebius’s quotations of Quadratus than of Papias; in other words, it looks as though Philip transferred what Quadratus wrote over to Papias. Thus, just as Eusebius associates Quadratus with Hadrian’s reign and quotes Quadratus as referring to people raised from the dead by Jesus and still living, so Philip associates Papias with Hadrian’s reign and writes that Papias referred to people raised from the dead by Jesus and still living. Furthermore, there appears to have been another Quadratus, who was a prophet, not an apologist. Eusebius discusses him in association with Jesus’ original disciples and their immediate successors (H.E. 3.37.1). Philip probably confuses Quadratus the apologist with Quadratus the prophet. It was easy for him to do so, because he found Eusebius’s similar discussion of Papias bounded by references to the namd "Quadratus." A final cause of Philip’s confusing Papias’s writings with an apology by a Quadratus is Eusebius’s associating this Quadratus with the daughters of Philip the evangelist (H.E. 3.37.1) just as Eusebius also associates Papias with them (H.E. 3.39.9). Poor Philip fell into a trap.

Maximus the Confessor.

Century VII.

From Maximus the Confessor, Scholia on Dionysius the Areopagite, On the Ecclesiastical Heirarchy 2 (Lightfoot-Holmes 15; Roberts-Donaldson 2):

Τους κατα θεον ακακιαν ασκουντας παιδας εκαλουν, ως και Παπιας δηλοι βιβλιω πρωτω των κυριακων εξηγησεων και Κλημης ο Αλεξανδρευς εν τω Παιδαγωγω.

They would call children those who practiced no evil according to God, as Papias makes clear in the first book of the Exegeses of the Lord, along with Clement the Alexandrian in the Pedagogue.

From Maximus the Confessor, Scholia on Dionysius the Areopagite, On the Ecclesiastical Heirarchy 7 (Lightfoot-Holmes 16):

Ταυτα φησιν αινιττομενος οιμαι Παπιαν τον Ιεραπολεως της κατ Ασιαν τοτε γενομενον επισκοπον και συνακμασααντα τω θειω ευαγγελιστη Ιωαννη. ουτος γαρ ο Παπιας εν τω τεταρτω αυτου βιβλιω των κυριακων εξηγησεων τας δια βρωματων ειπεν εν τη αναστασει απολαυσεις· εις οπερ δογμα μετα ταυτα επιστευσεν Απολλιναριος, ο καλουσι τινες χιλιονταετηριδα... και Ειρηναιος δε ο Λουγδουνου εν τω κατα αιρεσεων τεμπτω λογω το αυτο φησι και παραγει μαρτυρα των υπ αυτου ειρημενων τον λεχθεντα Παπιαν.

He says these things hinting, I think, at Papias, who was then bishop of Heirapolis in Asia and flourished with the divine evangelist John. For this Papias, in the fourth book of his Exegeses of the Lord, spoke of foods as enjoyments in the resurrection. After these things Apollinarius believed in this dogma, which some call the millennium....* And Irenaeus of Lyons also says the same thing in the fifth volume of Against Heresies, and he leads out the above-mentioned Papias as witness to the things said by him.

* Papias was a chiliast.

Anastasius of Sinai.

Century VII.

From Anastasius of Sinai, Considerations on the Hexaemeron 1 (Lightfoot-Holmes 12; Roberts-Donaldson 9):

Λαβοντες τας αφορμας εκ Παπιου του πανυ του Ιεραπολιτου, του εν τω επιστηθιω φοιτησαντος, και Κλημεντος, Πανταινου της Αλεξανδρεων ιερεως και Αμμωνιου σοφωτατου, των αρχαιων και πρωτων συνωδων εξηγητων, εις Χριστον και την εκκλησιαν πασαν την εξαημερον νοησαντων.

Taking occasion from Papias the Hierapolitan, the illustrious, a follower of him who leaned on the bosom, and Clemens, Pantaenus the priest of the Alexandrians, and Ammonius the most wise, the ancient and first exegetes, who agreed with one another, who understood the six days as referring to Christ and the whole church.

From Anastasius of Sinai, Considerations on the Hexaemeron 7 (Lightfoot-Holmes 13):

Οι μεν ουν αρχαιοτεροι των εκκλησιων εξηγητικων, λεγω δη Φιλων ο φιλοσοφος και των αποστολων ομοχρονος και Παπιας ο πολυς ο Ιωαννου του ευαγγελιστου φοιτητης ο Ιεραπολιτης, Ειρηναιος τε ο Λουγδουνευς και Ιουστινος ο μαρτυς και φιλοσοφος, Πανταινος τε ο Αλεξανδρειας και Κλημης ο Στρωματευς και οι αμφ αυτους πνευματικως τα περι παραδεισου εθεωρησαν εις την Χριστου εκκλησιαν αναφερομενοι.

The most ancient of the ecclesiastical exegetes, therefore, I speak of Philo the philosopher and contemporary of the apostles, and Papias the great, the Heirapolitan, follower of John the evangelist, and Irenaeus of Lyons and Justin the martyr and philosopher, Pantaenus the Alexandrian and Clement the Stromateus, and those around them, theorized about the things of paradise spiritually, referring them to the church of Christ.

George Hamartolos.

Century IX.

From the Chronicon of George Hamatolos (the sinner), codex Coislinianus 305 (Lightfoot-Holmes 6):

Μετα δε Δομετιανον εβασιλευσε Νερουας ετος εν, ος ανακαλεσαμενος Ιωαννην εκ της νησου απελυσεν οικειν εν Εφεσω. μονος τοτε περιων τω βιω εκ των δωδεκα μαθητων και συγγραψαμενος το κατ αυτον ευαγγελιον, μαρτυριου κατηξιωται. Παπιας γαρ ο Ιεραπολεως επισκοπος αυτοπτης τουτου γενομενος εν τω δευτερω λογω των κυριακων λογιων φασκει οτι υπο Ιουδαιων ανηρεθη, πληρωσας δηλαδη μετα του αδελφου την του Χριστου περι αυτων προρρησιν και την εαυτων ομολογιαν περι τουτου και συγκαταθεσιν.

And, after Domitian, Nerva ruled as king for one year, who, having called John back from the island, released him to house in Ephesus. Being then the only one still alive from the twelve disciples, and having composed the gospel according to himself, he was held worthy of martyrdom. For Papias, the bishop of Heirapolis, who was the eyewitness of this man, in the second volume of the lordly oracles claims that he was done away with by Jews, having clearly fulfilled with his brother the prediction of Christ about them and their own confession about this and submission.

Ειπων γαρ ο κυριος προς αυτους· δυνασθε πιειν το ποτηριον ο εγω πινω; και κατανευσαντων προθυμως και συνθεμενων. το ποτηριον μου, φησι, πιεσθε και το βαπτισμα ο εγω βαπτιζομαι βαπτισθησεσθε. και εικοτως, αδυνατον γαρ θεον ψευσασθαι. ουτω δε και ο πολυμαθης Ωριγενης εν τη κατα Ματθαιον ερμηνεια διαβεβαιουται ως οτι μεμαρτυρηκεν Ιωαννης, εκ των διαδοχων των αποστολων υποσημαιναμενος τουτο μεμαθηκεναι. και ο πολυιστωρ Ευσεβειος εν τη εκκλησιαστικη ιστορια φησι· Θωμας μεν την Παρθιαν ειληχεν· Ιωαννης δε την Ασιαν, προς ους και διατριψας ετελευτησεν εν Εφεσω.

For the Lord said to them: Are you able to drink the cup that I drink? And they assented desirously and agreed. My cup, he says, you shall drink, and you shall be baptized the baptism with which I am baptized. And reasonably, for God is unable to pass falsehood. And thus also the very learned Origen in the interpretation according to Matthew confirms as that John has been martyred, having signaled that he learned this from the successors of the apostles. And the well-read Eusebius in the ecclesiastical history says: Thomas was allotted Parthia, and John Asia, where also, having passed his time, he came to his end in Ephesus.


Century IX.

From Photius, Bibliotheca 232, writing of Stephen Gobarus (Lightfoot-Holmes 17):

Ου μην αλλ ουδε Παπιαν τον Ιεροπολεως επισκοπον και μαρτυρα, ουδε Ειρηναιον τον οσιον επισκοπον Λουγδουνων, εν οις λεγουσιν αισθητων τινων βρωματων απολαυσιν ειναι την των ουρανων βασιλειαν.

Indeed [he receives] neither Papias the bishop and martyr of Heirapolis nor Irenaeus the holy bishop of Lyons, in which they say that the kingdom of the heavens is the enjoyment of certain material foods.*

* Papias was a chiliast.

From an epistle of Photius to Aquileias (Holmes 22):

Και τον... μεγαν Μεθοδιον... ετι μεν και Ειρηναιον τον Λουγδουνων επισκοπον και Παπιαν τον της Ιεραπολεως, τον μεν του μαρτυριου τον στεφανον αναδησαμενον, τους δε ανδρας οντας αποστολικους... αλλ ουν ει τι γε της αληθειας ωλιγωρησαν και παρηνεχθησαν φθεγξασθαι απεναντιας του κοινου και και εκκλησιαστικου δογματος, εν τουτοις μεν ουχ επομεθα, της πατρικης δε τιμης και δοξης ουμενουν ουδεν αυτων περικοπτομεν.

And the... great Methodius... and yet also Irenaeus bishop of Lyons and Papias bishop of Heirapolis, the former of which won the crown of martyrdom, the latter [two] of which were apostolic men.... But if ever they make little of the truth and were brought to speak contrary things against the common and ecclesiastical dogma, in these things we do not follow them, but we do not in any way take anything away from their patristic honor and glory.

Andrew of Caesarea.

Century XIV.

From Andrew of Caesarea, preface to his work On the Apocalypse (Lightfoot-Holmes 10; Roberts-Donaldson 8):

Περι μεντοι του θεοπνευστου της βιβλου, περιττον μηκυνειν τον λογον ηγουμεθα, των μακαριων Γρηγοριου, φημι του θεολογου, και Κυριλλου, προσετι δε και των αρχαιοτερων Παπιου, Ειρηναιου, Μεθοδιου, και Ιππολυτου ταυτη προσμαρτυρουντων το αξιοπιστον.

Concerning, however, the divine inspiration of the book we consider it superfluous to lengthen the discussion, since the blessed Gregory, I speak of the theologian, and Cyril, and even yet the ancients, such as Papias, Methodius, and Hippolytus, all bear testimony as to its worthiness.

From Andrew of Caesarea, On the Apocalypse 34.12 (Lightfoot-Holmes 11; Roberts-Donaldson 7):

Παπιας δε ουτως επι λεξεως· Ενιοις δε αυτων, δηλαδη των παλαι θειων αγγελων, και της περι την γην διακοσμησεως εδωκεν αρχειν και καλως αρχειν παρηγγυησε. και εξης φησιν· Εις ουδεν δεον συνεβη τελευτησαι την ταξιν αυτων. και εβληθη ο δρακων ο μεγας. ο οφις ο αρχαιος ο καλουμενος διαβολος και ο Σατανας, ο πλανων την οικουμενην ολην εβληθη εις την γην, και οι αγγελοι αυτου.

And Papias has thus, word for word: But to some of them, clearly those that were once divine, he both gave to rule over the cosmic arrangement around the earth and enjoined to rule well. And he says in the following: It turns out that their order ended up as nothing. And the great dragon, the ancient serpent who is called the devil and Satan, was cast out. The one who deceives the whole inhabited earth was cast down to the earth, along with his angels.

Holmes also notes an Armenian text of Andrew of Caesarea, On the Apocalypse, commentary on Revelation 12.7-9, of which he gives a translation, but not the original text (Holmes 24):

And Papias spoke in the following manner in his treatises: Heaven did not endure his earthly intentions because it is impossible for light to communicate with darkness. He fell to earth, here to live, and when mankind came here where he was he did not permit them to live in natural passions; on the contrary, he led them astray into many evils. But Michael and his legions, who are guardians of the world, were helping mankind, as Daniel learned. They gave laws and made the prophets wise. And all this was war against the dragon, who was setting stumbling blocks for men. Then their battle extended into heaven, to Christ himself. Yet Christ came, and the law, which was impossible for anyone else, he fulfilled in his body, according to the apostle. He defeated sin and condemned Satan, and through his death he spread abroad his righteousness over all. As this occurred, the victory of Michael and his legions, the guardians of mankind, became complete, and the dragon could resist no more because the death of Christ exposed him to ridicule and threw him to earth, concerning which Christ said: I was seeing Satan fallen from heaven like a lightning bolt. In this sense the teacher understood not his first fall, but the second, which was through the cross, and this did not consist of a spatial fall, as at first, but rather judgment and expectation of a mighty punishment.

Refer to Luke 10.18 for the fall of Satan from heaven.

Balthasar Cordier.

Antwerp, 1630.

From Balthasar Cordier, editor, Catena of the Greek Fathers on John (Lightfoot-Holmes 20):

Υστατος γαρ τουτων Ιωαννης ο της βροντης υιος μετακληθεις, πανυ γηραλεου αυτου γενομενου, ως παρεδοσαν ημιν ο τε Ειρηναιος και Ευσεβιος και αλλοι πιστοι κατα διαδοχην γεγονοτες ιστορικοι, κατ εκεινο καιρου αιρεσεων αναφυεισων δεινων υπηγορευσε το ευαγγελιον τω εαυτου μαθητη Παπια ευβιωτω τω Ιεραπολιτη προς αναπληρωσιν των προ αυτου κηρυξαντων τον λογον τοις ανα πασαν την οικουμενην εθνεσιν.

For John, the last of these, the one who was renamed son of thunder, when he was very old, as both Irenaeus and Eusebius delivered to us, as well as other believers who became historians in succession, at that time when the terrible heresies were growing up, dictated the gospel to his own admirable disciple Papias the Heirapolitan for the fulfillment of those who preached the word before him to the gentiles throughout all the inhabited earth.


Holmes offers a translation, but no original, of the following texts (Holmes 23, 25-26):

  • One from Agapius of Heirapolis, History of the World, century X, in Arabic.
  • Two from Vardan Vardapet, Explanations of Holy Scripture, century XIII (I think), in Armenian.

From Agapius of Heirapolis (Holmes 23):

At this time there lived in Heirapolis a prominent teacher and author of many treatises; he wrote five treatises about the gospel. In one of these treatises, which he wrote concerning the gospel of John, he relates that in the book of John the evangelist there is a report about a woman who was an adulteress. When the people led her before Christ our Lord, he spoke to the Jews who had brought her to him: Whoever among you is himself certain that he is innocent of that of which she is accused, let him now bear witness against her. After he had said this, they gave him no answer and went away.

Agapius is referring to the pericope de adultera.

From Vardan Vardapet (Holmes 25):

But, concerning the aloe which people brought, some say that it was a mixture of oil and honey, but aloe is certainly a kind of incense. The geographer and Papias report that there are fifteen kinds of aloe in India.

Refer to John 19.39 for the aloe used to bury Jesus. But this reference may be to Papias of Lombardy, author of a popular medieval lexicon, not the ancient Papias of Hierapolis.

From Vardan Vardapet (Holmes 26):

That story of the adulterous woman, which the other Christians have written in their gospel, was written by a certain Papias, a disciple of John, who was declared and condemned as a heretic. Eusebius said this.

Vardan Vardapet is referring to the pericope de adultera.

Bede (century VIII) refers to Papias in such a way and in such a context as to ensure that he is dependent upon the Latin translation of Eusebius by Rufinus, whom he follows very closely.

Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson place two passages in the Papian corpus that Holmes does not:

  • Irenaeus Against Heresies 5.36.1-2, which is attributed, not to Papias by name, but rather to the elders (Roberts-Donaldson 5).
  • A passage from a medieval manuscript whose margin indicates Papias (Roberts-Donaldson 10).

The first passage I present on the appropriate page. The second passage runs as follows (based on the translation of Roberts and Donaldson):

  1. Mary the mother of the Lord.
  2. Mary the wife of Cleophas or Alphaeus, who was the mother of James the bishop and apostle, and of Simon and Thaddeus, and of one Joseph.
  3. Mary Salome, wife of Zebedee, mother of John the evangelist and James.
  4. Mary Magdalene.
These four are found in the gospel. James and Judas and Joseph were sons of an aunt of the Lord. James also and John were sons of another aunt of the Lord. Mary, mother of James the Less and Joseph, wife of Alphaeus, was the sister of Mary the mother of the Lord, whom John names of Cleophas, either from her father or from the family of the clan, or for some other reason. Mary Salome is called Salome either from her husband or her village. Some affirm that she is the same as Mary of Cleophas because she had two husbands.

But this passage is not from our ancient Papias. It is from Papias of Lombardy (century XI), author of the Elementarium Doctrinae Erudimentum, a medieval Latin lexicon. J. B. Lightfoot wrote the following about the passage in The Brethren of the Lord:

The passage in question is an extract, to which the name of this very ancient writer is prefixed, in a Bodleian MS, no. 2397, of the date 1302 or 1303. It is given in Grabe’s Spicil. II p. 34, Routh’s Rel. Sacr. I, p. 16, and runs as follows:

‘Maria mater Domini: Maria Cleophae, sive Alphei uxor, quae fuit mater Jacobi episcopi et apostolic et Symonis et Thadei et cujusdam Joseph: Maria Salome uxor Zebedei mater Joannis evangelistae et Jacobi: Maria Magdalene: istae quatuor in Evangelio reperiuntur. Jacobus et Judas et Joseph filii errant materterae Domini; Jacobus quoque et Joannes alterius materterae Domini fuerunt filii. Maria Jacobi minoris et Joseph mater, uxor Alphei, soror fuit Mariae matris Domini, quam Cleophae Joannes nominat vel a patre vel a gentilitatis familia vel alia causa. Maria Salome a viro vel a vico dicitur: hanc eandem Cleophae quidam dicunt quod duos viros habuerit. Maria dicitur illuminatrix sive stella maris, genuit enim lumen mundi; sermone autem Syro Domina nuncupatur, quia genuit Dominum.’

Grabe’s description ‘ad marginem expresse adscriptum lego Papia’ is incorrect; the name is not in the margin but over the passage as a title to it. The authenticity of this fragment is accepted by Mill, p. 238, and by Dean Alford on Matthew 13:55. Two writers also in Smith’s Biblical Dictionary (s.vv. ‘Brother’ and ‘James’), respectively impugning and maintaining the Hieronymian view, refer to it without suspicion. It is strange that able and intelligent critics should not have seen through a fabrication which is so manifestly spurious. Not to mention the difficulties in which we are involved by some of the statements, the following reasons seem conclusive: (1) The last sentence ‘Maria dicitur etc.’ is evidently very late, and is, as Dr. Mill says, ‘justly rejected by Grabe.’ Grabe says, ‘addidit is qui descripsit ex suo’; but the passage is continuous in the MS, and there is neither more nor less authority for assigning this to Papias than the remainder of the extract. (2) The statement about ‘Maria uxor Alphei’ is taken from Jerome (adv. Helvid.) almost word for word, as Dr. Mill has seen; and it is purely arbitrary to reject this as spurious and accept the rest as genuine. (3) The writings of Papias were in Jerome’s hands, and eager as he was to claim the support of authority, he could not have failed to refer to testimony which was so important and which so entirely confirms his view in the most minute points. Nor is it conceivable that a passage like this, coming from so early a writer, should not have impressed itself very strongly on the ecclesiastical tradition of the early centuries, whereas in fact we discover no traces of it.

For these reasons the extract seemed to be manifestly spurious; but I might have saved myself the trouble of examining the Bodleian MS and writing these remarks, if I had known at the time, that the passage was written by a mediaeval namesake of the Bishop of Hierapolis, Papias the author of the ‘Elementarium,’ who lived in the 11th century. This seems to have been a standard work in its day, and was printed four times in the 15th century under the name of the Lexicon or Vocabulist. I have not had access to a printed copy, but there is a MS of the work (marked Kk. 4.1) in the Cambridge University Library, the knowledge of which I owe to Mr. Bradshaw, the librarian. The variations from the Bodleian extract are unimportant. It is strange that though Grabe actually mentions the later Papias the author of the Dictionary, and Routh copies his note, neither the one nor the other got on the right track. I made the discovery while the first edition of this work was passing through the press [1865].

Table of references.

J. B. Lightfoot, Michael Holmes, Alexander Roberts, and James Donaldson.

The following table is designed to help coordinate the numeration system of Lightfoot and Holmes with that of Roberts and Donaldson. Note that Lightfoot counted only up to 20 fragments. Holmes has followed the same ennumeration, but has added numbers 21-26 (italicized below) to the tally as passages discovered or applied since Lightfoot compiled his list. The passages are, of course, listed in my own order.

* This passage is listed with the traditions of the elders.