Text edited by Rev. Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson and
first published by T&T Clark in Edinburgh in 1867. Additional
introductionary material and notes provided for the American
edition by A. Cleveland Coxe, 1886.
Introductory Note to the Fragments of Papias
[a.d. 70-155.] It seems unjust to the holy man of whose comparatively large
contributions to early Christian literature such mere relics have been
preserved, to set them forth in these versions, unaccompanied by the copious
annotations of Dr. Routh. If even such crumbs from his table are not by any
means without a practical value, with reference to the Canon and other
matters, we may well credit the testimony (though disputed) of Eusebius,
that he was a learned man, and well versed in the Holy Scripture.  All
who name poor Papias are sure to do so with the apologetic qualification of
that historian, that he was of slender capacity. Nobody who attributes to
him the millenarian fancies, of which he was but a narrator, as if these
were the characteristics rather than the blemishes of his works, can fail to
accept this estimate of our author. But more may be said when we come to the
great name of Irenæus, who seems to make himself responsible for them.
Papias has the credit of association with Polycarp, in the friendship of St.
John himself, and of "others who had seen the Lord." He is said to have been
bishop of Hierapolis, in Phrygia, and to have died about the same time that
Polycarp suffered; but even this is questioned. So little do we know of one
whose lost books, could they be recovered, might reverse the received
judgment, and establish his claim to the disputed tribute which makes him,
like Apollos, "an eloquent man, and mighty in the Scriptures."
The following is the original Introductory Notice:
The principal information in regard to Papias is given in the extracts made
among the fragments from the works of Irenæus and Eusebius. He was bishop of
the Church in Hierapolis, a city of Phrygia, in the first half of the second
century. Later writers affirm that he suffered martyrdom about a.d. 163;
some saying that Rome, others that Pergamus, was the scene of his death. He
was a hearer of the Apostle John, and was on terms of intimate intercourse
with many who had known the Lord and His apostles. From these he gathered
the floating traditions in regard to the sayings of our Lord, and wove them
into a production divided into five books. This work does not seem to have
been confined to an exposition of the sayings of Christ, but to have
contained much historical information.
Eusebius  speaks of Papias as a man most learned in all things, and
well acquainted with the Scriptures. In another passage  he describes
him as of small capacity. The fragments of Papias are translated from the
text given in Routh's Reliquiæ Sacræ, vol. i. 
 See Lardner, ii. p. 119.
 Against Heresies, book v. chap. xxxiii. See the prudent note of Canon
Robertson (History of the Christ. Church, vol. i. p. 116).
 Hist. Eccl., iii. 39.
 [Where the fragments with learned annotations and elucidations fill
Fragments of Papias
I. From the exposition of the oracles of the Lord. 
[The writings of Papias in common circulation are five in number, and these
are called an Exposition of the Oracles of the Lord. Irenæus makes mention
of these as the only works written by him, in the following words: "Now
testimony is borne to these things in writing by Papias, an ancient man, who
was a hearer of John, and a friend of Polycarp, in the fourth of his books;
for five books were composed by him." Thus wrote Irenæus. Moreover, Papias
himself, in the introduction to his books, makes it manifest that he was not
himself a hearer and eye-witness of the holy apostles; but he tells us that
he received the truths of our religion  from those who were acquainted
with them [the apostles] in the following words:]
But I shall not be unwilling to put down, along with my interpretations,
 whatsoever instructions I received with care at any time from the
elders, and stored up with care in my memory, assuring you at the same time
of their truth. For I did not, like the multitude, take pleasure in those
who spoke much, but in those who taught the truth; nor in those who related
strange commandments,  but in those who rehearsed the commandments
given by the Lord to faith,  and proceeding from truth itself. If,
then, any one who had attended on the elders came, I asked minutely after
their sayings, what Andrew or Peter said, or what was said by Philip, or by
Thomas, or by James, or by John, or by Matthew, or by any other of the
Lord's disciples: which things  Aristion and the presbyter John, the
disciples of the Lord, say. For I imagined that what was to be got from
books was not so profitable to me as what came from the living and abiding
 This fragment is found in Eusebius, Hist. Eccl. iii. 39.
 Literally, "the things of faith."
 Papias states that he will give an exact account of what the elders
said; and that, in addition to this, he will accompany this account with an
explanation of the meaning and import of the statements.
 Literally, "commandments belonging to others," and therefore strange
and novel to the followers of Christ.
 Given to faith has been variously understood. Either not stated in
direct language, but like parables given in figures, so that only the
faithful could understand; or entrusted to faith, that is, to those who were
possessed of faith, the faithful.
 Which things: this is usually translated, "what Aristion and John
say;" and the translation is admissible. But the words more naturally mean,
that John and Aristion, even at the time of his writing, were telling him
some of the sayings of the Lord.
[The early Christians] called those who practised a godly guilelessness,
 children, [as is stated by Papias in the first book of the Lord s
Expositions, and by Clemens Alexandrinus in his Pædagogue.]
 This fragment is found in the Scholia of Maximus on the works of
Dionysius the Areopagite.
 Literally, "a guilelessness according to God."
Judas walked about in this world a sad  example of impiety; for his
body having swollen to such an extent that he could not pass where a chariot
could pass easily, he was crushed by the chariot, so that his bowels gushed
 This fragment is found in Œcumenius.
 Literally, "great."
 Literally, "were emptied out." Theophylact, after quoting this
passage, adds other particulars, as if they were derived from Papias. [But
see Routh, i. pp. 26, 27.] He says that Judas's eyes were so swollen that
they could not be seen, even by the optical instruments of physicians; and
that the rest of his body was covered with runnings and worms. He further
states, that he died in a solitary spot, which was left desolate until his
time; and no one could pass the place without stopping up his nose with his
As the elders who saw John the disciple of the Lord remembered that they had
heard from him how the Lord taught in regard to those times, and said]: "The
days will come in which vines shall grow, having each ten thousand branches,
and in each branch ten thousand twigs, and in each true twig ten thousand
shoots, and in every one of the shoots ten thousand clusters, and on every
one of the clusters ten thousand grapes, and every grape when pressed will
give five-and-twenty metretes of wine. And when any one of the saints shall
lay hold of a cluster, another shall cry out, I am a better cluster, take
me; bless the Lord through me. In like manner, [He said] that a grain of
wheat would produce ten thousand ears, and that every ear would have ten
thousand grains, and every grain would yield ten pounds of clear, pure, fine
flour; and that apples, and seeds, and grass would produce in similar
proportions; and that all animals, feeding then only on the productions of
the earth, would become peaceable and harmonious, and be in perfect
subjection to man."  [Testimony is borne to these things in writing by
Papias, an ancient man, who was a hearer of John and a friend of Polycarp,
in the fourth of his books; for five books were composed by him. And he
added, saying, "Now these things are credible to believers. And Judas the
traitor," says he, "not believing, and asking, "How shall such growths be
accomplished by the Lord? the Lord said, "They shall see who shall come to
them. These, then, are the times mentioned by the prophet Isaiah: "And the
wolf shall lie, down with the lamb, etc. (Isa. xi. 6 ff.)."]
 From Irenæus, Hær., v. 32. [Hearsay at second-hand, and handed about
among many, amounts to nothing as evidence. Note the reports of sermons,
also, as they appear in our daily Journals. Whose reputation can survive if
such be credited?]
 [See Grabe, apud Routh, 1. 29.]
As the presbyters say, then  those who are deemed worthy of an abode
in heaven shall go there, others shall enjoy the delights of Paradise, and
others shall possess the splendour of the city;  for everywhere the
Saviour will be seen, according as they shall be worthy who see Him. But
that there is this distinction between the habitation of those who produce
an hundred-fold, and that of those who produce sixty-fold, and that of those
who produce thirty-fold; for the first will be taken up into the heavens,
the second class will dwell in Paradise, and the last will inhabit the city;
and that on this account the Lord said, "In my Father's house are many
mansions:"  for all things belong to God, who supplies all with a
suitable dwelling-place, even as His word says, that a share is given to all
by the Father,  according as each one is or shall be worthy. And this
is the couch  in which they shall recline who feast, being invited to
the wedding. The presbyters, the disciples of the apostles, say that this is
the gradation and arrangement of those who are saved, and that they advance
through steps of this nature; and that, moreover, they ascend through the
Spirit to the Son, and through the Son to the Father; and that in due time
the Son will yield up His work to the Father, even as it is said by the
apostle, "For He must reign till He hath put all enemies under His feet. The
last enemy that shall be destroyed is death."  For in the times of the
kingdom the just man who is on the earth shall forget to die. "But when He
saith all things are put under Him, it is manifest that He is excepted which
did put all things under Him. And when all things shall be subdued unto Him,
then shall the Son also Himself be subject unto Him that put all things
under Him, that God may be all in all." 
 This fragment is found in Irenæus, Hær., v. 36; but it is a mere
guess that the saying of the presbyters is taken from the work of Papias.
 In the future state.
 The new Jerusalem on earth.
 John xiv. 2.
 Commentators suppose that the reference here is to Matt. xx. 23.
 Matt. xxii. 10.
 1 Cor. xv. 25, 26.
 1 Cor. xv. 27, 28.
[Papias, who is now mentioned by us, affirms that he received the sayings of
the apostles from those who accompanied them, and he moreover asserts that
he heard in person Aristion and the presbyter John.  Accordingly he
mentions them frequently by name, and in his writings gives their
traditions. Our notice of these circumstances may not be without its use. It
may also be worth while to add to the statements of Papias already given,
other passages of his in which he relates some miraculous deeds, stating
that he acquired the knowledge of them from tradition. The residence of the
Apostle Philip with his daughters in Hierapolis has been mentioned above. We
must now point out how Papias, who lived at the same time, relates that he
had received a wonderful narrative from the daughters of Philip. For he
relates that a dead man was raised to life in his day.  He also
mentions another miracle relating to Justus, surnamed Barsabas, how he
swallowed a deadly poison, and received no harm, on account of the grace of
the Lord. The same person, moreover, has set down other things as coming to
him from unwritten tradition, amongst these some strange parables and
instructions of the Saviour, and some other things of a more fabulous
nature.  Amongst these he says that there will be a millennium after
the resurrection from the dead, when the personal reign of Christ will be
established on this earth. He moreover hands down, in his own writing, other
narratives given by the previously mentioned Aristion of the Lord's sayings,
and the traditions of the presbyter John. For information on these points,
we can merely refer our readers to the books themselves; but now, to the
extracts already made, we shall add, as being a matter of primary
importance, a tradition regarding Mark who wrote the Gospel, which he
[Papias] has given in the following words]: And the presbyter said this.
Mark having become the interpreter of Peter, wrote down accurately
whatsoever he remembered. It was not, however, in exact order that he
related the sayings or deeds of Christ. For he neither heard the Lord nor
accompanied Him. But afterwards, as I said, he accompanied Peter, who
accommodated his instructions to the necessities [of his hearers], but with
no intention of giving a regular narrative of the Lord's sayings. Wherefore
Mark made no mistake in thus writing some things as he remembered them. For
of one thing he took especial care, not to omit anything he had heard, and
not to put anything fictitious into the statements. [This is what is related
by Papias regarding Mark; but with regard to Matthew he has made the
following statements]: Matthew put together the oracles [of the Lord] in the
Hebrew language, and each one interpreted them as best he could. [The same
person uses proofs from the First Epistle of John, and from the Epistle of
Peter in like manner. And he also gives another story of a woman  who
was accused of many sins before the Lord, which is to be found in the Gospel
according to the Hebrews.]
 From Eusebius, Hist. Eccl., iii. 39.
 [A certain presbyter, of whom see Apost. Constitutions, vii. 46,
where he is said to have been ordained by St. John, the Evangelist.]
 "In his day" may mean "in the days of Papias," or "in the days of
Philip." As the narrative came from the daughters of Philip, it is more
likely that Philip's days are meant.
 [Again, note the reduplicated hearsay. Not even Irenæus, much less
Eusebius, should be accepted, otherwise than as retailing vague reports.]
 Rufinus supposes this story to be the same as that now found in the
textus receptus of Gospel of John viii. 1-11, the woman taken in adultery.
Papias thus speaks, word for word: To some of them [angels] He gave dominion
over the arrangement of the world, and He commissioned them to exercise
their dominion well. And he says, immediately after this: but it happened
that their arrangement came to nothing. 
 This extract is made from Andreas Cæsariensis, [Bishop of Cæsarea in
Cappodocia, circiter, A.D. 500].
 That is, that government of the world's affairs was a failure. An
ancient writer takes taxis to mean the arraying of the evil angels in battle
With regard to the inspiration of the book (Revelation), we deem it
superfluous to add another word; for the blessed Gregory Theologus and
Cyril, and even men of still older date, Papias, Irenæus, Methodius, and
Hippolytus, bore entirely satisfactory testimony to it.
 This also is taken from Andreas Cæsariensis. [See Lardner, vol. v.
Taking occasion from Papias of Hierapolis, the illustrious, a disciple of
the apostle who leaned on the bosom of Christ, and Clemens, and Pantænus the
priest of [the Church] of the Alexandrians, and the wise Ammonius, the
ancient and first expositors, who agreed with each other, who understood the
work of the six days as referring to Christ and the whole Church.
 This fragment, or rather reference, is taken from Anastasius
Sinaitia. Routh gives, as another fragment, the repetition of the same
statement by Anastasius.
(1.) Mary the mother of the Lord; (2.) Mary the wife of Cleophas or Alphæus,
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 (2) of the
Lord s. James also and John were sons of another aunt (3) of the Lord s.
Mary (2), mother of James the Less and Joseph, wife of Alphæus 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 (3) 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
 This fragment was found by Grabe in a ms. of the Bodleian Library,
with the inscription on the margin, "Papia." Westcott states that it forms
part of a dictionary written by "a mediæval Papias. [He seems to have added
the words, "Maria is called Illuminatrix, or Star of the Sea," etc, a
middle-age device.] The dictionary exists in ms. both at Oxford and
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