Patristic Traditions on the Gospel Writers: Papias of Hierapolis


The Jesus Memoirs

The writings of Papias, the bishop of Hierapolis, only survive in fragments quoted by other Patristic authorities. If one asks where Papias received his information, the church historian Eusebius quotes the relevant passage in Papias in Ecclesiastical History 3.39.3-4.  Since every act of translation is an interpretation, I have provided different translations below for the reader to see some of the interpretive decisions of different translations regarding whether Papias meant to identify the “elders” with the “disciples” or to distinguish them, whether John in the first list of seven disciples is to be identified with the elder John mentioned alongside Aristion or distinguished from him, and what Papias meant by his preference for a living word over books. Irenaeus of Lyons identifies the elder John with the Apostle John, while Eusebius distinguishes them as separate individuals.

Οὐκ ὀκνήσω δέ σοι καὶ ὅσα ποτὲ παρὰ τῶν πρεσβυτέρων καλῶς ἔμαθον καὶ καλῶς ἐμνημόνευσα…

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