PA'PIAS (Lat., from Gk. Ilarias). Bishop of Hierapolis in Phrygia. He flourished during the first half of the second Christian century, but the dates of his birth and death are un known. He is said to have been a companion of Polyearp, and to have known personally some of the Lord's disciple:, but this is un certain. He wrote in Greek an important work, in five books, entitled Expositions of the Oracles of the Lord. which unfortunately has been lost. A few fragments. preserved chiefly by lrenams and Eusebius, indicate that the work was not itself a gospel, but a sort of running com mentary on the sayings (and deeds?) of Christ. They also prove that written gospels already existed. Papias diligently gathered up the primi tive Christian traditions. setting a high value upon every direct line of testimony concerning the Lord's teaching.
Eusebius credits Papias with more learning than judgment, which probably means that he disliked his crude and materialistic notions of the approaching millennium, with its alleged miraculous vintages and crops. (Cf. Iremens,
Against Heresies, v. 33.) These conceptions. however, were not displeasing to Tremens and other early Christians, although they were gen erally discarded before the fourth century. In any event. Papias's reputation does not depend upon his millenarian views. He stands as a connecting link between the Apostolic Age and that of the Apologists, a period where our sources at best are scanty, and each one corre spondingly valuable.
The fragments of the Expositions may he con sulted in Lightfoot'. Apostolic Fathers, ed. by Harmer (London. 1893). or in Funk, Paters Apostolici (Ttibingen. 1901). Consult. also: Zahn, Forschungen, part vi. (Leipzig. 19001; Lightfoot. Essays on Supernatural Religion ('2d ed.. London. 1893) ; Cruttwell. Literary History of Early Christianity (ih.. 1893) ; Westeott. His tory of the Canon of the Nem Testament (7th ed., ib., 1890.