Fragments of Papias of Hierapolis

Prologue 1

1 Testimony is borne to these things in writing by Papias, an ancient man, who was a hearer of John, 2 and a friend of Polycarp.


Fragment One 3

1 I shall not be unwilling to put down, along with my interpretations, whatever 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. 2 For I did not, like the multitude, take pleasure in those who spoke much, but in those who taught the truth. 3 I did not take pleasure in those who related strange commandments, 4 but in those who rehearsed the commandments given by the Lord to faith, and proceeding from truth itself.

4 If, then, anyone who had attended on the elders came, I asked minutely after their sayings, what Andrew or Peter had said, 5 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 John the Elder, the disciples of the Lord, say. 6 For I imagined that what was to be learned from books was not so profitable to me as what came from the living and abiding voice.


Fragment Two 5

1 The early Christians referred to those who practiced godly innocence as “children.”


Fragment Three 6

1 Judas walked about in this world a sad example of impiety; for his body, 2 having swollen to such an extent that he could not pass where a chariot could pass easily, 3 was crushed by the chariot, so that his bowels gushed out. 7


Fragment Four 8

1 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, 2 “The days will come in which vines will grow, each one having ten thousand branches, and in each branch ten thousand twigs, 3 and in each true twig ten thousand shoots, and in each shoot ten thousand clusters, and on each cluster ten thousand grapes. 4 Each grape, when pressed, will give twenty-five measures 9 of wine, and when any one of the holy ones takes hold of a cluster, another will cry out, 5 ‘I am a better cluster, take me! Bless the Lord through me.’”

6 In like manner, He said that, “A grain of wheat will produce ten thousand ears, and each ear will have ten thousand grains, and each grain will yield ten pounds of clear, pure, fine flour.” 7 And that, “Apples, seeds, and grass will produce in similar proportions.”

8 And He said, “All animals, feeding only on the productions of the earth, will become peaceable and harmonious, and will be in perfect subjection to man.”

9 These things are credible to all believers. And Judas the traitor, did not believe, but was bewildered by these words; and he asked, “How will such growth in generations be brought about by the Lord, and who will see these things?

10 The Lord replied, Those who come into those times, and have become worthy, will see.” 10

11 These, then, are the times mentioned by the prophet Isaiah, “The wolf will lie down with the lamb.” 11


Fragment Five 12

1 The Apostle Philip, with his daughters, had residence in Hierapolis. I have heard from them that a dead man was raised to life.


Fragment Six 13

1 Justus, surnamed Barsabas, though he swallowed a deadly poison, he received no harm, on account of the grace of the Lord. 14


Fragment Seven 15

1 According to the Savior, there will be a Millennium after the resurrection from the dead, when the personal reign of the Messiah will be established on this earth.


Fragment Eight 16

1 Mark, 17 having become the interpreter of Peter, wrote down accurately all the things that he remembered. 2 It was not, however, in exact order that he related the sayings or deeds of the Messiah; for he neither heard the Lord, nor accompanied Him personally. 3 But afterward, as I said, he accompanied Peter, who accommodated his instructions to the necessities of his audience, but with no intention of giving a regular narrative of the Lord’s sayings. 4 Mark has made no mistake in writing some things as he remembered them; for of one thing he took especial care, not to omit anything which he had heard, and not to put anything fictitious into the statements.


Fragment Nine 18

1 Matthew put together the sayings of the Lord in the Hebrew language, and each one interpreted them as best he could. 19


Fragment Ten 20

1 To some of them– those that were once divine– He gave dominion over the arrangement of the world, 2 and He commissioned them to exercise their dominion well; 21 but it so happened that their arrangement came to nothing. 3 And the great dragon, the ancient serpent who is called the devil and Satan, was cast out. 4 The one who deceives the whole inhabited earth was cast down to the earth, along with his angels.



1 Eusebius, Ecclesiastic History III 39.

2 John the Apostle, the son of Zebedee.

3 Eusebius, Ecclesiastic History III 39.

4 Literally, “commandments given by another.”

5 From the Scholia of Maximus on the works of Dionysius the Areopagite. Citing Papias, First Book of the Expositions on the Sayings of the Lord.

6 Preserved in the writings of Oecumenius, Bishop of Trikka in the 6th century CE.

7 On the death of Judas, see Matthew 27:5 and Acts 1:15.

8 From Irenaeus, Against Heresies V 32. Citing Papias, Fourth Book of the Expositions on the Sayings of the Lord. Fragment 4:9-10 have parallel (with slight variations) in Hippolytus, Commentary on Daniel 4.60, which have been woven into the text.

9 Literally “metretes,” an ancient Greek unit of dry measurement, equivalent to 37.4 liters.

10 Variant readings to Fragment 4:9-10 have been preserved by Hippolytus in his Commentary on Daniel. These variant readings have been woven into the text as presented above. Irenaeus has: “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.” Hippolytus has: “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.’”

11 Isaiah 11:6.

12 Eusebius, Ecclesiastic History III 39.

13 Eusebius, Ecclesiastic History III 39.

14 See Mark 16:18.

15 Eusebius, Ecclesiastic History III 39.

16 Eusebius, Ecclesiastic History III 39.

17 The same as John Mark in Acts 12 and 15, the cousin of Barnabas. (Colossians 4:10)

18 Eusebius, Ecclesiastic History III 39.

19 Three separate variations of the Hebrew version of Matthew exists today: the Shem Tob, the Musnter, and the DuTillet.

20 Preserved in the writings of Andreas, bishop of Caesarea, Commentary on the Apocalypse 34.12. (5th century CE)

21 The Book of Enoch elaborates this account in extensive details.


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