the fragments of papias
Five books of Papias are in circulation, which are entitled "Expositions of the Sayings of the Lord." Irenaeus also mentions these as the only works written by him, saying something like this: "Papias, a man of the early period, who was a hearer of John and a companion of Polycarp, bears witness to these things in writing in the fourth of his books. For there are five books composed by him." (2) So says Irenaeus. Yet Papias himself, in the preface of his discourses, indicates that he was by no means a hearer or eyewitness of the holy apostles, but show by the language he uses that he received the matters of the faith from those who had known them:
- (3) I will not hesitate to set down for you, along with my interpretation, everything I carefully learned then from the elders and carefully remembered, guaranteeing their truth. For unlike most people I did not enjoy those who have a great deal to say, but those who teach the truth. Nor did I enjoy those who recall someone else's commandments, but those who remember the commandments given by the Lord to the faith and proceeding from the truth itself. (4) And if by chance someone who had been a follower of the elders should come my way, I enquired about the words of the elders- what Andrew or Peter said, or Philip, or Thomas or James, or John or Matthew or any other of the Lord's disciples, and whatever Aristion and the elder John, the Lord's disciples, were saying. For I did not think that information from books would profit me as much as information from a living and abiding voice.
- from pages 313-314, The Apostolic Fathers