Apostolic History of Abdias

ABDIAS, APOSTOLIC HISTORY OF, ab di’ əs. A Lat. collection of legends about the twelve apostles (including Paul), compiled from various sources (the canonical gospels and Acts, the pseudo-Clementine lit., the earlier apocryphal Acts, etc.) not earlier than the end of the 6th cent. According to the preface it was written in Heb. by Abdias, bishop of Babylon, companion of the apostles Simon and Jude, and himself said to have seen the Lord; his disciple Eutropius tr. it into Gr., and Julius Africanus into Lat. This has no historical foundation. The book’s importance lies in its preservation of material from older sources, and is reduced when these sources are themselves available. It is questionable whether two narratives later incorporated in the Passio Johannis of pseudo-Mellitus really belong to the Acts of John (see NTAp II. 204f.). In its present form the work is divided into ten books, one for James the Less, Simon and Jude, and one for each of the other apostles.

Bibliography

Text in J. A. Fabricius, Codex Apocryphus Novi Testamenti II (1703), 402-742. See R. A. Lipsius, Die apokryphen Apostelgeschichten i (1883), 117ff.; ANT, 257ff., 462ff.; NTAp II., 575f.