An apocryphal writer, said to have been one of the seventy-two Disciples of Christ, and first Bishop of Babylon, consecrated by Sts. Simon and Jude.
Very little is known about him, and the main reason for mentioning him is a work in ten books called Historia Certaminis Apostolici which is imputed to him. It tells of the labours and deaths of the Apostles. This compilation purports to have been translated from Hebrew into Greek by Eutropius, a disciple of Abdias, and, in the third century, from Greek into Latin by (Julius) Africanus, the friend of Origen. But it is really a Latin work, for in it are cited, with the Vulgate of St. Jerome, the Ecclesiastical History of Rufinus and his Latin translation of the "Recognitiones" of Clement. The interest of the work is due to what the author claims to have drawn from the ancient 1Acta of the Apostles, and to many ancient legends which have thus been brought down to us.
The text of the pseudo-Abdias may be found in Fabricius, Codex Apocryphus Novi Testimenti (Hamburg, 1700), 402-742, though there are parallel texts of single books printed in the Acta Sanctorum . According to R.A. Lipsius, the work was compiled during the latter half of the sixth century, in some Frankish monastery, for the purpose of satisfying the natural curiosity of Western Christians . At the same time he used much older pseudo-Apostolic materials that he abridged or excerpted to suit his purpose, and often revised or expurgated in the sense of Catholic teaching, for not a few of the writings that he used were originally Gnostic compositions, and abounded in speeches and prayers destined to spread that heresy.
The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed between 1907 and 1912 in fifteen hard copy volumes.
Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.
No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.
Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912
Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online