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Pseudo-Abdias is the name formerly given to a collection of New Testament Apocrypha held by the Bibliothèque nationale de France and consisting of Latin translations in ten books containing several chapters. Each book describes the life of one of the Apostles.[1][2]


The name "Pseudo Abdias" itself is a mistake, dating from the edition of Swiss scholar Wolfgang Lazius (1552), and based on the mention of a disciple called Abdias, who is presented as the companion of the two apostles Simon and Judas Thaddeus on the way to Persia in one of the books, Passio Simonis et Iudae (BHL H, 7749-7751).[3]


In Lazius' edition (W. Lazius, Abdiae Babyloniae episcopi et apostolorum discipuli de historia certaminis apostolici libri decem Basel, 1552), the introduction to the Pseudo-Abdias is allegedly written by Julius Africanus who claimed the originals were written by Abdias of Babylon who was allegedly consecrated by Saint Simon and personally knew some of the Apostles. Africanus was supposed to have originally written them originally in Hebrew language and Latin along with being translated into Ancient Greek by Eutropius[disambiguation needed], his assistant.[1]

The claims to the documents being genuine Abdias Manuscripts have been widely disputed for several centuries. Their original authorship was first brought into question over book six, which was associated with another assistant of Abdias called Caton[disambiguation needed]. Book six covers the lives of Saint Simon and Saint Jude.[1] It has also been noted that a similar volume called the Pseudo-Crato was allegedly written by a disciple of Simon's called Crato.[4]

The manuscripts were copied in Ancient Greek by Saint Theodore in 826 CE, Constantinople and shortly after translated into Latin by Anastasius Bibliothecarius between 850 and 878 CE.[5]


Book eight covers the life of Bartholemew and describe him healing a lunatic, then being invited to meet a King and cure his daughter. It later describes his death by battery.[5]

Meredith Parsons Lillich has studied Bartholemew's martyrdom in the stained glass at Reims Cathedral. She suggested that the original Greek versions of the manuscript described Bartholemew being martyred by flaying instead of the traditional beating. Flaying is described in De ortu by Isodore, the Brevarium Apostolorum and the The Golden Legend. Latin manuscripts that describe beating are in the collection of the Vatican library Reg. lat. 466 and the Reims Bibl. mun. manuscript 1407 (both dated to the eleventh century and well adorned with no scribbly notes). Lillich highlights that the Saint-Thierry manuscript (Bibliothèque nationale de France lat. 5563) in the Pseudo-Abdias is covered in notations and alterations. She suggests the stained glass programmers of Reims were aware of the Greek "flaying" sources instead when they depicted the roundel in the center of Reims bay 106.[5]


The Pseudo-Abdias was published in 1703 by Johann Albert Fabricius in the second volume of a collection he had compiled of apocryphal manuscripts. He subtitled it "Acta Apostolorum Apocrypha, sive, Historia Certaminis Apostolici adscripta Abdiae" (English: The Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles, or, the History of the Apostolic Struggle ascribed to Abdias).[1]


  1. ^ a b c d Matthew C. Baldwin (2005). Whose Acts of Peter?: Text & Historical Context of the Actus Vercellenses. Mohr Siebeck. pp. 32–. ISBN 978-3-16-148408-7. Retrieved 11 November 2012. 
  2. ^ John, the Son of Zebedee: The Life of a Legend R. Alan Culpepper - 2000- Page 202 "The Passion of John, wrongly attributed to Bishop Melitus of Laodicea and thus known as Pseudo-Melitus, and the Virtutes Johannis, otherwise known as Pseudo-Abdias, represent two parallel compilations of accounts of John's marvelous works.45 Both depend on an earlier Greek text which contained accounts drawn from the Acts of John.46 The text of Pseudo-Melitus dates from Ephesus or its environs, late in the fifth century..."
  3. ^ Writings Relating to the Apostles - Apocalypses and Related Wilhelm Schneemelcher, Robert McLachlan Wilson - 2003 7-23) contains a Passio Simonis et ludae (BHL H, 7749-7751) which reflects an entirely different tradition about the deeds ... 20 about a certain Abdias, who is presented as the companion of the two apostles on the way to Persia and as first
  4. ^ Reverend Alexander Roberts (31 May 2007). The Ante-Nicene Fathers: The Writings of the Fathers Down to A. D. 325, Volume VIII Fathers of the Third and Fourth Century - the Twelve Patriarchs, Ex. Cosimo, Inc. pp. 357–. ISBN 978-1-60206-483-6. Retrieved 11 November 2012. 
  5. ^ a b c Meredith Parsons Lillich (1 September 2011). The Gothic Stained Glass of Reims Cathedral. Penn State Press. pp. 46–. ISBN 978-0-271-03777-6. Retrieved 10 November 2012.