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The confusion might appear harmless. It affects Papias merely; but the man with whom we are concerned, who told the young Irenaeus about his former teacher, the Apostle John, was Polycarp. But why does Irenaeus call Papias a companion of Polycarp, unless it be because both of them 174in their early youth had the same teacher? Both lived in Asia Minor, and when they were young there was only one John in Asia Minor. It was left for a Christian writer in the third century to note that there were statements about both John the Apostle and John the Elder which indicated Ephesus as their dwelling-place; and because he knew of no other way of adjusting these, he was obliged to think that the two men lived there simultaneously. But no one belonging to the earlier period has any knowledge of this, and it is clear from our records, every one of which knows only of one head of the Christian Church in Asia Minor, that there was no room for the two men at the same time. Irenaeus must therefore have been as much mistaken about Polycarp’s teacher as about the teacher of Papias; and Polycarp was the disciple of John the Elder, not of the Apostle.

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