Schaff, Philip. History of the Christian Church (The Complete Eight Volumes in One). Amazon Kindle Edition, 2014.
Volume 2, Ante-Nicene Christianity A.D. 100-325, “Chapter 13. Ecclesiastical Literature of the Ante-Nicene Age, and Biographical Sketches of the Church Fathers.” sec. 159-204.
§ 169. Papias.
Papias is known to us through some fragementary writings and through passages quoted by Irenaeas (Schaff 2014, loc. 21232). After a very brief bibliography, Schaff identifies Papias as “a disciple of John and friend of Polycarp . . . bishop of Hierapolis, in Phrygia, till towards the middle of the second century (Schaff 2014, loc. 21240). Schaff considers that he probably was born around 70 and died about 155. Schaff evaluates Papias as “a pious, devout and learned student of the Scriptures, and a faithful traditionalist, though somewhat credulous and of limited comprehension” (Schaff 2014, loc. 21248). He was, by all accounts, committed to passing on the traditions and teachings of the apostolic period. “He collected with great zeal the oral traditions of the apostles and their disciples respecting the discourses and works of Jesus, and published them in five books under the title: ‘Explanation of the Lord’s Discourses’” (Schaff 2014, loc. 21255). The book was lost sometime in or after the 13th century, though some fragments remain, quoted by Irenaeus and Eusebius. It is in this book that Papias discusses the alleged Hebrew composition of Matthew’s Gospel as well as the influence of Peter on Mark’s Gospel (Schaff 2014, loc. 21263).
Schaff views Papias as a valuable source for the early 2nd century chiliasm, the interest in oral tradition related to apostles and prophets, as well as to the overall state of the canon of Scripture in his time (Schaff 2014, loc. 21270). There is some debate about Papias’ relation to the apostle John, as he may possibly indicate there are two separate people - the apostle and the elder. Schaff tends to think the two descriptions refer to the same person, John the author of the Fourth Gospel (Schaff 2014, loc. 21293).