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The Apocryphal New Testament Easy to use collection of English translations of the New Testament Apocrypha.

The Traditions of Matthias

Origen (Hom. 1. 1 on Luke) says he knows of a Gospel according to Matthias. The name recurs in the writings of Ambrose, Jerome, and Eusebius. It is condemned in the Gelasian Decree, and occurs in the List of the Sixty Books. Clement of Alexandria refers in Strom. 2. 9. 45; 3. 4. 6; 7. 13. 82; 7. 17. 108 to a treatise known as the Traditions of Matthias and it is possible that this is the same work as Origen refers to.

The work seems to have been composed before the third century. Its Gnostic origin is assumed by Hennecke, which assigns it to that category of gospel, although H.‐C. Puech (Hennecke3, i. 224 f; Hennecke5, i. 307; Eng. trans., 3i. 308 f; 5i. 382–6) is cautious about identifying its origin to Gnostic circles.

The extracts are set out in:

  • Preuschen, 12.

  • Klostermann, Apocrypha, ii. (2)13 ff.

  • de Santos Otero, 58–60.

  • [Cf. Fabricius, i. 341.]


Aland13, 584–6; Huck‐Greeven13, 285–6; Boismard, 415.

Modern Translations


  • James, 12–13.

  • Hennecke3, i. 308–13.

  • Hennecke5, i. 382–6.


  • Éac, 467–71.


  • Hennecke1, 167 (E. Hennecke); cf. Handbuch, 238 f.

  • Hennecke3, i. 224–8 (H.‐C. Puech).

  • Hennecke5, i. 306–9 (H.‐C. Puech and B. Blatz).


  • Bonaccorsi, i. pp. xvi–xvii, 28–31.

  • Erbetta, i. 1, 288–90.

  • Moraldi, i. 385–6.

Patristic Citations

Clement of Alexandria, Strom. 2. 9. 45 (Stählin, GCS 52 (15), p. 137) :

The beginning (of truth) is to wonder at things, as Plato says in the Theaetetus, and Matthias in the Traditions, advising us: ‘Wonder at the things that are before you, making this the first step to further knowledge.’

Ibid. 3. 4. 26 (Stählin, GCS 52 (15), p. 208) :

(The Gnostics) say that Matthias also taught thus: that we should fight with the flesh and abuse it, not yielding to it at all for licentious pleasure, but should make the soul grow by faith and knowledge.

Ibid. 7. 13. 82 (Stählin, GCS 17.2, p. 58) :

They say that in the Traditions Matthias the apostle always states, ‘If the neighbour of a chosen one sin, the chosen one has sinned: for had he behaved himself as the word enjoins, the neighbour also would have been ashamed of his way of life, so as not to sin.’

and perhaps also

Ibid. 4. 6. 35 (Stählin, GCS 52 (15), p. 263) :

It is said that Zacchaeus (or, as some say, Matthias), the chief publican, when he had heard the Lord condescended to come to him said, ‘Behold, the half of my goods I give in alms, Lord: and if I have defrauded any man of anything I restore it fourfold.’ Whereupon the Saviour said, ‘The son of man has come today and has found that which was lost.’

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