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A Dictionary of Early Christian Biography [1]

Apion. The name is properly Egyptian (see Procop. Pers. i. 8; Ross. Inscr. fasc. 2, p. 62) and derived from the god Apis, after the analogy of Anubion, Serapion, etc.

( 1 ) The son of Poseidonius (Justin (?) Coh, ad Gent. § 9; Africanus in Eus. Pr. Ev. x. 10. p. 490), a grammarian of Alexandria in the 1st cent. His literary triumphs and critical labours on Homer do not fall within our scope, but his conflict with Jews and Jewish Christians entitles him to a place here.

(i) His hostility to Judaism was deep, persistent, and unscrupulous (Joseph. c. Ap. ii. 1–13; Clem. Hom. iv. 24, v. 2, πάνυ Ἰουδαίους δἰ ἀπεχθείας ἔξοντα , v. 27, 29, ὁ ἀλόγως μισῶν τὸ Ἰουδαίων κ .τ.λ.; Clem. Strom. i. 21), as the direct extracts preserved by Josephus from his writings clearly prove. These attacks were contained in two works especially in his Egyptian History (Αἰγυπτιακά ), and in a separate treatise Against the Jews ( κατὰ Ἰουδαίων βίβλος , Justin. (?) l.c.  ; Africanus, l.c. ). Josephus exposes the ignorance, mendacity, and self-contradictions of Apion.

(ii) It is not surprising that the spent wave of this antagonism should have overflowed on Judaic Christianity. Whether Apion actually came in contact with any members of the new brotherhood is more than questionable. His early date (for he flourished in the reigns of Tiberius, Caius, and Claudius) renders this improbable. But in the writings of the Petro-Clementine cycle he holds a prominent place as an antagonist of the Gospel. In the Clementine Homilies he appears in company with Anubion and Athenodorus among the satellites of Simon Magus, the arch-enemy of St. Peter and St. Peter's faith. The Clementine Recognitions contain nothing corresponding to the disputes of Clement and Apion in the 4th, 5th, and 6th books of the Homilies; but at the close of this work (x. 52), as at the close of the Homilies, he is introduced as a subsidiary character in the plot. See the treatises on these writings by Schliemann, Uhlhorn, Hilgenfeld, Lehmann, and others.

( 2 ) A Christian author about the end of 2nd cent., who wrote on the Hexaemeron (Eus. H. E. v. 27; Hieron. Vir. Ill. 49).


Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [2]

( Ἀπίων , Lean ) , a Greek grammarian, against whose attacks upon Jewish history Josephus wrote the treatise Contra Apionem. Some writers call him a son of Pleistonices, while others more correctly state that this was only his surname, and'that he was the son of Poseidonius (Gell. 6:8; Seneca, Epist. 88; Euseb. Prep. Evang. 1 0, 10). He was a native of Oasis, but used to say that he was born at Alexandria, where he studied under Apollonius and Didymus (Suidas, s.v.; Josephus, Apion, 2, 3, etc.). He afterward settled at Rome, where he taught rhetoric during the reigns ofTiberius and Claudius. In the reign of Caligula he traveled in Greece. About A.D. 38, the inhabitants of Alexandria having, sent complaints to the emperor against the Jews residing there, Apion headed the embassy that made the prosecution, the defense by the Jews being made by Philo. According to his enemy Josephus ( Revelation 2:1-29;  Revelation 13:1-18), he died of the effects of his dissolute mode of life. He appears to have enjoyed an extraordinary reputation for his extensive knowledge and versatility as an orator, but the ancients are unanimous in censuring his ostentatious vanity (Gell. 5,14; Pliny, Hist. Nat. praef. and 30, 6; Josephus,  Revelation 2:1-29;  Revelation 12:1-17). Besides the treatise named above, of which we only know what Josephus relates, he wrote commentaries upon Homer, a history of Egypt, a eulogy of Alexander the Great, and several historical sketches, of all of which there remain only the fragmental stories about Androclus and the lion, and about the dolphin near Dicaearchia, preserved by Gellius.