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Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament


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(in some Manuscripts and VSS [Note: SS Versions.] Aphphia or Appia)

A Christian lady of Colossae, designated by St. Paul (Philemon 1:2) as ‘sister’ (ἁδελφῇ, so א ADE), in the Christian sense. Authorized Version , following inferior manuscript testimony, substitutes ‘beloved’ (ἀγαπητῇ); some Manuscripts have both words. Grotius regards the name as a softened and hellenized form of the Latin Appia; but Lightfoot (Col. and Philem.3, 1879, p. 306) and Zahn (Introd. to NT, 1909, i. 453) show that the name is Phrygian and is found in numerous ancient Phrygian inscriptions.

Most commentators (following Chrysostom and Theodoret) regard Apphia as Philemon’s wife, since otherwise her name either would not have been introduced at all in a private letter, or at least would have been put after the name of Archippus (q.v. [Note: quod vide, which see.] ), who was an office-bearer. As the wife of Philemon, Apphia would have some claim to be consulted in such a matter as the forgiveness and emancipation of a slave. The possibility, however, of her being the sister (literally) of Philemon is not grammatically excluded if the reading ‘sister’ be accepted.

The ancient Greek Martyrology represents Apphia (along with Philemon) as suffering martyrdom under Nero on Nov. 22 (see Menœa for November).

Literature.-See under Philemon. Henry Cowan.

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Apphia'. Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament. 1906-1918.

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