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Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament


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This is a name which holds a large place in the history of the early Church. We first find mention of it in 2 Timothy 4:21, where St. Paul, writing from his Roman prison, conveys to his friend the greetings of Eubulus, Pudens, Linus, and Claudia. Linus was thus a friend of Paul and Timothy in the closing years of the Apostle’s life. In the Apostolic Constitutions (vii. 46) he is regarded as the son of Claudia of 2 Timothy 4:21 (Λίνος ὁ Κλαυδίας), which is perhaps doubtful (see article Claudia). But the name Linus is found both in Irenaeus (c. Haer. III. iii. 3) and in Eusebius (HE [Note: E Historia Ecclesiastica (Eusebius, etc.).] III. ii., iv. 9, xiii.), where he is regarded as the successor of St. Peter and the first bishop of Rome after the Apostles, although Tertullian (de Praescr. 32) assigns this dignity to Clement. No details of any kind are given regarding the episcopate of Linus, and the date of his tenure of office is uncertain. Although Eusebius regards Clement as the successor of Linus, and Tertullian reverses the order, it is not improbable that both held office at the same time and that the episcopal power as wielded by them was of a very attenuated nature. Perhaps both held their position during the lifetime of St. Peter. According to Eusebius (HE [Note: E Historia Ecclesiastica (Eusebius, etc.).] III. xiii.) the episcopate of Linus lasted for a period of twelve years, but no dates can be fixed with any certainty. Harnack gives as probable a.d. 64-76. Linus has been regarded as the author of various works, but there is no evidence in support of this view. He is the reported author of (1) the Acts of St. Peter and St. Paul; (2) an account of St. Peter’s controversy with Simon Magus; (3) certain decrees prohibiting women from appearing in church with uncovered heads. The Roman Breviary states that he was a native of Voltena in Etruria, and that he died as a martyr of the faith, being beheaded by order of Saturninus, whose daughter he had healed of demoniacal possession. His memory is honoured by the Western Church on 23 September, and the Greek Menaea regards him as one of the Seventy.

Literature.-J. Pearson, de Serie et Successione primorum Romae Episcoporum, London, 1688; A. Harnack, Die Chronologic der altchristlichen Literatur, Leipzig, 1897; J. B. Lightfoot, Apostolic Fathers, pt. i.2, 1890.

W. F. Boyd.

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

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