1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Matthias (disciple)

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MATTHIAS, the disciple elected by the primitive Christian community to fill the place in the Twelve vacated by Judas Iscariot (Acts i. 21-26). Nothing further is recorded of him in the New Testament. Eusebius (Hist. Eccl., I. xii.) says he was, like his competitor, Barsabas Justus, one of the seventy, and the Syriac version of Eusebius calls him throughout not Matthias but Tolmai, i.e. Bartholomew, without confusing him with the Bartholomew who was originally one of the Twelve, and is often identified with the Nathanael mentioned in the Fourth Gospel (Expository Times, ix. 566). Clement of Alexandria says some identified him with Zacchaeus, the Clementine Recognitions identify him with Barnabas, Hilgenfeld thinks he is the same as Nathanael.

Various works — a. Gospel, Traditions and Apocryphal Words — were ascribed to him; and there is also extant The Acts of Andrew and Matthias, which places his activity in “the city of the cannibals” in Ethiopia. Clement of Alexandria quotes two sayings from the Traditions: (i) Wonder at the things before you (suggesting, like Plato, that wonder is the first step to new knowledge); (2) If an elect man's neighbour sin, the elect man has sinned.