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Bible Encyclopedias

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

Narcissus

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nar - sis´us ( Ναρκίσσος , Narkı́ssos ): In Romans 16:11 Paul sends greetings to "them of the household of Narcissus, that are in the Lord." "The last words may suggest that, though only the Christians in this household have a greeting sent to them, there were other members of it with whom the church had relations" (Denney).

Narcissus is a common name, especially among freedmen and slaves. But, as in the case of Aristobulus, some famous person of this name must be meant. Conybeare and Howson mention two, one the wellknown favorite of Claudius, the other a favorite of Nero. The latter, who was put to death by Galba (Dio Cass. lxiv. 3), they think to be the Narcissus meant here ( Paul , chapter xix). On the other hand, Bishop Lightfoot ( Phil , 175) holds that "the powerful freedman Narcissus, whose wealth was proverbial (Juv. Sat . xiv. 329), whose influence with Claudius was unbounded, and who bore a chief part in the intrigues of this reign, alone satisfies this condition." Shortly after the accession of Nero, he had been put to death by Agrippina (Tac. Ann. xiii. 1;. Dio Cass. lx.34) in 54 AD. As this occurred three or four years before the Epistle to the Romans was written, some think another Narcissus is meant. However, as was usual in such cases, his property would be confiscated, and his slaves, becoming the property of the emperor, would swell "Caesar's household" as Narcissiani.


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Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. Entry for 'Narcissus'. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/isb/n/narcissus.html. 1915.

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