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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature


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(Gr. Νάρκισσος , a well-known flower, comp. νάρκη), a Roman, among whose kinsmen (so Auth. Vers. in marg. renders τοὺς ἐκ τοῦ Ναρκίσσου , text has "household") or friends were Christians, whom Paul salutes (Romans 16:11). A.D. 55. Neander (Pfianz. 1:384) supposes him to be the same with Narcissus, freedman and private secretary of the emperor Claudius (Pliny H. N. 33:47; Sueton. Claud. 38), who exercised unbounded influence over that emperor, but was put to death on the accession of Nero, A.D. 54 (Tacitus, Annal. 13:1, 57, 65; Dio Cass. 60:34). But this is inconsistent with the probable date of the Epistle. "Dio Cassius (64:3) mentions another Narcissus, who probably was living in Rome at that time; he attained to some notoriety as an associate of Nero, and was put to an ignominious death with Helius, Patrobius, Locusta, and others, on the accession of Galba, A.D. 68. His name, however (see Reimar's note, ad loc.), was at that time too common in Rome to give any probability to the guess that he was the Narcissus mentioned by St. Paul. A late and improbable tradition (Pseudo-Hippolytus) makes Narcissus one of the seventy disciples, and bishop of Athens."

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McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Narcissus'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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