As noted in Part 1, Jerome claimed that presbyters and bishops were the same office, and that a time came when it was universally decreed in the church that one presbyter should preside over the others, in order to remove the seeds of schism.
Further Evidence that Papias spoke of two famous Johns
Some scholars argue that Papias spoke of the same John twice, thus removing any possibility that a second John, the Elder, was associated with the Johannine writings. As we have seen, most scholars reject this proposal.
Even many prominent scholars of the traditional view reject the view that Papias spoke of one John
Part 3: Concessions from Scholars Holding the Traditional View
In this post, we will see that Papias’s differentiation of the two Johns has been accepted even among those who hold the traditional view (that the Apostle John, the son of Zebedee, wrote all of the Johannine works), despite the fact that this creates an otherwise unknown John who was famous at the time of Papias. Papias’s words are:
Scholarly consensus supports two separate John in Papias
We have been considering Papias’s reference to John the Elder. For the most part, scholarship holds that Papias spoke of two separate Johns, and it is generally admitted that had Papias intended to speak of the same John twice, then he expressed himself very unnaturally. Indeed, some exclude even this possibility.