MELITO, bishop of Sardis, a Christian writer of the 2nd century, mentioned by Eusebius (Hist. Red. iv. 21) along with Hegesippus, Dionysius of Corinth, Apollinaris of Hierapolis, Irenaeus, and others, his contemporaries, as a champion oi orthodoxy and upholder of apostolic tradition. Of his personal history nothing is known, and of his numerous works (which are enumerated with quotations by Eusebius) only a few fragments are extant. They included an Apologia addressed to Antoninus some time between A.D. 169 and 180, two books relating to the paschal controversy, and a work entitled 'ExXo-yoi 'selections from the Old Testament), which contained the first Christian list of " the books of the Old Covenant." It excludes Esther, Nehemiah and the Apocrypha. The fragments have jeen edited with valuable notes by Routh (Reliquiae sacrae, vol. i., 1814). These are sufficient to show that Melito was an mportant figure in Asia Minor and took much part in the jaschal, Marcionite and Montanist controversies.
It seems more than doubtful whether the Apologia of Melito ' the Philosopher," discovered in a Syriac translation by Henry Tattam (1789-1868), and subsequently edited by W. Cureton and Dy Pitra-Renan, ought to be attributed to this writer and not to another of the same name. The KXas (clavis), edited by PitraRenan, is a much later Latin collection of mystical explanations of Scripture.
See A. Harnack, Texte und Untersuchungen, i. 240-278 (Leipzig, 1882); Erwin Preuschen, s.v. "Melito" in Herzog-Hauck, Realencyklopadie, xii., 1903, giving full list of works and bibliography.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)