A Peculiar Story of Peter’s Martyrdom

Now, in response to the question I started answering a few days ago, I discuss the earliest account we have of the martyrdom of Peter.   It is an odd account, and not widely known.  Here is what I say about it in my book Peter, Paul, and Mary Magdalene.

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Peter as Martyr

The death of Peter by execution is already alluded to in the Gospel of John – which evidently, then, had been written after the event occurred.  As Jesus ...

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Thomas and His Identical Twin Jesus, in the Acts of Thomas

In my previous post I mentioned the Apocryphal Acts of Thomas, a text that assumes Judas Thomas was actually Jesus’ twin brother.   Here I can describe the book itself, where the idea that the two are *identical* twins appears to move along the plot in a rather humorous way..  Here is what I say about the matter in my book Lost Christianities.

 

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The Acts of Thomas narrates the adventures of Thomas, Jesus’ brother, in his missionary work on the ...

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Jesus’ Twin Brother, Thomas

I have mentioned in passing that there were some early Christians who thought that one of Jesus’ brothers, Jude (or Judas: both are translations of the same Greek word), was actually a twin.  Not just of anyone, but of Jesus himself.  Some readers have expressed surprise in the most succinct way possible, by asking: “Huh??”

I talk about the matter in a couple of my previous publications, especially when speaking about early Christian apocryphal texts that deal with the missionary exploits ...

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Thomas, the Synoptic Gospels, and Q

A number of readers have asked about Thomas’s relation to the Synoptic Gospels and the famous Q source —  that is, the lost source that both Matthew and Luke used for many of their sayings of Jesus not found in Mark (called Q from the German word Quelle, which means “source”).  Here is what I say about those issues in my textbook on the New Testament

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 Thomas and the Q Source.         The Gospel of Thomas, with its list of ...

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Thomas: The Most Important Gospel Outside the New Testament

The Gospel of Thomas is almost certainly the most important Gospel from outside the New Testament.  Here I talk about what it’s overarching message is, and how it relates to the Gospels that did make it into the Christian Scripture.  Again, this is taken from my textbook on the NT.

 

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The Overarching Message of the Book.      The meanings of many of Thomas’s sayings are in no way obvious. If they were, they would not be called secret! Even though ...

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The Gospel of Thomas: An Overview

I started this thread with a question about the Gospel of Thomas — almost certainly the most important Gospel not in the New Testament.  Now that I have situated “Thomasine” Christianity in the context of the Nag Hammadi Library the broader Gnostic movement – and questioned whether it is actually a kind of Gnosticism, or simply something similar – I can turn to the Gospel itself.  This will take three posts.  The one today is a broad introduction to its ...

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Two Rather Bizarre Accounts of How Judas Died

In my experience, most people don’t realize that there are two different accounts of Judas’s death in the New Testament, let alone that these two are very difficult indeed to reconcile with one another.  Virtually impossible, I would say.  But even more people don’t know that there are accounts of Judas’s death from *outside* the New Testament in other sources.  One of these two almost *nobody* knows about, except for a few specialist scholars.

The first account comes to us from ...

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The Different Terms for Literary Deception

In the Seminar on Ancient Forgery at Rice University a few days ago, I made a presentation in which I urged (all of us) scholars to decide on which terms we use to describe different kinds of literary phenomena associated in one way or another with literary deceit.

My view is that since there are different phenomena (even if these can overlap), we ought to have distinct terms to refer to them – otherwise it just gets confusing.  It can be ...

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Different Kinds of Literary Deceit

In my presentation to the seminar on forgery at Rice University a few days ago, I dealt with a problem facing scholars who study literary deceit in antiquity.   On the most basic level, no one – even experts – seems to agree even on which terms to use to describe this or that kind of ancient deceptive practice.   It would be worth devoting a couple of blog posts to the issue.  As it turns out, it was also subject of ...

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Do We Know How Paul Died?

In response to a question about what we know about the deaths of the apostles yesterday (short answer: almost nothing!) I talked about the hints about Peter’s death in the NT, and the later legend about it in the apocryphal Acts of Peter.  Today I can talk about what we know about the legends about the martyrdom of Paul, from the equally apocryphal Acts of Paul.  Here is what I say about it in my book Peter, Paul, and Mary ...

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