Can you do a post on what we know about the deaths of the Apostles from the early sources and include your opinions?


Many, MANY Christians have argued that Jesus must have been raised from the dead, because “all the apostles” died for their faith, and “no one would die for a lie.”  The latter of course, is not true, as people die for lies all the time (for example, in war); but that’s not really the point.   The point is (or rather the points are):

(a) Just because the disciples believed Jesus was raised from the dead doesn’t mean that he was raised from the dead;

(b) They could have been wrong about him being raised without lying about it.  They may, for example, have heard that some of their numbers had “seen” Jesus alive, and they genuinely believed it to be true.

(c) And *most* important, we actually don’t know how most of the apostles died.

This last point is really significant, and not widely known.  It is widely assumed (I had a good Christian woman tell me this three days ago) that all the apostles were martyred for their faith.  But the fact is, we don’t know!  For none of the apostles do we have reliable historical records?  For most of them, we don’t even have legends.   For those for whom we do have legends (Peter, Paul, John, and a couple of others) the legends are not historically trustworthy.

The best-attested case is the apostle Peter.   I think he probably was indeed martyred.  But I don’t think we have the details.  What we have is a couple of early allusions to his death and an amazing legend, from about a hundred years after he died.  Here is…

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