Jesus and Alexander of Abonoteichus

Page 1 of 1 (2 items)
This post has 1 Reply | 0 Followers

Posts 3770
Francis | Forum Activity | Posted: Wed, Oct 5 2016 2:47 AM

This is not about logos but I thought I would post it anyway as something that many might find interesting. As I was reading the preface to Lucian of Samosata's Alexander the False Prophet, I was arrested by these words:

"Although Alexander achieved honour not only in his own country, a small city in remote Paphlagonia, but over a large part of the Roman world, almost nothing is known of him except from the pages of Lucian. Gems, coins, and inscriptions corroborate Lucian as far as they go, testifying to Alexander’s actual existence and widespread influence, and commemorating the name and even the appearance of Glycon, his human-headed serpent. But were it not for Lucian, we should not understand their full significance" (excerpt from the preface to Lucian's Alexander the False Prophet, loeb edition).

It is often asserted that Jesus was an obscure figure because He is only mentioned by a couple Roman writers in the 1st and 2nd centuries. Here is another person who was well-known but about whom we would know nothing if not through one single writing.

I added this material as a note with multiple attachment points to (1) "Jesus in non-Christian Sources" in Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels; (2) "Gospels (Historical Reliability)," same resource; and (3) "Jesus in non-Christian Sources" in the second edition of the DJG.

I also searched the 155 gospel commentaries in my library, and then my entire library for references to Alexander and only found a few references with regard to Lucian's critique or Alexander's miraculous activity, but no attention to the importance of this precedent for the way we evaluate the significance (or lack thereof) of the paucity of non-Christian references to Jesus in the first 2 centuries.

Posts 3349
Sascha John | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Oct 5 2016 3:32 AM

Found this Footnote

 Im zweiten Jahrh. traten nach dem Muster des Apollonios von Tyana allerlei Betrüger als Wundetäter auf. So Alexander von Abonuteichos, einer Stadt Paphlagoniens, und der Kyniker Peregrinus Proteus aus Parion, einer Stadt Mysiens am Ausgange des Hellespont; den tragikomischen Tod des letzteren schildert Lukian. Von Neryllos, der in Alexandria Troas, welches auch in der Apostelgeschichte 16,11 erwähnt ist, verehrt wurde, haben wir nur durch Athenagoras Kunde und zwar bezeichnet er ihn als Zeitgenossen, was im Gegensatz zu den beiden andern Genannten, die um 170 starben, doch nur den Sinn haben kann, daß Neryllos zur Zeit der Abfassung der Apologie noch lebte.

Apologeten, F. (1913). Athenagoras’ Bittschrift für die Christen. Frühchristliche Apologeten und Märtyrerakten Band I. Aus dem Griechischen und Lateinischen übersetzt von Dr. Kaspar Julius (Aristides); Dr. Gerhard Rauschen (Justin, Diognet); Dr. R.C. Kukula (Tatian); P. Anselm Eberhard (Athenagoras). (Bibliothek der Kirchenväter, 1. Reihe, Band 12) München.

Page 1 of 1 (2 items) | RSS