Apollonius of Tyana
Around 220 AD Flavius Philostratus was commissioned to write the Life of Apollonius of Tyana by the Empress Julia Domna. Apollonius was born in Tyana (Bor in modern Turkey) in BC 4, and although noone can agree on the date of his death, Apollonius is believed to have lived for around a century.
Philostratus' Apollonius of Tyana should be of special interest to students of the origins of Christianity. This is because, although you may think that Christianity has a solid history going back into the first century and before, if we follow a historical and archaeological investigation, the first Bible would appear to be that of Marcion of Sinope AD 140. This is consistent with the fact that archeological records started appearing dated 180-210 AD.
The book Apollonius of Tyana disappeared from the Roman Empire into the Arab world from which it resurfaced in the 1500's. It was an immediate controversy in the Christian world because of the parallels with the Bible. For example Apollonius was educated in Tarsus and had a connection with Ephesus. Apollonius cast out demons and raised people from the dead. Yet Apollonius lived a long time, long enough to cover the lives of Jesus, Paul and all the Apostles.
Why is it then that Apollonius of Tyana never mentions biblical events, and the Bible never mention Apollonius? Well it was always possible that Apollonius was Paul, or that Paul was 'plagiarized' from Apollonius by Marcion, who wished to continue his spritual tradition. After all, the names are more similar linguistically than is apparent to us.
Apollonius of Tyana is the longest biography to have survived from ancient times. It records the travels of Apolonius and Damis through Babylon to India where they meet the Masters who could levitate and materialize all their needs. The Masters lived 'outside' but were able to provide protection from the elements and enemies by spiritual means.
Apollonius and Damis return to the Mediterranean where they face the tyrants Nero and Domitian, and their enemy Euphrates.
Apollonius befriends Vespasian and other Roman statesmen. Whilst speaking on stage in Greece he suddenly forgets his lines as he can see the murder of the tyrant Domition with spiritual eyes. The crowd thinks that he has finally gone mad when he cries "Strike the tyrant, strike!" Eventually news comes from Rome that Domition is dead.
The book (all 8 books in one) can be purchased cheaply online here
The entire text of Apollonius of Tyana by Flavius Philostratus can be read online here.
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