The Greek Philosopher Many Believe to Be Jesus Christ — Greek City Times

The Greek philosopher Apollonius of Tyana is believed by many to actually be Jesus Christ, which has caused controversy among scholars and theologians for centuries.

From the Roman province of Cappadocia, the contemporary Apollonius of Tyana of Jesus Christ, who lived around 3 BC. 97 AD, was considered by some at the time to be a divine figure who could save mankind.

Its similarities with Jesus Christ are undeniable. They are said to have both ascended to heaven. There are stories of miracles performed by both. They were both spiritual masters.

Bart Ehrman, a well-known agnostic atheist and professor of religion at UNC-Chapel Hill, begins his class by sharing this description of a famous man from the ancient world:

Before he was born, his mother had a visitor from heaven who told her that her son would not be a mere mortal but would in fact be divine. His birth was accompanied by unusual divine signs in the sky.

As an adult, he left his home to engage in an itinerant preaching ministry. He gathered around him a number of followers who became convinced that he was no ordinary human, but that he was the Son of God.

And he worked miracles to confirm them in their beliefs: he could heal the sick, cast out demons and raise the dead. At the end of his life, he aroused opposition from the ruling authorities in Rome and was put on trial.

But they couldn’t kill his soul. He ascended to heaven and continues to live there to this day.

To prove that he survived after leaving his earthly orb, he appeared again to at least one of his skeptical followers, who became convinced that in fact he remains with us even now. Later, some of his followers wrote books about him, and we can still read about him today.

Ehrman, of course, wants everyone in his class to think he’s talking about Jesus Christ. But alas, he reveals the shocking news that he wasn’t talking about Jesus at all. Instead, it refers to Apollonius of Tyana.

Apollonius challenged the Roman tyrants

Apollonius challenged the bloodiest tyrants to ever sit on the Roman throne – Nero and his successor, Domitian. Apollonius traveled fearlessly throughout the Roman Empire, instigating revolutions against despots and establishing egalitarian communities among his followers, who were known as the Essenes, the early Christians.

And not content with such activities in the Roman provinces, he courageously entered Rome itself, after all the philosophers had been expelled from the city on pain of death by Domitian.

There he openly denounced the tyrant, for which he was arrested and thrown into a dungeon, awaiting certain death which, however, due to his brilliant self-defense speech and extraordinary powers of mind, he avoided , securing his freedom.

At least 16 temples were built in honor of Apollonius of Tyana

Today, few know Cappadocian Greek.

In the ancient world, however, the great philosopher had something like 16 temples built in his honor all over the Mediterranean world, and possibly across Mesopotamia (Babylon-Iraq) and as far as India. He was a mythical hero during the time of the Roman Empire.

Apollonius was a charismatic teacher and miracle worker who became a disciple of religious teacher and mathematician Pythagoras and was greatly influenced by his philosophies.

It is ancient Greek philosophical thought that separates its beliefs from Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ taught his disciples that God answers prayers. Apollonius of Tyana believed in a God who was pure intellect and taught his followers that the only way to converse with God was through the intellect.

He taught that prayers and sacrifices were useless and that God really did not want to converse with men.

“The gods don’t need sacrifices, so what can we do to please them? Acquire wisdom, it seems to me, and do all the good in your power to the humans who deserve it,” he had said.

He traveled extensively around the Mediterranean and in India as a preacher, delivering his message and healing the sick.

An epigram first seen at Adana in Cilicia, but now known to be from Mopsouhestia, celebrates him as one “named after Apollo” who “extinguished the errors of men” (ἀνθρώπων ἔσβεσεν ἀμπλακίας) and was sent by heaven (or lifted up to heaven). ) ‘to drive away the pains of mortals’ (ὅπως θνητῶν ἐξελάσειε πόνους).

Miracles similar to those of Jesus performed by the Greek philosopher

The oldest and by far the most detailed source is the Life of Apollonius of Tyana, a long, romantic biography written by the Athenian sophist Philostratus which he completed long after his death, probably in the 220s or 230s AD.

Among the miracles attributed to him by Philostratus was saving the city of Ephesus from a plague. It is also claimed that he brought back to life the daughter of a Roman senator.

In one instance, he prevented a follower from marrying a woman who turned out to be a “lamia”, a kind of demon in disguise, and in doing so saved his life.

Philostratus on one occasion implies that Apollonius had extra-sensory perception. When Emperor Domitian was assassinated on September 18, 96 AD, Apollonius is said to have witnessed the event in Ephesus “around noon” on the day it happened in Rome, and said to those present “Take courage, gentlemen, because the tyrant was killed this day…”.

Philostratus and the famous historian Cassius Dio relate this incident, probably on the basis of an oral tradition.

There are several accounts of Apollonius’ death. In one he was arrested by Septimius Severus but disappeared from his cell and was never seen again. In another version, he ascended to heaven from a temple in Asia Minor.

In most stories, it is claimed that he disappeared around the age of 100 and was still young.

Skeptics question biography

Philostratus’ biography of Apollonius has many skeptics. Some scholars believe it was written on the instructions of Empress Julia Domna, wife of Emperor Septimius Severus and mother of the bloodthirsty tyrant Caracalla.

They believe the Empress commissioned the biography from Philostratus in order to counter the popularity of Christianity. She wanted to reinforce paganism in the Empire and worried about the threat from Christians.

This means that the true figure of Apollonius may have been lost. Philostratus may have twisted it in order to turn it into a pagan alternative to Jesus Christ.

It appears to have been a success and Apollonius was honored by many including Emperors Julian and Aurelian and his image was venerated in many temples for centuries after his death.

It was not enough to stop the growth of the Christian Church. The cult of Apollonius declined after Constantine made Christianity the official religion of the Empire.

PhilostratusBiography may have misrepresented Apollonius, so today we don’t know who he really was. Was he an impostor, a religious prophet or a serious religious philosopher? We will never be sure.

As Edward Whelan wrote in Classical Wisdom “What can be said with certainty is that Apollonius of Tyana was an extraordinary figure in the ancient world.”

READ MORE: Amazon documentary claims Jesus was Greek, not Jewish.

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