Who was Apollonius?Question: "Who was Apollonius?"
Answer: Apollonius is a name given to many famous figures of ancient Greek history. Its most legitimate connection to the Bible is from its shortened form: Apollos. Apollos is one of the earliest Christian leaders named in the Bible (1 Corinthians 16:12).
Critics, in an attempt to discredit the Bible, occasionally claim that Apollonius of Tyana, who lived in the first century AD, was an inspiration for Jesus or Paul or some other biblical figure. However, texts about Apollonius of Tyana were not written until more than a century after Apollonius’s death. The author of those texts, Philostratus, had never met Apollonius or anyone who was alive when Apollonius was alive. The story of Apollonius overflows with excessive and spectacular miracles. Other historical sources do not mention anything about Apollonius that support the tales of him, unlike Jesus, whose life and influence are referenced in multiple objective historical sources.
Also significant is that everything we know of Apollonius comes from this single source, Philostratus, who was paid to write his work. A Roman official planned to build a temple to Apollonius, and he hired Philostratus to write about him prior to the temple’s dedication. This is in sharp contrast to the authors of the New Testament, who were persecuted and punished for what they wrote.
Even more illuminating, the stories of Apollonius were recorded some 150 years after the earthly life of Jesus. If one of these figures is a shabby copycat, clearly it is Apollonius, not Jesus.
Recommended Resource: The Case for the Real Jesus by Lee Strobel
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Questions about Apologetics and Worldview
Who was Apollonius?