Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Review of Thonemann, Lucian: Alexander or the false prophet

BRYN MAYR CLASSICAL REVIEW: Lucian: Alexander or the false prophet.
Peter Thonemann, Lucian: Alexander or the false prophet. Clarendon ancient history series. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2021. Pp. 256. ISBN 9780198868248 £90.00.

Review by
Jan Bremmer, University of Groningen.

There is no doubt that Lucian’s pamphlet on the religious entrepreneur Alexander of Abonouteichos belongs to the most entertaining writings of antiquity. At the same time, it is a precious witness to the religious atmosphere of the later second century AD, that is, the same period in which we find the major Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles (John, Andrew, Paul and Peter). It would perhaps have paid off for Thonemann to compare them more closely, as they portray more or less contemporaneous religious entrepreneurs, partially working in the same area as Alexander.


I think I might want to have a conversation about whether the apostle Paul "failed to reach [Alexander's] success." Really? On what time scale?

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