In the first century CE, the Jewish Jesus, his followers, and the Pythagorean Apollonius journeyed widely, each to spread their good news. Spectral Lives by Luke and Philostratus: Journeying of Holy Men argues that the biographers, Luke and Philostratus felt ethically compelled from divine specters to show and tell that good news to help their world. Post-Enlightenment developments in historiography have expanded understanding of ancient texts with a “third dimension,” a “transhuman habitat” evident in ancient texts. In this book, Robert Lee Williams investigates how affect theory has sensitized interpreters to emotional responses.
Robert Lee Williams is Distinguished Fellow at B.H. Carroll Theological Seminary advising doctoral work.
List of Maps
Chapter 1: Biographical Writings: 500 BCE to 300 CE
Part I First Century Biographies: Jewish and Christian
Chapter 2: Philo: Ancient Jewish Lives
Chapter 3: Luke: The Gospel
Chapter 4: Luke: The Acts of the Apostles
Part II: Third Century Biographies: Pythagorean
Chapter 5: Philostratus: The Life of Apollonius of Tyana
Chapter 6: Iamblichus: On the Pythagorean Way of Life
This book on ancient travel itself crosses borders. The author of Luke-Acts journeys with Philo, Iamblichus, and above all Philostratus through ancient landscapes, but also through contemporary affect theory, queer historiography, and Derridean hauntology. The result is a unique and illuminating exercise in interdisciplinarity.
Recent scholarship concerned with the New Testament and Christian origins has rightly focused on the Greco-Roman world of literature and imagination. In this stimulating study Robert Lee Williams compares the role played by “journeying” in Philostratus’s Life of Apollonius of Tyana and Luke’s Gospel and book of Acts. The comparison is insightful and fascinating. Modern readers will acquire new understanding of how ancient readers and auditors heard the narratives of Luke in their own time.
By harnessing post-structuralist’s ‘affect’ and ‘queer’ readings of ancient narrative, Williams takes us on exploratory tours of two holy men, Jesus of Nazareth of the evangelist Luke, and Apollonius of Tyana, of the philosopher-writer Philostratus of Second-Sophistic Rome. Both authors feature their hallowed heroes on long journeys to gain true life but whose destinations divulge very different conceptions of the Life of the Deity who controls the fates of all humankind: the willing submission to death by execution which releases true life for all humanity, and escaping from the penalty of death as embracing true life, respectively!