Apollonius of Tyana: Proof or Doom for Christianity?

imageA commenter who calls himself Talos wonders, “What if it doesn’t belong to ‘Jesus’?”. This is based on a strange theory that has been around since 2005 when the book, Apollonius of Tyana and The Shroud of Turin was published.  The idea has never gained any traction. The commenter recommends a blog posting: Turin Shroud: Proof or Doom for Christianity? In that blog we read:

That is because according to late Texas researcher Rob Solarion the cloth did indeed cover the body of Christ after the crucifixion. But not the Christ of the New Testament. It was the true, historical Christ, who was none other than the Greek-Cappadocian sage APOLLONIUS OF TYANA!

Apollonius was born approximately in 4 BC and he was said to be a divine man, moral teacher, religious reformer, healer, prophet, and miracle worker. Sounds familiar? Yes it does, and that is why Raymond Bernard declared emphatically that Jesus was a myth based on Apollonius. Yet there was a crucial difference between the two. Apollonius lived for about 100 years and traveled throughout the known world, while Jesus lived only 33 years in Palestine.

imageRob Solarion [pictured] puts two and two together and proposes a revolutionary theory: The man on the Shroud is actually Apollonius of Tyana and so the story of Jesus is actually a missing chapter of his life! Ιncidentally, that supports the theory that Jesus did not die on the cross, something hinted in the Gospels too. Is this possible?

So far, without reading the book, I see no evidence other than a rather suspect comparison of the face image from the shroud and a maybe-undated statue of Apollonius of Tyana. Wikipedia suggests (or does it?) that the statue might be late second century. Yeah, that will work!

BTW: The facial comparisons in the blog Apollonius of Tyana and The Shroud of Turin posting are dubious, at best.

11 thoughts on “Apollonius of Tyana: Proof or Doom for Christianity?”

  1. Yeah right, And I am the queen of England. Dan you made me laugh. Even Dan Brown made more sense than this. So apparently the proof is in comparing the faces of Apollonius and the man in the shroud. There is a funny comparison on the website between the Vignon markings and the face of Apollonius. The numbers are placed on the statue but I can’t see any similarities, anyone can put numbers on a face but does it proove anything? And apparently this Apollonius lived to be a 100 years old, does the Man in the shroud look that old? I know the hair and beard are white but that’s because they were close to the cloth not because they were really white.

  2. In these types of facial comparisons, an irrelevant control image is typically absent, i.e. a negative control. For example, how well would a bust of Abe Lincoln match up? A similar morphing into the Shroud image? or even between Abe & Appollonius? Or Tom Hanks (Castaway mode)?

    1. Kelly, you are right. But even if the faces match, that doesn’t prove anything. does the shroud belong to the actor who played Jesus in one of the movies portraying his life. A lot of people look like this. It’s the peculiarities of the shroud (e.g. the inverted triangle on the bridge of the nose with a three sided square) that should be present before any case can be made.

  3. Mike M :
    Kelly, you are right. But even if the faces match, that doesn’t prove anything. does the shroud belong to the actor who played Jesus in one of the movies portraying his life. A lot of
    people look like this. It’s the peculiarities of the shroud (e.g. the inverted triangle on the bridge of the nose with a three sided square) that should be present before any case can be made.

    Yep, That’s my point. Similar morphs have been done to prove that Prince William was cloned from the shroud

    Certain peculiarities might even be found, shared in other images, it’s when they start to add up that you might have something that’s suggestive-I think that’s as far as this type of technique, approach can go

  4. The simple fact is that Apollonius lived to the ninth decade of the first century CE. By that time Paul had written his epistles and suffered a martyr’s death and the Gospels had been (or were being written). Tacitus reported Nero scapegoating the followers of Christus who had been excecuted by Pilate.

    All the Apollonius claims demonstrate is the length pseudo-skeptics will go to deny the authenticity of Christ,as well as his Shroud. An authentic Shroud is something they can not live with because it impeaches their world view.

  5. There is so much myth surrounding Apollonius. He was said to be a “Western yogi” and the Sanskrit texts that had been provided by an Indian scholar to substantiate some connection with India was proved to be a forgery quite recently.

    So now we have him scourged and crucified and placed in a burial shroud.

  6. Right Louis, and a Jewish burial Shroud left with a 1st century Masada seam. I’m not getting this one… Is the theory that Apollonius of Tyana migrated to Jerusalem when he was a relatively young man, become badly scourged, crowned with thorns, crucified, speared, buried in a (Jewish) linen cloth, and then somehow rise again to live a ripe old age of 100? That could have converted the world, then and now! But alas, no documentation!

    1. You got the point, Annette. These kind of associations deviate our attention from the essential in Shroud studies.
      I am preparing something in the field of biblical archaeology, which hopefully should be posted soon.

  7. It will be interesting to see what is the feasible
    precision about the result from the SPM tests.
    So … working with Applied Statistics we have to be careful …
    and bye-bye Apollonius … or not.
    See also : the epoch obtained by Eng. Giulio Fanti
    (after the elaborations) and the inherent long discussions.
    Perhaps we have to solve in another manner the conundum
    (avoiding to lose control on useful historical data ! …).

  8. Luke 17:22-24: “Then he said to his disciples, “The days will come when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, but you will not see it. There will be those who will say to you, ‘Look, there he is,’ [or] ‘Look, here he is.’ Do not go off, do not run in pursuit. For just as lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be [in his day].” [USCCB]

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