Death, Resurrection, and Legitimacy in the Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles


  • David L. Eastman Ohio Wesleyan University


In the Areopagus speech in Acts 17, Paul asserts that the resurrection of Jesus is proof that the man from Nazareth had been appointed by God and would one day judge the world. Paul believes that Jesus was the authoritative agent of divine proclamation, because he had conquered death by coming back to life. Accounts of resurrection also play a key role in establishing legitimacy in some of the apocryphal acts. This essay explores how being raised from the dead or raising others from the dead both functions in these texts as a marker of legitimacy for the apostles Peter and Paul and undermines the false claims to divine authority of Simon Magus.

Author Biography

David L. Eastman, Ohio Wesleyan University

David L. Eastman is associate professor of religion at Ohio Wesleyan University. He is the author of two books, Paul the Martyr: The Cult of the Apostle in the Latin West (SBL Press, 2011) and The Ancient Martyrdom Accounts of Peter and Paul (SBL Press, 2015), as well as numerous articles and chapters on the apostolic traditions and the cult of the saints. He is a contributor to the Society of Biblical Literature’s Bible Odyssey website and the project director of the online project Mapping the Martyrs. He also serves as the book review editor for the Journal of Early Christian Studies and is coeditor of a new monograph series from The Penn State University Press entitled Inventing Christianity.





Section III: Identity Formation and the Return from Death