How did the Apostles Die?


October 19, 2012 by mattfradd

The martyrdom of St. Bartholomew. While still alive, his skin was torn from his body.

Earlier this week I posted a blog entitled ,Was Jesus a lunatic? in which I addressed a quadrillema – was Jesus as a mere legend, a liar, a lunatic or truly the Lord?

In making the case for the historicity of Jesus and the events recorded in the New Testament I spoke of the horrific martyrdom which the apostles underwent as evidence that the story of Jesus of Nazareth proclaimed by the apostles was no fable.

I am by no means the first to reflect on this fact. The Roman historian, Eusebius of Caesarea wrote the following:

But if [the miracles of Christ] were lies invented according to a mutual agreement among [His disciples], what a wonder it is that such a number were able to keep to their agreement about their fabrication, even in the face of death, and that no coward among them ever retired from the association and made a premature repudiation of the things agreed upon; nor did they ever announce anything in contradiction to the others, bringing to light what had been put together among themselves. -Eusebius Pamphilus, Proof of the Gospel, A.D. 316/322

So how did the apostles die?

Peter was crucified upside-down in Rome sometime between AD 54 and AD 68.

Andrew, son of John and brother of Peter, was scourged and tied to an X-shaped cross where he was left for two days before he died. The exact year is unknown.

James, the son of Zebedee and brother of John, was beheaded in Israel. (Acts 12:1-2)

Phillip of Bethsaida was crucified in Hieropolis, Syria c. AD 80.

Bartholomew was beaten, flayed, and crucified in Armenia sometime in the first century.

Thomas was pierced through with spears by four soldiers in the city of Syriac Mazdai sometime in the first century.

Matthew was axed to death in Ethiopia, c. AD 60.

James, the son of Alphaeus, was clubbed to death at the age of 94 in Jerusalem, c. AD 66.

Jude was crucified in Beirut, c. AD 65.

Simon the Zealot was put to death by a saw sometime in the first century.

Matthias, chosen by the apostles to replace Judas, was stoned and beheaded in Jerusalem sometime in the first century.

Paul was beheaded in Rome, Italy in AD 66.

One thought on “How did the Apostles Die?

  1. Dave says:

    What are the ancient resources we can go to to substantiate these deaths? Do you know of a good book on this topic which contains the sources?

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