Apollonius of Tyana

d. c.98. A Neopythagorean philosopher whose virtuous life and ascetic practices attracted widespread attention after his death. Philostratus, sophist at the emperor's court, was commanded by Julia Domna, wife of Severus, to write a “Life of Apollonius,” possibly as a pagan counterpart to the life of Christ. In Philostratus's account, leading points of the gospel story are followed: Apollonius was the son of Jupiter and conscious of his filial sonship, and he went around doing good and performing miracles. Like Christ he was brought to trial, but unlike Christ he was miraculously delivered. Subsequently he ascended to heaven. This “Life” is the story of the gospels revised and made more palatable by non- Christians who were impressed by Christ. It is what the enlightened pagans around Julia Domna thought Christ should have been. It is significant that they omit the Crucifixion.