The post-New Testament stories of the apostles made the news a while back, thanks to the appearance of Tom Bissell’s book on the subject. My own research has not pursued such questions much, with the slight exception of my work on the traditions of Thomas going to India. Even working on the Gospel of John has not led naturally to a focus on what John the son of Zebedee might or might not have done. In my current fiction project, I have explored the story of an apostle – and his replacement. But for that, I will be speculating and having fun well beyond anything that could be justified by extant historical evidence.
Bissell brings interesting things to light about connections between ancient traditions and modern practices. On occasion he unearths an obscure detail in a text that even someone who studies these things for a living may have missed. He even works in a mention of mythicism. But he does all that in the context of entertaining narration about his own experience of visiting sites connected with the people mentioned, in places like Jerusalem, Rome, and Chennai. I laughed out loud when he said of the author of the Gospel of Mark, ‘His idea of an elegant transition is “and”…’
Below I offer a range of links related to Bissell’s book as well as other treatments of the stories of not only the Twelve but also others.
Also among perspectives we’ve had the chance to hear from lately, beyond the realm of the apostles, are Mary and Caiaphas.
On what fiction allows us to explore that other genres do not. Also related to this is Blossom Stefaniw’s piece in AJW about ancient Christian reading. Calls for papers related to historical fiction: