Jan N. Bremmer

Simon Magus: The Invention and Reception of a Magician in a Christian Context

Jahrgang 5 () / Heft 2, S. 246-270 (25)

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In my contribution I propose to offer an analysis which will elucidate the gradual emergence of the main features of Simon Magus in the course of late antiquity, the Christian difficulties in distinguishing miracles from magic, and the changing face of magic in late antiquity. Having discussed his first occurrence in the Acts of the Apostles (c. 100–120 CE or even later) and in the Church Fathers Justin and Irenaeus (c. 150–180), I will proceed with his role in the apocryphal Acts of Peter (c. 190) and his presentation in the pseudo-Clementine Homilies in the midfourth century, and end with some conclusions regarding the nature of Simon Magus as magician, the nature of his literary persona and the changing place of the magician in late antiquity.

Jan N. Bremmer Born 1944; 1979 PhD; 1978–90 Associate Professor for ancient history at the University of Utrecht; 1990–2009 Chair of Religious Studies at the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies of the University of Groningen; 2019–20 Fellow at the Centre for Advanced Studies »Beyond Canon,« Regensburg.