The Physiologus and the Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles [chapter]

Janet Spittler, Rainer Hirsch-Luipold, Zbyněk Kindschi Garský
2019 Christus in natura  
Animals play prominent roles in the apocryphal acts of the apostles, and the authors of these texts seem to have drawn on natural historical information similar to what is found in the Physiologus. Nevertheless, the relationship between the acts and the Physiologus is complicated and often puzzling. There is at least one instance in which the apocryphal acts (the Acts of Thomas) clearly presuppose information about an animal (the wild ass) also presented in the Physiologus, as well as two
more » ... s well as two instances in which the Physiologus refers to a character from the apocryphal acts (Thecla). Otherwise, the most striking result of comparing the acts with the Physiologus is the absence of clearly coinciding material. Relatively few animals occur in both the Physiologus and the acts, and, when they do, there is little, if any, overlap in content. This paper will detail the points of contact between the Physiologus and the apocryphal acts, as well as the absence of contact where such could easily be imagined. Ultimately, I will show that the Physiologus and the apocryphal acts of the apostles exhibit a similar attitude toward the natural world and the use of similar source material, but the exact relationship between these texts remains obscure.
doi:10.1515/9783110494143-012 fatcat:kxfir3m4evc3bh7bzn2dn6ay7y