The anti-father and his silent sons : Disability, healing, and critique in the Acts of John

Journal article


Crabbe, Kylie. (2023). The anti-father and his silent sons : Disability, healing, and critique in the Acts of John. Harvard Theological Review. pp. 1-25. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0017816023000391
AuthorsCrabbe, Kylie
Abstract

This article analyzes the second-century Acts of John 56–57, in which Antipatros seeks healing for his twin sons whom he claims he cannot support as he ages. I argue that this passage turns on a layered critique of Antipatros. First, the text censures medical commerce. Second, it uses his threat of murder, economic circumstances, and name to undermine Antipatros as both father and inquiring disciple. The episode thus leverages criticism of a character whose negative attitudes lead him to contemplate destruction of those with infirmities. However, it retains a mixed message: while the character of the apostle John comes to focus on the sons, the narrative silences them. Ultimately, the text emphasizes what the critique means for the flawed male, elite father, rather than the experience of the impaired sons. Such dynamics warrant close attention as we continue to expand our understanding of attitudes to disability in sources from antiquity.

KeywordsActs of John 56–57; Antipatros; impairment; falling sickness; infanticide; wealth; speaking names; narrative prosthesis
Year2023
JournalHarvard Theological Review
Journal citationpp. 1-25
PublisherCambridge University Press
ISSN0017-8160
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1017/S0017816023000391
Scopus EID2-s2.0-85172697798
Open accessPublished as ‘gold’ (paid) open access
Page range1-25
FunderAustralian Research Council (ARC)
Publisher's version
License
File Access Level
Open
Output statusIn press
Publication dates
Online2023
Publication process dates
Deposited13 Oct 2023
ARC Funded ResearchThis output has been funded, wholly or partially, under the Australian Research Council Act 2001
Grant IDDE220101054
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