The Martyrdom of the Apostles

Sean McDowell did his doctoral dissertation on the fate of the Apostles of Jesus. Legend has it that they all died as martyrs, except for the Apostle John, because they witnessed the death and resurrection of Jesus and were willing to attest to it with their own deaths.

But is that really true? That is the question Sean McDowell set out to answer with scholarly research and analysis.

Church “tradition” upholds the martyrdom of the apostles, but for John. It’s been my understanding, more or less, going back many years, though we may not have hard historical evidence to support what happened to all the Apostles. The deaths of Peter and Paul are pretty well-attested. They died martyrs’ deaths, but what about the others?

Sean McDowell recently did a short video inspired by the results of his doctoral study, A Historical Evaluation of the Evidence for the Death of the Apostles As Martyrs for Their Faith, and the book, The Fate of the Apostles. While his study reveals a lack of evidence up the standard of modern historiography about the martyrdom of most of the apostles, we have adequate certainty about at least two of them and of other eyewitnesses of the death of Jesus. From these facts, McDowell raises five key points.

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