The Apostles were people who, according to the Bible, were chosen from among the disciples of Jesus to spread his word. The original twelve followed Jesus on his mission to Galilee, where they healed the sick and drove out demons. They include Judas Iscariot, who according to the New Testament betrayed Jesus. Christian mythology also states that many of these twelve became martyrs while defending their faiths in Christianity.
- "Instead, already by the second half of the first century the leadership council of 'the twelve' (if such there was) no longer existed and left no identifiable heirs, and no one could even remember who was on it, or even what had happened to them. Indeed, for most of them there are no historical accounts at all, beyond very late and obviously fabricated legends [...]"
The original twelve apostles were Simon Peter, Andrew, James (son of Zebedee), John, Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, James (son of Alphaeus), Matthew, Simon the Canaanite, Judas Iscariot, and Thaddeus (aka Jude).
The confusion over the identities of the Apostles, together with the lack of primary sources led some historians to conclude that the Apostles were a mythical creation.
- Main Article: Would someone die for what they knew was a lie?
The fact that the original surviving apostles, all eyewitnesses to the resurrection of Jesus, were willing to die for their faith, is the most dramatic evidence that it was not a hoax. It is one thing to die for a religious belief, such as an Islamic fundamentalist or a follower of David Koresh. It’s quite another to die for a known lie.
Like stories about Jesus himself, the story of the apostles is written primarily in the Bible, a document of questionable historical accuracy. There are few reliable accounts of their alleged martyrdom. These stories are best treated with the same skepticism as any other part of the Bible.