Thursday, 23 May 2019
Kylie Crabbe: Disability, economic hardship, and mercy: The multilayered story of a father and his sons in the Acts of John
The episode of Antipatros and his sons (identified as the Acts of John 56-57) offers a chilling commentary on ancient views of disability but also, this paper argues, a structured critique. Antipatros asks John for healing for his impaired twin sons, pleading: “assist me in my old age”. His declaration that he had been intending to take his sons’ lives, with the agreement of his wider family, provides an insight into the interaction between economic hardship and disability in the second-century context. But this paper highlights the multiple levels upon which the narrative nonetheless criticizes the father, ultimately recasting the Lord “who always console[s] the downtrodden” as the one who redirects compassion towards the sons themselves.