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The figures of Demas and Hermogenes in the Acts of Paul are puzzling for their ambiguous relation with figures by the same name in 2 Timothy (and, for Demas, in Philemon and Colossians). The purpose of the present article is to question what personal biographical details present in the Thecla narrative contribute to larger issues of literary dependence, focusing in particular on the notice that Hermogenes is a ‘coppersmith’. Although several scholars explain this passing reference in terms of a confused literary dependence on previous Pauline traditions, it is rarely approached as a meaningful narrative feature. This personal detail, however, should be read for its contribution to the Thecla narrative in light of the wider early Christian view of ‘smiths’, running from the New Testament texts into the third century and later. When these elements are taken into account, the smith-notice is highlighted as characterising Hermogenes (and, by extension, Demas) negatively.


Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry

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Journal Article

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