Preconceived notions can led unsuspecting readers to form wrong conclusions.

For example, who comes to mind when I tell you: 

In the first century of the Common Era, there appeared at the eastern end of the Mediterranean a remarkable religious leader who taught the worship of one true God and declared that religion meant not the sacrifice of beasts but the practice of charity and piety and the shunning of hatred and hostility.  

He was said to have worked miracles of goodness, casting out demons, healing the sick, raising the dead. His exemplary life led some of his followers to claim he was a son of God, though he called himself the son of a man. 

Accused of sedition against Rome, he was arrested. After his death, his disciples claimed he had risen from the dead, appeared to them alive, and then ascended to heaven. 

Who was this teacher and wonder-worker?  

His name was Apollonius of Tyana; he died about 98 CE and his story may be read in Flavius Philostratus Life of Apollonius. 1 

See what happens when you have preconceived ideas before you read the facts? 




1. The Life and Times of Apollonius of Tyana, trans. Charles P Eells, New York: AMS, 1967