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Fall of Simon Magus

peter acts people magician

The magician ( magus ) Simon is mentioned in Acts 8. He lived in the city of Samaria and exerted great influence over the people with his sorceries. Impressed by the preaching of Philip the Deacon, Simon converted to Christianity and was baptized; however, he later tried to offer money to *John and *Peter to purchase the power to perform *miracles through the *Holy Spirit. He was rebuked by Peter and repented A much more detailed account of Simon the magician appears in the second-century apocryphal Acts of Peter (which provided the source for later elaboration in the * Golden Legend ). These texts describe how Simon, in Rome and favored by the emperor Nero, challenged Peter and *Paul to various contests of miracle working and magic skills. Simon (unlike Peter) was unable to restore dead people to life, and the trials came to a dramatic conclusion when Simon, flying through the air with the help of *demons, crashed down to earth as a result of Peter’s prayers. (The Acts of Peter recount that he broke many bones but lived on; the Golden Legend states that he broke his skull and died.) Various scenes appear in Romanesque and Gothic art: Peter refusing Simon’s money, Peter restoring a dead youth to life, and, most popularly, Simon Magus falling out of the sky while his demon supporters flee.
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