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Local Details: Artemis in Ephesus

'Testing Luke' #18


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Ephesus was one of the biggest cities in the World. It was famous as the centre for the worship of the goddess Artemis (also called Diana).

The temple of Artemis was the biggest building in the Greek world – it was twice the size of the Parthenon in Athens.

The book of Acts, in the Bible, describes how Paul the apostle visited the city of Ephesus, and came into confrontation with the worshipers of Artemis.

Like all major religious centres, the temple of Artemis was a source of trade for local people. According to Luke's account, one of the main business opportunities was for silversmiths, who made shrines and images of Artemis. None of these silver images have ever been found, but that is not surprising because silver was often melted down and re-used for other purposes.

But archaeologists have found some statues of the goddess Artemis from the first century AD. They have also found many shrines made of pottery.

In Luke's account of Paul's visit to Ephesus, once again he gets the local details right – in this case, the temple of Artemis, and how important the worship of Artemis was.

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