Backgrounders on the Bible through Biblical Archaeology

1543-1544 James Edwards – Paul’s Riot in Ephesus

Roman theater in Ephesus, where the silversmith's riot took place.

Roman theater in Ephesus, where the silversmith’s riot took place.

Ephesus is mentioned more times in the New Testament than any other city, with the exception of Jerusalem. In these two programs with James Edwards, professor of Theology at Whitworth University, we review the city as Paul knew it and the archaeological evidence that is being uncovered in Ephesus today. And over the past 100+ years in fact, by an Austrian excavation.

The most prominent feature of the ruins of Ephesus is the Roman theater, which was able to seat 25,000 people. Missing is the temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, which drew pagan worshipers to the city in Paul’s day and supplied a source of revenue for the city’s silversmiths. What happened when the silversmiths got upset at Paul and filled the theater with angry Ephesians is recounted in Acts 19.

Riot in Pompeii – Carl Rasmussen has shared photos from Pompeii where an amphitheater riot from 59 A.D. is depicted.

UPDATE – The Turkish government has apparently cancelled the Austrian excavation at Ephesus, after more than 100 years of digging up the city.

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