Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Good review

Just read a very good review (of an Eisenbrauns book) over at Jesus Creed. I gotta read the book now—and the Greek novella Ephesiaca, too (here's a link to the Greek text on Perseus).
Ephesiaca gives us a window into Ephesian life, the cult of Artemis, the function of the Artemisium, codes of shame and honor, attitudes to wealth, women, slaves, and benefaction. Word studies reveal significant overlap in the use of certain words in both 1 Timothy and Ephesiaca. Through his study, Hoag demonstrates six fixtures or social institutions that embody the cultural norms and rules that governed life and society for rich Ephesians: honor/shame, identity, kinship, exchange/benefaction, envy, and purity. He spells out the following: (1) rich people were expected to behave honorably and with modesty; (2) relationships (i.e. who you were related to and how), and not wealth, determined identity; (3) kinship ties were strong, protective, and paternalistic. Female honor was embedded in the honor of a male. He concludes that honorable wealthy Ephesians valued kinship over wealth, whereas the greedy in antiquity placed gaining wealth over kinship ties, and envy was regarded as the ‘most insidious evil to threaten human relationships’. (p.56) One of his key points is that Artemis ‘not only owned the rich and expected their support, but they, in turn, owned Artemis.’ (p.32) The link is inextricable.

It is into this context that Paul’s gospel was first preached, and the context that Timothy will minister in, with Paul’s advice ringing in his ears. I would really recommend reading this book for yourself, but here are some of Hoag’s key conclusions.

Grab the book and let me know what you think. I'll (hopefully!) get to reading it myself soon and post sections of it here...meanwhile, here's the skinny:
Wealth in Ancient Ephesus and the First Letter to Timothy

Wealth in Ancient Ephesus and the First Letter to Timothy
Fresh Insights from Ephesiaca by Xenophon of Ephesus
Bulletin for Biblical Research Supplement - BBRSup 11
by Gary G. Hoag
Eisenbrauns, 2015
Pp. xii + 258, English
ISBN: 9781575068299
List Price: $49.50
Your Price: $44.55

1 comment:

Rick Brannan said...

Only a few chapters in, but it is interesting stuff. Thanks for posting this.