From Herakles to Rocket Raccoon— Summer Flicks that Leave a Mark

herakles

In a summer which has only been memorable for offering up no classic films of any genre whatever, one has to settle for the best of the rest. So, with some trepidation, we went to see the IMAX presentation of Hercules (Greek form of the name Herakles), starring Dwayne Rock Johnson (Mr. wrestler/body builder/fast and furious). This of course was bound to be an action flick, not famous for its wit, dialogue, or wisdom. Still, the sheer number of loud fighting scenes not merely threatened to … [Read more...]

The Pilgrimage, Turkey, Part Twenty

j11

By now you may be wondering---- o.k. we toured Ephesos, but where exactly did the temple of Artemis go? Glad you asked.... it's long gone, after the earthquakes the spot where it sat turned into a mosquito filled marsh... and today there is exactly one column left standing, which we are viewing from high atop the hill where the Basilica of St. John is. But which John?There is a real problem in figuring which John we are actually talking about, for whom the Basilica of St. John is … [Read more...]

The Pilgrimage, Turkey, Part Nineteen

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While it may boggle the mind of Americans, the Turkish government believes in supporting its important historic industries, for instance the Turkish carpet industry. While many countries in the Middle East have carpet makers, none have the quality and continuous heritage of making carpets that Turkey does. The problem is not mechanization, the problem is recruitment in this industry, because making handwoven carpets requires, thin, nimble, quick, mostly young fingers, and nowadays, most young … [Read more...]

The Pilgrimage: Turkey, Part Eighteen

eph80

Right across the street from the slope houses are the public baths and latrines. Men went at certain hours to the bath complexes, women at other hours. But of course only people who could afford it went. It cost money. The public latrines however seem to have been open to all. They look about how you would expect them to look, and BTW, no privacy in the privy. There is however an early image of Artemis by the door of the privy.Perhaps the most famous sight in all of Ephesos is the … [Read more...]

The Pilgrimage: Turkey, Part Seventeen

eph40d

One of the more spectacular digs in all of Turkey has been the slope house dig, right in the middle of old Ephesos. We will now walk a little further down the hill, over mosaic inlaid streets, and enter the domain of the wealthy, and their penthouses downtown, seven of them, to be exact, and on three levels, with the two houses at the top level being the largest-- like modern penthouses. Probably 95% of the wealth in antiquity was controlled by the upper 2% of the population, and they … [Read more...]

The Pilgrimage: Turkey, Part Sixteen

ephes23

Ephesos was a city of many temples, many gods, many priests, and Paul wanted nothing to do with any of them. The new excavation on the hill on the right side of the street has produced this.And here is the explanation.....Meanwhile, on the other side of the street and a little further down we have this...There were not merely temples everywhere, there were statues and steles of gods and goddesses everywhere, ranging from demi-gods like Herakles/Hercules to Nike the … [Read more...]

The Pilgrimage: Turkey, Part Fifteen

ephes13

Ephesos is the Greek name for the city (Ephesus the Latin one), and it refers to bees, hence the bee on the coin.The patron deity of the city, Artemis is represented on the other side of the coin, by the deer or stage. The Roman name for this deity was Diana, the goddess of the hunt. In Ephesos however the emphasis seems to have been on Artemis as a goddess of health, hygiene, fertility.The city of Ephesos was nestled between two harbors and involves a couple of long streets that … [Read more...]

The Pilgrimage: Turkey, Part Fourteen

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The ride from Aphrodisias to Kushadasi is not terribly long, and along the way we stopped at my favorite leather factory, Kircilar.They make the very best leather coats and jackets, and wallets and belts and purses etc. out of lambskin. It's beautiful stuff, and my groups always enjoy this stop, not least because two of them at least get drafted to model these items on the runway show,complete with the usual bouncy runway music. A good time is had by all. For those not interested the … [Read more...]

The Pilgrimage: Turkey, Part Thirteen

aphro25

A trip to Aphrodisias is always a treat as it is a truly spectacular site, and now it sports the best museum related to the growth of the Imperial Cult in the first two centuries. In order to understand the relevance of this to NT studies one needs to recognize only two recent historical persons were being called God in the first or second century, either the Emperor or Jesus. There is then a case to be made that these two figures were the basis of two rather new religions, competing ones. I … [Read more...]


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