We’ve been on our Greco-Roman World trip now for three days and have seen some amazing things. There’s something almost magical about teaching the Bible in the setting where the stories took place. Our first day in Athens for example we taught on Paul’s sermon in Athens recounted in Acts 17 while standing on the traditional spot of the Areopagus, or Mars Hill as it’s also known, where he gave the address. It is just amazing as a teacher!
The last couple of days we’ve been in Corinth. The picture of Justin and I here was taken while we were shooting a video on the Corinthian Isthmus, a 3 mile stretch of land between the Saronic and Corinthian gulfs. We’re standing on what is known as the Diolkos. This was an ancient marble path that stretched from one side of the isthmus to the other. In Paul’s day, ships were dragged across this path so that they could avoid going around the treacherous Peloponnese. A canal was built in the late 19th century so now ships can pass through the isthmus with no problem. The Diolkos meant that Corinth would be a thriving commercial city when Paul visited it.
I want to register one disappointment. Justin and I both visited Corinth a decade ago and since that time there has been an incredible amount of development. What was a sleep village adjacent to an equally sleep archaeological site is now a bustling tourist trap. Now its no Athens, but it is disappointing to see how the site has changed in order to be more attractive. The Olympics was certainly the impetus for this.
What Justin and I discerned was that a intentional decision was made to focus on the key spots of the site and improve them to the neglect of other parts of the site. In addition parts of the site are now inaccessible. The area around the Temple of Apollo is an example.
So the push for tourism has caused the site to be less visitor friendly to those truly interested in the ruins. Perhaps were just being overly critical, but it was disappointing nevertheless. I sound old, but I reminisce about the “good ol’days”.