Monthly Archives: June 2012

Free Kindle book on the Sermon on the Mount

DeWard Publishing Company is offering a free Father’s Day Kindle download for a limited time.

Invitation to a Spiritual Revolution (Studies in the Sermon on the Mount) by Paul Earnhart is available for free download from this link.

Paul Earnhart has served as minister at the Douglass Hills Church of Christ, Louisville, Kentucky, for many years. He is recognized for both his scholarly and practical approach to Biblical subjects.

The Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) is the seminal announcement of the teaching of Jesus.

This is a great book for any father, or anyone else interested in spiritual matters.

Thanks to DeWard Publishing Company for this gracious gift. Take a look at their other publications.

Some famous Sinopeans

Sinop was a city of the Roman province of Pontus (1 Peter 1:1) in Asia Minor (now Turkey). The city not only had a long and storied history, but also was home to some famous people.

Statue of Diogenes at Sinop, Turkey. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Statue of Diogenes at Sinop, Turkey. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Diogenes the Cynic (4th century B.C.). Diogenes was born in Sinop, but later moved to Athens and became the leader of a group called Cynics. His contempt for the cultural conventions of society earned him the name dog. Several stories are mentioned in books I have read. One says that Alexander the Great offered him anything he wanted. Diogenes is credited with saying, “Stand aside, you’re in my light.”

Sign on the Statue of Diogenes, Sinop, Turkey. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Sign on the Statue of Diogenes, Sinop, Turkey. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Diogenes is said to have walked around with a lamp in the daytime looking for an honest man.

Some writers say that Diogenes spent some of his latter years in Corinth serving as a tutor.

Serapis. We should not think of Serapis as a real person, but the “god” may have an association with Sinop. Clement of Alexandria writes several times indicating that Serapis was brought from Sinop to Alexandria, Egypt (Fathers of the Second Century in ANF Volume 2). Clement asks,

why should I speak … of the fugitive Serapis chased from Sinope to Alexandria…

McDonagh credits the Roman historian Tacitus as saying that “the worship of Serapis started in Sinope and was introduced into Egypt by Ptolemy I Soter (367-283 BC)” (Blue Guide: Turkey).

Serapis. Bust in Vatican Museum. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Bust of Serapis in the Vatican Museum. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

More famous Sinopeans to follow.

Sinop is the northernmost city of Asia Minor (now Turkey)

Modern Sinop is built over the ancient city on a peninsula that extends into the Black Sea. We drove toward the northern tip of the peninsula until we came to a military installation. The photo below shows a portion of the acropolis on the left. This is the northern-most land in Turkey, and the narrowest portion of the Black Sea. The sky reflects the fact that it was raining the day we visited the city.

Sinop on the Black Sea Coast of Turkey. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Sinop on the Black Sea Coast of Turkey. A portion of the ancient acropolis can be seen on the left of the photo. It is now part of a military camp. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The history of Sinop is said to date back as early as the Chalcolithic Period (about 4200 B.C.). In the 8th century B.C. colonists from Miletus established a post and a naval station here. In the centuries to follow the city came under Persian control. After Alexander the Great came into Asia Minor, Sinop declared its independence from the Persians. The city was made the capital of the kingdom of Pontus by Mithridates III in 183 B.C.

Mithridates the VI Eupator and his son, the king of Armenia, were defeated by the Romans in 69 and 68 B.C. By 63 B.C. Pompey formally annexed the city (Bernard McDonagh, Blue Guide Turkey).

Sinop was one of the cities of the Roman province of Pontus in New Testament times (Acts 2:9; 1 Peter 1:1). Wilson says,

Sinope was a certain stop in Pontus for the messenger carrying Peter’s first letter. (Biblical Turkey, 342).

We will point out later that it was common for the military, and others, to travel by sea to Sinop and then to Samsun. See the map in the previous post.

In the next post I plan to talk about famous persons associated with Sinop.

Visiting the Black Sea coast of Turkey

One might ask why a person interested in the Bible world would want to visit the Black Sea coast of Turkey. A few weeks ago, while there, I gave some of the reasons here. A summary before proceeding might be advisable. My visit was limited to a region of about 100+ miles from about 20 miles east of Samsun to Sinop.

Both Samsun and Sinop are located in the the region known as the Roman province of Pontus in Asia Minor. By New Testament times the provinces of Bythinia and Pontus were combined and governed as a single province.

Roman Provinces of Asia Minor in New Testament Times.

Roman Provinces of Asia Minor in New Testament Times.

There were 13 cities in the province of Pontus (Wilson, Biblical Turkey, 332).

The New Testament mentions Pontus only three times. The first reference is in Acts 2. Note the association with Peter.

  • Jews from Pontus were visiting Jerusalem during Pentecost when the gospel was first announced by Peter (Acts 2:5,9). It is likely that some of these men became obedient to the gospel before returning home.

Beside Peter’s address to Christians in Pontus in his first epistle, the only person named in association with Pontus is Aquila.

  • A Jew by the name of Aquila was a native of Pontus. He had gone to Rome, but was commanded to leave Rome under the decree of the Emperor Claudius (A.D. 41-54). Reaching Corinth, he and his wife Priscilla, met the apostle Paul (Acts 18:2). We are not told whether Priscilla was from Pontus, Rome, or some other place.
  • When Paul left Corinth, Aquila and Pricilla went with him to Ephesus and remained there. When they heard the eloquent Alexandrian preacher Apollos who knew only John’s baptism, they privately taught him the “the way of God more accurately” (Acts 18:18, 26). I think the inference is that they encouraged Apollos to go to Corinth.
  • Paul mentions Aquila and Priscila (Prisca) in his letter to the Corinthians which was written from Ephesus (1 Corinthians 16:19).
  • During Paul’s third journey, when he wrote to the saints at Rome from Greece (Corinth) during the reign of the Emperor Nero (A.D. 54-68), he sends greetings to Prisca and Aquila (Romans 16:3). This means that by this time they found it safe to reside in Rome.
  • In his final letter from Rome, Paul tells Timothy to “Greet Prisca and Aquila” (2 Timothy 4:19).

We have evidence that the name Aquila was known in Pontus. In the 1909 Dictionary of the Bible (ed. James Hastings), A. Souter says,

an inscription has recently been found referring to one Aquila at Sinope, one of the principal cities of the Roman province Pontus.

Do not make the mistake of thinking this is a reference to the husband of Priscilla. It simply means that the name was known in the region.

Our photo today was made on a dreary, rainy day near Sinop. Notice that the highway is high in the mountains overlooking the Black Sea. At several points there is no coastal road. This is an important fact that we will speak more about in a future post.

A shepherd overlooking the Black Sea near Sinop, Turkey. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

A shepherd overlooking the Black Sea near Sinop, Turkey. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Two arrested in Greece for antiquities theft

Numerous news sources are reporting the arrest of two men east of Thessaloniki (Thessalonica), Greece, with a 4th century B.C. gold wreath and armband. The arrest was near the Biblical sites of Amphipolis and Apollonia. We recognize those as places passed by Paul and his companions as they traveled the Via Egnatia between Philippi and Thessalonica.

Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. (Acts 17:1 ESV)

Very little archaeological work has been done in Amphipolis and Apollonia. One interesting artifact on the Strymon River at Amphipolis is this lion from the 4th century B.C.

The Lion of Amphipolis, Greece. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The Lion of Amphipolis, Greece. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The news report in The Republic, Columbus, Indiana, here  includes two nice photos of the wreath.

The photo of the gold wreath below comes from 4th century B.C. Greece. It is now displayed in the Metropolitan Museum, New York City.

Gold crown from Greece. Metropolitan Museum, NY. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Gold crown from Greece. Metropolitan Museum, NY. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Paul spoke of his beloved brothers at Philippi as his joy and crown.

Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved. (Philippians 4:1 ESV)

HT: Jack Sasson

Docking again at Perga

A few days ago we had some discussion here about whether Paul and his companions docked at Atttalia or Perga after sailing from Paphos, Cyprus.

Now Paul and his companions set sail from Paphos and came to Perga in Pamphylia. And John left them and returned to Jerusalem,  but they went on from Perga and came to Antioch in Pisidia. (Act 13:13-14a ESV)

Darryl said that he had been unable to track down the oft-cited reference in Strabo Geography. I located the quotation using Logos 4. The modern names are included in brackets.

[2] Next is the river Cestrus [Ak-su]; on sailing up its stream 60 stadia we find the city Perge, [Murtana] and near it upon an elevated place, the temple of the Pergæan Artemis, where a general festival is celebrated every year.

Nymphaeums (fountains) were important in Roman cities. The fountain at Perga flowed into a channel running the length of the main street.

The Nymphaeum (Fountain) at Perga. Water flowed from the fountain. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The Nymphaeum (Fountain) at Perga. Water flowed from the fountain into a channel in the middle of the main street. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

This close-up view shows the river god Cestrus. Water flowed under the image into the channel. Other cities had a similar image with the water flowing from a cornucopia held by the river god. At Ephesus it was the god Cayster.

The Nymphaeum (Fountain) at Perga, showing the river god Cestrus. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The Nymphaeum at Perga, showing the river god Cestrus. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Dr. Combs recommended the article by Douglas A. Campbell (“Paul in Pamphylia (Acts 13.13-14a; 14.24b-26): A Critical Note”) in New Testament Studies (2000): 595-602. This afternoon I was able to get access to the article. The map is especially helpful.

Campbell says the 175 mile trip from Paphos to Perga, with favorable winds, would have taken between 25 and 50 hours, but with difficult winds it could have taken longer. It would be more common for ships transporting goods from Cyprus to Perga and other cities in the region to have used the River Cestrus. On the return from the first journey, when Paul was headed east back to (Seleucia, then) Antioch (Acts 14:25-26), it would have been best to use Attalia as the port (as Tim Brinley also pointed out in his comment).

Some other sources explaining that Perga used the river Cestrus as a port include the following:

  • E. A. Judge. Perga. The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Revised (3:767-768).
  • E. M. Blaiklock. Perga. New Bible Dictionary (3rd ed.): 901.
  • A. E. Hillard. Perga. (Hastings) Dictionary of the Bible: 700.

An inland city of Pamphylia about 12 miles from Attalia on the coast, but possessing a river harbour of its own on the Cestrus 5 miles away. Its walls date from the 3rd century B.C.

From Perga Paul would have taken the Via Sebaste to Pisidian Antioch. When he returned to Perga, using the same Roman road, he would have taken the Claudian extension of the Via Sebaste which ran southwest for 12 miles to Attalia.

Campbell, a British scholar, says,

In my judgement the author of Acts at these two junctures is, quite simply, spot on.

The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus

Why would we want to visit Bodrum on the Aegean coast of Turkey? It is located in the area of the Roman province of Caria, and is built over the site of ancient Halicarnassus. It is where Mausolus built a tomb for himself. From this structure we get our word mausoleum.

Only a small city block preserves the remains of the famous Mausoleum. Parking nearby is almost an impossibility, but one of the shopkeepers allowed us to block the entry to his shop for a few minutes.

Halicarnassus. Site of the tomb of King Mausolos. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Halicarnassus. Site of the tomb of King Mausolos. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The small brochure available at the site gives this information about the Mausoleum.

It is one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Its construction was initiated by Mausolus, a member of the Hekatomnid dynasty appointed by Persians as the Satrap of Caria, before his death, and continued by his wife and sister Artemisia after his death. Mausolus, the then most important administrator, probably decided to build such an important structure to symbolize his eternity and greatness. Its construction was started just before Mausolus’ death, i.e. just before 353 B.C.

Along with a few architectural fragments at the site, there is a nice model suggesting how the Mausoleum looked. According to the brochure, the tomb may have been as high as a 20-story apartment building.

Model of the Tomb of Mausolos at Halicarnassus. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Model of the Tomb of Mausolos at Halicarnassus. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Herodotus Bust displayed in the Stoa of Attalus, Athens Agora

Herodotus Bust displayed in the Stoa of Attalus, Athens Agora. Photo: F. Jenkins.

Is it possible that Paul may have seen this structure when he sailed past Cos (Acts 21:1)? Ferries run between Bodrum (Turkey) and Cos (Greece) today.

Halicarnassus is listed among the towns that were informed by the Romans of their support of the Jews (1 Maccabees 15:23).

The Greek historian Herodotus claimed Halicarnassus as his home.

At least one lesson we learn at Halicarnassus is that monuments built to oneself do not endure for long. Think of Absalom.

Now Absalom in his lifetime had taken and set up for himself the pillar that is in the King’s Valley, for he said, “I have no son to keep my name in remembrance.” He called the pillar after his own name, and it is called Absalom’s monument to this day. (2 Samuel 18:18 ESV)

Did Paul’s ship dock at Perga or Attalia?

My friend and former student Darryl Smelser left a good comment regarding Perga for a post here. I thought I would elevate it to an entire post.

You point out that “Paul, Barnabas, and John Mark made their way from Paphos on Cyprus to Perga in Pamphylia,” which of course is correct. But as Perga is a bit inland from the sea, and Attalia was/is a port, I have pretty much assumed that as they traveled from Cyprus, the three men arrived *first at Attalia* and then went to Perga, and so toward Galatia. Why would not Luke have mentioned Attalia? I suppose the omission is due to the fact that in this part of the journey neither Attalia nor Perga were important to be mentioned, except for the fact that it was in Perga that John Mark turned back; thus it wins a mention. Does that seem to be sound reasoning to you? Would any ship delivering goods to Perga have ported at Attalia, or was there a closer port?

I think we can give no absolute answer to this question. Here is what I know about it.

Look at a good modern atlas of Turkey (Köy Köy Türkiye Yol Atlasi), and you will see the Aksu Cay (the ancient Cestrus River) about 3 miles east of Perga. Attalia (modern Antalya) is farther to the west.

Mark Wilson says,

Strabo (14.6.2) states that the Cestrus was navigable at this time and a road apparently linked the river with Perga. The city was 6 mi/10 km from the Mediterranean and linked to the coast via a road to its port at Magydus (Lara). (Biblical Turkey, 99).

Wilson continues in a sentence that seems to have a typo,

Perga was the port of entry Mark in Asia Minor for Paul, Barnabas, and John on their first journey (Acts 13:13). (100).

My first suggestion is that the word Mark somehow got moved from after John, to the line above. If so, then the sentence should be read as follows:

Perga was the port of entry in Asia Minor for Paul, Barnabas, and John Mark on their first journey (Acts 13:13).

Fant and Reddish say,

In ancient times Perga apparently had a port on the river, which was navigable, thus allowing the city to benefit commercially from the river. (Biblical Sites in Greece and Turkey, 265).

The Dictionary of the Apostolic Church (J. Hastings) recently became available through Logos community pricing. James Strahan says,

Paul and Barnabas were twice at Perga in their first missionary tour. In their outward journey they landed at the river-harbour and went up to the city (Ac 13:13).

The Roman Gate at Perga in Pamphylia. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The Roman Gate at Perga in Pamphylia. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Another Milestone — One Million Hits

Milestone from the Via Egnatian. Thessalonica Museum. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Milestone from the Via Egnatian displayed in the Thessaloniki Museum. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

A few minutes ago the counter on this blog indicated that we have reached one million hits since beginning the blog about five years ago.

This is not much compared to many secular web sites, or even some biblioblogs, but I am pleased with the results over these years.

Ferrell’s Travel Blog was begun to keep friends and family of our tour members informed about the progress of a tour in 2007. Had I realized it was to become a regular part of my life, averaging more than 1100 hits a day, I would have named it differently. But I didn’t, and here we are.

Thanks for following the blog. I am especially pleased when Bible class teachers write to tell me they are using the material in their Bible classes.

I have enjoyed the contact with some well-informed people who have taken time to communicate with me regarding the subjects I write about. Thanks to all who have taken the time to leave a comment on the blog, in person, by Facebook, or by Email.

We celebrated becoming half a millionaire November 21, 2010, here.

Some days I think of discontinuing the blog; other days I don’t.

The photo of the milestone from the Via Egnatian, a Roman road used by the Apostle Paul, seems appropriate today.

The Antikythera Shipwreck and “Danger at sea”

The Antikythera Shipwreck is a special exhibition at the Athens (Greece) National Museum which is scheduled to run from April 2012 to April 2013.

The shipwreck off the eastern coast of Antikythera is dated to 60-50 BC, a period during which maritime trade and transportation of works of Greek art from the Eastern Mediterranean to Italy flourished. Its cargo dates from the 4th to the 1st century BC. The ship was a freighter of about 300 tons capacity and was sailings towards Italy.

We had visited Thera (aka Santorini) during our Aegean cruise. Antikythera (“opposite Kythera”) is a Greek island between Crete and the Peloponnese (where Corinth is located).

The statue below is made of Parian marble. Scholars in the field suggest that this is possibly Achilles. Being on the bottom of the Aegean Sea for centuries shows its effects on the statue.

Possibly Achilles. The Antikythera Shipwreck. Athens National Museum. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Possibly Achilles in Parian Marble. The Antikythera Shipwreck. Athens National Museum. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Numerous bronze pieces are displayed. The bust below is part of a portrait statue known as “The Antikythera Philosopher.” The head, hands, feet, and pieces of the himation were recovered and are displayed. This piece of art is said to date to about 230 B.C.

The Antikythera Philosopher. Athens National Museum. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The Antikythera Philosopher. Athens National Museum. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

We typically think of ships from the Roman period, and earlier, staying near the shore. This was certainly true of many of the sea journeys of the Apostle Paul (Acts 20:5, 13-16 27:5-7).

Greek archaeologists announce here the discovery of two Roman-era shipwrecks in water nearly a mile deep. Sailing to Italy required leaving the safety of the nearby shore for deep waters. Such was true of Paul’s journey to Rome after leaving Crete (Acts 27).

Paul spoke of the dangers at sea in his second letter to the Corinthians (11:24-29) about A.D. 55.

  • Three times I was shipwrecked.
  • A night and a day I was adrift at sea.
  • He mentioned “Danger at sea.”

The Malta shipwreck is the only one recorded in Acts, and it occurred after the writing of 2 Corinthians. Hughes mentions at least nine voyages between Acts 9 and 18. Paul says three of these ended in shipwreck. Hughes says there were at least another nine voyages between the writing of 2 Corinthians and the Malta shipwreck (The Second Epistle to the Corinthians, NICNT, 410-411).

At least some of the ships used by Paul seem to have been grain ships (Acts 27:38), but there may have been other cargo on some of them.

If you visit Athens between now and April 2013, be sure to take some time for The Antikythera Shipwreck.