Monthly Archives: October 2013

The Erastus inscription at Corinth

Even though the relationship between the Apostle Paul and the Corinthians was always a strained one, we know the names of numerous saints at Corinth who were helpful to Paul in his ministry.

Paul calls attention to a person named Erastus who was a “city treasurer.” He would be one of the few (“not many”) Christians who were among the socially elite at Corinth (1 Corinthians 1:26). A person named Erastus is mentioned three times in the New Testament. Whether these are two or three different persons, or all the same person, I do not know. Here are the biblical references:

  1. “And having sent into Macedonia two of his helpers, Timothy and Erastus, he himself stayed in Asia for a while.” (Acts 19:22 ESV)
  2. “Gaius, who is host to me and to the whole church, greets you. Erastus, the city treasurer, and our brother Quartus, greet you.” (Romans 16:23 ESV) [We understand that Romans was written from Corinth. The Greek term for “city treasurer” is oikonomos.]
  3. “Erastus remained at Corinth, and I left Trophimus, who was ill, at Miletus.” (2 Timothy 4:20 ESV)

It is of interest that during the 1929 archaeological excavation of the area near the theater (see here), a plaza was located that contained a stone inscription bearing the name of Erastus and indicating that he was a public official.

Ferrell Jenkins points to the Erastus Inscription at Corinth.

Ferrell Jenkins points to the Erastus Inscription at Corinth.

John McRay says the pavement in which this inscription was found dates to before A.D. 50. The letters are 7 inches high. The complete inscription reads:

In full: Erastus pro aedilitate sua pecunia stravit.

The English translation of the inscription is, “Erastus in return for his aedileship laid (the pavement) at his own expense.” (Archaeology and the New Testament, 331).

Originally the letters were filled with bronze, but most of that was removed long ago. The name ERASTVS is seen in the closeup below.

The name Erastus in the inscription near the theater. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The name Erastus in the inscription near the Corinth theater. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

For those who have interest in a more technical discussion of this inscription may find it in David W.J. Gill, “Erastus The Aedile.” Tyndale Bulletin 40.2 (1989): 298. Gill asks,

Are we to identify the Erastus inscription with the Erastus of Romans? It needs to be pointed out that the evidence will not allow a certain identification or a certain rejection.

We are not able to answer the question with certainty, but the possibility that this man was among the disciples at Corinth, and a friend of Paul, is intriguing.

Paul stood before Galilo at Corinth

Luke records, in the book of Acts, an important historical event involving Paul during the 18 months he worked at Corinth

12 But when Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews made a united attack on Paul and brought him before the tribunal,
13 saying, “This man is persuading people to worship God contrary to the law.”
14 But when Paul was about to open his mouth, Gallio said to the Jews, “If it were a matter of wrongdoing or vicious crime, O Jews, I would have reason to accept your complaint.
15 But since it is a matter of questions about words and names and your own law, see to it yourselves. I refuse to be a judge of these things.”
16 And he drove them from the tribunal.
17 And they all seized Sosthenes, the ruler of the synagogue, and beat him in front of the tribunal. But Gallio paid no attention to any of this. (Acts 18:12-17 ESV)

The photo below shows the actual platform or bema mentioned in Acts 18. Popular English versions use the terms tribunal, judgment seat, place of judgment, or judge’s bench.

The bema in the agora of Corinth. The Acrocorinth is in the distance. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The bema in the agora of Corinth. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The bema dates to A.D. 44, but could be as early as the time of Augustus (Murphy-O’Connor, St. Paul’s Corinth, 28).

An inscription found at Delphi names Gallio the proconsul of Achaia. Gallio was the brother of the famous Roman Stoic philosopher Seneca. Gallio’s terms as proconsul of Achaia is usually dated to either A.D. 51/52 or 52/53. This is an important chronological help in our study of Paul’s journeys. In the largest fragment of the inscription, the name of ΓΑΛΛΙΩ (GALLIO)  may be seen in the center of the third line from the top.

The Delphi (Gallio) inscription. Photo by David Padfield.

The Delphi (Gallio) inscription. Photo by David Padfield.

I have been to Delphi at least two times, but the broken pieces of the Gallio Inscription were in a storage room. I did have written permission to see the fragment, but the slides I made were of poor quality. Thanks to David Padfield for permission to use the nice photo above which is now displayed in the museum at Delphi.

The theater at Corinth

The theater at Corinth is a short distance from the agora and the Temple of Apollo. Reddish and Fant describe the theater:

The theater dates from the 5th century B.C.E. and later was rebuilt by the Romans, who added a multistory stage building . In Paul’s time it seated approximately 14,000 spectators. (A Guide to Biblical Sites in Greece and Turkey, p. 59)

According to the same source, both the theater and the odeion, “were later used for gladiatorial spectacles; the theater was even fitted for mock sea battles.”

Ruins of the theater at Corinth. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Ruins of the theater at Corinth. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The theater is not on the typical tourist route at Corinth, but it can be reached along a rugged path north of the major excavated area.

The Apostle Paul spent 18 months among the Corinthians.

And he stayed a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them. (Acts 18:11 ESV)

Jehoash Tablet must be returned to owner

The Supreme Court of Israel ordered that the Jehoash Tablet, a 9th century inscription about repairs to the temple in the days of King Jehoash of Judah, must be returned to the owner.

The Jerusalem District Court had earlier ruled that he state had not proved that this  inscription was a forged document.

Chiseled in ancient Hebrew and dated to the ninth century BCE, the tablet describes renovations of the First Temple – which is said to have been built by King Solomon – ordered by Jehoash. It corresponds to the account in II Kings 12:1-17, in which the king laments the state of the temple and commands that money the priests collect from the people be used to fix it up.

îùøã äçéðåêThe Jehoash Tablet

Read the account in today’s Haaretz here.

Matthew Kalman has been keeping abreast of this decade-long case and reports at Bible and Interpretation here.

Like the James Ossuary, we will probably never know if this document is authentic.

Report by Gordon Franz on the “International Noah and Judi Mountain Symposium” – Sirnak, Turkey

Gordon Franz sent me the report on his recent visit to southeastern Turkey and the “International Noah and Judi Mountain Symposium.” He said, “If you want to post it on your site, you are more than welcome.” This is an issue of much importance, and I am delighted to share it with our readers and help give it wide distribution.

Twice I have visited Eastern Turkey. In 2007 I was aware of the argument for Cudi Dagh (or Mount Judi), but was advised by my Turkish tour operator not to go to the mountain. Still hopeful of seeing the mountain someday.

Here is the first part of Gordon’s report:

Report on the “International Noah and Judi Mountain Symposium” – Sirnak, Turkey

By Gordon Franz

The “International Noah and Judi Mountain” symposium was held in Sirnak, Turkey, under the auspices of Sirnak University. One of the purposes of this conference was to set forth the case for Cudi Dagh, the mountain just to the south of Sirnak, as the landing-place of Noah’s Ark in South East Turkey. This mountain is not to be confused with the (late) traditional Mount Ararat, called Agri Dagh, in northeastern Turkey.

Ararat (Agri Dagh) in north eastern Turkey. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Traditional Mount Ararat (Agri Dagh) in north eastern Turkey. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Interestingly, at this conference I learned of another mountain that allegedly Noah’s Ark landed on. It is located at Mount Gemikaya in Azerbaijan. By my count, that is the sixth mountain vying for the honors of this historical event: two in Turkey, three in Iran, and one in Azerbaijan. The Iranian and Azerbaijani sites are far outside the Land of Ararat / Urartu, and in the case of the Iranian sites, deep inside the Land of Media. We can safely dismiss these mountains as the place where Noah’s Ark landed according to the Bible. To be truthful, Agri Dagh must be dismissed as well because it is a post-Flood volcanic peak in a plain, and not within the “mountains (plural) of Ararat” (Gen. 8:4).

The Setting of the Symposium
The symposium was held at the Sehr-I Nuh Otel (translation: Noah’s City Hotel) in Sirnak, just north of Cudi Dagh (Cudi or Judi Mountain). This mountain is within the “mountains of Ararat” (Gen. 8:4) where Noah’s Ark landed. The facilities at the hotel were first class, the food was absolutely delicious, and we had a spectacular view of Cudi Dagh from the panorama view windows as we ate our meals.

Cudi Dagh (Mount Judi). Photo courtesy of Dr. Mark Wilson.

Cudi Dagh (Mount Judi). Photo courtesy of Dr. Mark Wilson.

Special thanks goes to Dr. Mehmet Ata Az, a philosophy professor at Sirnak University, for coordinating the speakers and making sure our needs were met. He truly has a servant’s heart and our best interest in mind. Thank you my friend!

— ♦ —

At this point Gordon gives a synopsis of select papers, including his own on the topic, “Did Sennacherib, King of Assyria, Worship Wood from Noah’s Ark?

Read the report in its entirety at Gordon’s Life and Land Seminars site. I think you will be profited, and perhaps enlightened, by doing so.

The Fountain of Glauke at Corinth

In addition to the Spring (or Fountain) of Peirene, Corinth had another significant water supply — the Fountain of Glauke. Reddish and Fant describe the fountain:

To the west of the temple [of Apollo] and on a lower level lies the Fountain of Glauke, supplied with water by a conduit from the Acrocorinth, virtually nothing of which remains except four reservoirs cut in the rock. It was named for the legendary daughter of a king of Corinth who threw herself into its waters to escape the flames of the magical robe sent her by Medea. Originally the fountain was covered by a building approximately 45 feet long and 40 feet wide. (A Guide to Biblical Sites in Greece and Turkey, 59).

The Fountain of Glauke at Corinth. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The Fountain of Glauke at Corinth. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Among the Christians at Corinth during the time of the Apostle Paul, we can certainly imagine that some of them visited these sites we have learned about as a result of the archaeological excavations over the past century. See Acts 18; 1 Corinthians; 2 Corinthians.

More on the Vandalization of the Protestant Cemetery in Jerusalem

This is a brief follow-up on our report here of the vandalization of the Protestant Cemetery. Trent Dutton, “Our man in Jerusalem”, reports that once AP released a story about the vandalism, several Middle East and American news outlets have come to the cemetery for photographs, and have re-posted the story.

Fox News:

Washington Times:

Ma’an News (Jordanian) discusses this in the context of the general problem faced by some Arabs:


The aerial photo below shows the Church of the Dormitian, the Catholic, Armenian, and Greek cemeteries in the upper left portion. Along the bottom of the photo, overlooking the road along the south of the Old City where it joins with the Hebron Road, is the Jerusalem University College. The Protestant Cemetery can be seen among the trees just above our copyright notice. Click on the photo for a larger image.

Aerial photo of the Protestant Cemetery. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Aerial photo of the Protestant Cemetery. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

You can probably see that it would be rather easy for one to enter the cemetery from the road below.

HT: Trent Dutton

The Fountain of Peirene at Corinth

In the first century A.D. Corinth was the capital of the Roman province of Achaia and had direct communication with Rome. This was a wonderful place for Paul to teach the gospel of Christ (Acts 18).

A large city such as Corinth needed a good water supply. Water from subterranean springs flowed underneath the city and was captured in a reservoir with a capacity of over 81,000 gallons. The Fountain of Peirene was the city’s most important water supply. Even now, if one stands anywhere near the openings in the once impressive structure he can hear the water flowing in the natural spring underneath the city.

The Fountain of Peirene at Corinth. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The Fountain of Peirene at Corinth. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

An ornamental fountain once welcomed those who made the turn off the Lechaion Road to the Spring of Peirene.

An ornamental fountain in front of the spring. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

An ornamental fountain in front of the spring. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The Lechaion Road at Corinth

The Lechaion Road was the famous road that ran from the port of Corinth to the city. In Corinth the road was 20 to 25 feet wide, made of limestone, and flanked on either side by raised sidewalks and shops. The road ended at the agora which was directly to our back when we made the photo.

The Lechaion Road in Corinth. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The Lechaion Road in Corinth. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The Apostle Paul came to Corinth in the fall of A.D. 51 and remained until the spring of A.D. 53. During the eighteen months in the city he preached to both Jews and Greeks (Acts 18:1-4, 11).

A case can be made that there was a “lost letter” written by Paul to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 5:9).

The document we call First Corinthians was written from Ephesus about A.D. 53/54.

Paul may have made a second visit to the city which ended in sorrow; some call this the “painful visit” of 2 Corinthians 2:1; 12:14; 13:1-4.

Paul proposed a third visit (2 Corinthians 12:14; 13:1-2), which probably took place during the three month stay in Greece (Acts 20:2-3). We believe that Paul wrote the letter to the Romans during this visit. Romans was delivered to the Romans by Phoebe, a servant of the church at Cenchreae (Romans 16:1).

Joseph’s Tomb at Shechem

Before Joseph died in Egypt, he exacted a promise from the sons of Israel that when God visited them to deliver them from bondage they would carry his bones from Egypt. Upon his death he was embalmed and placed in a coffin in Egypt (Genesis 50:25-26). This is what we would expect in Egypt.

The request regarding his bones manifests an understanding of the promise that the LORD would give to the descendants of Abraham the land where Abraham dwelt (Genesis 15:13-16). It also manifests a strong faith regarding the fulfillment of that promise.

Moses took the bones of Joseph with the Israelites when they fled Egypt. This was the strangest thing one can imagine — transporting the mummified body of Joseph through forty years of wilderness wandering.

Moses took the bones of Joseph with him, for Joseph had made the sons of Israel solemnly swear, saying, “God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones with you from here.” (Exodus 13:19 ESV)

Eventually, Joseph’s bones were buried at Shechem.

As for the bones of Joseph, which the people of Israel brought up from Egypt, they buried them at Shechem, in the piece of land that Jacob bought from the sons of Hamor the father of Shechem for a hundred pieces of money. It became an inheritance of the descendants of Joseph. (Joshua 24:32 ESV)

Tomb of Joseph near Shechem. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Tomb of Joseph near Shechem. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The building pictured above is a fairly recent structure that is called the Tomb of Joseph. Jewish settlers come to the empty building, now within the Palestinian territory, frequently. Sometimes fights erupt. One of the recent clashes is described here.