Inscriptions in Corinth: Erastus

DSCN1108One of the most famous inscriptions of Corinth, in addition to the Synegogue inscription (see below), is the one located in the theater area, mentioning a certain Erastus:

[ ..] Erastus pro aedilit[at]e s(ua) p(ecunia) stravit. “[ .. ]Erastus for his aedileship laid (the pavement) at his own expense.”

This might very well be the Erastus mentioned in Romans 16:23; 2 Tim 4:20.
We were so litle informed about its location that we had problems finding it. But it is located in situ, propably in connection with the pavement that the inscription celebrates. If this is about the same Erastus who is mentioned in the New testament, it is one of the very very few inscriptions we have mentioning New Testament characters.
Here is a link to some info about another comparable inscription:
Andrew D. Clarke, Another Corinthian Erastus Inscription, Tyndale Bulletin 42.1 (May, 1991) 146-151.

Inscriptions in Corinth

Visiting Corinth last September, my student liked to check up some of the more famous inscriptions there. The two most famous probably are the Synagogue inscription, and the Erastus Inscription.

The Synagogue inscription is now placed on the wall in the entrance building; Turn around just after you have entered the site, and there it is:
I must confess I find it very hard to believe that this has ever been an inscription placed on the wall of an actual synagogue. Its letters are very crude and unevenly carved. In my opinion, it might have been a mocking inscription, or a preliminary one. What du you think?
It was discovered by some archaeologists in 1898, and many suggest that the inscription, carved in a large block of limestone, appears to have come from the doorway to a synagogue. It was found on the Lechaion Road, and comes probably from the 4-5th century. It is written in Greek, and the letters can be read thus:
“. . . GOGE EBR . . .”
— which can be translated as “Synagogue of the Hebrews [= Jews].”
synagogue inscription
The Inscription is used in many textsbooks as evidence for the presence of Jews in Corinth, sometimes even as evidence for the presence of Jews in the times of Paul.
I don’t think it should be doubted that there were Jews in Corinth at his time, but the inscription is secondary, and perhaps even dubious.

NT Pod

Mark Goodacre, who seems to find time to follow up, and do a lot of things on Internet, have made several, and probably will continue to do so, of podcasts on New Testament issues.

Now he is also presenting these on a special webpage: go to
Here is a lot of good stuff, some to agree with, some more open to be questioned….
If I could give him only one good advice (but he probably is not reading this post); I would suggest that he tried to speak somewhat slower; remember-not all of us are English native speakers…
Good luck, Mark 🙂

Studia Philonica Annual 2009

StPh2009The SBL Publications is now announcing this year’s Studia Philonica Annual

David T. Runia and Gregory E. Sterling, editors
Studia Philonica Annual XXI, 2009
Hardcover $27.95 • 172 pages • ISBN 9781589834439

Articles in this issue are
David T. Runia, The Theme of Flight and Exile in the Allegorical Thought-World of Philo of Alexandria;
Scott D. Mackie, Seeing God in Philo of Alexandria: The Logos, the Powers, or the Existent One?;
Tzvi Novick, Perspective, Paideia, and Accommodation in Philo;
Gregory E. Sterling, How Do You Introduce Philo of Alexandria? The Cambridge Companion to Philo.

The Studia Philonica Annual is a scholarly journal devoted to furthering the study of Hellenistic Judaism, and in particular the writings and thought of the Hellenistic-Jewish writer Philo of Alexandria (circa 15 B.C.E. to circa 50 C.E.)

Gossip and Gender

The dissertation by the Norwegian scholar Marianne Bjelland Kartzow (a former student of mine, way back in Volda) is now available, being published by De Gruyter this fall:

Marianne Bjelland Kartzow,
Gossip and Gender: Othering of Speech in the Pastoral Epistles (Beihefte Zur Zeitschrift Fur Die Neutestamentliche Wissenschaft und die Kunde der Alteren Kirche) Walter de Gruyter & Co, Oct 2009. 300p. £89.95.

Product description: “The frequent comments about gossip in the Pastoral Epistles are noteworthy, and it often has gender implications. Insights from the growing field of gossip studies from multiple disciplines help to interpret what role gossip plays, especially in relation to how power and authority are distributed and promoted. A presentation of various texts from antiquity shows that the relation between gossip and gender is multiple and complex: to gossip was typical for all women and risky for elite men who constantly had to defend their masculinity. The ancient gossip discourse helps to understand more of the social dynamics of early Christianity, to fill in the imaginative picture and generate ideas to how Christian identity and theology were constructed. ”

Marianne B Kartzow is presently a post-doctor researcher at the University of Oslo, working within a project called Jesus in cultural complexity:Interpretation, memory and identification, A research project that attempts to construct a new paradigm of historical Jesus studies.

Philo and Josephus on Iphone

The Olive tree company is expanding their range of texts made available for Iphone; now you also can have the English translations of Josephus (Whiston) and Philo (Yonge) right there on your Iphone.
But we are still waiting for the Greek versions of the same texts to be available.
As they already have the split-screen possibility integrated in their Bible-reader, it is time to get more Greek texts on the screen too.
As these texts are available for Palm, it is time get them on Iphone too. For – who is using Palm anymore?

Visiting Corinth

We had a one day trip to ancient Corinth on Oct. 23; a nice and warm day, and wonderful to be back again (my  third time), looking up and trying to imagine the Pauline Corinth in situ! We took the new and modern train from Athens to modern Corinth, hoping to be able to rent a car there. But the renter was not very interested; when he heard that we wanted the car only for one day, they were suddenly all occupied and not available because of a wedding next day! So the taxidrivers earned some money on us that day.


The Bema on the Agora is one of the places to visit as it probably was here that the procurator was asked to deal with Paul as a problematic person in the city, See Acts 18:12-17.

We wre also looking especially for the Macellum , the meat marked: Cf. 1 Cor 10:25. The conventional Guide books do not provide much help, but most probably the Macellum should be identified with the socalled north-marked.


My student was very satisfied when be able to have a look at what is probably to be dealt with in his dissertation.

When going back to Athens, we had the taxidriver to go by ancient Cenchrea, the harbour from which Paul probably left for Ephesos, and the place of the home-congregation of Phoebe (Romans 16:1)



Visiting Elevsis

If you go to Greece, studying their ancient religious traditions, Elevsis (Elefsina), ca. 30 km outside Athens, is surely a place you ought to see.
Being one of the most famous sites of the ancient mystery cults, it has a history going back to ca 700 BCE. But to have a good understanding of the site, you need to know the story behind it, that is, the story of Demeter and Kore. You can read about the legend here: