Questioning Ephesians: I “Heart” Ephesus

19 Dec


As you can see from the image above I have made a purchase for the upcoming Ephesians study our 20/30’s group will be going through. Why do I love Ephesus? Glad you asked! In one word…Artemis. And after I tell you about the goddess of Ephesus just try telling me that you do not love Ephesus as well:

Who was Artemis?
The supposed goddess of fertility.

Who worshiped her?
She was probably the most-worshiped deity in Asia and perhaps the world during Paul’s time.

What was worship like?
Hundreds of eunuch priests, virgin priestesses, and religious prostitutes served her. Worship rituals were quite erotic.

By what other names was Artemis known?
“Queen of Heaven,” “Savior,” and “Mother Goddess.”

What role did Ephesus have in Artemis worship?
Ephesus was considered neokoros for Artemis, which meant the city was the center for Artemis worship and was responsible for maintaining the cult’s purity of worship.

How did Ephesus benefit financially from the worship of Artemis?
The cult brought great wealth to the citizens of Ephesus because the temple of Artemis became the world’s largest bank during that time.

What were Artemis festivals like?
Devotees came from all over the world to worhsip and celebrate during her festivals. Huge processions honored her statues.
Celebrations were held with music, dancing, singing, dramatic presentations, and chanting of allegiance.

What were Artemis statues like?
They portrayed Artemis as having many breasts- a symbol of her fertility. The main statue in her temple may have been a black meteorite because she was said to have fallen from the sky.

What was the Artemis temple like?
The temple was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.

How else do we know that Artemis was important to Ephesus?
Two statues of her have been found in the Prytaneion- the “city hall” of Ephesus- indicating that she was considered to be the basis for life in the city.

What attracted people to Artemis?
The promise of fertility, long life, sexual fulfillment, and protection during preganancy and childbirth; the seductive sexuality of her worship.


One Response to “Questioning Ephesians: I “Heart” Ephesus”


  1. A case in context-Ephesians « Midrash - January 11, 2008

    […] can’t have it both ways). They merged together as best we can understand in the goddess named Artemis. She was known as the eternal many breasted fertility […]

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