Friday 19 August 2011

Clinton E. Arnold on Ephesians (4)

Clinton E. Arnold, Ephesians, Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2010), 538pp., ISBN 9780310243731.

Earlier entries:

Clinton E. Arnold on Ephesians (1)

Clinton E. Arnold on Ephesians (2)

Clinton E. Arnold on Ephesians (3)

Clinton Arnold’s Introduction to Ephesians begins with a discussion of its destination and setting.


He takes the ‘in Ephesus’ of 1:1 as authentic, but also sees Ephesians ‘as a letter that was intended in the first instance to circulate among the various local churches in the city of Ephesus, then to other churches in nearby villages, and possibly to churches in cities as far away as Smyrna, Miletus, and the Maeander and Lycus valleys’ (29).


His section here takes in Ephesus itself (cosmopolitan and multiethnic, the leading city of the richest region of the Roman Empire), the religious environment of Ephesus (dominated by the Artemis cult), magic and folk belief (Ephesus had a reputation as a place where magical practices flourished), Judaism in Ephesus (Arnold estimates a Jewish population of between 10,000 and 20,000, with ‘folk Judaism’ being amply attested), and the ruler cult (concluding that Ephesians is ‘not a document of political subversion, but a plan for spiritual subversion’, 41).

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