The city of Ephesus had great significance in the ancient world from its beginnings in the eighth century BC through the fall of Rome. Books of scripture were written to people in this city and from people residing there, as well. Cleopatra and Mark Antony killed off her sister here. And the temple of the Ephesian Artemis here was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The apostle Paul left after an uproar in Ephesus having to do with idols and money. And Shakespeare later made the city his setting for “A Comedy of Errors.” (Ironically, Ephesus’s history reads more like a tragedy than a comedy, considering that its inhabitants consistently sided with the losers.)
For all these reasons I chose “The city of Ephesus from 100 BCE to CE 100” as one of my PhD examination fields. And having done all that research, I wanted to make accessible my summary of the city’s history and ethos, especially for teachers and preachers seeking to understand biblical backgrounds and contexts for their messages.
Voila! I have finally published my work as The City of Ephesus: A Short History. It’s a Kindle book in which I devote special emphasis to Ephesus’s prominence in the first centuries as a center of religious activity.
The biblical Book of Ephesians was probably written to more than the church at Ephesus—perhaps also to the church at Laodicea and other nearby churches. But the apostle Paul’s protégé Timothy was in Ephesus when Paul wrote him the letter known to us as 1 Timothy (1 Tim. 1:3). My work is, therefore, I believe, of greatest benefit to people teaching through that book. But hopefully it will be of help to anyone interested in the Acts of the Apostles (esp. Acts 19), the world of the earliest Christians, and biblical and historical backgrounds.