Heidegger's Bible Handbook: Ephesus: The City of Ephesus

2. Ephesus, a city of Asia, a colony of Ionia, devoted to the worship of many-breasted Diana. Saint John was not the first to preach the Gospel in it, but rather Paul.



Ephesus was a maritime city of Asia Minor, a colony of Ionia, famous for its Temple of Diana πολυμάσθου, the many-breasted one, as Jerome calls her, νεωκόρος Ἀρτέμιδος, devoted to the worship of Diana, Acts 19:35,[1] and that from antiquity: in which accordingly superstition and idolatry, and also magical curiosity, Acts 19:19, put down deep roots. Concerning which there is somewhat more to see in the Most Illustrious Zwinger’s Theatro Sapientiæ, Volume III, book 9. Uncertain in the tradition of some, that the Apostle John planted the first Church in that city, and that Mary Θεοτόκον, the mother of God, dwelt there for some time, and, finally, that the Temple of Diana was brought down by the power of John. But we rather believe the testimony of Irenæus, book 3 against Heresies, chapter 3, that it was founded by Paul, and cared for by John; since the history in Acts 19:20 abundantly confirm this beforehand. Saint Paul also bears witness, 1 Corinthians 16:8, 9, that a great and effectual door was opened to him at Ephesus, and that accordingly there were many teachable there, abjuring idolatry, and readily giving themselves to Christ.


[1] Acts 19:35: “And when the townclerk had appeased the people, he said, Ye men of Ephesus, what man is there that knoweth not how that the city of the Ephesians is a worshipper of the great goddess Diana (τὴν Ἐφεσίων πόλιν νεωκόρον οὖσαν τῆς μεγάλης θεᾶς Ἀρτέμιδος), and of the image which fell down from Jupiter?”