Today we visited the city of Corinth. The ancient Greek city acquired something of a proverbial reputation for sexual promiscuity. The city was a place of religious variety, with the worship of traditional gods and goddesses from Greek and Roman religions, local deities and heroes, and divinities from further east, such as the Egyptian deities Isis and Serapis. We learned that Corinth’s geographical location played a central role as a center of trade; it participated in various Greek wars and had the status as a major Roman colony.
Paul visited the city between 51 and 52. This was the beginning of Corinth becoming the center of early Christianity in Greece. In Paul’s day Corinth was a cosmopolitan, bustling city. At one time, Paul was brought before the pro-consul Gallio by the Jews who claimed he was undermining the Mosaic Law. Gallio pronounced that Paul had not broken any Roman Law, so he was permitted to continue teaching. He was either brought to the Bema or the Julian Basilica.
Paul writes the first document of the New Testament from Corinth – the first letter to the Thessalonians.
Special insights: The letters to the Corinthians were probably the strongest Paul ever wrote. He had to attack everything Corinth stood for – especially immorality. Paul was urging the members to understand what it means to be called by God from their pagan past into a new life in Christ Jesus. The purpose of church, as Paul saw it, was to call members to come out from the perversity of the world and nourish holiness and purity in thought.
Next, we drove to Epidaurus where the sanctuary of Aesculapius was built. We also saw one of the best-preserved theaters in ancient Greece – 12,000 seats. It was a city named after Epidauros, son of Apollo. This famous healing center was visited from all over Greece by those seeking freedom from their physical ills. Some looked to divine intervention; others sought the medicines offered by the resident priests.
Special insights: The symbol of the god Aesculapius was the serpent winding its way around a staff or rod. It is used frequently for the medical and health-care systems of today. The significance of this: the tyranny of materia medica has not lost its connection with paganism.
Click on the below link to download and then play this movie to hear “Voices of Epidaurus” –