National Geographic : 1956 Dec
Veroia, it is called now-and saw the stones on which they may have stood to preach. In Beroea the Jews welcomed Paul's message with open hearts, accepting Jesus as the Mes siah. But Thessalonians followed to foment discord, and the Apostle fled again, this time to Athens. Athenians Talk of Politics Paul found Athens living on the glories of its past. Conversation in the market place centered on philosophy as well as business, while the thinkers of the day sought to perpetuate the spirit of their illustrious prede cessors, Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. The modern Greek turns to politics for his conversation. Every Greek, the Greeks told me, considers his own political ideas of prime- Ephesus Built the Library of Celsus Some 80 Years After Paul's Visit Greek legend says that Amazons, the mythical female warriors, founded Ephesus. History reports That the goddess Artemis, or Diana, brought fame and fortune to the eastern Mediterranean city. Ephesians erected to Diana a richly decorated marble temple that ancients considered one of the world's seven wonders. Magic so governed Ephesian life that artisans grew rich making and selling amulets to charm away sorrow or ensure happiness. Opposing the black arts, Paul worked two years in Ephesus. "And many that believed came, and con fessed, and shewed their deeds." Burning books of sorcery, "they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver" (Acts 19:18-19). In time, the harbor silted up, and malaria-ridden Ephesus sank into oblivion. Its temples fallen, its glories swept away, the ghost town stands in ruins some 35 miles from Izmir, Turkey. This library honored Celsus, a Roman governor who was buried on the site. Wall niches held books scattered long ago. ministerial caliber: "If I could just run this country for 24 hours!" In sidewalk cafes on Constitution Square the amateur politicians sip Turkish coffee and consume uncounted glasses of cold water. They are inclined to sprawl over two or three chairs, to provide a firmer foundation for their weighty pronouncements. They inter rupt their discussions only to scan the late editions of the political papers as they come pouring from the presses. When I was there, they were vociferously solving the flaming issue of the day-Cyprus. Sophisticated Athens did not give Paul much of a hearing, though he talked in the Agora-the Constitution Square of his day with anyone who would listen. His main speech to the Athenians, delivered on the rock called Areopagus, or Mars' Hill, was cut short by the assembled sages. He must have stared up at the Parthenon, with its gold-and ivory statue of Athena, and pitied the city (page 744).* Paul went to Corinth, and there founded a congregation that was at once his pride and his despair. His two letters to the Corinthi ans in the New Testament tell eloquently how he suffered on behalf of this cluster of sinners who had accepted Christianity. Corinth had come to symbolize wealth, ex pensive living, night life, and immorality. So infamous was it that the modern Greek still quotes a proverb, to be spoken with a shrug * See "Athens to istanbul," by Jean and Franc Shor, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE, January, 1956.