Monday, December 15, 2014

Figure 100

Erastus inscription. Photo courtesy of  Todd Bolen.
Erastus inscription which some claim refers to the Erastus mentioned by Paul in Romans 16:23.

In 1928–1929, archaeologists excavating in Corinth uncovered three slabs of hard white limestone1.  with an inscription that read: “ERASTVS PRO AEDILIT[AT]E S P  STRAVIT2. “[...]erastus,3.  in return for his aedileship, paved (this [road]) at his own expense.”4.  Erastus paid to have the street paved in return for an appointment as either the city engineer or chief of public works (Lat. Aedile).5.

1. Steven J. Friesen, “The Wrong Erastus: Ideology, Archaeology, and Exegesis,” in Corinth in Context: Comparative Studies on Religion and Society, ed. Steven J. Friesen, Daniel N. Schowalter, and James Walters (Leiden: Brill, 2010), 236 n. 18.
2. S. P. is a standard abbreviation for sua pecunia, “with his own money.” John Harvey Kent, The Inscriptions, 1926 to 1950: Corinth, vol. 8, Part 3 (Athens: American School of Classical Studies at Athens, 1966).
3. Meggitt argues that the name should be [Ep]erastus and is found 15 times in Latin and 18 times in Greek. Justin J. Meggitt, “The Social Status of Erastus (Ro. 16:23),” NovT 38, no. 3 (1996): 140.
4. Friesen, “The Wrong Erastus,” 236; Andrew D. Clarke, Secular and Christian Leadership in Corinth: A Socio-Historical and Exegetkal Study of 1 Corinthians 1-6 (Leiden: Brill, 1993), 49–54; Andrew D. Clarke, “Another Corinthian Erastus Inscription,” TB 42 (1991): 146–51.
5. This wording and practice is also present in the recent Megiddo church mosaic which reads: “Gaianus, also called Porphyrius, centurion, our brother, has made the pavement at his own expense as an act of liberality. Brutius has carried out the work.” Adams notes that “The word “centurion” (hekatontarches) is represented by the chi-rho symbol, an established abbreviation for the term.” Edward Adams, “The Ancient Church at Megiddo: The Discovery and an Assessment of Its Significance,” ExpTim 120 (2008): 64.

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