Cities of Paul: Images and Interpretations from the Harvard New Testament Archaeology Project

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Cities of Paul: Images and Interpretations from the Harvard New Testament Archaeology Project edited by Helmut Koester Fortress. Minneapolis, 2005. CD-ROM, $199.00. ISBN O-8006-3673-2.

THIS IS A VALUABLE, thoroughly prepared resource for instruction and research in New Testament, ancient Christianity, and related fields. The editor and his associates have assembled a huge collection of nearly 900 images from Greece and Turkey that portray the world of the apostle Paul, his contemporaries, and others in the early centuries of the Common Era. The collection contains images from Athens, Corinth, Delphi, Ephesus, Isthmia, Olympia, Pergamon, Philippi, and Thessaloniki.

Users interested primarily in pictures of the ancient cities that Paul wrote to or inhabited will not be disappointed. In addition, the images include photographs of coins, inscriptions, and statues, as well as drawings, maps, and models of cities, buildings, and floor plans. All photographs are of high quality, and a "zoom" function allows for close-ups and panoramas of the sites.

There is an abundance of textual material as accompaniment. For any given image there is a notation of its location, description, and an interpretation of its importance for study. When necessary, as in the case of an inscription, a translation is provided. A bibliography is not included with every image, but can usually be found close at hand. For example, there is none with the "Map of Ephesus," but there is an ample bibliography on Ephesus under "History of Ephesus." A useful Table of Contents is included along with a General Index, and indexes for ancient authors, architecture, coins, inscriptions, maps, names, and sculptures in addition to a helpful Glossary and an extensive Bibliography.

Although the intention of the program is to increase understanding of the world of early Christianity, many users will choose to employ it to illumine the world of New Testament texts in the classroom. To that end, the instructor can use the CD for the production of slide shows. For example, if one is discussing Romans 16 and draws attention to 16:23-where greetings are extended by "Erastus, the city treasurer" (NRSV) - either the Index of Names ("Erastus Corinthius") or the Index of Inscriptions ("Erastus Inscription") allows access to the image, and a text page of the inscription's location, description, translation, an interpretation (including the question of the civic title and role of Erastus in Corinth), and a brief bibliography. …