WASHINGTON, D.C. (August 2, 2016)—How accurate is Luke’s account of the Ephesus riot described in Acts 19:23–41? According to Acts, the riot would have occurred at the end of the missionary visit of Paul at Ephesus (around 55 or 56 C.E.).
In the Roman period, Ephesus was an important commercial center. Excavations conducted by the Austrian Archaeological Institute since 1895 have shown that the ancient city—which rivaled Antioch as the third-largest city of the Roman world—boasted a harbor, various civic structures, bath complexes, a theater and the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
In “Archaeology Gives New Reality to Paul’s Ephesus Riot” in the July/August 2016 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review, James R. Edwards describes how archaeological evidence— from statues of the goddess Artemis to inscriptions and monumental building remains—fills in the historical context for Luke’s account of the riot at Ephesus.