April 01, 2005

'Apostle Paul' Inscription Found in Miletus

Nikos Angelakis, a friend of mine teaching in Athens, emailed me yesterday about an English news brief from Greece. It includes two slides of new stone inscriptions found in Miletus, one of which it claims is a reference to the Apostle Paul.

The writings on the stones were discovered early this year, while repairing vandalism. The article goes on to say:

A small vandalism restoration project below the northwest
pillar of the Roman theater grew into a full excavation,
responding to a surprising team member discovery . An
inscription, found on the underside of a corner floor stone,
led the professor and his crew to expand the excavation.

Following the discovery, the team removed nine floor stones
out of the foundation, each with inscriptions taken from
over three earlier structures. An Ödemiş Museum team then
led the removal and preparation of the historically significant

They have already restored and documented three of the pieces, including the one which contains an apparent reference to the Paul of the New Testament. Prof. Zuryis added, "The reference to the Apostle Paul is not surprising. He sailed to Miletos returning from a journey where he met with church officials from neighboring cities including Ephesus. Perhaps an edifice was set to honor St. Paul at the occassion of the farewell speech which he gave in Miletos. The Roman stadium itself was not built until late second century..."
My question is how can a structure built in the second century have cannibalized an earlier structure that already had a reference to Paul? I don't have alot of experience reading inscriptions, but this stone is not difficult to make out. Can you have a dangling Alpha like that?

I've been to Miletus when I did the Turkey tourist thing, but honestly I can't even recall what the theater looked like. I think it was a rather tall structure, set into a hill. But then maybe that was an Odion. You can find out more about all this here. Happy April Fool's Day

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