Revelation and the Marble Economy of Roman Ephesus: A People's History Approach (Hardcover)
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In an effort to bring the (im)practicalities of John's command for withdrawal from cultural participation in 18:4 to the forefront of scholarly discourse, this book reconstructs the marble economy of ancient Ephesus and proceeds to read Revelation by foregrounding the daily lives of its marble-workers. This book argues that Ephesus was a major center of the marble economy in the Roman world and that the infrastructure that went into creating, building, and sustaining such an enterprise generated the need for a large workforce. Anna M. V. Bowden further demonstrates that the majority of marble-workers endured poor working conditions and struggled on a daily basis to ensure subsistence. Finally, Bowden explores the ways marble-workers participated in empire "through the work of their hands" (9:20) and questions John's characterization of marble-workers as idolaters, sorcerers, murderers, fornicators, and thieves. Bowden concludes that the praxis Revelation requires from its audience of complete withdrawal is pragmatically not sustainable and is ultimately a manifesto leaving marble-workers jobless, hungry, and with a heightened risk for malnutrition, disease, injury, and even death.
About the Author
Anna M. V. Bowden is visiting assistant professor of biblical studies at Albion College and an instructor in religious studies at Monroe Community College.