Pursuing Partnership: New Light on Timeless Texts – Week 14

Who Was Artemis and Why Does it Matter (Part 2)

Wall Fragment with Two Women; Unknown; A.D. 1–75; Fresco

By Wendy Wilson, Missio Nexus, Mission Advisor for Development of Women

This article is part of the series Pursuing Partnership: Men and Women in Ministry.

Who Was Artemis and Why Does it Matter (Part 2)

A note from Wendy Wilson, MissioNexus, Mission Advisor for Development of Women:

How does an understanding of the cultural context of first century Ephesus, under the enormous influence of the Temple of Artemis, help us to untangle wider passages as we gain insight into what Timothy and the original hearers in the Ephesian church were hearing from Paul? How does this help us sort through what is time-bound in the original context, and what is timeless to instruct God’s people in every culture and every era?

Last week’s historical research on Artemis continues in this next short article . . . Be sure to sign up too for Dr Glahn’s Missio Nexus webinar on April 21 (sign up here!)

The link to the blog article is below . . .but here is an excerpt from “Who Was Artemis and Why Does it Matter (Part 2):

“In Part One, I said first-century Ephesians worshiped a uniquely Ephesian Artemis whose re-built temple was the crown jewel of the world’s Seven Wonders. This Artemis was the illegitimate daughter of Leto and Zeus, sister of Apollo, goddess of the hunt, and a confirmed virgin. Yet Artemis Ephesia had additional characteristics. And one of these was her association with childbearing.

Many who hear this instantly think “fertility, mothering, and nurturing.” Yet such associations are probably unfounded. In the same way midwives and obstetricians deal only with delivery and not sex, fertility, mothering, or nurturing, Artemis was a deliverer only. In fact Artemis and Apollo shot arrows through all the children of Niobe—Apollo killing the sons, and Artemis, the daughters. Hardly nurturing!

So how did such a ruthless goddess come to be associated with childbirth?”

Read the whole article – Who Was Artemis and Why Does it Matter (Part 2)


Dr. Sandra Glahn is Professor of Media Arts and Worship at Dallas Theological Seminary. She is an author, co-author, or general editor of more than twenty books including Vindicating the Vixens: Revisiting Sexualized, Vilified, and Marginalized Women of the Bible. Learn more about her at her website: aspire2.com.

This article is submitted by Wendy Wilson of Missio Nexus and of Women’s Development Track.  Women’s Development Track is a Missio Nexus member.  Member organizations can provide content to the Missio Nexus website. See how by clicking here.

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