Inequality in Corinth

It didn’t take long for the Googlebots to find Corinth in Contrast: Studies in Inequality, fresh off the press  of Brill publishing company. Google Books has made available the Introductory matter, Table of Contents, and Chapter 1 (Inequality in Corinth) by editors Steven Friesen, Sarah James, and Daniel Schowalter. In their introductory chapter, the editors describe the background for the conference that led to the volume and outline how the individual essays contribute to the theme. Check it out here.

Corinthian Scholarship Monthly (October 2013)

Here’s the round-up of new Corinthiaka scholarship for the month of October. Happy Reading. You can also find these entries at the Corinthian Studies Group Library Page in Zotero.

Bronze Age

Early Iron Age-Hellenistic

Roman and Late Antique

New Testament and Early Christian

  • Brown, Alexandra R. “Creation, Gender, and Identity in (New) Cosmic Perspective: 1 Corinthians 11:2-16.” In The Unrelenting God: Essays on God’s Action in Scripture in Honor of Beverly Roberts Gaventa, edited by David J. Downs and Matthew L. Skinner, 172–193. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2013. http://books.google.com/books?id=uuBgAQAAQBAJ.
  • Downing, F. Gerald. Order and (Dis)order in the First Christian Century: A General Survey of Attitudes. BRILL, 2013. http://books.google.com/books?id=PfeZAAAAQBAJ
  • Eastman, Susan Grove. “Ashes on the Frontal Lobe: Cognitive Dissonance and Cruciform Cognition in 2 Corinthians.” In The Unrelenting God: Essays on God’s Action in Scripture in Honor of Beverly Roberts Gaventa, edited by David J. Downs and Matthew L. Skinner, 194–207. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2013. http://books.google.com/books?id=uuBgAQAAQBAJ
  • Schellenberg, Ryan S. Rethinking Paul’s Rhetorical Education: Comparative Rhetoric and 2 Corinthians 10–13. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2013. http://books.google.com/books?id=8TRXAQAAQBAJ
  • Van den Hoek, Annewies. “The Saga of Peter and Paul: Emblems of Catholic Identity in Christian Literature and Art.” In Pottery, Pavements, and Paradise: Iconographic and Textual Studies on Late Antiquity, edited by Annewies van den Hoek and John Joseph Herrmann, 301–326. BRILL, 2013. http://books.google.com/books?id=RcJSAQAAQBAJ

Diachronic

  • Hadler, H., A. Vött, B. Koster, M. Mathes-Schmidt, T. Mattern, K. Ntageretzis, K. Reicherter, and T. Willershäuser. “Multiple late-Holocene Tsunami Landfall in the Eastern Gulf of Corinth Recorded in the Palaeotsunami Geo-archive at Lechaion, Harbour of Ancient Corinth” (2013).
  • Williams, Charles K., II. “Corinth, 2011: Investigation of the West Hall of the Theater.” Hesperia: The Journal of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens 82, no. 3 (2013): 487–549. doi:10.2972/hesperia.82.3.0487.

Corinth in Contrast

I was pleased to see via FB that Corinth in Contrast: Studies in Inequality went live this morning at Brill’s website—a month in advance of the annual meeting of the SBL in Baltimore and well in advance of the AIA meeting in Chicago. (So look for the book if you will attend one of these conferences.)

The work is edited by Steve Friesen, Sarah James, and Dan Schowalter, and includes contributions by a gang of scholars working on Corinthian archaeology, history, and/or New Testament studies. It marks the fruition of a conference held three years ago in Austin, Texas. Bill Caraher covered the conference at The Archaeology of the Mediterranean World blog, as we did here at Corinthian Matters:

As the abstract to the book notes: “In Corinth in Contrast, archaeologists, historians, art historians, classicists, and New Testament scholars examine the stratified nature of socio-economic, political, and religious interactions in the city from the Hellenistic period to Late Antiquity. The volume challenges standard social histories of Corinth by focusing on the unequal distribution of material, cultural, and spiritual resources. Specialists investigate specific aspects of cultural and material stratification such as commerce, slavery, religion, marriage and family, gender, and art, analyzing both the ruling elite of Corinth and the non-elite Corinthians who made up the majority of the population. This approach provides insight into the complex networks that characterized every ancient urban center and sets an agenda for future studies of Corinth and other cities rule by Rome.”

The Table of Contents looks like this:

1. Inequality in Corinth (Steven J. Friesen, Sarah A. James, and Daniel N. Schowalter)

PART ONE: ELITES AND NON-ELITES

2. The Last of the Corinthians? Society and Settlement from 146 to 44 (Sarah A. James)

3. The Local Magistrates and Elite of Roman Corinth (Benjamin W. Millis

4. “You Were Bought with a Price”: Freedpersons and Things in 1 Corinthians (Laura Salah Nasrallah)

5. Painting Practices in Roman Corinth: Greek or Roman? (Sarah Lepinksi)

PART TWO: SOCIO-ECONOMIC INEQUALITIES IN CORINTH

6. Landlords and Tenants: Sharecroppers and Subsistence Farming in Corinthian Historical Context (Guy D.R. Sanders)

7. The Diolkos and the Emporion: How a Land Bridge Framed the Commercial Economy of Roman Corinth (David K. Pettegrew)

8. The Ambivalent Landscape of Christian Corinth: The Archaeology of Place, Theology, and Politics in a Late Antique City (William Caraher)

9. Regilla Standing By: Reconstructed Statuary and Re-inscribed Bases in Fourth-Century Corinth (Daniel N. Schowalter)

PART THREE: INEQUALITIES IN GENDER AND RELIGION IN ROMAN CORINTH

10. Religion and Magic in Roman Corinth (Ronald S. Stroud)

11. Junia Theodora of Corinth: Gendered Inequalities in the Early Empire (Steven J. Friesen)

12. ‘Mixed Marriage’ in Early Christianity: Trajectories from Corinth (Caroline Johnson Hodge)

 

This book adds to a growing number of studies that seek to bring together archaeologists, historians, classicists, and New Testament scholars to shed light on Roman Corinth.

Corinthian Scholarship Monthly (September 2013)

Here is the latest gaggle of articles, books, and theses that filtered into my feed last month – all of which have something to do with the Corinthia directly or indirectly (parallels and comparanda).

Bronze Age

Archaic-Hellenistic

Roman

  • Waldner, Katharina. “Dimensions of Individuality in Ancient Mystery Cults: Religious Practice and Philosophical Discourse.” In The Individual in the Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean, edited by Jörg Rüpke, 215–242. Oxford University Press, 2013. http://books.google.com/books?id=XeKdAAAAQBAJ.

Late Antique

New Testament

Comparanda

  • Aylward, William, ed. Excavations at Zeugma, Conducted by Oxford University. Los Altos, California: The Packard Humanities Institute, 2013. http://zeugma.packhum.org/toc

Cattle Bones at Corinth

It doesn’t get any more exciting than a heap of cattle bones.

I stumbled upon this story by accident yesterday when I checked a twitter feed, but might have seen the full academic talk on the subject had I attended the AIA last weekend.

The story that hit Discovery News yesterday, “Heap of Cattle Bones may Mark Ancient Feasts,” is a summary of a paper about the enormous volume of animal bone recently discovered and documented in the theater at Corinth. We covered the preliminary report about these finds a little over a year ago. Nice to see the study developing so quickly.

Here’s the opening from yesterday’s article:

“A metric ton of cattle bones found in an abandoned theater in the ancient city of Corinth may mark years of lavish feasting, a new study finds.

The huge amount of bones — more than 1,000 kilograms (2,205 pounds) — likely represent only a tenth of those tossed out at the site in Peloponnese, Greece, said study researcher Michael MacKinnon, an archaeologist at the University of Winnipeg.

‘What I think that they’re related to are episodes of big feasting in which the theater was reused to process carcasses of hundreds of cattle,’ MacKinnon told LiveScience. He presented his research Friday (Jan. 4) at the annual meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America in Seattle.”

Read the rest here.

This research is important not only for what it says about the state of the theater in the 4th century AD, but its implications for our understanding of ritual feasting in Late Roman Corinth.

Religion and Society in Roman Corinth

Later change (12-13-12) noted by asterick * 

A little over a week ago, I had the privilege to participate in a double session at the Society of Biblical Literature conference dedicated to the theme of “Polis and Ecclesia: Roman Corinth.” Organized by Larry Welborn and Jim Harrison, the session continued an endeavor begun in 2011 to investigate the relationship of churches to their urban environments in the 1st and 2nd centuries AD. In 2012, the focus was Roman Corinth. As the session abstract notes:

“This Consultation investigates the expansion of early Christianity as an urban phenomenon from Jerusalem to Rome, from the perspective of Paul’s letters and the Book of Acts, in the context of local documentary and archaeological evidence. The consultation seeks to be a venue for collaboration between scholars of early Christianity, classicists and archaeologists, in the study of the New Testament and early Christian literature as primary evidence for understanding the civic, religious and cultural life of the Mediterranean world of the first two centuries. The wide range of methodologies employed and the interdisciplinary nature of the investigation aim at a holistic presentation of the relationship between each polis and its ekklesia. Roman Corinth is the focus of the consultation for 2012. Two sessions are planned: a closed session and an open session.”

Interdisciplinary study, integrating contexts, new methodologies are now common aims in the study of the situation of early Christian communities.  Unsurprisingly, the papers varied in approach and focus.

In the morning session, the greater share of the papers examined specific passages of 1 Corinthians in light of broader contexts of the Roman Mediterranean. Katherine Ehrensperger, for instance, considered Paul’s strong statements about the Holy Spirit and the oneness of God in 1 Cor. 12 in light of a world full of gods who touched every aspect of life. Paul’s insistence on exclusive worship of Christ (1 Cor. 8-10) must have been not only alienating (from the community) for early Christians but also dangerous, impractical, almost impossible, as the traditional gods supported the most ordinary and dangerous functions of life, like childbirth; Paul elevated the Holy Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit as God’s way of divine communication, healing, and care of community. Michael Peppard considered the lawcourt disputes in 1 Cor. 6 in light of a Roman tradition of legal cases about fraternal disputes of inheritance (controversiae). Paul’s language would have brought to mind the theme of inheritance lawsuits and reinforced the community as spiritual family. Annette Weissenrider examined the meaning of the sitter who receives revelation in 1 Cor. 14.30 in light of a broader context of reclining as silent and respectful listening. Cavan Concannon’s paper was a bit different in beginning from the point of view of an immigrant resettled in Corinth who had to negotiate different ‘ordering principles’ between homeland and place of migration. Cavan raised the question of how immigrants turned Christians may have understood Paul’s teaching according to their own categories of thought.

My own paper on the diolkos was the great outlier to the session in its archaeological and historical focus that related only in conclusion to the question of early Christian community. Dale Martin’s response to the papers raised questions for the presenters and commented on the frequent use of material culture, and emphasis on space and place—consistent with the session theme of polis and ecclesia.

The afternoon session had the potential for a lively methodological conversation but ran short of time, steam, or both. There was, on the one hand, Timothy Gregory’s broad comments about the methodological difference between archaeological evidence (general, vague, medium and long time ranges) and literary texts (precise, specific, short term), and the problems that emerge when texts are used to guide and drive archaeological fieldwork and interpretation. Gregory, at one point, went so far as to state that the archaeological evidence usually drummed up for the study of the New Testament (Erastus, the cults of Aphrodite and the Egyptian deities) tells us almost nothing about the early Christian communities—how did that not evoke questions? Then, on the other hand, there were interesting and thought-provoking presentations by Laura Nasrallah (on the language of commodity, slavery, and the meat market—making reference to narrowly-dated manumissions lists from Delphi), Bruce Winter (on an inscription of 44 BC referring to Gaius Julius Spartiaticus’ management of the imperial cult), and Michel Amandry’s presentation from coins that Hadrian visited Corinth in AD 124-125 (*an argument made originally by Mary Hoskins Walbank in “Marsyas at Corinth,” in AJN 1 (1989)  79-87). In short, comments by Gregory about the coarseness of archaeological data were followed by papers focusing on the rare bird in archaeology—inscriptions and coins. If these papers are published, these presenters need to talk to one another.

So, all in all, in two sessions, a focus mainly on understanding text against a Greco-Roman backdrop and an emphasis on the specific over the general (text, inscriptions). It seems there is room here for approaches that make use of more typical mundane archaeological data (potsherds, buildings, and inscriptions without dramatic stories) to understand the urban communities of the first Christian centuries.

The Isthmus and the Consequences of Geography

I returned yesterday evening from the annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature and American Academy of Religion. I’ll write more about the  sessions on Roman Corinth tomorrow.

For now, I post below (via my Scribd account) a draft of the paper I gave on the diolkos. As the paper was a summary of recent scholarship, it lacks many footnotes where you might expect them. If you’re interested in pursuing the subject, following the references in footnote two to Lohmann (in press), Koutsoumba and Nakas (in press), and Pettegrew (2011).

Corinthiaka at the AIA

The AIA has posted a preliminary program of the 70+ paper sessions, workshops, and colloquia for the AIA in Seattle in January 2013.  As in previous years (2012, 2011), the Corinthia makes a good showing. If you’re going to the AIA and want to blog or tweet or report on the conference (or parts of it), let me know.

By order of session…

Session 1E: Gold Medal Colloquium in Honor of Jeremy B. Rutter: Minding the Gap: A Problem in Eastern Mediterranean Chronology, Then and Now

  • “Bridging the Gaps Among the Small Worlds of the EBA Aegean” (Daniel J. Pullen, The Florida State University)

Session: 1G: Recent Fieldwork in Greece and Turkey

  • “Excavations at Nemea: the 2012 season” (Kim Shelton, University of California, Berkeley)

Session: 1H: New Analytical Perspectives on Ceramics in Korinthia, Attica, and the Argolid

  • “Ceramic Fabric Analysis and Urban Survey: the Case of Sikyon” (Conor Trainor, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, and Evangelia Kiriatzi, British School at Athens)
  • “Crafting Choices: Early Helladic Ceramic Production and Consumption in Corinthia and the Argolid, Greece” (Clare Burke Davies, University of Sheffield, Peter M. Day, University of Sheffield, Daniel Pullen, Florida State University, James Wiseman, Boston University, Anthi Theodorou-Mavrommatidi, University of Athens, Angeliki Kossyva, 4th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities, Greece, and Alcestis Papadimitriou, 4th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities,Greece)
  • “Petrographic Study of Late Helladic Cooking Pots from the Corinthia” (Debra A. Trusty, Florida State University)
  • “The Production and Distribution of Corinthian Cooking and Southern Argolid Fabrics in the Late Roman Northeast Peloponnese” (Heather Graybehl, University of Sheffield, Samantha Ximeri, University of Sheffield, Mark D. Hammond, University of Missouri-Columbia, Christian Cloke, University of Cincinnati, and Peter M. Day, University of Sheffield)

Session: 1I: Cult and Context

  • “The Perachora Peninsula and the Sanctuary of the Heraion: You Can’t Get There from Here” (Angela Ziskowski, Coe College, and Daniel Lamp, Architect)
  • “Containers and Cult: Recent Research on Amphora Assemblages at Ephesos and Corinth” (Mark L. Lawall, University of Manitoba)

Session: 2A: Roman Greece

  • “Small Change: A Re-examination of the End of Local Bronze Coinage in the Corinthia in the Second Century B.C.E.” (Andrew Connor, University of Cincinnati)
  • “The Rejection of Roman Imperial Portrait Models in the Greek Provinces in the Middle of the Third Century” (Lee Ann Riccardi, The College of New Jersey)
  • “Cattle and Catering at Corinth: Analysis of over One Ton of Animal Bones from the Theatre Excavations” (Michael R MacKinnon, University of Winnipeg)

Session 2B: Greek Sculpture

  • “Sculptures from an Athletic Complex at Corinth” (Mary C Sturgeon, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill)

Session: 3A: The Afterlives of Monuments: Re-use and Transformation in the Ancient World

  • “The Archaic Colonnade at Ancient Corinth: A Case of Julio-Claudian Spolia” (Jon Frey, Michigan State University)

Session: 4F: New Research on Mainland Greece

  • “Terraces and the Organization of Agricultural Production at Late Bronze Age Korphos-Kalamianos” (Lynne A. Kvapil, Xavier University)

Session: 5D: Greeks Overseas

  • “Syracuse-Corfu-Corinth: A Western Wind in Early Doric Architecture” (Philip Sapirstein, Albright Institute of Archaeological Research)

Session: 7G: Managing Archaeological Data in the Digital Age: Best Practices and Realities

  • “The Archaeological Resource Cataloging System (ARCS): A New Practical Approach for Archives, Scholarly Access, and Learning” (Timothy E. Gregory, The Ohio State University, and Jon M. Frey, Michigan State University)

Dissertation Corner: A Guide to “Corinth on the Isthmus”

I recently discovered by accident that my doctoral dissertation on the Late Antique Corinthia was available for free download through OhioLink. When I completed this study in 2006 at Ohio State University, there was concern among graduate students that our university’s decision to disseminate theses and dissertations to the public would jeopardize opportunities for later publication. I wasn’t sure whether would prove true but erred on the side of caution. I delayed publication for five years, imagining that my book would be completed by then.

What I could not have counted on then was how much the main ideas of that little study would change over the next six years as I read more broadly and encountered the complexities of my subject. My interests shifted earlier, the guiding concepts of the study broadened, and I made some surprising new discoveries about how the Isthmus functioned (and did not) to facilitate trade.

The dissertation was at its heart a study of the late Roman countryside, or, as I noted in the abstract, “the continuity, discontinuity, and transformation of Corinth on the Isthmus during Late Antiquity.” My premise was simple: the textual history of Corinth in late antiquity did not correspond to the archaeological evidence for commerce, economy, settlement, and monumental architecture found in the territory. I argued that the visible developments in the landscape between the 4th and 7th centuries AD discounted the 3rd-5th century literary view that Corinth was in decline.

In one sense, the study continued or supported the recent work of scholars like Timothy Gregory, Richard Rothaus, Bill Caraher, Guy Sanders, and P. Nick Kardulias who had highlighted the continuing vitality of the late antique Corinthia from fortification walls, late antique villas, urban center, religious traditions, and churches; my contribution was a study of the evidence for Late Roman settlement documented by the Eastern Korinthia Archaeological Survey (1998-2002). In another sense, though, I was doing something a bit different in examining why the vibrant textual tradition for Corinth fragmented in the later Roman era. Why were text and material culture so out of sync? I highlighted how the Roman image of the city was itself a mirage that burst in late antiquity as the broader world changed.

I published some of the chapters of the dissertation along the way and eventually crafted a diachronic study about the changing place of Corinth and its Isthmus within the shifting networks of the Mediterranean world. The shift, I felt, was inevitable, as I could not really discuss the late antique changes in the Roman landscape without proper attention to what that landscape had been in the 1st-2nd centries. Along the way, the dissertation developed into something entirely new, a study of the long-term notion of connectivity and geographic consequence. I now believe that my use of broad temporal categories in the dissertation like “Early Roman” and “Late Roman” actually obscure the dynamic changes in the Roman landscape that occurred on the order of years, generations, or century. The visitor to this blog should hear a bit this year about my book project on the historical contingencies that shaped Corinth and its region from the 2nd c. BC to 7th c. AD.

If you have interest in the late antique Corinthia, the entire dissertation can be freely downloaded here (20 mb). I provide links below to the individual chapters as PDF documents and notes about how these have appeared or will appear in print. This will, I  hope, save the reader from working through outdated text. A brief outline of the dissertation (more detailed outline here):

Abstract

1. Corinth and the End of the World. Introduction, historiography, approach, and directions. The scholarship overview is recent enough to be of some use and will complement the overview in Amelia Brown’s 2008 late antique dissertation on the urban center (summary here, PDF dissertation here). The main idea of this chapter and the dissertation was published in this book chapter.

2. Corinth in a Landscape. The geological and topographical structure of the Isthmus and its importance for the ancient image of the city. Don’t bother reading: wait for the book which will update it, but there are some nice pictures of the landscape.

3. The Image of the City. A study of the fragmentation of the literary image of the city in late antiquity. I realize some of my conclusions in this chapter are either incorrect or have developed through more sensitive readings (e.g., this article on the diolkosof Corinth), but it still provides a useful critical review of the negative literary tradition about the late antique city. I am completely rewriting this chapter in my book.

4. A Busy Countryside. A study of the evidence for the “explosion” of Late Roman settlement in the Corinthia from the Eastern Korinthia Archaeological Survey data. Perhaps the most important chapter in the dissertation but not worth reading today as it has appeared in polished form in this Hesperia article.

5. The Crossroads. The continuing importance in late antiquity of the ancient crossroads site known as Kromna. Besides supporting a thesis for the continuing dynamism of the territory, the chapter reinterprets the ancient identification of the site of Kromna. I’ve never had time to publish my observations on Kromna other than a short note in this article. I’m not sure I completely agree with my own conclusions re: Kromna, but I think they are moving in the right direction.

6. Inhabiting Time. An examination of excavated villas of the territory and their evident refurbishments over time that indicate a society capable of large material investments. A fun chapter to write, but I have no plans to publish it. New Testament scholars may have interest in the survey of Roman villas in the territory.

7. A Brief Conclusion about Future Directions

Appendix I. Defining (Roman) Sites in a Continuous Carpet. I’ve updated and published this in an article in the forthcoming work, The Bridge of the Untiring Sea.

In the course of this year, I hope to coerce a few other recent Corinthiaka dissertators to talk about their projects and their plans for publication. Dissertators may of course nominate themselves.

Corinthian Scholarship (monthly): June-August

The second installment of Corinth-related scholarship that went digital in June-August. Happy reading!

Geology

Archaic-Hellenistic

Roman-Late Antique

New Testament and Early Christianity

Medieval and Post-Medieval