Acts 19 – Who is Artemis?


Reading Acts

The chant of the Ephesians in Acts 19 is “Great is Artemis!”  In order to better understand the impact of Paul’s ministry in Ephesus, it is a good idea to know a few things about this important god.  Since footnoting is difficult in the blog format, I will simply state that the following essay draws on a number of sources, including appropriate articles in the Anchor Bible Dictionary, The Dictionary of Deities and Demigods, and Ben Witherington’s commentary on Acts.

Artemis / Diana Artemis / Diana

The goddess Artemis was a virgin huntress and was worshiped throughout the ancient world.  She is the daughter of Zeus by Leto, and the twin sister of Apollo and is usually included in the 12 Olympian gods.   The origin of her name is disputed; it may come from the Greek artamos, “butcher,” or arktos, “bear.”  On the other hand, Pausanias lists 64 different local…

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