Acts 19:24-41 – Demetrius and the Silversmiths in Ephesus
SummaryIn Ephesus, Demetrius the silversmith gathers his fellow workers who have seen a loss in demand for their product, statuettes of the great goddess Artemis. This loss is attributed to growing numbers of Christians who do not worship gods made with human hands.
AnalysisThis story does not highlight a particular Christian leader but shows how a population, frightened by diminished revenue from their craft of creating statues of Artemis, calls upon patriotism and religious fervor to arouse the population against the Christians. Neither the patriotism nor the religious belief of the Christians is directly at issue, but rather the loss of money for the silversmiths. The endangerment of their economic well-being is nevertheless connected to the ongoing growth of Christianity and its success in turning new believers from adherence to false gods. The more observant Christians there are, the fewer persons purchase statuettes of Artemis. A way of life is threatened, both in the microcosm of economic production and well-being for the smiths and in the macrocosm of social organization in a major metropolitan area such as Ephesus.