“Meat Offered to Idols” in Pergamum and Thyafira -- By: Gordon Franz

Journal: Bible and Spade (Second Run)
Volume: BSPADE 14:4 (Fall 2001)
Article: “Meat Offered to Idols” in Pergamum and Thyafira
Author: Gordon Franz


“Meat Offered to Idols” in Pergamum and Thyafira

Gordon Franz

In 1986, Colin Hemer first published his hook The Letters to the Seven Churches of Asia in Their Local Setting. He did an outstanding job of placing the letters to the Seven Churches of Asia Minor (Rv 1–3) in their historical-geographical setting at the end of the First Century AD.

When Hemer deals with the phrase “meat offered to idols” he comments that there are

two aspects of the problem ... at Corinth, the consumption of idol-consecrated meat from the public market, and participation in the idolatrous guild-feast (see 1 Cor 8:1–13 and 10:20–30). The latter was the particular issue at Thyatira (2001:91–92).

A year later. Dr. Charles A. Kennedy, who is now professor emeritus at Virginia Tech. in an article in-Love and Death in the Ancient Near East, challenged the standard interpretation and set forth another view of the phrase

meat offered to idols” (1987:227–236). Kennedy contends that Paul is addressing himself to one of the most pervasive problems faced by Christians anywhere at any time, the proper rites to be accorded their dead. Eidolothuton should be translated as ‘memorial meals for the dead’ (1987:229).

Pergamum. View from the summit of the hill on which the city of Pergamum sat, looking south into the fertile valley of the Caicus River.

The phrase “meal offered to idols” appears ten times in the New Testament. The first mention is in Acts 15 where the Jerasalem Council issued the decree to the Gentile believers in the Lord Jesus that they were to “abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourself from these, you do well”(15:29 NKJV). The second time it is used in the Book of Acts is when Paul appears before James in Jerusalem (21:25). Paul addresses this issue in his first epistle to the church at Corinth in chapters 8–11. Paul begins this section, “Now concerning things offered to idols”(8:1). The phrase appears six times in the context (8:1, 4, 7, 10; You must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article.
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