845. Ephesian Letters

Acts 19:19  •  1 min. read  •  grade level: 8
Ephesus was the great center of magic in the time of Paul. The “books” here mentioned were probably made up of directions for producing magical results, and were reckoned of great value to all who practiced sorcery. One of the curious arts “consisted in the use of the” Ephesian letters,”celebrated in ancient times. These are supposed to have been copies of certain characters which were engraved on the crown, the girdle, and the feet of the statue of the goddess Diana. See note on verse 35 (#850). They were written on strips of parchment, and worn as amulets. The” books “ may have taught how to use these to the best advantage. Hesychins (cited by Burder, Oriental Literature, No. 1492) says: “The Ephesian letters, or characters, were formerly six, but certain deceivers added others afterward; and their names, according to report, were these: askion, kataskion, lix, tetrax, damnameneus, and aision. It is evident that askion means darkness; kataskion, light; lix, the earth; tetrax, the year; damnameneus, the sun; and aision, truth: these are holy and sacred things.”