847. The Temple of Diana

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Acts 19:2121After these things were ended, Paul purposed in the spirit, when he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, to go to Jerusalem, saying, After I have been there, I must also see Rome. (Acts 19:21). That the temple of the great goddess Diana should be despised, and her magnificence should be destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worshipeth.
This was the largest of the Greek temples, and the most magnificent of the ancient world. It is said to have been burned and rebuilt no less than seven times, the temple referred to in the text being the eighth of the series. This and the two which immediately preceded it were built on the same foundation, which was laid by Theodorus about B.C. 500. The first temple of the three built on this foundation was burned about B.C. 400. The second was burned on the same night that Alexander the Great was born, B.C. 356. Great efforts and sacrifices were made to replace this by a building which should far excel all the others in magnificence, and it was this splendid edifice on which the eyes of the Apostle Paul gazed. It is said to have been two hundred and twenty years in building, though some writers claim that this period is intended by the ancient historians to include the time from the foundation by Theodorus to the completion of the great temple. It was four hundred and twenty-five feet long, and two hundred and twenty feet wide. In the interior was a chapel containing the image of the goddess. See note on verse 35 (#850). The roof of this chapel was of cedar. The rest of the vast building was open to the sky, and consisted of colonnades, the columns of which were sixty feet high and seven feet and a half in diameter. It is commonly said that there were one hundred and twenty-seven of those columns, each the gift of a king, and Pliny is referred to as the authority for this statement. There are late commentators, however, who, by punctuation, give a different translation to the statement of Pliny, making it read: “The columns were one hundred and twenty, seven of them the gilts of kings.” Leake suggests the probability of an error in transcribing: “It is very possible that the early copiers of Pliny made the common oversight of omitting an unit, writing 127 instead of 128” (Tour in Asia Minor, p. 347). Either of these interpretations makes the number of columns even. Thirty-six of the columns were richly carved, and ornamented with precious metals and stones. Some suppose that Paul makes reference to this great temple in 1 Corinthians 3:9-179For we are laborers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building. 10According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. 11For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; 13Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. 14If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 15If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. 16Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? 17If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are. (1 Corinthians 3:9‑17) and in Ephesians 2:19-2219Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; 20And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; 21In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 22In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:19‑22).