Paul only mentions Ephesus twice explicitly, in 1 Cor 15:32 and 16:8. The latter reference leads most to place the writing of 1 Corinthians in Ephesus, while the former causes much hand-wringing over Paul’s bout with wild beasts. If indeed Paul has written to the Corinthians from Ephesus, we may be able to infer—albeit speculatively—aspects of Christian life in the city. Theißen and Hartwig’s concept of the Nebenadressat, which they apply to the Corinthians as secondary addressees of Romans, may be applied to the Ephesians as secondary addressees of the letter to Corinth. We can see from Paul’s guidelines for the Christians in Corinth how Christians in Ephesus would have lived.
It is often claimed that Paul expected the Lord to return in glory within his lifetime, based in part on the text of 1 Thess 4:13–18. Those who have a theological interest in denying Paul’s mistaken optimism have to bend over backwards to explain why this wasn’t the case. The use of the First Person Plural in this passage however may be indicative that Paul was not actually making this claim for himself at all. Both the content and the context suggest rather that Paul, Silvanus and Timothy were providing the Thessalonian Christians with a “soundbite” for mutual and reciprocal encouragement when they met as a community. Indeed, Paul may have used First Person Plural soundbites throughout his ministry.
Exorcism is flourishing once again in the Roman Catholic Church today. Discourse on the topic has been influenced by the publications of exorcists such as Malachi Martin and Gabriele Amorth. They claim biblical precedence and commissioning for their duties as exorcists and seek to emphasise their credentials by interacting with modern medicine. At the same time, they provide descriptions of demonic possession which surpass and even contradict the accounts found in the Gospels. We analyse the claims of modern exorcists concerning demons, those they possess, and how they are expelled, and evaluate these against the evidence in the Gospels. We discover that the narratives constructed by modern exorcists involves both a dramatisation of the supernatural that exceeds the exorcisms of Jesus, and the ‘medicalisation’ of exorcism as a means to legitimise the practice as a valid alternative or complement to modern medicine and psychology.