Thursday, November 12, 2009
Artemis, Epictetus, Zeus and Jesus -- help, y'all!
He's 50 years old, an educated freedman living in Ephesus. The year is about 90 C.E. At age 15, he became totally devoted to Artemis, in direct response to the threat Paul's preaching brought to the local silver trade and the Ephesus economy in general.
I think I'm going to have his patron, his former master who is almost as close as a brother -- they're about the same age and grew up together -- killed off somehow, and somehow tie my guy's personal business fortunes to that.
That oughta soften him up some for conversion -- BUT, an overnight leap from Artemis to Jesus seems unlikely.
My guy has been exposed to Stoic thinking over the years and has heard Epictetus teach in Rome (although I can't mention any historic figures at all in my narrative). He has a good idea of Zeus as "king of the gods," even as he contrinues to embrace his "hometown" goddess, Artemis of Ephesus, even though he now lives in Rome (I think I'll have him suddenly homeless, too).
Question: Do y'all think that might have prepared his mind to be ready to convert to Christ, once his heart had been broken and his dreams dashed? He never has embraced Stoicism; he has only thought about it for years, as he remained devoted to Artemis.
Goes to a meal a friends house and hears about Jesus.
De Mill version:
Thrown into prison and befriended by a Christian there. Taken home by the Christian and treated well. The Christian is re-arrested, sacrificed in the arena while character watches from the bleachers. Impressed by way he dies and his faith and seeks his God.
Cute little Christian girl.
You mean you didn't figure this out up front and foreshadow it?
Hey, I put so much into cementing his devotion to Artemis, I don't have the heart to convert him!
Or go with the pretty girl idea and have him convert in order to marry here. That'll go over big with the "no unequally yoked marriages!" folks in your class."
Plus, there's the whole eternal life thing. But: the thing is, he needs an intimate community; the Artemis devotees aren't that supportive of one another.
I do have some guidelines to follow, seven general scenarios to fit a conversion into, including religious-ecstatic experience, healing, social experimentation, philosophical conversion, and ... I forget.
ER, try a near death experience as a prelude to conversion!
Got him converted. It started when overheard some people at a dinner singing a hymn where Christ was described as a slave (the hymn at Philippians 2: 6-11; NRSV uses "slave"; others use "servant). My guy was a slave, that got his attention. There's a lot more to the story, of course. :-)