Dr. Jeffrey Weima is Professor of New Testament at Calvin Theological Seminary, where he has taught for over 20 years. He is the author of numerous scholarly articles, academic essays and book reviews. He has published three books (Neglected Endings: The Significance of the Pauline Letter Closings ; An Annotated Bibliography of 1 and 2 Thessalonians ; 1 & 2 Thessalonians ) and has recently completed writing a major commentary on 1 and 2 Thessalonians (Baker Books, 2014). A member of several academic societies, Dr. Weima is a sought-after lecturer. He has taught courses all over the world in countries such as Hungary, Greece, South Korea, Kenya, Taiwan, the Philippines, and South Africa. Professor Weima also leads Biblical study tours to Greece, Turkey and Italy, and conducts intensive seminars for pastors. He has spoken widely at churches throughout the US and Canada.
Bible & Archaeology Fest XX, November 17 – 19, 2017
The Political Charges against Paul and Silas in Acts 17:6b-7: Roman Benefaction in Thessalonica
Two charges were raised against Paul and Silas during their mission-founding activity in Thessalonica: the first, a general charge of disturbing the peace; the second, a specific charge of disobeying the “decrees of Caesar”: “The ones who have caused trouble all over the world, these men have now come here, whom Jason has welcomed, and they are all acting against the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king—Jesus” (Acts 17:6b-7). What precisely do these two charges involve? Is Luke, the writer of Acts, simply creating a fanciful story or is he accurately recording a plausible historical event? This amply illustrated presentation will answer these important questions. More specifically, this session will demonstrate that both charges were highly political in nature and that such accusations of anti-Roman activity were extremely dangerous in a city like Thessalonica which enjoyed a favored relationship with Rome and engaged in a variety of activities to strengthen that relationship, thereby securing political and financial benefits from the empire.
Bible & Archaeology Fest XIX, November 18 – 20, 2016
Paul Critiques Roman Political Propaganda: The Cultural Background of “Peace and Security” in 1 Thessalonians 5:3
The Romans vigorously promoted themselves as the providers of “peace” and did so through various public media: coins, monuments, and official proclamations. Many ancient authors further enhanced the notion of the Romans as the restorers of peace. The Romans, however, marketed themselves not merely as those who secured “peace” but also those who provided “security.” The propaganda advocating these two benefits of Roman rule provides the cultural background of Paul’s reference to “peace and security” in 1 Thessalonians 5:3 (“Whenever people say, ‘Peace and security,’ then sudden destruction comes upon them … and they will certainly not escape”). This presentation reviews four kinds of evidence—numismatic, monumental, inscriptional and literary—in order to demonstrate that Paul’s reference to “peace and security” ought to be understood as the apostle’s sharp critique of Roman political propaganda. Paul’s polemic against Rome’s clever marketing scheme functions as a strong warning to his Thessalonian readers not to look to the Roman Empire but instead to God as the only one who can provide them with true peace and security.