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Sir William Mitchell Ramsay, FBA (15 March 1851 – 20 April 1939) was a Scottish archaeologist and New Testament scholar. By his death in 1939 he had become the foremost authority of his day on the history of Asia Minor and a leading scholar in the study of the New Testament. Although Ramsay was educated in the Tübingen school of thought (founded by F. C. Baur) which doubted the reliability of the New Testament, his extensive archaeological and historical studies convinced him of the historical accuracy of the New Testament. From the post of Professor of Classical Art and Architecture at Oxford, he was appointed Regius Professor of Humanity (the Latin Professorship) at Aberdeen. Knighted in 1906 to mark his distinguished service to the world of scholarship, Ramsay also gained three honorary fellowships from Oxford colleges, nine honorary doctorates from British, Continental and North American universities and became an honorary member of almost every association devoted to archaeology and historical research. He was one of the original members of the British Academy, was awarded the Gold Medal of Pope Leo XIII in 1893 and the Victorian Medal of the Royal Geographical Society in 1906.
Fellowship of the British Academy (FBA) is an award granted by the British Academy to leading academics for their distinction in the humanities and social sciences. There are three kinds of fellowship
The New Testament is the second part of the Christian biblical canon, the first part being the Old Testament, based on the Hebrew Bible. The New Testament discusses the teachings and person of Jesus, as well as events in first-century Christianity. Christians regard both the Old and New Testaments together as sacred scripture. The New Testament has frequently accompanied the spread of Christianity around the world. It reflects and serves as a source for Christian theology and morality. Extended readings and phrases directly from the New Testament are incorporated into the various Christian liturgies. The New Testament has influenced religious, philosophical, and political movements in Christendom and left an indelible mark on literature, art, and music.
Ferdinand Christian Baur was a German Protestant theologian and founder and leader of the (new) Tübingen School of theology. Following Hegel's theory of dialectic, Baur argued that second century Christianity represented the synthesis of two opposing theses: Jewish Christianity and Gentile Christianity. This and the rest of Baur's work had a profound impact upon higher criticism of biblical and related texts.
Ramsay was born in Glasgow, Scotland, the youngest son of a third-generation lawyer, Thomas Ramsay and his wife Jane Mitchell (daughter of William Mitchell. His father died when he was six years old, and the family moved from the city to the family home in the country district near Alloa. The help of his older brother and maternal uncle, Andrew Mitchell, made it possible for him to have a superior education. He studied at the University of Aberdeen, where he achieved high distinction and later became Professor of Humanity. He won a scholarship to St. John's College, Oxford, where he obtained a first class in classical moderations (1874) and in literae humaniores (1876). He also studied Sanskrit under scholar Theodor Benfey at Göttingen.
William Mitchell was a Scottish entrepreneur. He was born in Alloa, Clackmannanshire, the second son of Alexander Mitchell and Janet Barrowman.
The University of Aberdeen is a public research university in Aberdeen, Scotland. It is an ancient university founded in 1495 when William Elphinstone, Bishop of Aberdeen and Chancellor of Scotland, petitioned Pope Alexander VI on behalf of James IV, King of Scots to establish King's College, making it Scotland's third-oldest university and the fifth-oldest in the English-speaking world. Today, Aberdeen is consistently ranked among the top 200 universities in the world and is ranked within the top 30 universities in the United Kingdom. Aberdeen was also named the 2019 Scottish University of the Year by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide.
Literae humaniores, nicknamed greats, is an undergraduate course focused on classics at the University of Oxford and some other universities. The Latin name means literally "more human literature" and was in contrast to the other main field of study when the university began, i.e. res divinae, also known as theology. Lit. hum. is concerned with human learning, and lit. div. with learning that came from God. In its early days, it encompassed mathematics and natural sciences as well. It is an archetypal humanities course.
In 1880 Ramsay received an Oxford studentship for travel and research in Greece. At Smyrna, he met Sir C. W. Wilson, then British consul-general in Anatolia, who advised him on inland areas suitable for exploration. Ramsay and Wilson made two long journeys during 1881-1882.
Greece, officially the Hellenic Republic, historically also known as Hellas, is a country located in Southern and Southeast Europe, with a population of approximately 11 million as of 2016. Athens is the nation's capital and largest city, followed by Thessaloniki.
He traveled widely in Asia Minor and rapidly became the recognized authority on all matters relating to the districts associated with St Paul's missionary journeys and on Christianity in the early Roman Empire. Greece and Turkey remained the focus of Ramsay's research for the remainder of his academic career. In 1883, he discovered the world's oldest complete piece of music, the Seikilos epitaph. He was known for his expertise in the historic geography and topography of Asia Minor and of its political, social, cultural, and religious history. He was Fellow of Exeter College, Oxford, in 1882.
Christianity is a religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, as described in the New Testament. Its adherents, known as Christians, believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and savior of all people, whose coming as the Messiah was prophesied in the Old Testament. Depending on the specific denomination of Christianity, practices may include baptism, Eucharist [Holy Communion], prayer, confession, confirmation, burial rites, marriage rites and the religious education of children. Most denominations have ordained clergy and hold regular group worship services.
The Roman Empire was the post-Roman Republic period of the ancient Roman civilization. It had a government headed by emperors and large territorial holdings around the Mediterranean Sea in Europe, North Africa, and West Asia. From the constitutional reforms of Augustus to the military anarchy of the third century, the Empire was a principate ruled from the city of Rome. The Roman Empire was then divided between a Western Roman Empire, based in Milan and later Ravenna, and an Eastern Roman Empire, based in Nicomedia and later Constantinople, and it was ruled by multiple emperors.
The Seikilos epitaph is the oldest surviving complete musical composition, including musical notation, from anywhere in the world. The epitaph has been variously dated, but seems to be either from the 1st or the 2nd century AD. The song, the melody of which is recorded, alongside its lyrics, in the ancient Greek musical notation, was found engraved on a tombstone from the Hellenistic town Tralles near present-day Aydın, Turkey, not far from Ephesus. It is a Hellenistic Ionic song in either the Phrygian octave species or Iastian tonos. While older music with notation exists, all of it is in fragments; the Seikilos epitaph is unique in that it is a complete, though short, composition.
From 1885 to 1886 Ramsay held the newly created Lincoln Professor of Classical Archaeology and Art at Oxford and became a fellow of Lincoln College (honorary fellow 1898). In 1886 Ramsay was appointed Regius Professor of Humanity at the University of Aberdeen. He remained affiliated with Aberdeen until his retirement in 1911.
The Lincoln Professor of Classical Archaeology and Art is a chair at the University of Oxford, England. It is associated with Lincoln College, Oxford.
Lincoln College is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford, situated on Turl Street in central Oxford. Lincoln was founded in 1427 by Richard Fleming, then Bishop of Lincoln.
The Regius Professorship of Humanity, formerly the Regius Professorship of Classics, is a Regius Chair in classics at the University of Aberdeen.
From 1880 onwards he received the honorary degrees of D.C.L. Oxford, LL.D. St Andrews and Glasgow, and D.D. Edinburgh. In 1906, Ramsay was knighted for his scholarly achievements on the 400th anniversary of the founding of the University of Aberdeen. He was elected a member of learned societies in Europe and America and was awarded medals by the Royal Geographical Society and the University of Pennsylvania.
The Royal Geographical Society is the UK's learned society and professional body for geography, founded in 1830 for the advancement of geographical sciences. Today, it is the leading centre for geographers and geographical learning. The Society has over 16,500 members and its work reaches millions of people each year through publications, research groups and lectures.
The University of Pennsylvania is a private Ivy League research university located in the University City neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Chartered in 1755, Penn is the sixth-oldest institution of higher education in the United States. It is one of the nine colonial colleges founded prior to the Declaration of Independence. Benjamin Franklin, Penn's founder and first president, advocated an educational program that trained leaders in commerce, government, and public service, similar to a modern liberal arts curriculum. The university's coat of arms features a dolphin on its red chief, adopted from Benjamin Franklin's own coat of arms.
His wife, Lady Ramsay, granddaughter of Dr Andrew Marshall of Kirkintilloch, accompanied him in many of his journeys and is the author of Everyday Life in Turkey (1897) and The Romance of Elisavet (1899). He was a grandson of entrepreneur William Mitchell (1781–1854). Other relatives include Mary Ramsay and Agnis Margaret Ramsay who were responsible for contributing several photographs and illustrations in his work on The Letters to the Seven Churches.
William Ramsay was known for his careful attention to New Testament events, particularly the Book of Acts and Pauline Epistles. When he first went to Asia Minor, many of the cities mentioned in Acts had no known location and almost nothing was known of their detailed history or politics. The Acts of the Apostles was the only record and Ramsay, skeptical, fully expected his own research to prove the author of Acts hopelessly inaccurate since no man could possibly know the details of Asia Minor more than a hundred years after the event—this is, when Acts was then supposed to have been written. He therefore set out to put the writer of Acts on trial. He devoted his life to unearthing the ancient cities and documents of Asia Minor. After a lifetime of study, however, he concluded: 'Further study … showed that the book could bear the most minute scrutiny as an authority for the facts of the Aegean world, and that it was written with such judgment, skill, art and perception of truth as to be a model of historical statement' (The Bearing of Recent Discovery, p. 85). On page 89 of the same book, Ramsay accounted, 'I set out to look for truth on the borderland where Greece and Asia meet, and found it there [in Acts]. You may press the words of Luke in a degree beyond any other historian's and they stand the keenest scrutiny and the hardest treatment...'
When Ramsay turned his attention to Paul's letters, most of which the critics dismissed as forgeries, he concluded that all thirteen New Testament letters that claimed to have been written by Paul were authentic.
Acts of the Apostles, often referred to simply as Acts, or formally the Book of Acts, is the fifth book of the New Testament; it tells of the founding of the Christian church and the spread of its message to the Roman Empire.
The Epistle to the Ephesians, also called the Letter to the Ephesians and often shortened to Ephesians, is the tenth book of the New Testament. Its authorship has traditionally been attributed to Paul the Apostle but starting in 1792, this has been challenged as Deutero-Pauline, that is, written in Paul's name by a later author strongly influenced by Paul's thought, probably "by a loyal disciple to sum up Paul’s teaching and to apply it to a new situation fifteen to twenty-five years after the Apostle’s death.
The Epistle to the Galatians, often shortened to Galatians, is the ninth book of the New Testament. It is a letter from Paul the Apostle to a number of Early Christian communities in Galatia. Scholars have suggested that this is either the Roman province of Galatia in southern Anatolia, or a large region defined by an ethnic group of Celtic people in central Anatolia.
Luke the Evangelist is one of the Four Evangelists—the four traditionally ascribed authors of the canonical Gospels. The Early Church Fathers ascribed to him authorship of both the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles, which would mean Luke contributed over a quarter of the text of the New Testament, more than any other author. Prominent figures in early Christianity such as Jerome and Eusebius later reaffirmed his authorship, although a lack of conclusive evidence as to the identity of the author of the works has led to discussion in scholarly circles, both secular and religious.
Paul the Apostle, commonly known as Saint Paul and also known by his Jewish name Saul of Tarsus, was an apostle who taught the gospel of Christ to the first-century world. Paul is generally considered one of the most important figures of the Apostolic Age and in the mid-30s to the mid-50s AD he founded several churches in Asia Minor and Europe. He took advantage of his status as both a Jew and a Roman citizen to minister to both Jewish and Roman audiences.
An epistle is a writing directed or sent to a person or group of people, usually an elegant and formal didactic letter. The epistle genre of letter-writing was common in ancient Egypt as part of the scribal-school writing curriculum. The letters in the New Testament from Apostles to Christians are usually referred to as epistles. Those traditionally attributed to Paul are known as Pauline epistles and the others as catholic epistles.
Pauline Christianity or Pauline theology is the Christianity or theology associated with the beliefs and doctrines espoused by Paul the Apostle through his writings. Traditional Christianity relies heavily on these teachings and considers them to be amplifications and explanations of the teachings of Jesus. Others perceive in Paul's writings teachings that are different from the original teachings of Jesus documented in the canonical gospels, early Acts and the rest of the New Testament, such as the Epistle of James.
Antioch in Pisidia – alternatively Antiochia in Pisidia or Pisidian Antioch and in Roman Empire, Latin: Antiochia Caesareia or Antiochia Colonia Caesarea – is a city in the Turkish Lakes Region, which is at the crossroads of the Mediterranean, Aegean and Central Anatolian regions, and formerly on the border of Pisidia and Phrygia, hence also known as Antiochia in Phrygia. The site lies approximately 1 km northeast of Yalvaç, the modern town of Isparta Province. The city is on a hill with its highest point of 1236 m in the north.
The Pauline epistles are the fourteen books in the New Testament traditionally attributed to Paul the Apostle, although many dispute the anonymous Epistle to the Hebrews as being a Pauline epistle.
Frederick Fyvie Bruce, usually cited as F. F. Bruce, was a biblical scholar who supported the historical reliability of the New Testament. His first book, New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable? (1943), was voted by the American evangelical periodical Christianity Today in 2006 as one of the top 50 books "which had shaped evangelicals".
Lystra was a city in central Anatolia, now part of present-day Turkey. It is mentioned five times in the New Testament. Lystra was visited several times by the Paul the Apostle, along with Barnabas or Silas. There Paul met a young disciple, Timothy.
Sozopolis in Pisidia, which had been called Apollonia (Ἀπολλωνία) and Apollonias (Ἀπολλωνίας) during Seleucid times, was a town in the former Roman province of Pisidia, and is not to be confused with the Thracian Sozopolis in Haemimonto in present-day Bulgaria.
Apamea Cibotus, Apamea ad Maeandrum, Apamea or Apameia was an ancient city in Anatolia founded in the 3rd century BC by Antiochus I Soter, who named it after his mother Apama. It was in Hellenistic Phrygia, but became part of the Roman province of Pisidia. It was near, but on lower ground than, Celaenae (Kelainai).
Ian Howard Marshall was a Scottish New Testament scholar. He was Professor Emeritus of New Testament Exegesis at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland. He was formerly the chair of the Tyndale Fellowship for Biblical and Theological Research; he was also president of the British New Testament Society and chair of the Fellowship of European Evangelical Theologians. Marshall identified as an Evangelical Methodist. He was the author of numerous publications, including 2005 Gold Medallion Book Award winner New Testament Theology. He died of pancreatic cancer in 2015.
Tripolis on the Meander – also Neapolis, Apollonia, and Antoniopolis – was an ancient city on the borders of Phrygia, Caria and Lydia, on the northern bank of the upper course of the Maeander, and on the road leading from Sardes by Philadelphia to Laodicea ad Lycum. It was situated 20 km to the northwest of Hierapolis.
Alexander Souter was a Scottish biblical scholar.
Christianity in the 1st century deals with the formative years of the Early Christian community. The earliest followers of Jesus were a Jewish sect, which historians refer to as Jewish Christianity. The split of early Christianity from Judaism was gradual, as Christianity became a predominantly Gentile religion.
Acts 13 is the thirteenth chapter of the Acts of the Apostles in the New Testament of the Christian Bible. It records the first missionary journey of Paul and Barnabas to Cyprus and Pisidia. The book containing this chapter is anonymous but early Christian tradition uniformly affirmed that Luke composed this book as well as the Gospel of Luke.
Apollonos Hieron was an ancient city of Lydia.
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