Platform for Public Addresses
A bema was a platform for public addresses that stood in the forum (agora, marketplace) of Greek cities. The bema of Corinth, called a "tribunal" in Acts, was built about 44 C.E. of blue and white marble.
Acts tells of Paul being brought before the tribunal (bema):
But when Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews made a united attack on Paul and brought him before the tribunal. They said, "This man is persuading people to worship God in ways that are contrary to the law." Just as Paul was about to speak, Gallio said to the Jews, "If it were a matter of crime or serious villainy, I would be justified in accepting the complaint of you Jews; but since it is a matter of questions about words and names and your own law, see to it yourselves; I do not wish to be a judge of these matters." And he dismissed them from the tribunal. Then all of them seized Sosthenes, the official of the synagogue, and beat him in front of the tribunal. But Gallio paid no attention to any of these things. (Acts 18:12-17)
This photo shows a worship service at the bema.
See also: Another photograph of the bema
The top image of the bema is a non-copyrighted photograph from Apollo: An Infrastructure for Teaching the Ancient Mediterranean and Medieval Worlds at http://apollo.classics.unc.edu/. Click on it to see a larger version.
The photograph by Thomas Price is used with permission. Please credit him and his and Allan R. Brockway's web site. The web page on Corinth, which Tom Price has written, grew out of his research on Paul before and after a tour of Greece and Turkey in the "footsteps of Paul." He earned his Ph.D. in theology from Boston University and worked for the General Board of Church and Society for 10 years. He works for the Social Security Administration and teaches adult Bible classes in Paul and the historical Jesus at St. Matthew's UMC, Bowie, Maryland.
All biblical quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) of the Bible, copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission.
Disclaimer: Some links jump to outside sites for further information on Corinthians, the Bible, Paul, and other resources. Links do not constitute an endorsement by the Women's Division of the information on other web sites. External web sites offer us diverse perspectives; afford us an opportunity to compare them to United Methodist positions; and, encourage us to critically analyze the issues raised by the Corinthians web pages.
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