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Stones, Bones, and the Sacred: Essays on Material Culture and Ancient Religion in Honor of Dennis E. Smith
Alan H. Cadwallader, editor
ECL 21
Publication Date
December 2016



A crucial text for any university course on the interaction of archaeology and the Bible

The world of early Christians was not a world lived in texts; it was a world saturated with material reality and concerns: what, where and when to eat or drink; how to present oneself in the space of bodily life and that of death; how to move from one place to another; what impacted status or the adjudication of legal charges. All these and more controlled so much of life in the ancient world. The Christians were not immune from the impact of these realities. Sometimes they absorbed their surrounds; sometimes they quite explicitly rejected the material practices bearing in on them; frequently they modified the practice and the rationale to create a significant Christian alternative. The collection of essays in this volume come from a range of international scholars who, for all their different interests and critical commitments, are yet united in treasuring research into the Greek and Roman worlds in which Christians sought to make their way. They offer these essays in honor of one who has made a lifetime's work in mining ancient material culture to extract nuggets of insight into early Christian dining practices—Dennis E. Smith.


  • Rich examples of method in the utilization of ancient material culture for biblical interpretation.
  • Thirteen essays with a response from Dennis E. Smith
  • Maps, diagrams, and plates

Alan Cadwallader is Senior Lecturer in Biblical Studies at the Australian Catholic University Canberra. He is the author of Colossae in Space and Time (2011) and Fragments of Colossae (2015). He is currently working on a comprehensive edition of the inscriptions, testimonia and coins of Colossae, and a new edition and analysis of the story of Saint Michael of Chonai.

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