Society & Culture


“Great is Diana of the Ephesians!” cried the craftsmen of Ephesus.  They had heard of the threat to their occupation posed by Paul (Acts 19: 24-29), who was violently against the making of images.  Demetrius, a silversmith, had made a just complaint: “So that not only this our craft is in danger to be set at naught . . . ”  All they wanted was to make silver shrines to Diana, “which brought no small gain unto the craftsmen.”  There was a rowdy town meeting at the theater (which we can still see), and the town clerk of Ephesus, a man of sterling good sense, settled the affair by recommending a class action, “the law is open.”  Paul left town, for his own good.

The silversmiths are still with us, led by Franklin Mint.  They still go in for class actions.  And they still win.  The furor over the marketing of the late Diana, Princess of Wales, with its ancient parallels, saw a debate between those who wanted to strike off images of Diana—dolls, signatures, photographs, margarine wrappings—and those who found this tasteless and materialistic, or at least in need of strict regulation, which they would provide.  One side found idols profitable, the other deplored unregulated idolatry.  The Princess Diana Memorial Fund, whose president was Lady Sarah McCorquodale, elder sister of the Princess, sought to preserve intellectual property...

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