Renate Pillinger/Österreichisches Archäologisches Institut, Wien

FLANKED BY WOMEN. When author Crossan finally gained access to the cave, he found that the painting actually showed two women: Theocleia stood beside Paul, who is actually seated; Thecla appeared to his right, framed by the window of her home. (The names appear beside each figure in Greek.) According to the apocryphal Acts of Paul and Thecla, when Paul arrived in Thecla’s hometown of Iconium, Turkey, the young woman sat at her window “both day and night” and listened to him preach. She eventually abandoned her family and fiancé to follow Paul—despite her mother’s strong opposition. (Theocleia cries out: “Burn the lawless one!”) The Ephesus paintings testify to a very different and otherwise unknown version of the story—one in which Theocleia and Paul preach side-by-side.