Finlay McQuade is a retired educator. He has a BA from Pomona College, where he
received the John Dye award for writing, and an MA in British and American literature from
Harvard. He began his career as a high school English teacher, and after earning a PhD in
education from the University of Pittsburgh, he worked as a consultant to schools and
school improvement projects, mostly in the USA, but sometimes in schools abroad. He co-
authored How to Make a Better School and was frequently commissioned to write
instructional manuals about teaching and learning for The College Board and The Modern
Red Schoolhouse Institute. His articles have appeared in English Journal, Independent
School, and Science and Children. He ended his career in education when he retired from
Bogazici University in Istanbul.
For eight years after retirement, he lived among the ruins of the ancient city of Ephesus.
Its streets and squares and monuments became his neighborhood. His companions
included archeologists, tour guides, and souvenir sellers. His curiosity about the people who
had occupied those empty buildings in their heyday resulted in Life and Death in Ephesus, a
collection of stories chronicling major events in the city’s history. Now, back in the USA, with
time on his hands, the finds himself returning again and again to his Huckleberry boyhood
on the coast of Ireland. The result of this time travel will be another collection of stories, part
fiction, part memoir.
For over a thousand years, Ephesus, on the Aegean coast of what is now modern Turkey, was a thriving city. It was the site of the Temple of Artemis, one of the Wonders of the Ancient World, and a destination for religious pilgrimage long before the advent of Christianity. In the first century CE, St. John and St. Paul introduced Christianity to Ephesus, where it survived its turbulent beginnings and hosted, in 431 CE, the God-defining Council of Ephesus.
Life and Death in Ephesus is a collection of stories about major events in the history of the ancient city. Characters appearing in these stories include Herostratus, first to commit a “herostratic crime”; Alexander, the warrior king; Lysimachus, his lieutenant and later his successor; Julius Caesar, Mark Antony, both conquerors of Cleopatra; Heraclitus, the philosopher who said, “You can’t put your foot in the same river twice”; St. Paul, persona non grata in Ephesus; Nestorius, whose characterization of Jesus split the Eastern and Western church, and others, also important, whose names I have had to make up.
Hilke Thur, a leading archeologist, has said of these stories, "Life and Death in Ephesus will be a delightful and enjoyable accompaniment to the many available guidebooks. Not just tourists, but anyone interested in history will benefit from reading them.”