News Release

“Paul in Athens” Premieres at the University of Michigan

Ann Arbor, MI – 30 October 2018

University of Michigan professor Yaron Eliav and his production team announce the world premiere of the much-anticipated “Paul in Athens” movie on October 30, 2018. The movie reconstructs St. Paul’s visit to the city of Athens in the first century CE – one of the most famous moments in Biblical history – and examines the world changing dynamics that it instigated. This short film (only 17 minutes long) is the first ever documentary specifically created for the classroom. Unlike many documentaries that are made for the general public, and then used also in classrooms, this film was developed from the start with students as its intended audience, and designed as a teaching tool within the learning environment of the college (and high school) classroom. Says Eliav, who developed and produced the film, “we wanted to think of new ways to engage students in scholarly ideas and debates beyond the traditional tools of reading academic articles and listening to lectures.” “The movie,” he adds, “functions like a modern-day, 21st century scholarly article. It shares many of its features and objectives, but adopts the visual and thematic language of film.”

“Paul in Athens” is meant to open a small, yet illuminating, window into the colorful, diverse landscape of the ancient Mediterranean, with its striking cities and vibrant mixture of peoples, ideas, and cultures. The film focuses on one moment in the life of one famous individual – Saint Paul and his visit to the city of Athens – but it weaves together many threads related to the Graeco-Roman world. Geography and travel, urban life and architecture, religion, sculpture, and art all make their appearance, even if only briefly, with the hope that teachers and students can use these details as a springboard for further research, exploration, and learning.

“Paul in Athens” is a product of the Ancient World Project and is funded by the Office of the Provost at the University of Michigan through the Transforming Learning for the Third Century (TLTC) grant – the University largest grant ever given in the humanities. Other than Eliav, the production team included director Robert DeMilner and a 14-member crew, including cameramen, producers, designers, assistants, and a group of local Greek actors. The movie comes with an assortment of exercises, maps, and reading material which will make it a valuable addition to any class related to the ancient Mediterranean world, its geography, religions, and cultures, and is sure to provide a revolutionary learning experience for any individual or community interested in these topics.

The movie premieres online at and is open to the public free of charge. The website also provides information about the film and the crew, as well as the rich pedagogical materials to facilitate additional classroom activities.

If you are interested in screening “Paul in Athens” in your classroom or theater, please contact Professor Yaron Eliav at (734) 489-5243 or