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Transported two thousand years into the past, readers are introduced to Antipas, a Roman civic leader who has encountered the writings of the biblical author Luke. Luke's history sparks Antipas's interest, and they begin corresponding. As Antipas tells Luke of his reactions to the writing and of his meetings with local Christians, it becomes evident that he is changing his mind about them and Jesus. Finally, a gladiatorial contest in Pergamum forces difficult decisions on the local Christians and on Antipas.
While the account is fictional, the author is a respected biblical scholar who weaves into this fascinating scenario reliable historical information. Bruce Longenecker is able to mix fact and fiction and paint an interesting and valuable study of the New Testament world and early Christianity. Readers are invited to view Jesus and the early church from a fresh perspective, as his first followers are brought to life.
More reliable than typical historical fiction and far more interesting than standard textbooks and reference books, The Lost Letters of Pergamum provides readers with a delightful opportunity to step into the world of the New Testament. Pastors, Bible study groups, and all thoughtful readers will enjoy this book, which one reviewer said he "couldn't put down."
Posted July 5, 2008
Posted May 17, 2004
Longenecker uses a ¿sanctified¿ and informed imagination to recreate a possible correspondence between Luke (of Gospel fame) and Antipas (Rev 2:12-13). Using historical fiction, this work introduces the reader to the way in which Christianity would have been perceived in a 1st century world dominated by Roman culture. Longenecker creates a scenario where ancient letters are discovered in an archeological dig in the city of Pergamum. These letters reveal a correspondence between Antipas, a nobleman originally from Tyre and Cesarea, with first Calpurnius, the son of Theophilus (Luke 1:3), and then Luke himself. The result is the introduction of Antipas to Christianity and a house church that is meeting in Pergamum. The result for the reader is that she will be introduced to not only the way in which Roman noblemen perceived Christianity, but also some possible apologetic reasons that occasioned Luke to write the Gospel that bears his name. This book would be a good resource for a pastor to recommend to his congregation in order to help them connect the New Testament to its historical setting (Along with ¿The Shadow of the Galilean¿ by Theissen). Unlike much Christian fiction that has two dimensional characters involved in predictable plots, Longenecker has created a scenario that accurately immerses the reader into the 1st century Roman world by way of an intriguing plot with believable characters. As Longenecker writes in his introduction, this account probably did not happen, but it could have.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.