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A Week in the Life of Corinth Paperback – April 28, 2012
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"Ben Witherington III, a good creative writer and accomplished NT scholar, has given us a treat in his short novel A Week in the Life of Corinth. Rather than providing a list of facts about life and culture in NT times, Witherington has composed an interesting story in which we can see and learn this information along the way. This will be a fun way to enhance our understanding of the world in which the NT takes place―and it would be helpful for preachers to read some good fiction along the way!" (Ray Van Neste, Preaching, November/December 2012)
"The book would be an ideal introduction to a course on 1 Corinthians, or to a course on Paul and his mission. It is easy to read, but very well informed by Witherington's scholarship." (David Wenham, Journal for the Study of the New Testament, 35(5))
"As I have been teaching on 1 Corinthians, I found this work very beneficial. Not only is the storyline intriguing, but this book also presents itself as a pedagogical tool. Here students can 'feel' what life must have been like in first century Graeco-Roman society―a culture foreign to many of us today. Witherington's book brings biblical times alive and is thus a wonderful gift to the church. It brings us closer to our spiritual ancestors and their experience of the risen Lord in a society hostile to the gospel." (Benjamin Marx, Trinity Journal, Spring 2013)
"[T]his is an appealing view of the social world of Paul and Corinth. I have no doubt that it will arouse the interest and capture the imagination of readers." (Sarah Whittle, Evangelical Quarterly, 86.2 (2014))
"Whether you're well acquainted with Paul's letters to the Corinthian church or are encountering them for the first time, this book will bring the biblical text to life." (Matthew M. Whitehead, Bible Study Magazine, September/October 2012)
"Like the valley of dry bones being covered once more with sinews and flesh, Corinth rises from its overgrown ruins to its former vibrancy, color and intrigue, allowed to re-live one week of its history. Witherington masterfully mingles the pleasant and the useful as he introduces readers to the social institutions, household customs and civic life of the Roman colony of Corinth by telling a delightful story centering on the attempts of one Erastus to win a public office and one Paul to prepare for his trial before the Roman proconsul, Gallio. I know of no other introduction to the Greco-Roman environment of Paul's mission that could also qualify as entertaining 'beach reading.'" (David A. deSilva, Trustees' Distinguished Professor of New Testament and Greek, Ashland Theological Seminary)
"I highly recommend this fresh approach to familiar territory: it will illuminate as well as entertain!" (Michael A.G. Haykin, Credo Magazine, May 2012)
"This very readable―indeed, gripping―book gives us an imaginative insight into the Greco-Roman world of Paul's mission to Corinth. The details of everyday life for Paul and those he met are set in their historical context by an expert scholar who knows the New Testament and its background very well. I recommend it to all who want to understand the setting in which early Christianity grew and flourished." (Alanna Nobbs, professor of ancient history, Macquarie University)
"If you want to know what it would have been like to live in ancient Corinth, spend a week in the life of a freedman, traverse the olive groves and cobblestone streets, survive the cutthroat politics of a Greek city, encounter pagan priestesses and converse with a Jewish tentmaker named 'Paulos,' then Ben Witherington has written the book for you. This short novella, with pictures and explanations of customs in ancient Corinth, provides a window into the world of Paul's Corinthian letters. Witherington creatively brings the setting of Paul's Corinthian ministry to life with historical rigor and narrative artistry. Witherington brings to us the sights, smells, sounds and culture of Corinth as the apostle Paul knew it." (Michael F. Bird, Crossway College, Australia)
"This book provides a uniquely enjoyable way to learn about ancient culture and Paul's mission in Corinth by immersion. Although I found the story delightful and intriguing, I could also see behind it careful research on a large array of details." (Craig Keener, author of 1-2 Corinthians (Cambridge) and Acts: An Exegetical Commentary (4 vols.; Baker Academic))
"This imaginative narrative brings the New Testament world to life by following the freedman Nicanor around ancient Corinth, relating his encounters with religion, gladiators, politics, domestic life and the nascent Christian movement (including several biblical characters). Though it may not solve all the riddles of the Corinthian correspondence, here is an engaging and informative introduction to Corinth and the wider cultural context of the first-century Roman Empire." (Brandon D. Crowe, assistant professor of New Testament, Westminster Theological Seminary)
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Top Customer Reviews
People are far more apt to read a novel than a non-fiction book about ancient history. Why? The former gives pleasure; it invites readers into a world with a (hopefully) compelling story. The latter feels too much like homework, a distaste that lingers long past the end of high school for the majority. Ben has successfully brought these two genres together in a brief, engaging work of historical fiction interspersed with sidebars giving more in-depth explanations of the social, cultural, and historical phenomena that the readers encounter in his story. The whole is richly illustrated, mostly with photographs taken by the author from his own trips to the site he brings to life.
The novel traces out two basic plots: Erastus seeks to garner support in his run for the civic office of "aedile" in Corinth; Paul prepares for his hearing before Gallio, the Roman proconsul. These two plots lines give Witherington all the framework he needs to bring the characters from the Acts narrative and Corinthian letters to life, and to draw us into the everyday world of that city. I cannot recommend the concept and the result highly enough. If you're a student of the New Testament/Early Christianity, buy this book and take it with you to the beach. You will be instructed, and it won't feel like work at all.
I'll be honest, I didn't buy this book for the story and wasn't expecting an award winning novel with deep characterization. The story didn't really exceed my expectations. The story didn't grab me and propel me further. The characters were not that deep, story seemed to be your standard non-christian-becomes-christian-by-the-end story. Now, despite these criticisms, I did enjoy the story for what it did. It illustrated Paul, Priscilla and others in the socio-cultural context of which they lived. In that regard, I kept reading to see how the characters would interact in a time period so different from my own. In the end, story was nothing special, but not exactly terrible either. 3/5
This is the reason I bought the book: to see how a scholar would construct a world from all the cultural, historical and political facts we know of that era. Within the story, the author inserts textboxes illustrated certain aspects about that time. You have a few blurbs on slavery, a few on politics, some on favors, the baths, etc. I really enjoyed reading this info and then seeing it illustrated within the story. I applaud Mr.Read more ›
A Week in the Life of Corinth is a piece of historical nonfiction that traces the life of one Nicanor, a manumitted--former, released slave--businessman-in-the-making who serves a successful tradesman, businessman, and political up-and-comer, Erastos. Along the way you meet a cast of fictitious characters that give flesh to Witherington's tale and actual characters, like Pricilla, Aquilla, and the apostle Paul himself. You also encounter the typical staples of modern Corinthian life: forums, baths, marketplaces, medicine, politics, slavery, and many other facets that create a compelling, accurate world for Witherington's historical fiction.
Speaking of compelling historical fiction, the book is actually a compelling, enjoyable read from a narrative, literary perspective! I was pleasantly surprised to find some degree of character development and a nice plot-line along which the author brought his characters, with conflict, climax, resolution and all. I liken this book to the wildly popular and compelling historical fiction author, Steven Saylor.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great historical context for the Bible student, though the story lacked pizzazz at times, but bearing the author's expertise in mind this was a worthwhile read. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Swale
I had to read this book for a seminary class. The purpose of reading the book was to give the students a fun way of learning background content for 1 Corinthians. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Kristopher England
Much insight to the time period for greater understanding, the characters make everything work together. In the time period of Apostle Paul in Corinth!Published 2 months ago by Clarkgee
Well worth reading. I enjoyed the sidebars with explanation. The story was fiction, but it seems to me that something like this would have happened in the lives of these first... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Larry J. Callander
Fantastic historical context in an interesting story based on possible behind the scenes interactions of a biblical story!Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
The best way to learn of a culture is to be immersed in it. That's exactly what Dr. Witherington does in this simple but effective novelette. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Grant Sitler
great book! it is very helpful in understanding the way Paul was developing his ministry in Corinth. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Elsa Hurtado Macias