Longenecker, Bruce W.
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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.»
The Lost Letters of Pergamum is another unique attempt at biblical fiction. Longenecker conjures an epistolary relationship between Luke and a figure from Revelation about whom little is known: Antipas. A loyal Roman, Antipas is converted to Christianity through Luke's letters and becomes a martyr. The story's greatest charm, however, may be its careful scholarship on all things Roman, making it of great appeal to those amateur scholars who read Josephus and love to draw lessons from the Roman Empire. John Mort
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