Bruce W. Longenecker: The Lost Letters of Pergamum

I just finished reading this historical fiction covering the early years of Christianity. The book presents a collection of fictional correspondence between Antipas, Christ’s faithful witness and martyr in Pergamum (Revelation 2:13) and doctor Luke, author of the Gospel of Luke and Acts.

Antipas, a wealthy Roman, worshipping the Roman gods, loves intellectual pursuits and wants to make his name great. He gets interested on an intellectual level in the writings of Luke and compares Luke’s testimony of the “disturbing man” Jesus with the superiority of Roman life, as he sees it. His approach is purely academic, but reading more and more of Luke’s account (it is recommended to read Luke’s Gospel in parallel while reading this book!), and experiencing the practical life of Christians in Pergamum he begins to question his own assumptions of life and priorities.

The author is a renowned scholar of New Testament and his novel is well researched. Through the clever idea of correspondence style he offers a thought-provoking insight into pagan Roman thought, and the life of early Christians in that hostile society that misunderstood them.

The author includes both a preface and a postscript in which he carefully explains what is fiction and what is historically provable fact.

The novel is an entertaining read and a very reliable and valuable source to learn much about the social, political, intellectual world of early Christians at the end of the first century AD in Asia Minor. The book is a great supplement to anyone who wants to study and undersand the Book of Revelation, or to know more about early Christianity.

I found it very helpful and a very enjoyable easy read. I can highly recommend it.

The book is available online from known book sellers and vending sites. I would encourage you try getting it from a Christian book seller or site.

[from GV]

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