Monday, December 24, 2012

A Week in the Life of Corinth by Ben Witherington III

book cover
A Week in the Life of Corinth
by Ben Witherington III

ISBN-13: 9780830839629
Trade Paperback: 160 pages
Publisher: InterVarsity Press
Released: April 2, 2012

Source: Bought from

Book Description from Back Cover:
Spend an imaginary week in Paul's Corinth as the story of Nicanor winds through street and forum, marketplace and baths, taking us into shop, villa and apartment, where we meet friends new and old. From our observing a dinner in the temple of Aesclepius to Christian worship in the home of Erastos, Paul's dealings with the Corinthians in his letters take on focused relevance and social clarity. Explanatory sidebars crack open windows on features we encounter along the way, offering further background.

My Review:
A Week in the Life of Corinth is partly fiction and partly nonfiction. It read like a documentary show that's primarily made up of fictional reenactments to illustrate the points. The purpose was to educate readers (in an entertaining way) about the social and cultural background to Paul's letters to Corinth so that we can better understand them.

The book contained some nice black-and-white pictures of ruins, diagrams of houses, and archaeological artifacts that illustrated information in the non-fiction sidebars or events in the story. A lot of educational material was worked into the story, but additional information was provided in "sidebars" (which could take up whole pages) that were placed within the story.

The story followed a week in the life of a freed slave, who is caught in some political power-plays, and of Paul, who is facing a trial described in the Bible. The story had plenty of conflict and educational value, but it's a fairly short story and the relationships were only shallowly developed.

I thought that the author did a good job with the educational points that he brought out. The focus was mainly on Roman aspects (rather than Jewish) since the focus was on Corinth. Overall, I'd recommend this book to people who aren't very familiar with cultural background information and who aren't interested in pure nonfiction books on the topic.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

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