Author: Ben Witherington III
Publisher: InterVarsity Press
Back Cover: A Week in the Life of Corinth
A STORY OF THE SOCIAL AND CULTURAL CONTEXT OF PAUL’S MINISTRY
Intrigue is in the air as Nicanor returns to Corinth and reports to his par torn Erastos on recent business dealing in rome. Nicanor, a former slave, is a man on the make. But surprises keep springing up in his path. A political rival of Erastos is laying in plot, and a new religion from the east keeps pressing in on his life.
Spending an imaginary week in Paul’s Corinth as the story of Nicanor winds through streets 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 Asclepius 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.
For gaining a sense of the social and cultural context of Paul’s urban churches, A Week in the Life of Corinth is an engaging and entertaining alternative to traditional texts. This is a book that will be enjoyed by student as well as by readers with a general interest in the world of the New Testament.
Book Review: A Week in the Life of Corinth
A Week in the Life of Corinth is a nice answer to sharing history without the textbook feel. I think the author did a great job of sharing what life might have been like when Paul was living in Corinth.
While I enjoyed the story, I struggled with a few things in this book. First, the layout of A Week in the Life of Corinth. The book has a lot of great additional facts to it. I gained a lot of knowledge of that time that I would not have otherwise. The problem was where the information was inserted. For me, it disrupted the flow of the story. Perhaps the information could have been referenced and placed at the back of the chapter, so anyone wanting to read it as they go, could reference it, but for those that simply wanted to read the story without distraction, could read the story and then glean the facts later. My husband had the same feeling of distraction as he was reading it. A minor thing, but I think it would have made this delightful story even better.
The next thing was his use of one character’s name in three different variations in the story. It was common for them to have three names in their given name back then. That’s fine. The problem was the way he used the names was confusing and distracting to the story. The name of the character was Marcus Aurelius Aemilianus. Sometimes the author would use Marcus Aurelius, sometimes Aemilianus, and other times he simply used Aurelius. Again, just confusing, distracting and slowed down the story at times.
Next, there was a point in the story that he had one of the characters speak a prophecy over another character and he describe the one prophesying as, “speaking in a voice that seemed deeper and more authoritative than her own.” Okay, that just sounds like she had a demonic spirit to me. I’m just not sure in Scripture where this is supported. I’ve read when demon spirits take over a voice, but do not remember when God did this when He used His people to prophecy. Again it distracted from the story.
Next, there was a point where they were taking communion and Paul was there to teach them of the importance of taking communion the in a worthy manner and then they had two unbelievers take communion. This is a doctrine debate of all ages, but I believe that the unworthy manner is referring to those that are believers and those that are not. How can you take communion to do it in remembrance of Jesus and what did for you, if you do not believe in Christ. I’m not here to debate, that is just my take on the Scripture and it’s interpretation. There are books filled with this debate and people way smarter than me that can and will continue to hammer out this issue. For me, it just disrupted the story a little.
The last thing was some of the terminology he used. Some big words, that could have been avoided, in my opinion, as they were a little distracting from the story and finally the uses of modern cliche’s in this story. They were obvious and a little out of place, not bad, just distracting and took away from the whole experience of the story.
Overall, while it may not sound like it, I enjoyed A Week in the Life of Corinth and I’d recommend it for anyone that would like to know more about life in the time of Paul and his visit to Corinth. You may just have to look past a few things, but it’s worth reading.
I hope you found this review helpful. If so, please share it with your family and friends, so they can learn about this great book too. You can click on any image of the book on this page to see it on Amazon.
Thanks for taking the time to read this review and God bless!
In response to a miracle done through Paul, a seven year old little girl named Julia sweetly asked a good friend of the family a question that brought tears to my eyes,
“Do you want to know my Lord Jesus, now?”
-Ben Witherington III, A Week in the Life of Corinth