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The Lost Letters of Pergamum: A Story from the New Testament World
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The Lost Letters of Pergamum: A Story from the New Testament World

3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  373 ratings  ·  37 reviews
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 ...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published December 1st 2002 by Baker Academic
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Kris Rolls
This book was a beautifully written story that gets you right into the world of the New Testament. Longenecker masterfully wove threads of historical fiction and biblical scholarship together to create a moving and informative story from the first-century world. I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in getting a better understanding of the New Testament, it's authors/audiences, or just looking for a compelling story.
Rebekah
I had to read this for new testament literature (and I still have to write a paper on it) but it was an excellent book. One of the few I've ever read that could actaully be classified as historical fiction.

The author clearly did extensive research on the time period and real characters and then mixed in his own fiction. Yet while it was fiction, it did not overstep the bounds of what was plausible for the time and what was not. Very well written and the characters come to life and really eat at
...more
Kurt
When judged by the standards of general fiction, this book isn't very good. Better than most non-Lewis Christian fiction, sure, but that bar is so low that the comparison means nothing. A reader interested in this work should approach it as a more engaging way for an historian to flesh out the cultural context of the early church in the Roman Empire, and it succeeds at that task. The structure of this book, is certainly intriguing, as Longenecker writes a series of fictional letters that chronic ...more
Matthew
(This review is exceptionally long for GR as I wrote it for class.)

I enjoyed Letters; I liked the format and felt it made the Rome of the NT come quite alive. There are a few aspects to this: Primarily I thought the core narrative - of a member of the Roman elite encountering the gospel of Luke, not formally in the process of being evangelized to but simply as an intriguing report on a current 'hot topic', and how his personal engagement with the text, the writer and other readers led to his bel
...more
Stacey
In the interest of honesty, I read this book because I had agreed to teach part of it in an adult Sunday school class. However, I'm ever so glad I did. Constructed as a series of imagined letters between Antipas (a fictional Roman citizen of wealth and status) and Luke (yes, that Luke - think Gospel of Luke, and the Acts of the Apostles), the author offers up historical, cultural, and socioeconomic information as a backdrop to a subtle story of conversion/redemption/grace.

My two favorite "theme
...more
Joel Wentz
Similar to the recent Witherington book, "A Week in the Life of Corinth", "Lost Letters" is an attempt to help the reader gain insight into the original setting of the New Testament documents by telling a fictional story through a collection of fake letters. As a narrative, it's interesting enough, but not exactly gripping. Additionally, I couldn't help but feel that there were instances in which the writer included information that the writers of these "letters" wouldn't have, simply to explain ...more
Candelaria
Longenecker Bruce W., The Lost Letters of Pergamum. Grand Rapids: Backer Academics, 2003
The Lost Letters of Pergamum is an attempt from Mr. Longenecker to bring forth as a narrative and through fiction, the last year of Antipas, a faithful witness, in the view of the data provided in Revelation 2:13 (9). His concern is not the historical inquiry rather; he applies the narrative and fiction to construct his manuscript. Through an in-depth correlation to the events in the Bible, ancient documents
...more
David Todd
Bruce Longenecker has created an intellectual journey to the ancient church. He created correspondence between Antipas, new resident of Pergamum (having come from Galilee) and Luke, resident of Ephesus. Luke has written a monograph, as Antipas calls it. While Antipas is not a Christian, he is open to new ideas and, with a group of other prominent men and "benefactors," reads Luke's work. He corresponds with Luke.

The best part of the work is how Longenecker portrays the unbeliever of around 70 A.
...more
FatherSwithin
There is not much of literary value in the work. It is "theological fiction," and suffers from an overbearing slavishness to the propositional truths it wants to convey. (And the pseudo-academic presentation of the "letters" did nothing for me.)

The author claims that, unlike many other writers, his is a work of true historical fiction that does not fall into the error of merely packaging modern ideas in ancient garb. But at many points in the book I felt that modern concepts had crept in, withou
...more
Matt Pitts
I read this awhile back and was recently reminded how much I loved it. It is an epistolary novel (meaning the story is told through a series of letters) based in the first century. If I remember correctly the main character, Antipas, carries on corresponce with Luke as he reads through his Gospel. Its fictional of course, but a much more enjoyable way to enter into the world of the first century than reading dictionaries and non-fiction books.

I would have given it five stars except for the fact
...more
Scotkeen
This is a fictional book that takes its setting from the 1st century Roman Empire. Longenecker is a New Testament scholar who wrote this book to give readers a good feel for the New Testament world. Longenecker says that the narrative is fictional but not unrealistic. As he says, the events did not happen, but they could have. This book was a pleasure read and I had a difficult time putting it down once I picked it up. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to get a better grasp of the New Tes ...more
Lauren
This is one of the most intriguing looks into the New Testament times that I have found. It's set from the perspective of a well-to-do man in Roman society. The book itself is a collection of letters of correspondence between this man and Luke, the author of the Gospel of Luke and Acts. LOVED the perspective it gave me on Roman society, and how the Gospel worked in the community at that time. I would definitely recommend it to anyone either interested in the truth of the Gospel, or already confi ...more
Brandon
Impressed with this story. Very immersed in the life of the early church and Roman Empire in Pergamum. Though it is a story, it is told through letter correspondence. This enables a feel of authenticity. Much of this claims to be based on historic fact, though naturally, a good part is speculation based upon historical knowledge. Not very long, so I would say worth reading for any interested in a trip through life in those times and the Christian's strugle with the Roman Empire.
Trish Mann
The Lost Letters of Pergamum is a fascinating dance, biblically and secularly, between 1st century history and Bruce Longenecker’s vivid imagination. The story follows a series of letters exchanged between Antipas, other noblemen, and Luke the Physician and Author of Luke-Acts. It would be easy to forget that this is a work of fiction
Karen
This novel was written by a New Testament theologian. I repeat--it was written by a New Testament theologian--not a novelist. So it is not the finest novel ever written. However, it is meticulously researched and it's decently written. It's a great way to immerse yourself in the world of the early church in the first century.
Matthew
Ever wanted to understand the ethnocultural background of the Roman Christian first century church? This book is excellent by way of helping readers understand what Jesus and Christians sounded and looked like as the Gospel swept through Rome.

This would be a great book for small group discussion.
Dylan Bailey
Fascinating book! The author does such a wonderful job of portraying 1st century Christian life. I learned quite a lot, and had a hard time of putting it down. I recommend this book to anyone who desires to learn about 1st century Christians, and the political and cultural settings in which they lived.
Joshua Proctor
I love how the author was able to share about the culture of 1st century Rome in a way that felt like you were reading yet another ancient writing. It was a great way of keeping the audience's attention while providing important historical information. It was both entertaining and informative.
Gary Raduns
A work of historical fiction intended to convey the culture to which the Gospel According to Luke was written. An interesting perspective on Roman culture and the Christian counter-culture. I was particularly struck by the description of the Christian fellowship that met at the home of Antonius.
Matt
Nov 14, 2008 Matt rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Matt by: Sharad Yadav
This is an excellent book. It is a clever way to teach New Testament historical background, relational evangelism, the early church assembly and the cost of following Jesus. Once I was half way through I found it hard to put down. I read the last half in one day! Loved it!
Nick Hsieh
I really enjoyed this work of historical fiction. The narrative is really well written, and in addition to being a good story the book introduces the reader to the cultural and historical context of Christianity in the first century.
Smirna
Dec 31, 2007 Smirna rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone interested in catching a glimps of the new testament world
Its a creative and enjoyable story that informs you about the culture in the New Testament, including, kinship, some of the dynamics of friendship, social classes, honor in the ancient world during the Roman Empire, politics and religion.
Caitie Harrison
Longnecker brings the reader into the New Testament world and helps it to come alive. A wonderful work of historical fiction.
Becky B
Oct 01, 2012 Becky B rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Christian history buffs, Those studying the New Testament
Recommended to Becky by: Fuller Seminary
My husband was assigned this book for one of his seminary classes and he convinced me to read it with him. We both enjoyed the historical glimpse into what life would have been like for 1st century Christians in the Roman empire.
Kate
a series of 'lost' letters between Luke and Antipas, a Pergamum martyr in Scripture, in this book, a minor city official. great look at real life in the 1st century. Really ties in nicely with my study of Acts.
Rick Mcgarry
If you are mildly interested in the beginnings of Christianity, this work of fiction is a relatively painless way to get a bit of a picture of Christianity in the last half of the first century.
John
Great concept, great insight into the socio-economic barriers and consequences of believing in Christ in the first century A.D. A bit weak on the content of the Gospel.
Seth
I enjoyed it very much. It is a very interesting look at society and the danger that would accompany true faith in Jesus Christ. It is, however, slightly dry.
Jasmine
Very Interesting & heartful story on how the original churches started. Modern day church and Christians should be more like the good characters in this book.
Danny Bennett
Fun way to learn about the historical context of the 1st century. Did not end in the way I expected, but I thought it was very moving.
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