The Life of an Early Christian
by Ben Witherington III
Pub Date 14 May 2019
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"The book is an imaginative but historically sensitive sketch of the life of a significant early Christian female leader Priscilla. Priscilla's life, however, is more than a life—it is a clear window through which Ben Witherington offers nothing less than a sketch of first century Christianity's expansion throughout the Roman Empire—all the way to Rome. The eighty-year-old Priscilla, in a voice speaking to her adopted daughter Julia, reminisces and explores the contexts for the New Testament itself, thus Priscilla functions as an innovative approach to New Testament introduction—photos giving the book a deeper appeal."
-Scot McKnight, professor of New Testament, Northern Seminary
"Women disciples like Priscilla played an enormously important but often overlooked role in the story of the spread of the Christian gospel and growth of the Christian movements throughout the first century. Witherington—a career-long contributor to the righting of this imbalance—here presents a plausible account of one of those leading women, a coworker of Paul and a teacher and matron of the early church. In the accessible form of a flowing story, he immerses us in the real-life contexts of the players of the New Testament, from the smells and sounds of the industrial districts and tenements of Rome, to the rhythms of life in a Roman villa, to the bustle of the small shops that lined Corinth's forum. Along the way, the reader is introduced to the major contours of Witherington's reconstruction of early Christian history and how the majority of the New Testament writings fit in to that history—developed and defended in his academic books, but made winsomely accessible here in narrative form. Witherington has shown himself once again the master of the ancient ideal for effective writing, communicating what is useful through what is pleasant."
-David A. deSilva, professor of New Testament at Ashland Theological Seminary, author of Day of Atonement: A Novel of the Maccabean Revolt
"Ben Witherington's Priscilla: The Life of an Early Christian is an essential resource for all Christians, and especially pastors and students. Too many pastors graduate from seminary with limited knowledge of women's leadership throughout church history. Unsurprisingly, opposition to women elders, pastors, and leaders is due, in part, to this stunning ignorance of the women who built the church beside the apostle Paul. An expert historian and widely published New Testament scholar, Witherington brings to life the social and spiritual realities of biblical women like Priscilla who inspire and inform our faith today. I highly recommend Priscilla in following Hebrews 13:7, 'Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.'"
-Mimi Haddad, president of Christians for Biblical Equality International
"We know much more about the lives and experiences of men in early Christianity than women. Fortunately, Ben Witherington combines his vast historical knowledge with engaging storytelling to imagine the life of Priscilla. From the glimpses of her life we catch in Paul and Acts, we can be certain she led an extraordinary life. Witherington's work of historical fiction captures that life well, all the while helping readers to explore the world of the New Testament."
-Nijay K. Gupta, associate professor of New Testament, Portland Seminary