A Week In the Life of Ephesus

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Pub Date 09 Jun 2020 | Archive Date 09 Jul 2020

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Description

How should Christians live in an age of empire? As the city of Ephesus prepares for a religious festival in honor of the emperor Domitian, a Christian landowner feels increasing pressure from the city's leaders to participate. Can he perform his civic duties and remain faithful to his Lord? Or has the time come for a costly choice? In this historical novel, biblical scholar David deSilva brings to life such compelling struggles faced by the early Christians. Their insistence on the absolute lordship of their own singular deity brought them into conflict not only with the myriad religious cults of the day, but with all the crushing power of the empire itself. Meticulously researched and supplemented by historical images and explanatory sidebars, A Week in the Life of Ephesus poses anew the timeless question of Christianity and empire. Here is a vividly imaginative portrait of the Roman empire in all its beauty and might—and hanging over it, the looming sky of apocalypse.

How should Christians live in an age of empire? As the city of Ephesus prepares for a religious festival in honor of the emperor Domitian, a Christian landowner feels increasing pressure from the...


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Advance Praise

"David deSilva's novel about a week in the life of Christians in Ephesus, living under the shadow of the Roman Empire, is a thrilling story as well as an educational journey through the ancient world. Set against the backdrop of the book of Revelation, this is not a novel that will leave you worried about being 'left behind,' but it will make a deep impression on how to be a faithful Christian against the backdrop of malevolent imperial power. . . . Could not put it down!"

Michael F. Bird, academic dean and lecturer in theology at Ridley College, Melbourne, Australia 

"A Week in the Life of Ephesus brings alive the ancient Roman world of religious ritual, daily business, and family loyalties. The Christian's perennial challenge to follow after God and not money or fame takes shape under deSilva's skillful hand as first-century Ephesians live out their faith (or not) in the thoroughly pagan city. DeSilva weaves together characters, plot, and historical context, drawing the reader into the story. This is a must-read for those who want a deeper understanding of the ordinary reality of early Christians' lives."

Lynn H. Cohick, provost and dean, professor of New Testament, Denver Seminary 

"Ephesus was one of the leading centers of Christianity in the ancient world, and David deSilva invites us to picture it through this imaginative recreation of first-century life. He is well known for his scholarship on Revelation, which addressed churches in Ephesus and other cities in the region. By weaving ancient source materials into his narrative and offering commentary along the way, he links the fictional story to the social world and archaeological remains of Ephesus. This is a resource for those who want a glimpse into the dilemmas faced by Jesus' followers in a complex urban environment."

Craig Koester, Nasby Professor of New Testament at Luther Seminary, St. Paul, Minnesota 

"Prepare to be transported to the ancient city of Ephesus! David deSilva writes with a deft hand, proving that he is a gifted storyteller and cultural historian. Spend this week in Ephesus and you will read the New Testament with fresh eyes."

Joel B. Green, professor of New Testament interpretation at Fuller Theological Seminary

"David deSilva's novel about a week in the life of Christians in Ephesus, living under the shadow of the Roman Empire, is a thrilling story as well as an educational journey through the ancient...


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Featured Reviews

"A Week In the Life of Ephesus" 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 of the Christians that received Revelation so that we can better understand how it would have impacted them. 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 book included some pictures of archaeological ruins or artifacts that illustrated information in the non-fiction sidebars or events in the story. The story followed several viewpoint characters but had two main storylines: an upper-class Christian in Ephesus was being pressured to worship the emperor and other gods in addition to the Christian God and a Christian merchant was offered an opportunity to sell goods to Rome at a large profit but at the cost of others lacking those goods. The author was trying to show the different ways various Christians in Ephesus were dealing with pressures to conform and look out for self interest over following Christ wholeheartedly. Overall, I'd recommend this book to people interested in the insights gained from cultural background information.

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Students of the NT, and in particular Revelation, will find that this novel grounds biblical characters and places in their ancient settings. deSilva captures well the stresses and tensions from many sources for those who sought to follow Jesus in a polytheistic society where the religion of the state impacted so much of daily life. Roman traditionalists, observant Jews, and those who tried to blend Christian faith with everyday social practices all served as a backdrop against which Jesus’ followers carved out the practical implications of their relationship with the Lord. The storyline condenses and yet faithfully captures the tone of Revelation’s message as it relates to daily affairs. Those already familiar with the geography, architecture, and religion of first-century Asia Minor will find this account easier to read, but even those with little exposure to Revelation will have no difficulty in following along. The text is peppered with photos and insets which allow the modern reader to imagine these locales as they were when vibrant with life. I found "A Week in the Life of Ephesus" to be an imaginative and uplifting story of faith and a call to faithful service in the Lord’s kingdom.

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A Week In the Life of Ephesus by David A. deSilva InterVarsity Press IVP Academic Christian Pub Date 09 Jun 2020 I am reviewing a copy of A Week in the Life of Ephesus through InterVarsity Press and Netgalley: A Week in the Life of Ephesus attempts to answer the question “How should Christians live in the age of Empire? As the book opens Ephesus is preparing for a religious festival in honor of the emperor Domitian, a Christian landowner feels increasing pressure from the city's leaders to participate. The question is can he remain Faithful to his God, while still performing his civic duty. Or will he have to make a choice that could cost him a lot? David DeSilva brings to life the struggle that early Christians faced Their insistence on the absolute lordship of their own singular deity brought them into conflict not only with the myriad religious cults of the day, but with all the crushing power of the empire itself. The effort DeSilva pur in the meticulous research of this historical novel is evident from start to finish. Allowing for the readers to feel as if they had been transported back to the early days of Christianity in effort, as well as the very real struggles they faced, simply trying to live their lives, and live their faith. I give A Week in the Life of Ephesus five out of five stars! Happy Reading!

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This is the book I've been searching for, a book that helps bring the ruins of Ephesus in Turkey to life. Setting the fictionalized part of his story during the last week of September in AD 89, deSilva breathes life into historical and archaeological details through his large cast of characters representing many different groups living and working within this cosmopolitan city. This isn't a novel, although the fictional part of the book does build to a worthy climax. It's also not strictly a scholarly work, although the factual information appears to be well-researched, with ample documentation. Rather, this is an engaging mashup of fact and fiction for anyone who wants a readable glimpse of daily life and the early church in this famous city.

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