The advocate, Theophilis, was raised in the Roman aristocracy and trained in rhetoric and debate by the very finest. One of his first positions is advising Pontius Pilate, where he is part of one of the trials of Jesus. He offers Pilate a word of advice, which backfires horribly when the innocent man is sent to a cruel death by crucifixion. This mistake haunts him. Thirty years later, having proved himself in his profession, he has the opportunity for redemption when he takes the case of Paul of Tarsus, defending him in front of the Emperor Nero. But Theophilus wonders if he can form a defense that will keep this innocent man from execution.
Randy Singer, who has written several legal thrillers, uses the theory that the books of Luke and Acts were written as legal briefs to defend Paul against Nero. These two books of the Bible are addressed to Theophilus, but very little is known about him. Singer develops a fictional Theophilus with dialogue directly from Holy Scripture and writing other speeches that are faithful to biblical people such as Paul. "The most important thing is not that the letter proclaims my innocence but that it proclaims the good news about the Messiah."
The book was compelling from the very first and held my rapt attention throughout. I could easily feel myself in Rome during that time and wished I could speak with Paul and the other early Christians myself.
I love Christian Fiction, and Legal Thrillers. I read the Advocate and became addicted to Randy Singer's writing. This is a great historical fiction book, filled with episodes of cultural facts. If you have read the Bible, and want facts about the Romans, Greeks and Israel, read the Advocate. Singer's explanation of the city of Jerusalem during the passover from the Roman view is enlightning.
This was a wonderful biblical story. It is about Theophilus who was similar to today's lawyers. He was a great orator. He lived in Rome and then was sent to be with Pilate as his secretary. He tries to keep Pilate from prosecuting Christ to death but it didn't work. Later he is sent back to Rome where he ends up trying to help people live through many Caesars reigns. He meets Paul and saves his life and becomes a Christian. This may not be a true story but it is so well done that you don't remember that it isn't true. I received this book from the bookfun.org for a fair and honest opinion.
Review Title: In Defense of Innocent Christians (review of The Advocate by Randy Singer)
Reviewer: Janice S. Garey
The Advocate, by Randy Singer, deserves to be on all Christian reading lists. It qualifies as a classic, in my opinion, and I hope to see it made into a movie. With the authors background in law, and as a bestselling author of legal thrillers, he managed to write a flawless story. It spans the lifetime of Theophilus through the schools, courtrooms, and cultures during the years from before the crucifixion of Jesus to the trial of Paul, and on to the death of Theophilus.
The early scenes of the book delve into the background of the young men who played major roles as the story progressed. The cruelty of young Caligula toward Theophilus prepares the reader for the later brutality of the depictions of gladiators used for Roman entertainment. The author presents interesting contrasts between the Greek and Roman cultures of the day.
The characters in the book appeal to both men and women as their stories unfold. Parallel development of the rise of men and women to the highest realms of power and prestige add fullness and delight for those who enjoy historical details. The classical school system for men, and the system of preparing for life as a Vestal Virgin for young ladies, captures the readers interest. Sacrifices and rewards go hand in hand. Wisdom plays a big part in the book, too, as a philosopher, Seneca, engages frequently with the main character, Theophilus
Questions of trust as alliances arise and falter further engage the reader. The difficulties of being a Christian and always under suspicion during that time period are highlighted. Evolving faith in Jesus and changing attitudes of some characters show spiritual growth. Young love, with its longings and challenges is contrasted to more stable mature love. The end of the book well displays the hope Christians share for what happens at the time of death.
I highly recommend this book for all mature Christians and for people who are interested in the time period for historical reasons. Because of some of the brutality, I would not advise this to be read to younger children. I received the book from bookfun.org in exchange for my honest review after reading it. Truly, it is a classic!
The Advocate by Randy Singer is a great book for those interested in historical stories, set in classical times. He creates a story about a young Roman boy, Theophilus, (mentioned in the scriptures but about whom little is known) who is fortunate to be a student of the famous, Seneca the Younger. The boys rise to the position of an esteemed advocate is the focus of the novel. His life interacts with such historical figures as Agrippa, Claudius, Caligula, Nero, Pilate, and more. Singer interweaves the stories of fictional characters, Flavia and Mansuetus. Flavia is an honored Vestal Virgin, and Mansuetus is an adored and successful gladiator. Their attraction to each other is forbidden by law; yet, they cannot deny their love.
After six years of study in Greece, Theophilus is assigned to serve as an assessore for Pilate in Judea. He accompanies Pilate to Jerusalem for the great Jewish feast of the Passover, and there he encounters the Nazarene. What he advises Pilate in the case of the Nazarene haunts him for the rest of his life. He witnesses the torture and crucifixion of Jesus, and he is ashamed to be a Roman.
Years later after Theophilus is married and has a teen-aged son, he encounters the Apostle Paul. He is asked to defend Paul against Roman charges and is introduced into the movement of the Way which changes his life forever.
The novel includes the horrific and cruel actions of the Romans, the ineffectual and violent leadership of the emperors, the bloody and deplorable Circus games, and conspiracies. However, he depicts the hope and change in the lives of the people who encounter the Nazarene and his followers, like Paul, and even the wife of Pontius Pilate. The novel shares the history of Rome and the emergence of Christianity. The reader feels that he is a part of that time, seeing it as it was, immersed in the drama. As a former Latin teacher, I highly recommend this book which will sweep you up into the stories of Theophilus, Flavia, Mansuetus, and many more well-defined characters. I received this book through TBCN in exchange for an honest review.