A Week in the Life of Corinth  -     By: Ben Witherington III
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A Week in the Life of Corinth

IVP Academic / 2012 / Paperback

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Product Description

In A Week in the Life of Corinth premier New Testament scholar Ben Witherington, who also has knack for storytelling, attempts to re-enchant our reading of Paul and understanding of Corinth in this imaginative but historicall accurate reconstruction of the ancient cosmopolitan city.

Following a fictitious Corinthian man named Nicanor through an eventful week of business dealings and conflict, you will encounter life at the various social levels of Roman society--eventually meeting Paul himself and gaining entrance into the Christian community there.

The result is an unforgettable introduction to life in a urban center at the center of cultural life in the New Testament world. Numerous full-page "Closer Look" outtake boxes expand on a variety of aspects dealing with life and culture as we encounter them in the narrative.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 159
Vendor: IVP Academic
Publication Date: 2012
Dimensions: 8.25 X 5.50 (inches)
ISBN: 0830839623
ISBN-13: 9780830839629
Availability: In Stock

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Publisher's Description

Ben Witherington III attempts to reenchant our reading of Paul in this creative reconstruction of ancient Corinth. Following a fictitious Corinthian man named Nicanor through an eventful week of business dealings and conflict, you will encounter life at various levels of Roman society--eventually meeting Paul himself and gaining entrance into the Christian community there. The result is an unforgettable introduction to life in a major center of the New Testament world. Numerous full-page text boxes expand on a variety of aspects of life and culture as we encounter them in the narrative.

Author Bio

Bible scholar Ben Witherington III is Professor of New Testament for Doctoral Studies at Asbury Theological Seminary and on the doctoral faculty at St. Andrews University in Scotland. A graduate of UNC, Chapel Hill, he went on to receive the MDiv degree from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and a PhD from the University of Durham in England. He is now considered one of the top evangelical scholars in the world, and is an elected member of the prestigious Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas, a society dedicated to New Testament studies. Witherington has also taught at Ashland Theological Seminary, Vanderbilt University, Duke Divinity School and Gordon-Conwell. An ordained pastor in the United Methodist Church and a popular lecturer, he has presented seminars for churches, colleges and biblical meetings not only in the United States but also in England, Estonia, Russia, Europe, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Australia. He has also led tours to Italy, Greece, Turkey, Israel, Jordan, and Egypt. Witherington has written over forty books, including and both of which were selected as top biblical studies works by He also writes for many church and scholarly publications, and is a frequent contributor to the Patheos website. Along with many interviews on radio networks across the country, Witherington has been seen in programs such as 60 Minutes, 20/20, Dateline on outlets like the History Channel, NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, The Discovery Channel, A&E, and the PAX Network.

Editorial Reviews

"Like the valley of dry bones being covered once more with sinews and flesh, Corinth rises from its overgrown ruins to its former vibrancy, color and intrigue, allowed to re-live one week of its history. Witherington masterfully mingles the pleasant and the useful as he introduces readers to the social institutions, household customs and civic life of the Roman colony of Corinth by telling a delightful story centering on the attempts of one Erastus to win a public office and one Paul to prepare for his trial before the Roman proconsul, Gallio. I know of no other introduction to the Greco-Roman environment of Paul's mission that could also qualify as entertaining 'beach reading.'"
"This is historical fiction at its best."
"Ben Witherington III, a good creative writer and accomplished NT scholar, has given us a treat in his short novel A Week in the Life of Corinth. Rather than providing a list of facts about life and culture in NT times, Witherington has composed an interesting story in which we can see and learn this information along the way. This will be a fun way to enhance our understanding of the world in which the NT takes place—and it would be helpful for preachers to read some good fiction along the way!"
"This imaginative narrative brings the New Testament world to life by following the freedman Nicanor around ancient Corinth, relating his encounters with religion, gladiators, politics, domestic life and the nascent Christian movement (including several biblical characters). Though it may not solve all the riddles of the Corinthian correspondence, here is an engaging and informative introduction to Corinth and the wider cultural context of the first-century Roman Empire."
"The book would be an ideal introduction to a course on 1 Corinthians, or to a course on Paul and his mission. It is easy to read, but very well informed by Witherington's scholarship."
"As I have been teaching on 1 Corinthians, I found this work very beneficial. Not only is the storyline intriguing, but this book also presents itself as a pedagogical tool. Here students can 'feel' what life must have been like in first century Graeco-Roman society—a culture foreign to many of us today. Witherington's book brings biblical times alive and is thus a wonderful gift to the church. It brings us closer to our spiritual ancestors and their experience of the risen Lord in a society hostile to the gospel."
"[T]his is an appealing view of the social world of Paul and Corinth. I have no doubt that it will arouse the interest and capture the imagination of readers."
"Whether you're well acquainted with Paul's letters to the Corinthian church or are encountering them for the first time, this book will bring the biblical text to life."
"I highly recommend this fresh approach to familiar territory: it will illuminate as well as entertain!"
"This very readable—indeed, gripping—book gives us an imaginative insight into the Greco-Roman world of Paul's mission to Corinth. The details of everyday life for Paul and those he met are set in their historical context by an expert scholar who knows the New Testament and its background very well. I recommend it to all who want to understand the setting in which early Christianity grew and flourished."
"If you want to know what it would have been like to live in ancient Corinth, spend a week in the life of a freedman, traverse the olive groves and cobblestone streets, survive the cutthroat politics of a Greek city, encounter pagan priestesses and converse with a Jewish tentmaker named 'Paulos,' then Ben Witherington has written the book for you. This short novella, with pictures and explanations of customs in ancient Corinth, provides a window into the world of Paul's Corinthian letters. Witherington creatively brings the setting of Paul's Corinthian ministry to life with historical rigor and narrative artistry. Witherington brings to us the sights, smells, sounds and culture of Corinth as the apostle Paul knew it."
"This book provides a uniquely enjoyable way to learn about ancient culture and Paul's mission in Corinth by immersion. Although I found the story delightful and intriguing, I could also see behind it careful research on a large array of details."

Product Reviews

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  1. Harrison, AR
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Entertaining way to educate
    December 20, 2012
    Debbie from ChristFocus
    Harrison, AR
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    Quality: 4
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 4
    "A Week in the Life of Corinth" 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 to Paul's letters to Corinth so that we can better understand them.

    The book contained some nice black-and-white pictures of ruins, diagrams of houses, and archaeological artifacts that illustrated information in the non-fiction sidebars or events in the story. 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 story followed a week in the life of a freed slave, who is caught in some political power-plays, and of Paul, who is facing a trial described in the Bible. The story had plenty of conflict and educational value, but it's a fairly short story and the relationships were only shallowly developed.

    I thought that the author did a good job with the educational points that he brought out. The focus was mainly on Roman aspects (rather than Jewish) since the focus was on Corinth. Overall, I'd recommend this book to people who aren't very familiar with cultural background information and who aren't interested in pure nonfiction books on the topic.
  2. Howard City, MI
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: male
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    A Week in the Social Life of Corinth
    June 27, 2012
    Life Long Reader
    Howard City, MI
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: male
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    When it comes to the interpretation of the Bible (let alone any text) context is king. Over the years scholars have grown to realize the importance of the social context in which the Bible speaks to and is written in. Once of the more well known scholars who has taken great strides in exploring the social context of the New Testament is Ben Witherington III. His social-rhetorical commentaries on Mark, Acts, Romans, 1 & 2 Corinthians, Philemon/Colossians/Ephesians, Hebrews/James/Jude, Titus/1&2 Timothy/1-3 John, 1&2 Thessalonians, 1&2 Peter and Philippians have made major advancements in opening the readers eyes to the social world of the New Testament.

    It is without a doubt that 1 & 2 Corinthians pose some of the most difficult NT letters to interpret as the social aspect of the books play a major role in their interpretation. As such, their difficulty lies in the fact that we are 2,000 years removed from the social world of Corinth. While the above mentions commentaries have proved to be very helpful Witherington has taken up the task of putting some of the major bits of social information into narrative form as he writes a fictional story with historical characters set within the context of Corinth. A Week In the Life of Corinth serves to distill his social-rhetorical commentary into fictional form so the reader can see the social context from a more insiders view.

    Nicanor is the major character who is a former slave, and unbeliever, working for Erastos a political candidate for a highly prized position. The book walks the reader through the a week of Nicanor's life as it would have been in his social position. Throughout the week we see how a number of the major facets of social life play out: slavery, political ranking, religion, the Roman games, commerce and even how Christianity would have been viewed by unbelievers.

    Throughout the book we view Corinth through the Apostle Paul's eyes as well as his work and Christian companions Priscilla and Aqulia. Through Paul's eyes, Witherington gives us a view into how the situation of the Lord's Supper, Paul's writing of his letters, Paul's appearance before Gallio and church live on Sunday might have looked like (including speaking in tongues). Readers will be amazed at the extent of the social and historical detail Witherington is able to weave into this fictional story.

    For those who have studied the Corinthian church the way in which this book presents the setting will shed more light on already familiar information. For those who are new to the study of Paul's letters to the Corinthian church, A Week in the Life of Corinth is a great place to start for social-cultural background studies. What's more, though the books primary goal is to expose readers to the social world of Corinth, this emphasis does not take away from the fictional story of Nicanor's life.

    As one who has studied Corinthians in a seminary class and read Witherington's social-rhetorical commentary on Corinthians this is a great addition to further studies on this socially complex book. The story is gripping and the information is illuminating! We need more of this!

    NOTE: I received this book from IVP for free and was under no obligation to provide a favorable review.
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