Review: A Week in the Fall of Jerusalem

518ApYLNpfLBen Witherington III is Jean R. Amos Professor of New Testament for Doctoral Studies at Asbury Theological Seminary. Witherington is a world-class New Testament scholar and the author of over forty books, including Invitation to the New Testament: First Things, Isaiah Old and New: Exegesis, Intertextuality, and Hermeneutics, A Week in the Life of Corinth, and the present volume A Week in the Fall of Jerusalem.

A Week in the Fall of Jerusalem is a rich and thrilling display of historical fiction that blends a clear and faithful understanding of the ancient world with a sensible storyline that eclipses the historical gaps. Witherington knows the ancient world surrounding the fall of Jerusalem well and is able to captivate the attention of the reader to both instruct and entertain simultaneously. The readers acquainted with Witherington’s previous work A Week in the Life of Corinth will be familiar with his ability to execute this format with excellence.

The book itself is brief, but fascinating. Personally, I’m not much of a fan of fiction, even historical fiction. But, what Witherington has accomplished here will be surprising and exciting to many readers. In fact, I think at points readers may even need to remind themselves that the narrative is mostly educated conjecture and not factual accounts. It’s just that captivating. Not only does he provide an imaginative glance into one of the most significant events of the early Christian movement, but he also provides numerous illustrations and excerpts that allow the reader to connect the narrative to reality. Again, those familiar with A Week in the Life of Corinth (or even A Week in the Life of a Roman Centurion by Gary M. Burge) will be accustomed to this feature, but I have to say A Week in the Fall of Jerusalem does a much better job of bridging these two worlds.

Providing a blend of entertainment and education, A Week in the Fall of Jerusalem by Ben Witherington III will be an excellent addition to any library. It could function well as an undergraduate-level supplemental textbook for a New Testament course. It allows readers of all backgrounds to venture as deep as they want and offers an up-to-date exploration of first century Jerusalem through the lenses of one of the most catastrophic events to reach the early church. It will give the reader much to ponder. To be honest, you might not think about the background of the New Testament in same again. It comes highly recommended.

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