UK Christian Bookshops Directory: Christian Book Reviews: The Lost Letters of Pergamum
The Lost Letters of Pergamum The Lost Letters of Pergamum

Bruce W Longenecker
ISBN 0801026075 (9780801026072)
Baker Academic, 2003

Category: Biblical Studies

The Lost Letters of Pergamum probably represent the most important archaeological discovery since the Dead Sea Scrolls... or rather, they would, if they were real. Regrettably, they're a work of fiction - but it's fiction based on fact, built on an extensive knowledge of the New Testament world. Bruce Longenecker knows his stuff - the New Testament, both its historical and cultural context and the ways in which recent scholarship has added to our understanding - and he knows how to bring it to life.

The book presents us with a series of letters between Luke, the gospel writer, and Antipas, who the Book of Revelation describes as having been put to death for Christ in Pergamum (Rev 2.13). Longenecker has Antipas well placed in Rome's social strata, a devotee of the gladiatorial games, loyal to the Cult of the Emperor and a dedicated follower of Rome's honour-and-shame code of conduct.

How does a man like this get into a correspondence with someone like Luke? How does he get hold of a copy of Luke's Gospel - and find himself reading it? How does he move from being a model Roman Citizen to become a martyred Christian? You'll have to read the book to find out, and on the way you'll encounter Luke's Gospel as you've never experienced it before: make sure you keep a copy handy!

If you want to learn more about the world in which the New Testament was written - the world that Jesus and his early disciples lived and died in - Longenecker's letters certainly do represent one of the most important literary discoveries you'll ever make.

Phil Groom, January 2003

Phil Groom is this site's Webmaster and Reviews Editor. He's a freelance blogger, writer and web developer who spent ten years managing the bookshop at London School of Theology alongside eight years writing web reviews for Christian Marketplace magazine before he came to his senses and went independent. You can find him on facebook or follow him on twitter @notbovvered.

Previously published by London School of Theology. Reused here by kind permission.

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