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Priscilla: The Life of an Early Christian

ISBN: 9780830870868
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Who was Priscilla?

Readers of the Bible may know her as the wife of Aquila, Paul’s coworker, or someone who explained baptism to Apollos. Biblical references to Priscilla spark questions: Why is she mentioned before her husband? Does the mention of her instruction of Apollos mean that women taught in the church? What is her story?

Ben Witherington addresses these questions and more. In this work of historical fiction, Priscilla looks back on her long life and remembers the ways she has participated in the early church. Her journey has taken her to Ephesus, Corinth, and Rome, and she’s partnered with Paul and others along the way.

Priscilla’s story makes the first-century world come alive and helps readers connect the events and correspondence in different New Testament books. Witherington combines biblical scholarship and winsome storytelling to give readers a vivid picture of an important New Testament woman.

Resource Experts
  • Addresses common questions about the life of Priscilla
  • Provides a look into the ancient worlds of Ephesus, Corinth, and Rome
  • Combines biblical scholarship and winsome storytelling
  • From the Beginning
  • The Journey to Jerusalem
  • The Cost of Pentecost
  • Mad Caligula, and Persistent Aquila
  • A Marriage Arranged in Roma
  • Banished!
  • Paulus the Apostle in Corinth
  • On to Ephesus
  • Enter Apollos
  • Demons and Dark Arts in Ephesus
  • Riot in the Theater, Wild Beasts in Ephesus
  • Return to Greece
  • The Death of Claudius, the Return to Roma
  • Joanna/Junia
  • Paulus’s Farewell at Miletus
  • The Collection and Its Collectors Reach Jerusalem
  • Paulus the Prisoner in Caesarea and the Struggles of the Ekklesia in Roma
  • At Last! Paulus’s Arrival in Roma
  • House Arrest and the Captivity Epistles
  • The Release of the Apostle
  • The Conflagration
  • Peter Takes Charge and Writes of Suffering
  • Christ Followers as Roman Candles
  • Burned Out Christianoi—the Temptation to Defect
  • A Surprise Ending, and a Return to the East
  • John Mark and the Abomination That Makes Desolate
  • Titus Rules, and the Volcano Erupts
  • “You Must Increase, While We Decrease”
  • Unnerved Nerva and the End of Days
The book is an imaginative but historically sensitive sketch of the life of a significant early Christian female leader, Priscilla. Priscilla’s life, however, is more than a life—it is a clear window through which Ben Witherington offers nothing less than a sketch of first-century Christianity’s expansion throughout the Roman Empire—all the way to Rome. The eighty-year-old Priscilla, in a voice speaking to her adopted daughter Julia, reminisces and explores the contexts for the New Testament itself, thus Priscilla functions as an innovative approach to New Testament introduction, and photos give the book a deeper appeal.

—Scot McKnight, professor of New Testament, Northern Seminary

Women disciples like Priscilla played an enormously important but often overlooked role in the story of the spread of the Christian gospel and growth of the Christian movements throughout the first century. Witherington—a career-long contributor to the righting of this imbalance—here presents a plausible account of one of those leading women, a coworker of Paul and a teacher and matron of the early church. In the accessible form of a flowing story, he immerses us in the real-life contexts of the players of the New Testament, from the smells and sounds of the industrial districts and tenements of Rome, to the rhythms of life in a Roman villa, to the bustle of the small shops that lined Corinth’s forum. Along the way, the reader is introduced to the major contours of Witherington’s reconstruction of early Christian history and how the majority of the New Testament writings fit in to that history—developed and defended in his academic books, but made winsomely accessible here in narrative form. Witherington has shown himself once again the master of the ancient ideal for effective writing, communicating what is useful through what is pleasant.

—David A. deSilva, professor of New Testament at Ashland Theological Seminary, author of Day of Atonement: A Novel of the Maccabean Revolt

Ben Witherington’s Priscilla: The Life of an Early Christian is an essential resource for all Christians, and especially pastors and students. Too many pastors graduate from seminary with limited knowledge of women’s leadership throughout church history. Unsurprisingly, opposition to women elders, pastors, and leaders is due, in part, to this stunning ignorance of the women who built the church beside the apostle Paul. An expert historian and widely published New Testament scholar, Witherington brings to life the social and spiritual realities of biblical women like Priscilla who inspire and inform our faith today. I highly recommend Priscilla in following Hebrews 13:7, ‘Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.’

—Mimi Haddad, president of Christians for Biblical Equality International

We know much more about the lives and experiences of men in early Christianity than women. Fortunately, Ben Witherington combines his vast historical knowledge with engaging storytelling to imagine the life of Priscilla. From the glimpses of her life we catch in Paul and Acts, we can be certain she led an extraordinary life. Witherington's work of historical fiction captures that life well, all the while helping readers to explore the world of the New Testament.

—Nijay K. Gupta, associate professor of New Testament, Portland Seminary

Ben Witherington III

Ben Witherington III (PhD, University of Durham) is Jean R. Amos Professor of New Testament for Doctoral Studies at Asbury Theological Seminary. A prominent evangelical scholar, he is also on the doctoral faculty at St. Andrews University in Scotland. Witherington has written over forty books, including The Jesus Quest and The Paul Quest, both of which were selected as top biblical studies works by Christianity Today. His other works include The Indelible Image, Women and the Genesis of ChristianityThe Gospel CodeA Week in the Life of Corinth and commentaries on the entire New Testament. He also writes for many church and scholarly publications and is a frequent contributor to Patheos and Beliefnet. Witherington is an elected member of the prestigious Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas, a society dedicated to New Testament studies. He is a John Wesley Fellow for Life, a research fellow at Cambridge University and a member of numerous professional organizations, including the Society of Biblical Literature, Society for the Study of the New Testament and the Institute for Biblical Research. He previously taught at institutions like Ashland Theological Seminary, Vanderbilt University, Duke Divinity School and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. An ordained pastor in the United Methodist Church and a popular lecturer, Witherington has presented seminars for churches, colleges and biblical meetings around the world. He has led numerous study tours through the lands of the Bible and is known for bringing the text to life through incisive historical and cultural analysis. Along with many interviews on radio and television networks across the country, Witherington has been seen in programs such as 60 Minutes, 20/20, Dateline and the Peter Jennings ABC special Jesus and Paul—The Word and the Witness


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    Digital list price: $19.99
    Save $8.00 (40%)