In first-century Ephesus, life is not easy for women.
A young wife meets her daily struggles with equanimity and courage. She holds poverty and hunger at bay, fights to keep her child healthy and strong, and navigates the unpredictability of her husband’s temperament. But into the midst of her daily fears and worries, a new hope appears: a teaching that challenges her society’s most basic assumption. What is this new teaching? And what will it demand of her?
In this gripping novel, Holly Beers introduces us to the first-century setting where the apostle Paul first proclaimed the gospel. Illuminated by historical images and explanatory sidebars, this lively story not only shows us the rich tapestry of life in a thriving Greco-Roman city, it also foregrounds the interior life of one courageous woman—and the radical new freedom the gospel promised her.
Trying to imagine what life would have been like in the Roman empire can be hard enough, it can be harder too if you are trying to imagine what life was like for women, whose voices are mostly muted and marginalized in the annals of history. So it is quite rewarding to have someone like Dr. Holly Beers do the hard work of research and creative storytelling to help us imagine the life of women in the Greco-Roman world. Anyone interested in New Testament background or Roman antiquity will find here an enthralling and informative narrative about the prominence and plight of women in the ancient world.
—Michael F. Bird, academic dean and lecturer in theology at Ridley College in Melbourne, Australia
Holly Beers spins a mesmerizing tale that weaves the historical reality of first-century Ephesus—fishing, family life, childbirth, Artemis—with the universal human need for love and purpose. From the opening pages, I could not put down her story. Beers takes her extensive knowledge of the New Testament and shapes a fictional woman’s journey of discovery of the gospel and the early church community. The fast-paced narrative is filled with dialogue as biblical characters—Paul, Priscilla, Timothy, and others—come to life under Beers’s skilled storytelling. This is a must-read for men and women of all ages who want a fresh look at the power and promise of the gospel.
—Lynn H. Cohick, provost/dean of Denver Seminary
Holly Beers has written a creative and engaging story of life in first-century Ephesus that presents background information helpful to understanding the New Testament material of that provenance. The plot line of her story suggests a way of understanding 1 Timothy 2:15 in its historical setting that all readers of the New Testament should consider. An educational and thought-provoking read!
—Karen H. Jobes, Gerald F. Hawthorne Professor Emerita of New Testament Greek and Exegesis, Wheaton College and Graduate School
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