In first-century Rome, following Jesus comes at a tremendous social cost.
An urbane Roman landowner and merchant is intrigued by the Christian faith—but is he willing to give up his status and lifestyle to join the church? Meanwhile his young client, a catechumen in the church at Rome, is beginning to see just how much his newfound faith will require of him.
A Week in the Life of Rome is a cross section of ancient Roman society, from the overcrowded apartment buildings of the poor to the halls of the emperors. Against this rich backdrop, illuminated with images and explanatory sidebars, we are invited into the daily struggles of the church at Rome just a few years before Paul wrote his famous epistle to them. A gripping tale of ambition, intrigue, and sacrifice, James Papandrea’s novel is a compelling work of historical fiction that shows us the first-century Roman church as we’ve never seen it before.
James L. Papandrea’s imaginative narrative builds on a substantial amount of strong historical scholarship, yet it is presented in a fresh and unique way. Contemporary readers will sense both continuity and discontinuity between the earliest church and their own lives. When looking back at first-century Christians in Rome, current practices of the faith amid modern cultural challenges appear both familiar and strange at the same time. One does not need to agree with every aspect of Papandrea’s imaginative narrative to benefit greatly from his historical recreation. I occasionally teach a course in Rome and this is now a required textbook; any Christian visiting this great city should read this book before they go!
—Kelly M. Kapic, professor of theological studies, Covenant College
Jim Papandrea has done it again. An eminent scholar and theologian of the church fathers, who has also written about Christianity in popular cinema, blends his love of history with his passion for narrative tales. This unique work punctuates a wonderful fictional story with pithy lessons about the life of early Christians. Dr. Papandrea’s style makes this a great read for anyone from age twelve to 112. Bravo!
—Anthony Gill, author of The Political Origins of Religious Liberty
A marvelous read!
—Rodney Stark, codirector, Institute for Studies of Religion, Baylor University
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