Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Book Snap: Ben Witherington's "A Week in the Life of Corinth"

This new item by Ben Witherington is a bit out of the ordinary: It's a mix of a basic fictional work with non-fiction explanatory notes. I am not sure if this is groundbreaking,  but it does seem like it would be a good way to given beginners an introduction to the world of the New Testament.

The non-fiction notes cover such topics as honor, rhetoric, and slavery, and take up about a page each, written in Witherington's flowing and accessible style. The fiction parts...well, it's not Dickens by any means; Witherington's style here results in something that sounds a good deal like a young adult novella. The story itself follows the dealings of Erastos, the Corinthian official mentioned by Paul, his freedman servant Nicanor, and Paul himself, and uses the story as a basis for the non-fiction explanations. Since the purpose of the book is education, the story itself sometimes may seem to drag a bit and also be a bit to basic, but Witherington is a good enough writer to keep it interesting, and not too much should be made of the simplicity of the story since it is a vehicle for education.

I do find the interspersing of the two types of text somewhat distracting, but this is typical presentation style these days. Altogether, A Week in the Life of Corinth will serve well as an accessible and introductory text to the world of the New Testament.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds somewhat similar to "Windows on the World of Jesus" by Bruce Malina, although his fiction bits are more like short paragraphs followed by non-fiction expository bits.