My friend Shannon loaned me another great book. This one is on the assigned reading list for some classes at Nazarene Theological Seminary, and I can see why.
Here's the basic set up. It's historical fiction. The premise is that someone has discovered a set of letters exchanged among ancient noblemen in the late 1st century AD. There are at least 4 different "authors" among the various letters. One is Luke, the author of Luke and Acts, and another is Antipas, a Christian martyr in Pergamum, mentioned in the book of Revelation.
In the process of the letter writing, Antipas slowly converts from a power and prestige seeking nobleman, to a self-sacrificing, humble servant of Jesus and others. But the real value of the book is that it allows the reader to observe how Christianity was lived, interpreted, and heard among those who heard the New Testament texts for the first time.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to better understand the roots of Christianity and/or the New Testament. It is fiction, but it is fiction based on deeply sound historical research.
This book gets a strong 5J's: JJJJJ.