Ben Witherington, scholar and prolific author, blazes a new trail in this work that’s quite a departure from what I’m used to by him. In this work, he still teaches as we would expect, but he uses a combination of historic fiction and scholarly sidebars into a wide array of subjects of Jerusalem at the time of its fall in 70 A.D. I would rate it as a success in its imaginative approach to that important background material.
The story begins in the smoke of Jerusalem. Though the story has fictional elements, some of the characters are actual characters from Scripture. They are older, of course, and look back on pleasant memories of the days of Christ that are already 35 years in the past. The story contained elements that I had never thought of, but that would make sense in that environment. Both the fear and the courage of the Jewish people affected are clearly displayed.
As you might imagine, the author must make some judgments on some things that are debated. His telling the story of Matthew wanting to write his gospel is a specific place where some of us might not agree. Still, this book takes material we often approach piecemeal and weaves it together in a story that makes it much more meaningful. The short blurbs, pictures, and maps dispersed throughout the text greatly enhance it.
There’s less of the horrors of Jerusalem’s destruction than I predicted, and the story ends more abruptly than most fiction works, but the book is still very interesting. I imagine it will be secondary reading in some Bible history classes, as well as a help to those doing individual Bible study. I’ve read that this book is one in a series of similar books being designed by IVP. It’s educational, not hard to read, and pleasant. I recommend it.
I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.