A Week In the Life of a Greco-Roman Woman by Holly Beers brings the first century teachings of Paul to life for modern readers.
NetGalley is hosting a “Review A Thon,” throughout the entire month of August. Net Galley is a great website that provides free advanced reader copies to bloggers and readers in exchange for an honest review. I love books and I also enjoy saving money, so Net Galley is perfect for me.
I enjoy reading as a form of self care. Curling up with a good book is a form of stress relief for me. Sometimes I share book reviews here on my website, but throughout the month of August, I will be sharing even more book reviews than normal as I work my way through my massive “To Be Read,” pile on Net Galley.
What are you reading? Let me know in the comments below!
My Review for A Week In the Life of a Greco-Roman Woman by Holly Beers
A Week in the Life of a Greco-Roman Woman by Holly Beers brings the ancient city of Ephesus to life for modern readers. As a preacher, it is my job to attempt to bring the scripture to life every Sunday. It is always my goal to make the first century world that Jesus walked come to life for my congregation; however, this takes a great deal of time and study. That is why I am so grateful for books like this one.
Beers, an associate professor of religious studies at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California, does a fabulous job of helping the reader to imagine what life was really liked during the time that St. Paul was preaching and teaching. The majority of the book is a fictional account of the daily life of a woman named Anthia who lived in Ephesus. Although Anthia and her story are imaginary, the challenges she faces were are all too real for the majority of women in the ancient world. She deals with an abusive husband, the dangers of childbirth, unsanitary living conditions, and the gnawing hunger of a subsistence diet. Anthia’s life seems truly bleak until one day she encounters a man named Paul. Soon, she meets other followers of The Way and is exposed to ideas that make her question everything she has ever known.
My favorite part of this book were the realistic and gritty details. Beers does not shy away from exploring the many real dangers and tragedies that people faced in ancient Greco-Roman society. I also appreciated the side bars interspersed throughout the text. These sidebars included diverse information about everything from cosmetics, superstitions surrounding childbirth, and slavery.
The only gentle criticism I have about this book is that Anthia’s story felt rather incomplete. I would have preferred a more solid ending. Nevertheless, I’m certain that I will reference this book in the future when I am preparing sermons, especially sermons based on Paul’s epistles.
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.
Author: Holly Beers
Genre: Christian Historical Fiction
Publisher: InterVarsity Press / IVP Academic
Publication Date: December 3, 2019
Other Review-A-Thon Book Reviews:
Why We Can’t Sleep- Women’s New Midlife Crisis– The modern challenges faced by women today as we enter middle age are rooted universal concerns.
Near the Exit: Travels with the Not-So-Grim Reaper- Episcopal deacon and author, Lori Erickson, travels the world to learn what other cultures can teach us about death and the grieving process.
50 Essential Etiquette Lessons– The perfect little etiquette book for young professionals
What are you reading?
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