Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Bruce Longenecker's Lost Letters of Pergamum

Bruce Longenecker made my job a little easier last semester, by writing a great little book that students enjoy reading. I assigned the second edition of Longenecker's Lost Letters of Pergamum (Baker Academic, 2016) as a textbook for "Introduction to the New Testament," and students loved it.

Perhaps Baker Academic will consider adding these student blurbs to the back of the third edition:
"Extremely interesting!"

"Loved this book, eye-opening, never read Luke the same."
"Really enjoying The Lost Letters of Pergamum book so far!" 

A few students apparently neglected to read the preface, which explains that the letters are fictional:
"The Lost Letters I found pretty cool how I'm able to read letters from a very old historical event."
"I am really enjoying Longenecker's book because it includes actual letters of Luke, Antipas, Calpurnius. It gives a glimpse at life in the New Testament times and is extremely interesting." 

But how often do you find a textbook that prompts this sort of student response?
"Longenecker is by far my favourite thing I've read this whole semester. I was interested from page one. It's the best." 

Based on student feedback I decided to switch out the other two very short introductions I had assigned, but Lost Letters is a keeper - It succeeds in conveying a lot of information about the first-century Roman world, it paints a compelling and attractive picture of early Christian community practices, and--did I mention?--students enjoy reading it.

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