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A Week within the Lifetime of Historical Rome: An Interview with James L. Papandrea

A Week within the Lifetime of Historical Rome: An Interview with James L. Papandrea

James L. PapandreaWhat are you aware concerning the every-day residing circumstances of first-century Rome? How did that historic tradition impose an incredible social value on the followers of Jesus? What have been the every day struggles of the church in Rome and the way does an consciousness of that point interval affect readers of the New Testomony within the 21st century?

Bible Gateway interviewed James L. Papandrea (@jimpapandrea) about his guide, A Week within the Lifetime of Rome (IVP Tutorial, 2019).

What’s the premise/plot of your novel?

Dr. James L. Papandrea: The Christians within the metropolis of Rome are ready for the apostle Peter to return from the Jerusalem council (Acts 15). As they await information of the convention and of their fellow Christians within the Holy Land, they attempt to preserve their heads down and keep away from the discover of the Romans. However issues come up when the calls for of Roman society conflict with the values of the church.

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Why did you set the novel in AD 50 and the place does it match with the Bible timeline?

Dr. James L. Papandrea: A Week within the Lifetime of Rome is a part of a sequence and the entire books that had been written already have been set in about the identical time. So the thought was to see what was happening in Rome on the identical time that you might examine what was happening in Corinth or Jerusalem. By the yr AD 50, there have been at most only some of Paul’s letters written, so a lot of the New Testomony had not been written but. Paul’s letter to the Romans can be written a number of years later, however we will guess from that letter that there have been perhaps 4 home church buildings assembly within the metropolis of Rome at the moment.

How do you incorporate fiction and non-fiction within the guide?

Dr. James L. Papandrea: The characters are all biblical figures, both from the guide of Acts, or from the listing of names talked about by Paul in Romans (Romans 16). In order that they’re all actual individuals, however a lot of them are unknown to us apart from their names. So I developed tales and relationships which might be believable primarily based on what we all know. And I stuffed within the gaps with particulars that come collectively to make a narrative about how onerous it should have been to dwell as a devoted Christian in these early days within the capital metropolis.

I’m taken with the informative sidebars all through the guide. For instance, clarify what the Patron-client system was in historic Rome.

Dr. James L. Papandrea: The Patron-client system is a community of relationships. These are relationships of unequal events, however they’re mutually helpful. The patron is the wealthier or extra highly effective individual, who guarantees sure sorts of assist and safety to the shopper, who’s the poorer of the 2. In return for patronage, the shopper guarantees to help the patron’s enterprise dealings, politics, and typically even by operating errands and doing the “dirty work” that the patron doesn’t need to do himself. Everybody however the poorest individuals would have some type of patron, both a wealthier individual or a guild or different group.

Describe what marriage and household relationships have been like within the Roman world.

Dr. James L. Papandrea: Most individuals within the Roman empire didn’t get married, within the sense of getting a legally registered marriage. Registered marriage was a contract meant to consolidate or shield wealth and foster networking relationships. Consequently divorce was extraordinarily straightforward and really frequent. Legal guidelines defining adultery have been written in order that males may have a number of sexual companions, and prostitution was a authorized and accepted a part of society. The higher courses typically noticed kids extra as a burden than a blessing and abortion and infanticide have been the fitting of each head of a family. Evidently, the church opposed all of this.

How did the typical household in Rome expertise faith?

Dr. James L. Papandrea: There was civic faith—the standard Greco-Roman gods—worshipped in rituals that have been principally meant to display good citizenship or patriotism, after which there was family faith. Family faith was the veneration of principally unknown or unnamed gods who have been thought to guard fireplace and residential, and relations who traveled exterior the house.

How does your guide assist readers higher perceive the books of the New Testomony?

Dr. James L. Papandrea: My guide offers the reader the background, not just for the guide of Romans, however for the New Testomony as an entire. It helps readers perceive the on a regular basis lifetime of each wealthy and poor within the Roman Empire: how they spent their days, what their struggles have been, how they interacted with one another, and even issues like how they ate their meals.

What’s a favourite Bible passage of yours and why?

Dr. James L. Papandrea: I’ve all the time beloved Paul’s letter to the Philippians. It’s obtained that nice Christological passage in chapter 2: “Although he existed in the form of God, he did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted him, and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

And it additionally has a passage that I’ve all the time discovered comforting in chapter 3: “One thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

What are your ideas about Bible Gateway and the Bible Gateway App and Bible Audio App?

Dr. James L. Papandrea: Find it irresistible! I’ve been utilizing it for years and it’s my favourite Bible look-up web site.

Is there anything you’d wish to say?

Dr. James L. Papandrea: I really like the Scriptures, particularly the New Testomony. However there’s a lot concerning the historic context that many individuals don’t know in the event that they don’t examine the early church. You actually can’t perceive the New Testomony totally with out additionally understanding the early church, and so I’m so grateful to InterVarsity Press for this sequence, and for permitting me to contribute the quantity on the early church in Rome.


Bio: James L. Papandrea (PhD, Northwestern College) is a instructor, writer, speaker, and musician. He’s professor of church historical past and historic theology at Garrett-Evangelical Seminary at Northwestern College, in addition to a marketing consultant within the space of grownup religion formation and a daily speaker in parish and lay formation applications within the Chicago space. He’s the writer of A Week within the Lifetime of Rome, The Earliest Christologies, Studying the Early Church Fathers, and Trinity 101. He studied Roman historical past on the American Academy in Rome, Italy.

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A Week within the Lifetime of Historical Rome: An Interview with James L. Papandrea

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