Academic Historical Fiction


“Historical Fiction” is an established genre in novels and film that typically tells a fictional story set in the past, with varying degrees of artistic license taken in order to serve the needs of story.

“Academic Historical Fiction” is not yet a well-defined genre in the field of Biblical & Theological Studies, but it is a useful way to think about historically-plausible stories written by academics who are writing within their areas of expertise. The goal of academic historical fiction is to instruct at much as to entertain, so artistic license may be taken, but not at the expense of historical plausibility. The following books should not replace the more standard academic tools of the trade, but they make excellent supplementary material. And they are often entertaining stories in their own right.


Burge, Gary M. A Week in the Life of a Roman Centurion. A Week in the Life Series. Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 2015.

Byron, John. A Week in the Life of a Slave. A Week in the Life Series. Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 2019.

Gooder, Paula. Phoebe: A Story. Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 2018.

Longenecker, Bruce W., The Lost Letters of Pergamum: A Story from the New Testament World. 2d ed. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2016.

Papandrea, James L. A Week in the Life of Rome. A Week in the Life Series. Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 2019.

Theissen, Gerd. The Shadow of the Galilean: The Quest of the Historical Jesus in Narrative Form. Updated ed. Minneapolis: Fortress, 1987, 2007.

Witherington, Ben III. A Week in the Fall of Jerusalem. A Week in the Life Series. Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 2017.

Witherington, Ben III. Priscilla: The Life of an Early Christian. Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 2019.

Witherington, Ben III. A Week in the Life of Corinth. A Week in the Life Series. Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 2012.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s