Peter Lampe, professor of New Testament at Heidelberg, begins his magisterial book by giving us a definite date for the break of Christians from the Roman synagogues—49 AD, when the emperor Claudius expelled some Jews from Rome. From then on, Romans often persecuted Christians rather than Jews.
Where does a man turn, how does he live, when his hopes and dreams have failed him (or—perhaps no less commonly—when he has failed them)? Few questions challenge who we are and what we believe more profoundly, as this sober account of how one troubled soul wrestled with these questions shows.
Reading this book is like joining an ongoing conversation, since Jeffrey Stout has been discussing religion and democracy with Stanley Hauerwas, Alasdair MacIntyre and Richard Rorty since the mid-1970s. Often when we interrupt an animated conversation, it’s best to politely excuse ourselves and move on. But this conversation is worth overhearing.