If you’ve not read Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, you’re in a shrinking group. More than 7 million hardback copies of the novel are in print, and it has by the publisher’s count been translated into more than 40 languages. It has remained at or near the top of most bestseller lists since its appearance a year ago.
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.