In 93 AD, Loukas, the son of a wealthy Christian trader, is entrusted with a scroll to read in seven churches in Asia Minor. However, the scroll sparks rebellion wherever he goes and the Roman authorities attempt to track him down. But all Loukas wants to do is complete his mission and get back to Ephesus and his fiancée, Iounia.
In 2005 AD, Dima and Natasha, a young Russian couple from St. Petersburg, come across a stone box with a scroll inside, apparently found in Ephesus by Dima’s great-great-grandfather. The scroll is a complete – and early – copy of the book of Revelation. How did this scroll come to be found in Russia? And has it come to light at this very time for a reason?
The Ephesus Scroll is a novel that attempts to answer two questions. What did the book of Revelation mean to the people who first heard it? And what does it mean for us today?
Ben Chenoweth lived in St. Petersburg, Russia with his wife and two children for almost ten years. He currently lives in Melbourne, Australia where he works at the Melbourne School of Theology as their eLearning Coordinator. He enjoys reading, writing, music and playing computer games in equal measures. He has a particular interest in the intersection between theology and the arts. His most recent book is The Rome Gospel, a historical novel about the writing of the Gospel of Mark that also involves flashbacks into key moments in Mark's life. He has also written The Corinth Letters, which looks at the situation that gave rise to Paul's correspondence with the Corinthian church, and The Ephesus Scroll, a novel about the book of Revelation. He has written a play based on the life of Saul and a musical based on the Biblical book of Esther (a free download of the 1998 performance at Lilydale Baptist Church is available on NoiseTrade).
For those who might be interested, he lists C. S. Lewis, Peter Shaffer and Neal Stephenson as his literary inspirations.
“[The Ephesus Scroll] forges two horizons. The first is set in the late first century AD, when a courier is entrusted with a scroll containing the Book of Revelation to be read in the seven churches of Asia Minor. These churches are facing bitter persecution from the Roman Empire. The second is set in the twenty-first century AD when a young couple come across a stone box discovered some time ago in Ephesus and which contains an early copy of the book of Revelation… The novel shows how the text of Revelation, with its ominous warnings and great encouragements, related directly to the experiences of these early Christian communities. Along the way he provides a credible explanation of the contents of the book of Revelation, rooted in the historical context and reflecting sound New Testament scholarship. It is one I find compelling. ” — Colin G. Kruse, author of Paul’s Letter to the Romans (Pillar New Testament Commentary)
“Ben Chenoweth is passionate about helping his readers get in touch with the Bible and its original writers and context… The Ephesus Scroll is an entertaining historical novel about a scroll of Revelation. It alternates from the world of the early church to the contemporary church, from persecution in Asia Minor to a growing church in modern-day post-communist Russia… I appreciated the entertaining travel narrative in The Ephesus Scroll and loved reading the journey from Patmos to Ephesus, and from early church to contemporary Russia. For anyone interested in learning about how to read and understand the Bible, especially some of its ‘weirder’ apocalyptic bits, this puts the issues into an entertaining narrative form.” — Darren Cronshaw, co-author of Sentness (with Kim Hammond)
“A ‘textual thriller’ and a ‘scholarly action story’! I enjoyed the interwoven narratives and interesting keys to interpretation. This is a creative way of presenting an otherwise obscure understanding of the ‘scroll’ to the public consciousness. Fascinating insights on the interplay of the impact of the scroll on the churches, and on the beasts, and therefore on the scroll’s own fulfilment! May we be found faithful!” — Bill O’Byrne, Imago Christi ministry team leader, Church Resource Ministry (CRM)