Last night Jenni and I finished reading Paul Maier‘s The Flames of Rome. It is outstanding! It is a bit more explicit than Maier’s Pontius Pilate (sometimes uncomfortably so, e.g., re Nero’s depravity), but overall, it is a fine tool to engage one’s mind with first-century Greco-Roman, Jewish, and Christian history in a way that is virtually impossible by reading only encyclopedia-type summaries of the day. Bravo!
I would not be surprised if both of these books become required reading for NT classes I may teach in the future. They’re that useful.