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Hardcover / ISBN-13: 9781444792065

Price: £16.99

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The New Testament tells us very little about Lydia, a seller of purple cloth who was living in Philippi when she met the apostle Paul on his second missionary journey. And yet she is considered the first recorded convert to Christianity in Europe.

In her second work of fiction, Biblical scholar and popular author and speaker Paula Gooder tells Lydia’s story – who she was, the life she lived and her first-century faith – and in doing so opens up Paul’s letter to the Philippians, giving a sense of the cultural and historical pressures that shaped Paul’s thinking, and the faith of the early church.

Written in the gripping style of Gerd Theissen’s The Shadow of the Galilean, and similarly rigorously researched, this is a book for everyone and anyone who wants to engage more deeply and imaginatively with Paul’s theology – from one of the UK’s foremost New Testament scholars.


The author herself is a woman of substance. She is Canon Chancellor of St Paul's Cathedral in London, and by extension a scholar with a main interest on St Paul's life and teachings...Lydia is like one of those docudramas on television...it carries its own sense of conviction.. readers should not imagine that scholarship is dull. It too has its own dramas and excitements. There is nothing "dry as dust" about modern Biblical investigations.
The Irish Catholic
[Lydia] is the perfect mix: a winsome story, rigorous and illuminating scholarship, with spiritual insight and depth. It had me thinking, crying, and rejoicing.
Eve Poole, Public theologian and writer
Gooder has a rare gift for translating scholarship into page-turning storytelling ... This book positively crackles with hope, faith, and love.
Rachel Mann, The Church Times