Ramelli undertakes for the first time a systematic investigation of the possible knowledge of Christianity in a group of novels, all dated between the first and third century CE, and belonging to geographical areas in which Christianity was present at that time. She endeavors to point out the meaning that possible allusions had for the public addressed by those novels. . . . The results of her research are, in my opinion, of the highest interest. . . . Her work seems to me to be most helpful and rich in outstanding results.
--Marta Sordi, in Aevum 76 (2002)
The book has important qualities. First of all, the author offers a very full synthesis of the results of earlier partial studies, including those by herself. A lot of work must have been invested in its preparation, which entailed studying a variety of areas, literary, historical, and theological . . . Secondly, she always takes a careful stand, and never allows herself to declare certain what is no more than plausible or even most probable; Lucian is the only author about whose direct knowledge of Christianity she is absolutely sure. And finally, the work includes a wealth of bibliographical references, both in the footnotes and in the sixty-eight pages of the bibliography. The book is a mine of information . . . Nowadays, both the literature of the novels and the early Church as an element of society are in the spotlight of scholarly interest. Those wishing to work on the points of contact between the two are well advised to use Ramelli as a guide. They will find the facts, well-balanced discussions, and an exhaustive bibliography.
--Anton Hilhorst, in Ancient Narrative 3 (2003)
The authors of the classical novels shared their world with Christians--some may have been Christians themselves--and one might expect to find references to Christianity in their works. In this learned and pioneering study, Ilaria Ramelli, an expert in both classical literature and early Christianity, brings to bear her profound knowledge of ancient history and a subtle feel for literary values, and identifies a wide range of possible allusions. Her book is a contribution not only to the study of the ancient novel but also to our understanding of the cross influences between religious cultures in the ancient world.
Professor of Classics
New York University
Ramelli demonstrates enormous meticulousness, learning, and a critical approach to the sources and bibliography . . . The documentation with which the author of this monograph corroborates all of her statements concerning possible parallels (between the ancient novels and Christianity) with respect to the contents or form . . . is absolutely exhaustive. We must also highlight the huge carefulness, erudition, and critical use of literature.
--Antonio Artes Hernandez, in Myrtia 19 (2004)