Geographical, archaeological, and cultural background insights
January 2, 2016
Debbie from ChristFocus
"Rose Then And Now Bible Map Atlas" provided geographical, archaeological, and cultural background insights into the Biblical narrative. The Atlas started off with typical information about rainfall, temperatures, and such. Then the author focused on various people in the Bible, from Abraham to John. He talked about other people who were also active at that time, so he covered most of the Bible and the inter-testament period in this way.
For each chapter, the author retold the person's story based on the biblical information. He also provided insights on how geography, politics, and cultural pressures may have played a role in their decisions. He added fictional dialogue to illustrate his proposed scenario. I didn't always accept the motives that the author proposed, but the suggested political pressures did prompt me to think about the narratives in a new way. The information on how the land contours and features affected events was very interesting.
The maps showed the locations of major events and movements. In the .pdf ebook version, the "overlay" of modern territory lines is simply given as second map. The labeling on the map was easily readable on my computer screen but might not be so easy on smaller screens.
There were many excellent photographs of the locations described in the text. These photographs showed what the landscape looks like and often illustrated the significant features that the author described in the text. I really enjoyed the photos and geography insights.
I received this book as an ebook review copy from the publisher.
The Rose Then and Now Bible Map Atlas with Biblical Background and Culture is not an easy-to-read volume that one could devour in a matter of hours. The text is complex, incorporating cross-references and annotations where appropriate as well as maps of the Holy Land as it was in ancient times with clear overlays showing modern political divisions and nomenclature of the same areas. There are many illustrations, timelines, and photographs liberally sprinkled thoughout this book. The text is divided into 24 chapters, the last 22 of which focus on important characters we meet in the Bible. The first two chapters focus on the background information. The book also features a comprehensive introduction, bibliography, and index.
I normally base my reviews on the full reading of a book, but in this case, the formulaic construction makes the full reading unnecessary to evaluate the quality of this publication. Despite the complexity of this book, it is worthy of the time and attention required to study the material. I do not recommend attempting to read this volume from cover-to-cover like you would read a novel. Instead, as you study Genesis, read the first two chapters of this atlas. Then move on to the chapters featuring Moses and Joshua as you study Exodus, etc. The chapters do not need to be read in the order they appear in this book. The information concerning the Biblical Background and Culture contained in this volume will greatly enhance your understanding of the Bible.
Due to the complexity of the material, I do not recommend this book to those under the age of 17, but for anyone mature enough to understand the material, I would highly recommend this book, especially if one is interested in doing in-depth studies of biblical topics or persons.
While this volume was purchased by me, I do sometimes accept books free in exchange for review. Nevertheless, whether I purchase a book or whether I receive it in exchange for review, all opinions stated in the review remain mine, and I never accept financial compensation for posting reviews.
Would you like a fine Bible Atlas written by someone who has been immersed in the lands of the Bible? Then the Rose Then and Now Bible Atlas is a great option for you. Substantial at 272 pages, yet accessible even for newer Bible students, we have a real asset here.
Perhaps you saw the earlier Rose Then and Now Bible Maps. I always felt it was more of a Sunday School item than one for the serious Bible student, though the modern overlays are a brilliant idea. Frankly, there were just too few of them and I would have preferred a different scale at times. There are about the same number of overlays, but we have a fine atlas too. Really, the overlays are just a nice addition to the atlas itself.
What we have now is Rose Publishing joining the big boys in the atlas world. What is unique to this volume among the atlases out there is the historical detail given. Paul Wright does a great job of relating the biblical narrative as he progresses incorporating well the geographic details. The history begins with the Patriarchs. There is no mention of Adam or Genesis 1-11, pro or con. My guess is that there is little real geographic knowledge of those times.
Still, Scripture pervades the volume. In the chapter on Jesus, He is described as God in human form. The entire atlas takes a historical approach. There are no sections on parts of the Bible like, say, the Minor Prophets. Their time period is covered in the historical flow, just not the books themselves. Most atlases take the other approach, but I am glad to have one from this distinct vantage point.
The maps themselves are from Carta, which is the gold standard of Bible maps. The pictures are satisfactory and the maps plentiful enough to go along with a rich text. Most people just try to get one quality Bible Atlas. This volume is a contender for the Bible Student.
I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.