Probably one of the best one volume background of Jerusalem during the time of Jesus that I've seen in quite a while. A great read. Describes the religious world in which Jesus lived vividly. Answers lots of questions about things I wasn't 100% sure about.
This very erudite text is a rarity: an English translation of the late great Theologian Dr. Jeremias, scarce as hen's teeth. Of course, you would have to know the basics already because Jeremias jumps into the social and economic aspects and how they shaped or were shaped by the message of Jesus. And that's just for starters.
If you can get ahold of a copy, any copy, you have a rare and valuable book!
The content is thoroughly researched, quite scholarly but readable, and covers exactly what the title says. The scope and depth of the work is impressive: I have not seen better. Jerusalem is still being explored so this book, which was originally published in the late 1960's and based on even earlier research, might lack a little by way of information that has been more recently discovered. This hardcover printing is of superior quality and represents excellent value for money.
This book is amazing. I learned so much. It is not the easiest reading, however. It is more like a reference work. The sentences are long, and often inverted with verb before subject. I especially learned a lot about religious sects, the Sanhedrin, and class systems.