Directly after a good concordance and a Bible dictionary, a thoroughly reliable guide to the manners and customs of the Bible is the next must-have resource for any student of the Bible. Now fully updated with vivid new photos and images, this excellent resource will help readers gain valuable cultural background on the biblical world. What people wore, what they ate, what they built, how they exercised justice, how they mourned, how they viewed family and legal customs, all are manners and customs and all vary from period to period throughout Israels history.
How can one fully comprehend the Old Testament book of Ruth without understanding ancient Israelite marriage traditions? Even a quick skim of the Gospels starts readers wondering about tax collectors, religious officials, fishermen and farmers. And so much is missed when reading Acts and the Epistles without some grasp of Roman law and government.
Countless questions crop up when reading the Bible:
- Why would Lot even think of throwing his daughters to a mob?
- How did the Exile change Israels religious life?
- What were the differences between Sadducees, Pharisees, scribes, and Essenes?
Offering much more than fascinating color pictures, each chapter furnishes an introduction to the political and physical setting of specific periods in Israels history, and outlines the basic structure of its social world. Featuring Scripture passages alongside the text to keep relevant biblical passages in view, it includes all new illustrations and photos for an invaluable visual experience of the world of Abraham, David, Jesus, and Paul.
Victor H. Matthews is Dean of the College of Humanities and Public Affairs and professor of religious studies at Missouri State University. He received a PhD from Brandeis University and has written numerous popular as well as scholarly articles. He is the author of Manners and Customs in the Bible, and co-author of Old Testament Parallels: Laws and Stories from the Ancient Near East, and The Social World of Ancient Israel.
[T]he book can be recommended as an up-to-date resource presenting an understanding of the current state of scholarship regarding the political, social and cultural contours of the biblical period, and as such should be helpful to beginning students.
- Journal of Hebrew Scriptures
'This is a valuable piece of writing for anyone studying the Bible, history of religions, archaeology in the Middle East or the history of Israel in its widest sense. It is clearly written, eminently readable, well indexed and obviously well researched. It will fit into theological/religious studies library and would be a very useful tool for anyone involved in preaching or teaching the major faiths that use the Bible. The price puts it well within the reach of most people who might find it useful, even university students!'
- Reference Reviews
'This readable guides introduction and chapters address the Bible choronologically. . . . Before opening this book the front covers coloured illustrations invite you to inspect its contents. The introduction clearly sets the scene with Reconstructing the Social World from Context, Development of Biblical Literature, Historical Geography, and Approach, where preliminary questions are helpfully addressed. Matthews states this volume is designed to be useful to both the layperson and the scholar in their study of the Bible and this aim is achieved. All chapters have valuable historical introductions. Sufficient sub-headings direct readers to manners and customs drawing on biblical studies, anthropology, and archaeology. The guide is lavishly illustrated to show lifestyles in Bible times. Good-size coloured illustrations, photographs, maps and diagrams supported with an engaging text make daily life come alive.'
- Journal for the Study of the New Testament Booklist