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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid Amateur Scholarship
And here we have another volume in the ever-growing collection of books to put their focus on a single year in history. Of course, in reality, a single year can't be isolated from the flow of history in the years around it; still, it is an interesting trend in popular history books that is not without its pleasures. In this case, Mr. Duriez puts the spotlight on 33...
Published on April 15, 2007 by Timothy Haugh

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Good Read
When I first purchased this book I was expecting a history book that would provide a good insight to the debate on AD30 versus AD33 for the death of Christ. I was a little disappointed in the fact that it was not a historical account but rather the book was told in a storied fashion. However, I must say, he is a very good story teller. The way he weaved the events...
Published on January 20, 2008 by M. L. Sutton


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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid Amateur Scholarship, April 15, 2007
By 
Timothy Haugh (New York, NY United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: AD 33: The Year that Changed the World (Hardcover)
And here we have another volume in the ever-growing collection of books to put their focus on a single year in history. Of course, in reality, a single year can't be isolated from the flow of history in the years around it; still, it is an interesting trend in popular history books that is not without its pleasures. In this case, Mr. Duriez puts the spotlight on 33 AD.

As any good Christian knows, 33 AD is the year that Jesus of Nazareth was crucified outside of Jerusalem. For believers, this was also the year of his resurrection and ascension. It is also the year that the Christianity got its start. Even for non-believers, this was an event that would have a huge impact on the millennia that followed, making this year a good topic for a book. And Mr. Duriez handles it fairly well.

Obviously, much of the book is taken up with the events in and around Jerusalem. The key players are all here--Jesus, the apostles, Pilate, Herod, Caiaphas, Annas--but Duriez goes beyond simple biography and a recitation of events. He gives some real insight into the social structure of the time and why it is likely that events unfolded the way they did. Additionally, he makes an effort to give us the bigger picture. Apart from Jerusalem, he spends quite a lot of time describing events in Rome, the intrigues of Tiberius' court and how that impacted events in the provinces. (He also devotes a few pages to events of Asia and the Americas, but this material is minimal and less successful.)

Clearly, Duriez is coming at his material from the aspect of a believer. Still, he doesn't let his faith overwhelm the text. He works from plenty of non-biblical source material and he tries to address "scientific" evidence. In this, his ability varies, but the attempt makes for a book that respects a more universal readership.

In the end, I would call this a book of good amateur scholarship. There is a nice synthesis of historical and religious sources molded into the story Duriez wants to tell. It has definite appeal to a Christian audience but is not so religious that it would overwhelm readers of other faiths. It is a solid history book for a popular audience.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Good Read, January 20, 2008
By 
M. L. Sutton (Mason, Ohio United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: AD 33: The Year that Changed the World (Hardcover)
When I first purchased this book I was expecting a history book that would provide a good insight to the debate on AD30 versus AD33 for the death of Christ. I was a little disappointed in the fact that it was not a historical account but rather the book was told in a storied fashion. However, I must say, he is a very good story teller. The way he weaved the events around the time period chosen was sensational. I was impressed by the way he went back forth between the Roman world and the local setting around Jerusalem.
I could not give 5 stars however because I feel Mr. Duriez misrepresented those on the AD30 side. He seemed to indicate that those who choose AD30 as the death of Christ try to squeeze in the ministry of Christ into one year. This is in no way true! AD30 advocates choose 2.5 or 3.5 years as the time for the ministry of Christ. They usually adopt AD27 as the start of his ministry which coincides with Tiberius' 15th year (using inclusive reckoning starting with his co-regency of AD12). Mr. Duriez states that the 46th year of Herod re-building the temple started in 20bc which would bring this date to AD29 (or the start of Jesus' ministry for AD33 advocates). His math is less to be desired. If one calculates the 46th year starting in 20bc it comes to AD27 and not AD29. AD27 was actually a sabbatical year according to Ben Zion Wacholder. This actually matches up well with John 4:35-37. I am not totally convinced that AD30 is the year of the Lord's crucifixion. That is why I purchased this book. However, I believe I am more aware of the arguments for each side. Mr. Duriez seems naive to the evidences offered from the AD30 advocates.
One final note: In this book, Mr. Duriez makes a statement without further comment. He states unequivocally that all scholars universally accept the Q document. I take exception to this statement. I believe the Q document is almost universally rejected. There are very few "scholars" that accept this as the source for the synoptic Gospels. The few scholars that do accept it are generally liberal in their beliefs.
Not to be too hard on Mr. Duriez. I would recommend this book because he does a terrific job of painting the scene especially piecing together the scenery around the empty tomb.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Cross Between Historical Research and Narrative, October 19, 2008
I like historical fiction. If writers do their homework, they can make a historical period come alive with details. Colin Duriez's book AD 33 - The Year that Changed the World has no shortage of such details. Duriez manages to capture many of the important moments of AD 33, especially Jesus' death and resurrection. Duriez's book seeks to explain some of the reasons why this year was so important, and how it changed the world.

AD 33 starts off with an exciting first chapter that pits Tiberius Caesar against those seeking to overthrow his reign. Duriez quotes liberally from ancient historians and philosophers, and he demonstrates great command of the period.

But within a few chapters, the very details that were brimming with excitement bog the book down. By the middle of the book, I felt as if I were plodding along in a historical textbook. Perhaps, that is the problem with his book. The content is great, but it seems the author didn't know which genre to pursue. Instead of going in one direction (historical fiction, versus historical textbook), he tries to bring together several genres and winds up not succeeding at any of them.

The most interesting chapter for me was the Appendix, which demonstrated how the author came to the conclusion that Jesus was crucified in AD 33. I remain somewhat skeptical as to the author's conclusion, but the evidence he lays out and the logic he uses is persuasive.

Overall, AD 33 was somewhat disappointing. I would love to see someone do a book similar to this that compares Jesus' Kingdom to Rome's imperial power.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wide-ranging survey, June 17, 2007
This review is from: AD 33: The Year that Changed the World (Hardcover)
Modern descriptions and Jewish scriptures of the early church contribute to a survey of the city of Jerusalem during the year of Jesus' death: a religious, historical and social odyssey recommended as an item of particular interest to spirituality holdings, particularly at the college level. First-century Palestine comes to life as well as Roman empire history, culture and interactions in a wide-ranging survey which links Biblical passages and history with a reconstruction of the times.

Diane C. Donovan
California Bookwatch
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AD 33: The Year that Changed the World
AD 33: The Year that Changed the World by Colin Duriez (Hardcover - January 22, 2007)
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