Top critical review
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Not the best resource
on April 12, 2011
This book is a summary of the Bible with some full-color pictures of paintings and maps related to the events as well as some illustrative photos (like of a mandrake, a goat, household idols, etc.). There were a few sidebars with cultural background information about the described event, but it's the quality of information you'd find in a study Bible. I didn't find that it really added any deep insight into the Bible and none of the information was new to me.
Also, while this book did briefly mention traditional views of the Bible (like that the Torah was written by Moses), the author presented these views in a dismissive way and included much more information on Bible-critical views (like the view that the Old Testament wasn't put down in written form--beyond the law--until King David's time). I felt like the author didn't believe in the supernatural events described in the Bible. For example, he included one sentence on the traditional view of the plagues in Exodus but gave a paragraph plus a large sidebar to explain the view that the plagues were simply typical natural disasters for Egypt (and he doesn't point out that the Egyptians would hardly be impressed with Moses if this was just a natural disaster cycle they experienced every year). He also has a "Bible History" timeline set next to a secular world history timeline so that it's obvious that the two don't agree for much of the Old Testament.
Since this book is dismissive toward my views of the Bible, I didn't particularly enjoy it. While easy to read, I also don't quite see the point of this book. You'd get more out of reading a study Bible and looking at a Bible atlas or Bible handbook. If that's too much reading, "The Essential Bible Guide" by Menashe Har-El, Paul Wright, and Baruch Sarel gives a reader a much greater depth of information in half the pages of this book. Personally, I wouldn't recommend "The Complete Visual Bible."
I received this book as a eBook review copy from the publisher.