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In the Footsteps of Jesus: A Chronicle of His Life and the Origins of Christianity Hardcover – November 6, 2012

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In the Footsteps of Jesus: A Chronicle of His Life and the Origins of Christianity + National Geographic Who's Who in the Bible: Unforgettable People and Timeless Stories from Genesis to Revelation + The Story of Christianity: A Chronicle of Christian Civilization From Ancient Rome to Today
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: National Geographic; First Edition edition (November 6, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1426209878
  • ISBN-13: 978-1426209871
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 1.2 x 11.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #18,851 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

A Look Inside In the Footsteps of Jesus

In the Footsteps of Jesus
The main cardo or boulevard of the Hellenistic city of Gerasa (today’s Jerash, Jordan) led to the main forum, where the religious, civic, and commercial facilities of the city could be found. Pantheon Studios, Inc. (Click to enlarge)
In the Footsteps of Jesus
Dutch artist Gerard van Honthorst (1592-1656) cast this Nativity scene of 1620 in a romantic light, which was made popular during the Baroque era. Pantheon Studios, Inc. (Click to enlarge)
In the Footsteps of Jesus
The walls of today’s old city of Jerusalem were built by the Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent around 1535. Pantheon Studios, Inc. (Click to enlarge)

From Booklist

Using new archaeological discoveries, Isbouts takes readers on a trip back in time to uncover Jesus and the places where he lived, preached, and died. The first part of the book, The World of Jesus, looks at the larger Roman world as well as the locales that nurtured Jesus and his work. The text then goes on to trace the life of Jesus as he moved through Galilee, ending up in Jerusalem for his final days. The book concludes with a look at the Christian communities that sprang up throughout the Roman Empire. An epilogue tracks various pilgrimage routes. Though this volume has the look and feel of a coffee-table book, some of the photos are disappointing (for example, a generic full-page picture of an olive tree with a caption about the importance of oil in the ancient world). In addition, some images are not crisply reproduced. That said, there is a wealth of information here. The book covers all the key topics—the Temple, the travels, the teachings—and several minor ones as well (Fish Species in Jesus’ Time). Good for browsers and students of the period alike. --Ilene Cooper

More About the Author

Jean-Pierre Isbouts is a historian, bestselling National Geographic author, and award-winning screenwriter and film director. A humanities scholar, his research has been devoted to biblical archaeology, Renaissance Florence and 19th century Europe. He also serves as graduate professor in the doctoral programs of Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara, CA.

To contact the author for an interview, or to request his appearance at your event, please send an email to Pantheon Press at

Jean-Pierre is a full-time author, filmmaker and graduate professor in two doctoral programs at Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara ( In his spare time (or what's left of it), he likes to discover new places in Asia and the Middle East with his wife Cathie, a production executive. The father of four children, now in their mid-20's and early 30's, and grandfather of two beautiful boys (with a third of the way), he and Cathie live in Santa Monica with a furry child named Katie, a highly opinionated Labrador Retriever.

Jean-Pierre was born in Eindhoven, Holland and studied Attic Greek and Latin before continuing in archaeology, art history and musicology at Leyden University. He completed his doctoral research on the 19th century architectural firm of Carrère & Hastings at Columbia University in New York. He then joined the American Council for the Arts (ACA) in New York City, active in a number of Federally funded arts programs. ​

​In the 1990's, he founded the ArtSpace studio in Los Angeles, a unit of American Interactive Media, and produced a number of programs on Renaissance and 19th century art as part of the Great Art Series; many of these were subsequently translated in seven languages. He later served as Managing Director of Philips Interactive Media Europe, a joint venture with Polygram, from its head offices in London, UK.

​As a musicologist, Dr. Isbouts has produced recordings of Bach, Corelli, Handel, Tchaikovsky, Satie, Franck and Debussy with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra, and other soloists and ensembles.​

An award-winning filmmaker, Jean-Pierre has directed stars including Leonard Nimoy, Charlton Heston and Dick van Dyke, working with Hollywood studios such as Disney, Castle Rock Entertainment, Hallmark and Agamemnon Studios. His TV programs have been broadcast on ABC, A&E, CNBC, History Channel, Hallmark Channel and PBS stations, as well as scores of television networks in Europe and Asia.

​His first book, "Charlton Heston's Hollywood," was published in 1998. Based on many hours of interviews with Charlton Heston, the book chronicles the astonishing transformation of post-war American cinema through the eyes of the only actor whose career spanned from Cecil B. DeMille to James Cameron.

​In 2007, National Geographic Books published his first major work, "The Biblical World," which became a worldwide bestseller, and the first of several books for National Geographic Society. The success of "Biblical World" was followed by the 2012 publication of "In the Footsteps of Jesus", a fresh reconstruction of the world of Jesus, using the latest insights from biblical archaeology, market economics and forensic sociology. "Footsteps" sold over a 100,000 copies in the first 8 weeks of release--an unprecedented record for a large hard-cover book at a $40 price point.

​In 2013, Jean-Pierre wrote his in-depth study of Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa ("The Mona Lisa Myth"), written with Dr. Christopher Brown, published in November of 2013. The film rights of this book have been optioned, with a motion picture release expected in mid-2014.

Also in November of 2013, National Geographic Books published Jean-Pierre's "Who's Who in the Bible," a major reference work comprising over 2,000 men and women in the Hebrew Scriptures and New Testament. Previously, he served as the Editor-in-Chief of two multimedia encyclopedias, Bertelsmann's Lexikon and Standaard's Encyclopedie.

Jean-Pierre is represented by Global Lion Intellectual Property Management, a literary agency based in New York, Los Angeles and Florida.

Customer Reviews

Very interesting book.
Otterbox fan
Being able to get a picture of the geography and culture was very helpful in understanding some of the stories.
Janice Bruning
I got this book for my father as a Christmas gift.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 41 people found the following review helpful By James Norwood on November 16, 2012
Format: Hardcover
"In the Footsteps of Jesus" is a splendid book for readers of all levels and all faiths. As indicated by the author, the book is "written from a nondenominational perspective." In addition to the main story of Jesus, there is excellent background on Judaism, as well as a short section on Islam.

Within the careful chronological framework of the book, the scholarship is exceptional. The latest archaeological findings are covered, and there are extensive citations from the four Gospels. Every topic is placed in its historical context, as we trace not only the life of Jesus. but the broader development of Christianity. The author was especially successful in capturing the achievements of Paul at perhaps the most critical period of the new faith.

One of the strengths of the book is the engaging writing style. In his lucid narrative, Jean-Pierre Isbouts has clearly made this work a labor of love. With his background in documentary filmmaking, there is an immediacy to the story, as apparent especially in the detailed discussion of pilgrimage. The stories of courageous individuals traveling from medieval Europe to the Holy Land are among the most memorable in the volume.

With the unparalleled quality of National Geographic Books, the graphics include spectacular photography, detailed maps, and beautiful representations of works of art. This volume goes well beyond a "coffee table" book. Rather, it is a beautifully presented introduction to one of the greatest historical topics of all time. It is difficult to put this book down because reading it is a truly spiritual journey.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Thomas M. Magee on December 29, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you want to take a trip to the Holy Land but can't afford it this is your book. It gives you a rare personal view of all of the important sites. It makes you feel like you are there touring the sites.

The pictures in the book are excellent. They alone are worth the price of the book. They put you in the Holy Land. You can see the sights mentioned in the bible as they are today. That look through the pictures help makes the theology become reality for the reader. The second part of the book is the text. It is an excellent commentary on Jesus. The author combines the parts of all of the four gospels to tell the story. Few books seem to do that. It gives the readers a very comprehensive look at Jesus by doing that. The author uses pieces of each gospel to tell a deep story.

The book doesn't end with the Jesus story. There is a short chapter on the tale of Paul complete with pictures. Then the book goes into the story of the church for the first 500 years or so. This history is really enlightening. It briefly tells an important story in a very interesting tale.

Great book for all, no matter where you are on your faith walk.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Clifford J. Stevens on September 25, 2013
Format: Hardcover
For those of us who have been to Israel, this book opens the door still wider on the historical background to the Four Gospels. The author knows that the Jesus of the Gospels is not just a object of faith, but of history, geography and about a dozen other sciences that throw light on the Gospel chronicles and reveal the historical, geographical and cultural background to the Jesus of the Gospels. The book beginss to reveal the astonishing, rich and tumultous period in which Jesus lived and died: Second Temple Judaism, about which the Gospels themselves tell us almost nothing.

It opens up in particular the geographical background of Jesus two campaigns: the Galilean Campaign and the Jerusalem Campaign, with an accuracy of detail that supplements every page of the Gospel accounts and Gospels in hand, one can trace his steps from Nazareth to Jerusalem, from Jerusalem to Galilee; from Galilee to Phoenicia and across the Sea of Galilee, and south again to Jerusalem for his six month campaign in that city. It is a visual Gospel and chronicles with exact scholarship, exhaustive details, graphic photography and illuminating description what the words of the Gospels only hint at, mention in passing or neglect altogether

It would be a marvelous gift for priest or pastor or anyone who wants to make the Gospels come alive and the readings of the Gospel more than the mere reading of a text. It is described on its cover "A Chroniclde of His Life and the Origins of Christianity" It is this and more. It is a immersion in the text of the Gospels, which brings the texts alive almost if the reader were himself a participent in those Gospel events.

Father Clifford Stevens
Boys Town, Nebraska
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Burton F. Beers on November 10, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My judgment is shaped by my some forty years of teaching history @ NC State University and by figuring--outside the classroom-- in major ways in the writing of a number of student history textbooks. And that judgment is that, if this this volume offers little that will surprise Bible scholars, it should be welcomed by a broad range of lay-readers. The book as a whole has been carefully researched and brings together an impressive array of relevant data. It is a volume that I wish I'd had access to in my years prior to retirement.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Marie Timpe on November 28, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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