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43 of 44 people found the following review helpful
on November 16, 2012
"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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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on December 29, 2012
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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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on February 11, 2015
I received this as a Christmas gift. The author, who is a humanities professor but not a biblical scholar, seems to present every theory he can that offers an alternative view of Jesus and Christianity. He quotes such liberals as John Dominic Crossan, Bart Ehrman (an agnostic), and Elaine Pagels, but very few conservative Bible scholars.

Note that a few years ago, the National Geographic Society sponsored an archaeological dig in Israel which uncovered what they called the Jesus Tomb. In it was an ossuary with the name Yeshua, one with the name Miriam, and several others. The documentary they made about it implied it was the tomb of Jesus of Nazareth. Yeshua was a very common name at that time, like John is today. Respected Bible scholars quickly jumped on this shoddy piece of exploitation and ripped it apart, a major embarrassment for the National Geographic Society.

While the photos in this book are excellent, and the background on the Herods and Rome is great, take the text about Jesus with a grain of salt. NGS has an agenda, and it's not pro-Christian.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on September 25, 2013
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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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on November 10, 2013
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
on November 28, 2012
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on December 14, 2012
The book is an excellent source without being biased. It is easy to read and follow the progression. The pictures and other illustrations are beautiful.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on December 18, 2012
This book was erudite yet concise as well. I think the best thing is that it helps readers of the Bible make sense of many passages that are difficult to grasp without the historical context, which this book provides well. A great book for Christians or anyone interested in ancient and Roman Near Eastern Civilization.

From Muhammed to Burj Khalifa: A Crash Course in 2,000 Years of Middle East History
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 4, 2014
I really wasn't expecting anything good in the text of this book because it's published by National Geographic. But it actually was respectful of Jesus, although it treats Him as if He was making it up as he went along, testing the waters here and there. The photos are what convinced me to buy it and they are very good.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 30, 2014
Great ratings prompted me to purchase the book. Reviews indicated that although National Geographic wrote the book from a secular view point it did not denounce those of us who believe in Divine Inspiration. Loaned it to a friend and await its return.
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