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Manners & Customs in the Bible: An Illustrated Guide to Daily Life in Bible Times Hardcover – October 1, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Victor H. Matthews is 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.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Hendrickson Publishers; 3 edition (October 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159856059X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1598560596
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,410,984 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Timothy Kearney VINE VOICE on November 28, 2003
Format: Hardcover
While the Bible is a fascinating book to read and study, it is easy to forget that the Bible was written over a long period of time. Though historians differ about exact dates, Abraham probably lived anywhere between 1,250 and 1,500 years prior to the birth of Christ, David probably lived about 750 to 1,000 years before Christ's birth, and between 587 B.C. and the writing of the New Testament, life changed almost daily. This is why understanding the daily life of different periods in Biblical history, and knowing that there were often vast differences in customs and practices in the differing periods, is so essential to understanding scripture. Life in Biblical times changed quickly just as much as life in our own day changes rapidly.
Biblical scholar Victor Matthews attempts to explain the life and customs in different Biblical periods in his book MANNERS AND CUSTOMS IN THE BIBLE. The book is divided into five major sections: The Patriarchal Period (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and his sons), The Exile and Settlement (Moses, Joshua, and the Judges), The Monarchy, Exile and Return, and the Intertestamental and New Testament Era (The Persians, Greeks, and Romans). Nearly two thirds of the book covers the period prior to the writing of the New Testament, but this is actually a plus since there are many other resources that cover the New Testament. Readers get bits of information about warfare, government policies, family life, gender roles, marriage customs, business and trade, and a host of other small subjects that make the book interesting to browse through and a must have for scripture study.
Though the book is set up in chronological order, it is not really a comprehensive history of the Bible, but a supplement that enriches a historical text.
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32 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Queen Horatius on December 21, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Mr. Matthews offers a good overview of the period between the beginning and finishing of the Scriptures, uncluding the Maccabean period. It is amazing how much better one can understand the Scriptures when you have read this book. The social customs and manners of burial, marriage, food preparation, farming, traveling, city-builing, etc. are all covered in this volume. It is very good for those just beginning to study the Scripture, or those that have studied for some time without a clear understanding of the customs of the peoples written about. Despite all this praiseworthy detail, however, Mr. Matthews shows his true colors as a Higher Critic of the Scriptures. This means he denies the infallibility, inspiration, and preservance of the Scriptures. New and old Christians be ware of this, for once these doctrines are denied you may as well throw the book of God's Word away (if that may be said reverently). With this warning in mind, I would highly recommend the purchase of this book for any Christian or otherwise.
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful By E. L. Bess on April 28, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I had problems with this book, partially with what I can call Matthews's 'provisional conservatism' and partially with the content. First, his 'provisional conservatism'. He has to keep it simple for teachings purposes, I know, but he doesn't have to be misleading where he knows better. For instance, it is true that the patriarchal narratives probably enshrine authentic traditions predating Israel's appearance in Canaan in Iron I. Matthews hints at this when he says of the 'ancestral period': 'While the history of this period is hazy, the episodes in the ancestral narratives contain quite convincing and poignant descriptions of itinerant herders and families. The attention to detail and the importance attached to certain customs suggest that this material is more than a literary attempt to recreate an ancient era' [24] How much 'more' can be lifted out of such 'literary attempts' Matthews does not say. But that doesn't allow him to fabricate history with uncritical reflections on the character of the narratives themselves. Abraham's erection of altars at certain sites are etiological. They explain why such cultic centers exist and are prominent in the later history of the Israelites, while also preserving the tradition that the Canaanite god El was worshiped at these centers. That WE know from archaeology and critical analysis of the narratives themselves that these centers had a history preceding Israelite use, that doesn't mean Abraham's erections of altars at them HISTORICALLY 'indicates the desire to introduce the worship of Yahweh in' those areas. [40] Abraham IS the El worshiper (assimilated to Yahweh) and the founder of such centers. He's not 'introducing' the worship of Yahweh to preexisting El sanctuaries.Read more ›
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By Joe on February 9, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The heading says it all.. Quality book, some-what amateurishly written, contains scholarly material, but one cannot look-up but a few subjects by name, ie; Manna''. However does a fair job with places and names and has seperate directories for them. The 'Oxford Companion to the Bible' is a better work- no pics or glossy pages, just solid info.
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By Sandra McCafferty on October 13, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This is a very interesting book, even if you are just flipping through during a quick browse. It is a valuable tool for researching life in Biblical times in preparation for a sermon. Our pastors have used it many times.
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