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Sketches of Jewish Social Life Paperback – October, 1994


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Hendrickson Publishers; Upd Sub edition (October 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 156563005X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1565630055
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #474,486 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Alfred Edersheim (1825-89) was a Vienna-born biblical scholar who converted from Judaism to Christianity. A veteran minister and missionary to the Jews of Romania, Edersheim left an enduring and priceless legacy to followers of Christ. Among his most widely read works are "The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, The Temple: Its Ministry and Services, " and "Bible History Old Testament." --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 44 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 25, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If an American was writing a book meant to be read by today's Americans, he would routinely use phrases such as "they went through a drive in" or "9 to 5" without giving it a second thought. He'd be confident that every reader would know what was meant by those words and wouldn't fill his pages with lengthy explanations of every day items. The early writers of the New Testament also assumed that the readers of their writings would know what words Christ prayed over the cup at the Last Supper, why a bunch of virgins were waiting for hours outside the bridal door and what Paul would be doing sitting around on his roof when he has the vision. However, many of us in the modern world have wondered about these "curosities". Edersheim clears them up with his extensive research and thorough examination of the Jewish life in the time of Christ. This is the world the New Testament was originally written for and Edersheim fills in the gaps the early writers left in the "common knowledge" of the day. The book, while rich in theology, is easy and entertaining to read. It sheds light on the Bible and brings to life the scriptures. It will enlighten and enrich every Christian from the oldest scholar to the newest convert.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A. J. Valasek on March 9, 2002
Format: Hardcover
If you're looking for a good introduction to the period of time surrounding Jesus Christ, this book will do nicely. It gives enough detail so as not to leave the reader hanging, but does not overwhelm the reader with complex issues, which is why it is referred to as sketches in the title. However, if you're looking for an in depth study of this period, there are other resources that would provide much more detail although not necessarily in one text. This author does a nice job of pulling together various mainstream resources for his work like the Mishnah and the Talmud, although the Talumud was compliled much later. The most important teaching I could see was the exposition on the various sects and political forces that exerted influence during this quasi-theocratic state regardless of their tributary status under the Romans. Considering the time of writing, late 19th century, I doubt you can find anything better geared toward a Christian audience. For most Christians, this book will help fill a void that exists and continues to hinder a proper understanding of the contextual issues surrounding New Testament studies.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By David Carson on February 13, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Edersheim's book on Jewish social life was just what I needed for many of the questions that arose while I was writing "Maccabee." Whenever I needed to give a description of clothing, housing, sleeping arrangements, food, or anything else related to daily lifestyle, this book and William L. Coleman's "Today's Handbook of Bible Times & Customs" were my two best sources of information. This book is a vital addition to any Bible student's personal library.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Russell E. Kelly on July 3, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Chapter 2, Jews and Gentiles in the Land, was very helpful for my Ph.D. dissertation against modern tithing. I quoted this book more than any other because of its conciseness (pages 15-17, 118 [education], 169 [crafts], 172, 173 [trades/guilds].
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 5, 2001
Format: Paperback
SKETCHES OF JEWISH SOCIAL LIFE and other classic works by Alfred Edersheim have gone out of copyright and are available for free online if you can't afford to buy here.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Ihab Mikhail on May 12, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I would have definitely given this book more starts if it were available. The language is easy, the information is excellent.

If you need to know how the land of Israel was divided, governed and how people would travel, interact, their perception on neighboring cities, then this is the book you need to read.

Edersheim pulls references from different resources: the Bible (OT and NT), the Mishnah, the Talmud, Josephus, and other biblical scholars like Meier, Lightfoot, ..

The information gives you in depth look at the minds of the people Jesus dealt with; Gentiles and Jews alike.

I will give you a brief example of how this book helped me. More than few biblical scholars say that Jesus met Matthew at the seashore while he was collecting customs. Edersheim sheds light on Capernaum, the city where Matthew lived, and explains the word "road" in that event as a major highway at that time where the tax collectors used to sit to inspect the goods and collect customs. He also goes in the details of the story to show that Matthew definitely was not at the seashore when Jesus met him.

I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to further his/her knowledge and understanding of the New Testament.

The book assumes knowledge of the New Testament major events. If you are not familiar with the New Testament, then this book will not be of help to you.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By D. Mann on January 14, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is very informative. There is a deeper understanding for many biblical passages when the mindset of the people of that time is explained, from understanding the relationship between Jews and Gentiles to the synagogue and worship.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Doug on March 21, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Alfred Edersheim is a very learned scholar, yet this book is not difficult to read. He lived in the 1800's, but it reads like it could be written today. He performed extensive research and relates his comments to biblical texts, as well as using other sources to articulate what life was like in New Testament times. It helps me to better understand the Bible as I learn about the people Jesus was ministering to. I would recommend this book to anyone.
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