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ESV Archaeology Study Bible Hardcover – April 24, 2018
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From the Publisher
Understand Biblical Text in Historical Context
The ESV Archaeology Study Bible roots the biblical text in its historical and cultural context, offering readers a framework for better understanding the people, places, and events recorded in Scripture. This study Bible seeks to bring life to the ancient texts by helping readers situate them in their historical context while recognizing the truth that the eternal God became flesh and entered human history at a specific time and in a specific place.
Full-Color Maps and Photographs
This robust resource is filled with diagrams, maps, and photographs of important archaeology discoveries related to the Bible. It includes 400 full-color photographs and 200 maps and diagrams, all aimed at helping readers grasp the culture and backgrounds of the biblical story.
Contributions by Field-Trained Archaeologists
With editorial oversight from Dr. John Currid (PhD, University of Chicago) and Dr. David Chapman (PhD, University of Cambridge), as well as contributions from a team of field-trained archaeologists, the Archaeology Study Bible assembles a range of modern scholarship to gather a wealth of helpful content into one volume.
Breadth and Depth of Study Content
Complementing over 600 photographs, maps, and diagrams, the ESV Archaeology Study Bible includes over 2,000 study notes, 15 full-length articles, book introductions, and 4 timelines, all contributing to the goal of explaining the people, places, and culture of the ancient times of the Bible.
Excellent Production Quality
This resource is offered in hardcover, TruTone, and genuine leather, the illustrations feature 4-color printing, it is produced with smyth-sewn binding, and includes a lifetime guarantee.
About the English Standard Version
The English Standard Version (ESV) is an essentially literal translation of the Bible in contemporary English. Created by a team of more than 100 leading evangelical scholars and pastors, the ESV Bible emphasizes word-for-word accuracy, literary excellence, and depth of meaning. Suited for personal reading, public worship, in-depth study, and Scripture memorization, the ESV is available in more than 200 print editions on Crossway.org and free digitally via mobile apps or online through ESV.org. Since its publication in 2001, the ESV Bible has gained wide acceptance and is used by church leaders, numerous denominations and organizations, and millions of individuals around the world.
“The ESV Archaeology Study Bible is a valuable combination of archaeology and text, sure to be a great help for understanding the archaeological, historical, and cultural background of the Bible. So much of this cultural background is lost to the modern reader, but the Archaeology Study Bible brings the text alive with its helpful articles, comments, and color photographs, all based on the most recent archaeological discoveries. I highly recommend this wonderfully illustrated Archaeology Study Bible that is paired with the ESV translation of the ancient texts of the Bible.”
—David E. Graves, Assistant Professor, Rawling School of Divinity, Liberty University; author, Biblical Archaeology; The Location of Sodom; and Jesus Speaks to Seven of His Churches
“Crossway, together with the scholarly editorial team for the new and distinctive ESV Archaeology Study Bible, is to be commended and congratulated for producing this first-rate reference tool. The articles and notes, written by a skilled team of biblical interpreters and archaeologists, bring insightful illumination to the historical context and meaning of biblical passages, events, and themes. It is a privilege to recommend this important work, which will serve students, pastors, church leaders, and teachers well in the years to come.”
—David S. Dockery, President, Trinity International University, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
“The events and teachings of the Bible occurred in time and space, and a proper understanding of these helps give perspective to the text. Archaeology and cultural studies provide important controls to guide the reader to an appropriate contextual and exegetical study of Scripture. The ESV Archaeology Study Bible will help foster a deeper and richer appreciation of God’s revelation for humanity. The volume’s use of photographs in conjunction with Crossway’s outstanding collection of maps, which are supplemented with explanatory notes, helps facilitate one’s appreciation of the richness of God’s Word for antiquity as well as its implications for today.”
—Dale W. Manor, Professor of Archaeology and Bible, Harding University; Field Director, Tel Beth-Shemesh Excavations; author, Digging Deeper into the Word and A Heart to Study and Teach
“The ESV Archaeology Study Bible is an excellent resource for archaeological and historical information on the biblical text. Basic data can be found in the margin of the particular passage itself, with nearby boxes containing additional material on the immediate or related subjects. The maps and graphics make the Bible attractive and user-friendly. The ESV Archaeology Study Bible will make an invaluable first stop for students of the Scriptures seeking information on biblical backgrounds.”
—Paul Ray, Associate Professor of Archaeology and Old Testament Studies, Andrews University; author, Small Finds; coeditor, Critical Issues in Early Israelite History
“While the Bible is unchanging, our knowledge of the context of the Bible is ever-changing. The best new information that can be brought to the Bible is from archaeology, which, as a science of discovery, is constantly engaged in unearthing historical and cultural evidence from the world of the Bible. In the hands of skilled biblical interpreters, this knowledge can corroborate, clarify, and add local color to the biblical text. Crossway’s first-rate team of archaeologists and biblical scholars has produced a much-needed resource that will inform biblical students about the context of Scripture with a beautifully crafted format that is essential for communication in a visual age.”
—Randall Price, Distinguished Research Professor, Liberty University; Codirector, Qumran Archaeological Project
“Everyone who wants to understand the Bible better will welcome the ESV Archaeology Study Bible. This marvelous resource will help readers visualize the people and places of the Bible and appreciate the importance of archaeology for a deeper and more accurate understanding of Scripture. All of us are indebted to editors John Currid and David Chapman.”
—Craig A. Evans, John Bisagno Distinguished Professor of Christian Origins, Houston Baptist University
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I preordered this Bible for my husband as a gift. We have both been doing the Daily Walk Bible (another great Bible) for the past two years, and as we read through the Old Testament, he kept remarking on how much he wanted maps of the old civilizations to increase understanding. God is good, and I happened across a small advertisement for this Study Bible and felt that it would fit his need. I was not disappointed! This Bible has plenty of maps that help to clarify geography and much more!
For anyone who has read through the entire Bible, especially in the course of a year, you know that reading through the construction of the tabernacle, temple, etc. can be tedious. It is such a game changer to have pictures to help guide you through! It is also great to have pictures of other things as well such as the cedars of Lebanon or time specific artifacts. It helps you to better understand the context of a lot of the language in the Bible.
As previously stated, we are reading through the Bible in a year, so we’ve only gotten to 2 Chronicles so far in this Bible, but it has already provided a lot of interesting information.
My mother-in-law read through a few pages of it and asked for one for Mother’s Day! So far it has been a great purchase.
Archaeology is one of several academic disciplines that help us do the latter. The interpretive fruit of archaeological investigation is evident in the recently published ESV Archaeology Study Bible, edited by John D. Currid and David W. Chapman. Notable features include the following:
• introductory essays to the Old Testament and the New Testament, as well as to the books within each testament;
• notes on individual biblical passages showing how archaeological studies illuminate their meaning;
• sidebars about specific people, places and concepts mentioned within the text;
• photos, maps, diagrams and charts to illustrate places, things and events;
• articles on topics related to biblical archaeology as a discipline;
• and a glossary, a bibliography, indexes and a brief concordance.
From the outset, the editors identify three “foundational pillars” that characterize their work: “biblical orthodoxy,” “academic integrity” and “accessibility.” They affirm the historicity of Scripture, but they also note instances where archaeologists disagree on the time, place and meaning of biblical events. Most importantly, they show how archaeology helps readers better understand the biblical text’s original context. Let me offer three examples.
First, covenants. The Bible makes repeated references to covenants. For example, referring to the giving of the Ten Commandments, Moses says, “The LORD our God made a covenant with us in Horeb” (Deuteronomy 5:2, ESV). Archaeologists have discovered a number of second-millennium B.C. Hittite covenants between a suzerain and a vassal. These suzerain-vassal treaties lay out the reciprocal rights and duties each has toward the other, though the relationship is not egalitarian. The suzerain is clearly in charge.
What’s interesting about these Hittite treaties for our purposes is that Deuteronomy is organized roughly like one of them. For example, the treaty between the Hittite King Mursili II and his Amurru subject Duppi-Tessub contains five elements: preamble, historical prologue, stipulations or commandments, witnesses and sanctions, both positive (blessings) and negative (curses). Deuteronomy similarly has a preamble (1:1–5), historical prologue (1:6–4:49), stipulations (5:1–26:19), witnesses (31:19–22; 32:45–47) and sanctions (27:9–30:20).
Obviously, there are differences between Deuteronomy and the Hittite treaties. Moses was a monotheist; Hittites were polytheists. Deuteronomy is a covenant between God and His people, whereas the other treaties were between a human overlord and other human subjects. Still, it is helpful to know that when God revealed himself to the Israelites, He did so in a cultural form that they would understand.
Second, parables. Jesus Christ is famous for His story parables — e.g., the Parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11–32). Interestingly, the only other people to use story parables during this period were Jewish rabbis. They used them to explain Old Testament texts, introducing them with the formula, “To what may the matter be compared?” The Talmud records hundreds of these parables, and all of them are in Hebrew, even though the commentary about them is in Aramaic.
How does this help us understand New Testament parables? For one thing, it helps us understand that when Jesus taught His disciples, He used a well-established Jewish form of teaching — the story parable. For another thing, though the rabbis used parables to elucidate the meaning of the Law, Jesus used them to help His listeners understand the advent of the kingdom of God. Note Luke 13:18,20, for example, where Jesus asked: “What is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it?” and “To what shall I compare the kingdom of God?” (ESV).
Finally, Jesus’ use of story parables may hint at the fact that He taught in Hebrew. New Testament scholars often say that Aramaic was the lingua franca of the Holy Land in the first century A.D. That’s true to an extent and is reflected in the Gospels. Jesus uttered words and/or phrases in Aramaic (e.g., Mark 5:41; 15:34), certain place names in Jerusalem were in Aramaic (e.g., John 19:13), and Aramaic phrases even made it into the liturgical language of the Early Church (e.g., 1 Corinthians 16:22). But if Jesus’ use of story parables paralleled the rabbis’ well-established form of teaching, and if the rabbis told parables in Hebrew (even long after the first century A.D.), then it stands to reason that Jesus told His parables in Hebrew, too.
Third, the Erastus Inscription. I recently had the opportunity to travel through Greece, retracing Paul’s steps around the Aegean on his second missionary journey. One of our stops was Corinth, a city whose church Paul founded and in which he spent 18 months of fruitful ministry (Acts 18:1–17). Paul wrote two letters to the church in this city (1 and 2 Corinthians), and it is likely that he wrote his magnum opus, Romans, from this city.
Our guide walked us through an overgrown field of grass until he came to a roped-off pavement. Pointing down, he read what’s left of a mid-first-century A.D. inscription discovered in 1929: “ERASTVS. PRO. AED. S. P. STRAVIT.” That’s an abbreviated Latin sentence. When translated, it says, “Erastus in return for his aedileship paved it at his own expense.” (An aedile was a public official in charge of public buildings and, in Corinth, the famous Isthmian Games.)
Interestingly, in Romans 16:23, Paul sends greetings to the Roman church from one “Erastus, the city treasurer,” using the Greek word oikonomos rather than the Latin word aedile (ESV). It’s not certain, but it is quite possible that the Erastus of the inscription is the Erastus of Scripture, whom other New Testament passages identify as a coworker of Paul’s (Acts 19:22; 2 Timothy 4:20).
The value of the Erastus Inscription is not so much that it confirms the existence of a person mentioned in the New Testament. Rather, its value is that it shapes our understanding of the sociology of the Early Church. Sometimes, we think of early Christianity as a movement of poor people with little social influence, which it largely was. But Christ drew converts from all segments of society, including wealthier public officials such as Erastus. This helps us better understand some of the tensions between richer and poorer members that strained the fabric of Corinthian church unity (e.g., 1 Corinthians 11:17–34). I’m not suggesting that Erastus participated in this division, by the way. I’m only pointing out that there can’t be division between rich and poor in the church if there aren’t both rich and poor within the church in the first place.
In many ways, we live in a golden age of biblical interpretation, at least from the standpoint of what we can know about the world of the Bible. The ESV Archaeology Study Bible is an excellent, one-volume reference work that brings to bear the results of archaeological investigation on the necessary responsibility of reading the sacred text in light of its ancient context. Given the amount of useful information the ESV Archaeology Study Bible contains, it is reasonably priced and will repay careful study.