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Handbook of Biblical Social Values Paperback – January 1, 2009
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About the Author
John J. Pilch, PhD, has been teaching Scripture in the department of theology at Georgetown University in Washington, DC, since 1993. He is a biblical scholar, an international speaker, and the author of books, articles, and multimedia resources. He also serves as book review editor for the Biblical Theology Bulletin.
Bruce J. Malina is professor of biblical studies at Creighton University. Internationally known for his work in New Testament social science criticism, he is the author of numerous books, including New Testament World: Insights from Cultural Anthropology and Windows on the World of Jesus: Time Travel to Ancient Judea.
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The intro. to this book also includes a great overview of social systems and how they operate, so the reader gets a clearer understanding of why the material is significant in Bible studies. Ancient people honestly lived in a different world, and that means they looked at things through a much different lens than modern westerners. That is a hard concept to grasp for many, but this book makes it easier, and I plan to use the material in a study at church. The charts, numbers and comparisons are done very well.
As others have stated, there are a few areas where the wording and concepts took some extra brain power to grasp, but that's not a surprise since many different writers contributed articles to the book. Overall, it's worth spending the brain power to be able to tackle this subject with clarity. An added bonus is each entry contrasts that social value with how it is seen in the west.
With material from this book, I believe it will be easy to make a good case with fellow brothers/sisters when discussing Bible texts. Because it stays on basic, surface explanations for most topics, it is enough information to get people's attention without losing them.
The book is edited by noted scripture scholars John J. Pilch and Bruce J. Malina. Many of the contributors are among the best known names in biblical scholarship. The articles themselves are well written and most are easy to read. The book can be helpful for people involved in preaching, but will probably be most helpful for those who conduct scripture classes who wish to explore topics in a deeper manner.