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The World of Jesus: Making Sense of the People and Places of Jesus' Day Paperback – June 1, 2013
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From the Back Cover
Know Jesus Better by Understanding What Shaped His World
Sometimes it's hard to find your bearings in the New Testament, as you enter the time and place of Jesus and His disciples. There are confusing practices, new people groups, and even unexplained religious conflicts. How did it all come about?
Dr. William Marty walks you through the history leading up to the arrival of Jesus in order to help you better understand His life and teachings. He answers such questions as:
• Why did "Israelites" start being called "Jews"?
• What's a "synagogue" and what happened to worshiping in the temple?
• Who were the Pharisees and why was Jesus so upset with them?
• Why didn't anyone like the Samaritans?
Get to know the times in which Jesus lived, so you'll better understand His teaching and ministry. And along the way, discover how God prepared the world for the One who would turn it upside down.
"Marty's brief volume is a less-than-200-page survey of the history between the Testaments that helps set the stage for the entrance of Jesus Christ and the New Testament era. If one can keep up with the real-life cast of characters--mostly rulers and rebels--this book is a gem for the beginning student of biblical history and for the Bible study teacher investigating the backdrop of Jesus' life and teaching." --The Baptist Standard
About the Author
Dr. William H. Marty is professor of Bible at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. He teaches and writes on both the New and Old Testaments and is the author of the bestselling The Whole Bible Story and The World of Jesus. Dr. Marty lives with his wife in Ch
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Top Customer Reviews
People who are seriously trying to know Christ and understand the culture He was born into will enjoy this book.
I bought this Kindle book when it was a 99 cent deal. I would not, however, pay $8.99 for it. The information comes almost entirely from the Bible, Book of Maccabees, and the works of Josephus. It's mainly for Protestants who suspect it's sinful to even pick up the Book of Maccabees, much less apply it to their knowledge about the times of Jesus. (You should at least read 1 Maccabees before this book.) Dr. Marty does not point out any potential shortcomings of those sources; his goal is a simple narrative. There are dozens of names, multiple family trees, and various figures in Roman politics to keep track of, so Kindle x-ray is essential. Disappointingly, the author provides no timelines, charts, or other helps; I recommending finding a good study Bible that has these things for reference (NIV Study Bible edited by DA Carson has some helpful supplements and Rose eCharts has several charts and such available as well). He also begins each chapter with a few paragraphs of ficticious dramatization of an event that he will later explain; these seem a bit out of place. He jumps forward and back chronologically at times to deal with issues like the temple, starting from what we know from the Bible and going back and explaining the context-- Jesus spoke about the temple, so who built the temple in Jesus' day, why did it take so long, why was it built, etc? It could have contained more information about the Decapolis, the area around Nazareth, various cites around Galilee, and more.
Each chapter has discussion questions, which are helpful both to quiz yourself on the material covered as well as think more deeply about it. Some are sure to evoke discussion. (I like this trend among Christian books today that include discussion questions, assuming either group reading or maybe just the need to retain the knowledge.) I give it 3 stars out of 5. It's short, and it will give any student or teacher a decent overview and whet your appetite to read more in-depth research into the history. I would also recommend reading Josephus' works as well as Paul Johnson's History of the Jews, various books on the Maccabean revolt, and Greek and Roman history such as Freeman's Egypt, Greece, and Rome.
Lasting impressions for me were:
The times were extremely bloodthirsty and dangerous, where it seemed little value was put on life, especially if you were a woman, or a Jew, or a non-Jew (Gentile?) or anybody! In fact, it seemed like the Romans were the only ones having a good time - but even they didn't seem particularly "comfortable". Yes, life wasn't all toga parties and cheap wine back then.
The lands comprising Israel/Judah have to hold the world record for being the most invaded country in history!
If you didn't want to live long, you became a King of Israel!
Herod the Great wasn't all that great. In fact, he was a paranoid great GIT who murdered his own wife and two sons (still - not as bad as Henry VIII I suppose).
If you're looking for a totally objective historical account of this part of the world, during the aforementioned time - look elsewhere. The book comes across as a bit preachy - kind of like what you'd get at a Sunday School lesson. Even down to the questions/discussion points at the end of each chapter. If you can overlook all that stuff - then go ahead - read.