Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous
ATJ vol 43 p. 147
John D. Currid and David P. Barrett. ESV Bible Atlas. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2010. 349 pp., oversized cloth, $55.
The authors and publisher are to be commended for this clear, helpful, and well-produced reference work. It combines text, satellite images, photographs, illustrations, and maps in a way which enlivens reading the biblical text. The work is comprised of four parts and an accompanying map of Israel and a CD.
Following an extremely detailed Table of Contents, the first part is an ‘introduction and overview of the biblical world’. It exemplifies the strong point of the volume, its maps, numbering 24 in this 31-page section. They cover: major areas in the ancient Near East, Palestine’s geographic regions, monthly maps of average temperatures and rainfall of the Near East, economic maps, seismic activity, travel routes, modern states in the region, and archaeological sites in Palestine. The second, longest part contains twelve section on historical geography, tracing the periods from ‘before Abraham’ (from the Paleolithic through the Early Bronze periods: pre-10,000 BC–2350 BC) through the Roman period. Among the plethora of maps in these sections are numerous historical maps, such as a half-page map of the battle of the kings mentioned in Genesis 14, showing suggested movements of the parties involved in the campaigns, reminding one of the similar maps I the various editions of The Macmillan Bible Atlas. As an example of some critical issues in Old Testament interpretation, the authors approach the dating of the exodus by presenting both the 13th and 15th century evidence, stating that at the present stage in understanding, the question is still open. They accept the Tel Dan inscription as being evidence of an historical David (whom they date c. 1010–970 BC).
The third part, a regional geography, contains 38 pages of elevation maps of areas important for biblical history, ranging from Italy to Mesopotamia. They are fascinating, and, along with the text and pictures from previous parts, will bring flesh to what can be dead bones of only a textual reading. The final part, appendixes and indexes, includes timelines, a short bibliography, and index of places named on the maps in part 2 and a separate list for those in part 3, a list of biblical sites which have been identified geographically, and topical and Scripture indexes. The CD contains the historical maps and a searchable index for both Mac and Windows users.
The project is well conceived and executed. It will find a home in church libraries and hopefully in the studies and even on the coffee tables of those with a serious interest in understanding the Bible and hearing it more clearly ion...
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