Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Grace Theological Journal
Volume: GTJ 09:1 (Spring 1988)
Article: Book Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Book Reviews

The Moody Atlas of Bible Lands, by Barry J. Beitzel. Chicago: Moody, 1985, Pp. vii + 234. $29.95. Cloth.

Although this atlas joins more than a score of others published between 1945 and 1985, it is one of the best. The author’s stated purpose is to demonstrate that God “prepared the Promised Land for His chosen people with the same degree of care that He prepared His chosen people for the Promised Land” (p. xv).

The atlas is divided into three major sections. First, Beitzel describes the topographic and environmental features that figure prominently in the land: geography, topography, geology, hydrology, etc. Second, Beitzel unfolds diachronically the events that have transpired in the Holy Land that are especially conducive to a geographic explanation. He treats the Patriarchs as historical personages, accepts an early date for the Exodus, and regularly sets the historical events within the larger context of the world of that day. Third, he briefly describes the history of biblical mapmaking.

Several features add to the value of this atlas: an index of all maps and figures, a comparative timeline spanning 10, 000 B.C. to A.D. 100 (comparing Egypt, Palestine, Mesopotamia, Syria, Asia Minor, and Greece/Rome), three indices, an alphabetical map citation index, a Scripture index, and an extra-Biblical literature index.

The careful weaving of maps and figures throughout the text of the volume places it between atlases that are primarily collections of maps and those that are, for the most part, running text. To assist the reader, a red number appears to connect an important geographic reference mentioned in the text with the correct location on the relevant map. Also, great pains have been taken (pp. xvi-xvii) to use several color shades in the historical maps. This use of carefully chosen colors helps to clarify otherwise complicated episodes.

The major shortcoming of this atlas is the brevity of the bibliography. Even though it is only intended to provide a select citation of prominent works in the field of biblical geography, a student desiring to dig deeper into certain areas must look elsewhere for any significant bibliographical assistance.

The Moody Atlas of Bible Lands is a well-rounded atlas providing a good combination of text and illustration. It would be a potential text for a college-level Bible geography class and surely would be an excellent reference tool to add to one’s library.

Michael A. Grisanti
Central Baptist Theological Seminary

1 Kings, by Simon J. DeVries, and 2 Kings, by T. R. Hobbs. Word Biblical Commentary. Waco: Word, 1985. P...

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