Putting the Bible in Its Place
Putting the Bible in Its Place is a series of books designed to provide modern Bible readers with an introduction to the backgrounds of the most prominent biblical characters. Just as Jesus was fully God and a fully human man of first-century Galilee, the biblical texts are both the eternal Word of God and ancient literature reflecting the events, customs, and conventions of their time. There are many re- sources that address the spiritual message of the Bible, but fewer that treat the an- cient historical and cultural contexts in a way that is accessible to non-specialists. The volumes in this series will introduce Bible readers to the worlds of important figures like Abraham, Moses, David, Jezebel, Esther, Mary, and Paul. They will span the entire chronology of Israelite and early church history, from about 2000 B.C. to the end of the first century A.D.
Throughout this period, the world experienced dramatic changes. Empires rose from obscurity to world domination, only to crumble into the dust. People migrated from land to land—often, not by any choice of their own. New languages and literary styles took the places of the old. Technology advanced dramatically. Ancient customs were altered or abandoned. Old gods were exchanged for new. No single volume could adequately survey the histories and cultures of these diverse times and situations. Each volume in this series captures but a slice of the picture. But together, they will provide the reader with a comprehensive orientation to the world where the people of the Bible lived, worked, wrote, or ruled.
These volumes are designed for the general reader, not the scholar. We assume our readers will have little knowledge of the current state of academic biblical studies, and that they are more interested in the big picture than points of scholarly controversy. While we include many references to the Bible and to ancient sources, we generally omit references to modern secondary literature, except for some studies describing recent discoveries or major new perspectives. At the end of each volume there is a bibliography that includes sources that ad- dress many issues in greater detail and with more discussion of scholarly opinions. While all of these texts will be useful to those wishing to delve deeper into biblical studies, readers should be aware that they come from a variety of perspectives, and some may challenge the readers’ theological views or preconceptions. Read them critically, comparing and contrasting the opinions expressed in different texts. Scholars, too, have their own biases and points of view, shaped by their historical (and personal) contexts.Series Editor Anthony J. Tomasino, Volumes in the Series: 1. Anthony J. Tomasino, The World of Jesus