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Book Reviews

Elizabeth Reid

Deseret News

Comprehending the New Testament can be made easier by understanding the values and customs in which this book of scripture was written. Made up of 43 chapters arranged in seven sections, “New Testament History, Culture and Society: A Background to the Texts of the New Testament” covers a gamut of information that helps make the Bible, and particularly the New Testament, easier to understand.

Because each chapter in this marvelous tome is authored by scholars with vast experiences in ancient history and religion, their combined knowledge makes for astounding reading. Chapters focus on specific subjects such as the history of Judea between the Old and New Testaments, the basics of Roman economics and taxation and the customs of women and families. Other chapters cover the relationship between the New Testament and its quotations found in the Doctrine and Covenants, New Testament worship practices and even common plants found in Ancient Israel. As each chapter delves into its subject, authors quote multiple examples from the New Testament to help highlight and teach greater understanding of the first century.

One section is dedicated solely to Jesus Christ, the four Gospels written about him and apocryphal texts. These chapters delve into fascinating subjects such as which of the four Gospels was written first, whether John was an author or a source and the details and timeline of Christ’s Resurrection.

Each chapter in “New Testament History, Culture and Society” contains copious notes, references and quotes from prophets and authors belonging to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. For readers interested in particular subjects, a list of further reading is contained at the end of many chapters.

This clean book, while written for a scholarly audience, is one that can be read and learned from by anyone interested in the New Testament.