Helpful Books: Don't Ignore the Rocks: New Testament Archaeology - June 29

Darrell L. Bock's picture

&pYears ago My wife and I took a tour of Greece and Turkey. My wife called it simply, "The Great Rocks Tour". She was right all the trip consisted of were tons of rocks, old rocks but famous rocks. This was not a "if you've seen one rock, you have seen them all;quot; tour. History was present in their arrangement, even where there was not much left. Archaeology is a largely unknown field for people studying the New Testament. We prefer text to stone. However there are three books that can get you up to speed effectively. One is a textbook by John McRay called Archaeology and the New Testament. I am using this one as a text fro a new class I will teach at Dallas this year. It treats how archaeology works, and then moves through the New Testament starting with Jesus and then working to Paul. It discusses in initial detail many key finds that inform the New Testament. This book takes one up to the status of things as of 1990. Second, there is Jesus and Archaeology, a large work edited by James Charlesworth. This book takes on all things Jesus when it comes to rocks. Over six hundred pages, it has special studies on specific locales as well as articles on the state of the discipline in general. It does a solid job bringing one up to date on where things stand as of the early 2000's.Third is a book that is not out yet, but will be released in November. It is by Jonathan Reed. It will be called The HarperCollins Visual Guide to the New Testament. This four color book is loaded not only with information, but is beautifully laid out in terms of pictures, charts, and a crisp text that give a feel for life in first century Israel. A preview of this book led me to review my own trip fondly. It is an excellent introductory text and will raise many issues for discussion as it does surface key debated issues as well.With these books in hand, one can get oriented to what can be a pretty dusty area of NT study. Remember, don't ignore the rocks. Happy digging.

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