Every Bible Student needs a good atlas

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Crossway's ESV BIBLE ATLAS by John D. Currid and David P. Barrett

First, I declare a bias - well, two if I may: that I know John Currid (one of the co-authors of this volume -he's a colleague and a dear friend), and I have something of an obsession for Bible Atlases. After all, what is more necessary for Bible Study than a good atlas? I have to confess to owning a dozen or more of them, including an amazing detailed and magnificently produced volume by the London Times produced a couple of decades ago and remains a personal favorite. In seminary, I took a course on historical geography of the Bible and I continue to draw profit from it thirty-five years later. If "context, context, context" are the first three rules of sound exegesis, "location, location, location" are ruled four through six.

A good atlas needs to have magnificent and accurate maps, a comprehensive timeline sensitive to the nuances of historical geography and geospatial changes, and (these days) digital accessibility. The ESV Bible Atlas scores fully on all counts.

Written as a companion volume to the ESV Study Bible, the ESV Bible Atlas is co-authored by John D. Currid (RTS Charlotte), who wrote the comprehensive text, and David P. Barrett  (developer of Bible Mapper Software).

Over 175 full-color maps provide useful and necessary information without overloading by excessive detail. Over 70 photographs add to the visual aid of the Atlas (check the theater in Ephesus (p. 246), for example). In addition to 3-D recreations of biblical objects and sites (see, Ephesus in the time of Paul (p.247), for example), useful timelines (biblical history, including both an early and late date for the Exodus; Kings of Israel of Judah, and the Herodian Dynasty), the Atlas also contains regional maps detailing Egypt, Mesopotamia, Italy and Greece.

As I mentioned earlier, this Atlas comes with a searchable CD - useful for those away trips when this door-stopper of an Atlas (it is not light!) would exceed airline weight allowance.

If I were a betting man, I would wager that just as the ESV has become the Bible translation of the hour (and hopefully, of my lifetime), its companion volume (the ESV Bible Atlas) will be equally successful. Every student of Scripture needs a good Bible Atlas and this is the one to get.

 

Posted August 9, 2010 @ 4:15 PM by Derek Thomas
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