This volume started out for me as a seemingly mis-titled book. The history offered by Michael Ruszala at the start was of the region but tended to be post-Christ and there was very little offered about the pre-Sermon on the Mount time. What transcended was a clear background of the ruling powers of the region especially by Rome that was even more pronounced by that time but was the result of earlier actions or inaction by the ruling powers. Mr. Ruszala has done a credible job providing good historical information with some supposition that is only natural. Unfortunately, there is no citation of references other than "Pope Benedict said...", another author "indicates or states such and so." This does not allow the reader to delve deeper for added insight. There is good referencing of actual and possible Hebraic/Jewish practicies in the original body of believers but again, citation of references would be helpful. While this is a basic review, it is solid from a mostly Catholic view-point with some other insights as mentioned above. I got the feeling I was reading a politically correct work when it came to regional/national names of the area as the primary reference is to Palestine. This was only a name or the entire region offered by the Roman Empire and never a national title/name for any specific area. This is unfortunate and for me detracted from the work as the Scriptures constantly reference regions named for historic people groups/families/tribes which makes a greater impact on the real challenge in the region as being one of a long standing family feud that will only be resolved upon faith in and return of the Prince of Peace, Christ Jesus. A good study bible will provide much of the information presented in this book but there is still benefit in reading it. As an aside, I was provided an e-copy of this work for the purpose of review which in no way influences my opinions. Be blessed.