on 9 July 2001
Udi Levy's book is based mainly on the work of German and Israeli scholars, and the bibliography he gives is fairly impressive. It is well illustrated and reasonably informative about that mysterious people, the Nabateans, and is particularly good in what it says about their contribution to the growth of early Christianity and to the development of the architecture of early Christian churches. It is, however, sometimes vague and repetitive and unfortunately not sufficiently informative about the Nabatean site every tourist visits, Petra. The English translation from the Hebrew is not very elegant and occasionally unclear. The proof-reading is poor, and a few sentences are simply incomplete. In the chapter on Shivta, there is a large illustration showing a reconstruction of the Middle Church in that ruined city, but nothing about it in the text, save a sub-heading. The book needs an overhaul to make it clearer and more readable.