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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 25 October 2007
I love this book.

The (Christian) author claims to be writing from an Evangelical standpoint, but the book never gets 'preachy', and the scholarship is never less than meticulous.

Aimed at students of the New Testament, this book is refreshingly readable. It will gently take you by the hand and lead you through the fascinating and sometimes bizarre landscape of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the writers Philo and Josephus, and a wide range of other apocryphal and pseudepigraphical books.

While the book can be just picked up and read from cover to cover, to get the most benefit I would suggest you treat it like a sort of college course. This will involve buying several other books (Like Josephus, Philo, the Dead Sea Scrolls, etc - most of which are cheaply available on Amazon.)

The author provides numerous quotes from all the works in question, but suggests sections from the original writings as pre-reading for each chapter. This is how I've been using the book, and it's been a wonderful experience.

The book doesn't shy away from the 'proper' scholarly terms for stuff. You'll occasionally encounter expressions like 'Sitz im Leben' or 'Vorlage', but the author (bless him!!) always provides a plain English translation of the theological terms when he uses them.

I really can't recommend this book highly enough for anyone looking for a good and thorough introduction to the writings and ideas underlying the books of the New Testament.
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