Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Book Review: Jerusalem at the Time of Jesus

book cover

Jerusalem at the Time of Jesus
by Dr. Leen and Kathleen Ritmeyer

Paperback: 72 pages
Publisher: Abingdon Press
First Released: 2004, 2009

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Back Cover Description:
Open up the world of Jerusalem in the first century with Jerusalem at the Time of Jesus. The combination of artistic restorations and on-site photographs transport you back almost 2,000 years. See the remains from the period preserved in and around the present-day walls of Jerusalem. Then walk the streets of the city in the time of Jesus with the minutely detailed reconstruction drawings

Jerusalem at the Time of Jesus is a nonfiction book covering the archaeological findings in Jerusalem that date to the time of Jesus. The pictures, drawings, and maps were fantastic. One map was a little fuzzy (due to a printing misalignment, I think, so this may not be a problem with every copy of the book), but the text and notations were still quite readable.

The authors were very good at describing landmarks in the modern "ruin" photos so that I could easily find them and see the points of interest that the authors were talking about in the captions and accompanying text. I also liked how the authors described what was found in the archaeological dig, why the site was identified as being a certain one from the time of Jesus, the use of quotes from writers close to that time describing or referring to the landmarks, and what clues the artist used to create the "what they would have looked like" pictures of the building, pool, house, etc.

There was a map of the city layout at the time of Jesus, a map showing only the sites discussed in the rest of the book, a map of the temple mount, and others. The sites discussed were: The Temple Mount, the excavations on the Ophel, the Hasmonean Tower and the First Wall, the dam and reservoir near the Pool of Siloam, the Pool of Siloam, the Hinnon Valley and the tomb of Annas the high priest, the Essene quarter, the Serpent's Pool, the Citadel courtyard, the Hippicus Tower, several houses in the Jewish Quarter (including a palace, the Garden Gate, a mansion, a house, and a council chamber), the Pools of Bethesda, the tombs in the Kedron Valley, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Golgotha Hill, the Garden Tomb, the Garden of Gethsemane, and the Via Dolorosa.

The book was very interesting and easy to follow. Overall, I'd highly recommend this book to people interested in Bible archaeology or in what things where like at the time of Jesus.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

About the Authors
Leen and Kathleen Ritmeyer met in 1975 during the Temple Mount excavations in Jerusalem. Leen is an archaeological architect, lecturer, and teacher. He has been involved in all of Jerusalem's major excavations, producing site plans and reconstruction drawings for all of them. He has also participated in numerous excavations all over Israel and his drawings have appeared in academic journals, books, and Bible atlases.

Kathleen holds a B.A. degree in Archaeology. In addition to the Temple Mount dig, she has participated in excavations in Tel Akko in Israel and in other countries. Since 1983, she has been a partner with Leen in their firm Ritmeyer Archaeological Design, producing educational materials on the subject of Biblical Archaeology.

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