Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The World of the Early Church by Simon Jones

book cover

The World of the Early Church
by Simon Jones

ISBN-13: 978-0-7459-5500-1
Hardcover: 192 pages
Publisher: Lion Hudson
Released: March 2011

Link to Kregel book page

Source: Review copy from Kregel.

Book Description from Cover:
In the first decades after Christ a small movement from the Middle East became an empire-wide phenomenon. Soon there were Christian communities from Jerusalem to Rome, all trying to figure out how to live their new-found faith. But how did they live their daily lives?

The World of the Early Church answers just this question, exploring what life was like for the first Christians. Surveying archaeological evidence and contemporary accounts, Simon Jones answers questions like:

  • What was the role of pagan religion?
  • What did people do for entertainment?
  • What was family life like?
  • How did they earn a living?
  • How was society structured?
  • What was the role of women?

Illustrated throughout with photographs, maps, and reproductions, The World of the Early Church is a fascinating survey that brings this period vividly to life.

My Review:
The World of the Early Church provides the social background information that will help you more fully understand the New Testament--mainly Acts and the letters to the churches. The author explained a lot of interesting information in an easy-to-understand way. He also did an excellent job of giving us a balanced view of what life was probably like while also acknowledging the various views out there.

He used archaeological findings and writings from the time to help explain what life was like, and he quoted some of the Roman writers on what life was like from their viewpoint. The text was illustrated with interesting full-color pictures of archeological finds and remains of ancient buildings, paintings, illustrations, reconstructions, and more.

The author also referred to passages in the New Testament that can be confusing and explained how the social context of the time helps to make sense of it. Overall, I'd highly recommend this book. I'm very impressed by it, enjoyed reading it, and plan to immediately read through it again.

Topics covered: city life, homes, work, food/eating, entertainment, social position, the family, Roman religion, and more.

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.

Table of Contents
Read an excerpt


Amy (ArtsyBookishGal) said...

I really want to read this book!!!

Amy // amyismyfriend at aol dot com

Genre Reviewer said...

It's a good book. I think you'll enjoy it if you do.