Thursday, July 8th, 2010...10:42 pm

A brief review of Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Manners and Customs by Howard F. Vos

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I chipped away at this big, fat green tome for the better part of the academic year.  While there is a great deal of useful information in the book and the author is a conservative, some of his inclusions, omissions, and conclusions were perplexing.  For example, Jonah is not mentioned once.  There is an entire chapter on Assyria, and not a mention of Jonah.  Vos mentions several times that the Assyrian empire was weak in the first half of the eighth century, but never considers that Jonah’s preaching to Nineveh might have had an effect on the renaissance of the Assyrian empire.  It’s not as if Vos refrains from speculating elsewhere.  The book generally gets better as it gets closer to the cross.  I think he’s more reliable on the Selucids, Ptolomies, and Romans than he is on the Babylonians, Egyptians, or Canaanites.  Vos goes through each culture explaining the government, warfare, architecture, diet, and family life.  Also my earlier critiques of Bernard Ramm’s Protestant Biblical Interpretation about the scholar being the final arbiter of truth apply equally to Vos.  It’s a useful resource to have, but left me wanting something more.  Grade: B-

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