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Thursday, Jan. 24, 2008

The Biblical World: An Illustrated Atlas

(National Geographic), by Jean-Pierre Isbouts

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Civilization first stirred in the Fertile Crescent. It was also the birthplace of three of the world’s major religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The Biblical World: An Illustrated Atlas may be a slightly misleading title. It includes maps but is no atlas and ranges well beyond biblical sources to include the Koran and historical accounts from late antiquity. Nonetheless, media studies professor Jean-Pierre Isbouts uses the Old and New Testament narrative as his timeline through the region’s early history, referencing archaeology and other surviving texts and placing the material in the context of the culture and even the ecology of the Near East. It is a thoughtful journey through a past that has molded the present and will continue to shape the future.