Palestine in the Time of Jesus is a fascinating and useful book.
Hanson and Oakman present a readable study of the social structures of
first-century palestine organized around four major themes: family and
kinship, politics and patronage, political economy, and political
The relationship between the elite and non-elite groups in each area are
clearly set forth. Frequent references are made to gospel incidents which
illustrate these themes and in so doing illuminate the gospel passages,
making them more understandable for the contemporary reader. In addition
to the text, there are three glossaries which give extended definitions or
even brief commentaries on relevant terms, with cross-references to
scripture and ancient authors as well.
Each chapter begins with an identification of central biblical passages
related to its theme and a list of questions raised in the passages and
concludes with a series of questions designed to apply further the
perspectives presented in each as well as suggested readings for
additional study. Brief and concise, this is a valuable resource for a
greater understanding of the daily life of those first-century individuals
whom we encounter in the gospels.