Local Opinion Editorials


By Carl G. Rasmussen
Zondervan Publishers
PB, 160 pages

Packed with information on each page, Zondervan’s Essential Atlas of the Bible is an historian’s dream. It is divided into two main focus sections: geographical and historical. The geographical section contains regional information complemented by climate maps, rainfall charts, and on-site photos of places, such as Jordan, Israel, and Egypt. The historical section documents the intricate records of the biblical period. It starts in the beginning with the Garden of Eden and continues chronologically from there. Similarly, this section is brimming with helpful maps of Israel and the surrounding territories.

The primary audience of this atlas is Christians, as it was clearly written for them, but the book would also hold up in a public library or the academic world. There are no theological revelations to be found in its pages, and the information given has no slant or bias, although at some points it assumes that a Christian is reading it.

This reference book would make a wonderful addition to the library of readers who wish they could better understand the series on Jewish conquest progressions and their locations in the Bible’s stories and on maps. Despite the general idea behind any atlas being to focus on pictures and maps, it must be said that the written portions of information do contain some incorrect word usages and a few grammatical errors. Outside of those couple of minute issues, this atlas is a wonderfully informational text that seeks to make sense of a very complicated era.

While not overly spiritual, the book does include brief inclusions of Bible stories in which God instructed the Israelites to complete specific missions. Usually, this helps to explain the reasoning behind the Israelites’ advances made during their seemingly random conquests. Occasional mentions of pagan gods (such as Baal and Ashtoreth) are strewn throughout the text. One will not discover any mind-altering philosophies hidden within the words of this atlas, but it provides some wonderful insights into the complicated history of biblical times.

Reviewed by Carson D. Jacobs, Professional Writing Major, Taylor University.