The IVP Atlas of Bible History

By Paul Lawrence
Downers Grove, IL : InterVarsity (2006). 188 Pages.

Reviewed by Dr. Michael Grisanti
19.1 (Spring 2008) : 132-132

This volume is part of a growing collection of helpful reference works produced by InterVarsity Press. Its purpose is to present the broad sweep of biblical history, based primarily on written sources. After a few introductory pages covering the big picture, 104 pages focus on the OT, 12 on the Intertestamental Period, and 45 deal with the NT. Interspersed throughout the atlas are almost 100 superb maps, over 140 color photographs, 20 site plans and reconstructions, various chronological charts, and drawings of recent historical and archaeological finds. The book concludes with a one-page glossary and bibliography, a subject and Scripture index, and a gazetteer (of locations).

The atlas works through OT and NT history, allotting about 2 pages for each topic, event, or issue in that history. All pages have clear photos, maps, artistic reconstructions, or charts. In addition to the methodological overview of biblical history, a number of special studies (on different colored paper) are interspersed throughout the book: languages of the Bible, the geography of Canaan, the climate of Canaan, agriculture of Canaan, writing, neighbors of Israel and Judah, warfare and fortification, trade of Tyre, the Romans, amulets and scrolls, Jerusalem in NT times, Rome, archives and libraries in the ancient world, and travel in the Roman world.

Although this volume does not offer the same coverage as a dedicated atlas, it serves as a very helpful companion volume for a study of biblical history. It combines an overview of biblical history with numerous maps, photos, and charts.