Illustrated Wall Maps Of The Bible (with Atlas Of The Bible: Index And Chronological Table), by Carta Jerusalem staff
[Note: This product was provided free of charge by Hendrickson Publishers. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]
Over the past few months I have become familiar with Carta Jerusalem’s thought provoking geography, and while this particular effort is not nearly as distinctive as the previous one I read and reviewed , it is certainly a worthwhile effort nonetheless. As a Sabbath School teacher who instructs a group of late elementary school and early middle school children on a roughly monthly basis, I am constantly faced with just how ignorant about biblical geography that most of the young people are, and so I am continually looking for ways to discuss geography with the young people and encourage them to be able to have a spatial understanding of the events of the Bible, to be able to place locations in context and understand the importance of geography to grasping history. To be sure, I am a more geographically-inclined person than most, and would want much more details for my own research. But for the purposes of instruction, these books placed on a table will be quite suitable for my own use.
In terms of its contents, this particular product contains twelve large sheets that are 40 x 28 inches, most of which contain multiple maps for a total of 22 maps. Three of the sheets focus on the Ancient Near East, with sheets on culture and commerce in the ancient world (1), the 2nd millennium BC along with the palace at Mari (2), and the 1st millennium BC and the city of Babylon (3). After that, three sheets provide the geography of the Old Testament, including the coming of the Israelites and the Exodus (4), the Kingdom of David and Solomon and the city of Megiddo (5), and the divided kingdoms of Judah and Israel and the Jerusalem of the OT (6). There is one sheet that provide a map of the promised land in Greco-Roman times along with Jerusalem of the Hasmoneans (7). Three sheets provide maps of the New Testament, including Jesus in His land along with the Jerusalem of the New Testament (8), the Journeys of the Apostles (along with maps of Antioch and Caesarea Maritima) (9), and the spread of the early church and Paul’s missionary journeys (10). The last two sheets provide a look at the Promised land in the OT (11) and NT (12), respectively. The product also includes a 30-page atlas of the Bible that provides maps that largely mimic the sheets and that also provide a chronological table and an index of place names on the maps.
How one feels about this particular product will depend a great deal on what one is trying to get out of it. Those who are looking for in-depth geography will clearly be somewhat disappointed by this book, but those who wish to provide Bible Students (or even themselves) with a sense of place about the Bible will find much to appreciate and enjoy here. I certainly think that these maps will interest the kiddos in my classes and will compare favorably with the sort of geographical instruction they are receiving in school, and to that extent I expect this to be a successful product in my own education efforts when I am talking about biblical history, and that is certainly enough for me. My main quibble with this particular product is the fact that it talks about the holy land using the term Palestine, which is a strangely anti-Semitic term to use to describe what should be called by such terms as “Israel,” “the promised land,” or “the holy land.” It is unclear exactly why the editors of the map chose this rather defective means of referring to the land of the Bible, but it was a choice that definitely disappointed me.