WASHINGTON (Sept. 4, 2012)—To more fully comprehend Jesus — the teacher, the leader, the man — one needs to reconstruct the historical, social and cultural conditions of his time so the Gospel stories can be viewed in their proper context. A new book from National Geographic, IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF JESUS: A Chronicle of His Life and the Origins of Christianity (National Geographic Books; ISBN 978-1-4262-0987-1; on sale Nov. 6, 2012; $40; hardcover), by Jean-Pierre Isbouts, offers a fresh examination of Jesus by exploring the people, places, politics and events of his world in which he lived.
This book, based on insights from new archaeological discoveries and geographic and economic studies of the occupied territories of the Roman Empire, especially first-century Palestine, takes readers on a visually engaging journey with Jesus throughout his life.
“To imagine the unique world of Jesus’ ministry, and the particular conditions in which the evangelists wrote their story, is perhaps the greatest challenge to our understanding of the Gospels,” Isbouts writes. “This is why this book aims to transport the reader back to first-century Palestine in order to reconstruct the path that Jesus took — not only in narrative form, but also with scores of maps, ancient artifacts, artwork, and location photography.”
IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF JESUS is divided into four principal segments. Part 1, “The World of Jesus,” provides an overview of the Roman Empire before Jesus’ birth; it then sketches the changes wrought by King Herod in Palestine and re-creates what everyday life would have been like in a small Galilean village such as Nazareth.
Part 2, “The Life of Jesus,” follows closely in Jesus’ footsteps as it traces the journeys of his ministry as recounted in the Gospels, beginning with his activities in Capernaum, his travels throughout Galilee, the journeys to Tyre and Sidon, then finally Jerusalem, where the narrative offers an hour-by-hour reconstruction of the Passion events based on the latest scholarly and archaeological findings.
Part 3, “The Legacy of Jesus,” chronicles the gradual rise of Christian communities in the decades after Jesus’ death. The epilogue, “Walking in the Footsteps of Jesus,” traces the pilgrimage routes to the Holy Land.
The detailed maps that track Jesus’ path through the Holy Land bring each key place to life. Photographs, illustrations and unique period artifacts complement the text and maps. Readers will not only gain a deeper knowledge about Jesus but also will learn about the characters and events that shaped life at that time. Scholars, history buffs, believers, newcomers to biblical history and those intellectually curious about the pivotal figure of Jesus will find the book an invaluable reference and a must-have addition to their libraries.
About the Author
Jean-Pierre Isbouts completed his doctoral program on archaeology and art at the University of Leyden and is currently professor of culture and media studies at Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara, Calif. He has written several other books, including National Geographic’s “The Biblical World: An Illustrated Atlas” and “From Moses to Muhammad.” Isbouts has also written four television programs that explore the legacy of the Bible, including the Hallmark television mini-series “The Quest for Peace,” which won the 2005 Gold Aurora Award and the 2005 DeRose-Hinkhouse Award.
About National Geographic Books
National Geographic Books is a global publisher of 125 new books annually in Adult and
Children’s combined, as well as a publisher of digital content and services with more than 50 partners who translate our books.
The National Geographic Society is one of the world’s largest nonprofit scientific and educational organizations. Founded in 1888 to “increase and diffuse geographic knowledge,” the Society’s mission is to inspire people to care about the planet. It reaches more than 400 million people worldwide each month through its official journal, National Geographic, and other magazines; National Geographic Channel; television documentaries; music; radio; films; books; DVDs; maps; school publishing programs; live events; interactive media; merchandise; and travel programs. For more information on National Geographic Books, visit facebook.com/NatGeoBooks and nationalgeographic.com/books.