Bible Atlas Summary Reviews
For a brief summary list of my top ten/eleven Bible Atlases, go HERE.
NOTES on my comments:
Crossway ESV Bible Atlas by Currid and Barrett (Crossway) 2010 $35
New Moody Atlas of the Bible (Moody) 2009 Beitzel $32 for hardcover; $21 for Kindle
UPDATE (2014): After using this atlas for a course, I have decided not to use it again. There are many fine aspects to this atlas, and the maps themselves are among the best. But...
· There are some odd tangents, including ones that only tangentially relate to biblical history. (2 pages each on the Battles of Qarqar, Carchemish, and Issus.)
· A real frustration for students was that maps often did not accompany texts describing events and places. There would often be a reference to a map, but the maps are scattered throughout the book, and even when numbered sequentially, it took a while to find the map. And once you found the map, you still had to try to find the specific location. Here's where the digital implementation in Bibleworks9 really helped since references to maps were linked.
· There is a chapter on "Jerusalem through the Ages" (220-231) and a map of "Jesus and Jerusalem" (225), but in the chronological progression, there are 2 pages on "Jesus' Journeys to Jerusalem" (246f) and then 2 pages on "Jesus' Post-Resurrection Appearances" (248f). Especially for people planning on visiting Jerusalem, there is a lot more to be said.
· The book is thoroughly informed by archaeology, but there is no discussion at all about archaeology's role in biblical history.
Zondervan Atlas of the Bible (revised edition) by Carl G. Rasmussen; 2010; $24 Hardcover
· 304 pages
· 100+ maps; 100+ images; timelines; all are of high quality
· 1: Geographical setting: land, weather, routes... (80pp)
· 2: Historical OT>NT
o OT 100pp
o Intertestamental 16pp
o Roman/NT 55pp – includes chapter on 7 churches of Revelation and another chapter just on Jerusalem; basically ends w/ 1st century
· 3: Disciplines of Historical Geography: philology, toponymy, archaeology... (8pp)
· Bibliography, Glossary (limited), Timelines, Scripture index, index of persons, Geographical Dictionary and Index
· Print is rather small; names and Bible quotes use NIV
· Dates from Encyclopedia of Archaeological Excavations in the Holy Land; Thiele for Judean/Israelite dynasties, Exodus/Conquest "follow a plain reading of the biblical text" >> defends early dating of Exodus
· MGVH: A fine Bible atlas with plenty of maps, photos, and illustrations. The third section on the disciplines of historical geography is rather brief and should probably be included with section 1. The Geographical Dictionary and Index is an outstanding feature, but it lacks a more general glossary of unfamiliar items mentioned in a Bible atlas. There is an awareness of dating difficulties, but Rasmussen generally argues for conservative readings. (NT/OT= .47; Hist/Phys = 2.1)
UPDATE 2013: Zondervan has now released an Essential Atlas of the Bible by Rasmussen. It preserves much of the original full edition but in a concise, 160-page, inexpensive, handy-sized edition suitable to carry along while traveling.
HarperCollins Atlas of Bible History by James Pritchard; 2008; $16
· High-quality paperback
· 192 pages; 100+ maps; charts, graphs, etc; TIMELINES
· Lots of stuff on Egyptian campaigns; chronology used is that of Dept. of Egyptian Antiquities of the British Museum
· 1: Setting: land, archaeology, routes (28pp)
· 2-6: OT History (97pp)
· 7: Intertestamental (14pp)
· 8-9: Roman and NT (28pp)
· 10: 1st Jewish revolt > present day (10pp)
· Chronology chart, bibliography, index (no Scripture index)
· MGVH: This is a good atlas in many ways, but I am reluctant to use it as a course book. The maps and illustrations are quite attractive, but it just doesn't seem as if there is much information here, especially in terms of the physical geography or NT. E.g., there are 4 pages covering Jesus' entire ministry, and most of it is regional maps. 4 pages as well for Paul. The material is good, but it is not as helpful as others for reference. (Ratio of NT/OT = .34; Hist/Phys = 5.3)
Satellite Bible Atlas by William Schlegel; 2016 2nd edition $28
· “A new Bible atlas with 85 full-page color maps with biblical events marked on enhanced satellite imagery, accompanied by geographical and historical commentary”
· All maps downloadable in JPG; maps are high quality and the satellite imagery provides a good way of 'seeing' the land
· Over 70 aerial photographs of major biblical sites also downloadable
· 148 pages but also comes w/ 190 page PDF, The Land and the Bible: A Historical Geographical Companion to the Satellite Bible Atlas - An in-depth commentary on the 11 historical sections in the new atlas.
· 17 regional maps; 47 OT/Hasmonean maps; 16 NT maps; 2 Jerusalem; 3 modern
· PDF download of Index to Sites
· DOCX download: Study Questions for the Satellite Bible Atlas
· 5 online teaching videos are also available
· "The Satellite Bible Atlas takes a conservative view of biblical chronology, accepting chronological numbers given in the Bible at face value. ... Dates for Egyptian pharaohs follow the “high chronology” of the Cambridge Ancient History."
· Maps have clear dates associated with them; some pictures and charts
· Focus is clearly on biblical explication
· Separate index to sites; no Scripture index but PDF is searchable
· Be sure to subscribe to the excellent Satellite Bible Atlas channel on YouTube
· MGVH: If one was strictly looking for maps to explicate biblical events, this would be the one to use. The maps are excellent. The book would also be very handy to have as one is traveling in biblical lands (with a copy of the site index added). The additional digital resources are wonderful. With its strict focus on biblical events, however, this atlas and the companion commentary do not really provide the kind of broader survey to serve as a course book. (Ratio of NT/OT = .34)
The Sacred Bridge: Carta's Atlas of the Biblical World by Rainey and Notley (Carta) 2005
· 448 pages
· 800+ pictures, maps, and illustrations
· MGVH: The classic reference and still the premier resource but expensive. Focus is on ancient near East history in a broad sense and how the biblical account fits in. This does mean that there is no discussion of the Garden of Eden or the Flood, and Abraham isn't mentioned until 112 page in. Still this is the standard scholarly reference but not a good choice for the Bible geography class I'm teaching. (Ratio OT/NT: .17)
Carta's New Century Handbook and Atlas of the Bible by Rainey and Notley (Carta) 2007 $45 hardcover
The Carta Bible Atlas by Aharoni, Avi-Yonah, Rainey, Safrai, Notley (5th edition) 2011 $45
Oxford Bible Atlas by Adrian Curtis (Oxford) 2009 $16
Holman Bible Atlas: 1998 Brisco $21
Biblica by Beitzel but w/ many contributors (Barron's) 2007 $45
· 578 pages
· 125 maps; 650+ images, photos
· Topography, geology, climate, vegetation
· 8 parts: Geography & History, Genesis/Patriarchal; Judges; Kings; Prophets; Conquest; Kingdoms; Jesus; Spreading the Word
· Bible reference; tables, family trees, bibliography, glossary, gazetteer, index
· includes CD w/ texts, illustrations, search engine, etc
· MGVH: More of a art, coffee table type of book; more summary of biblical story than analysis; beautifully rendered
The IVP Atlas of Bible History by Paul Lawrence (IVP) 2006
· 190 pp
· Includes nearly 100 superb relief maps; over 140 color photographs, over 20 site plans and panoramic reconstructions
· Draws on the latest finds of historians and archaeologists; tends to be more historically-critically oriented (less theologically motivated)
· Includes special features on topics such as the peoples and languages of the Bible throughout the text
· Intro 7pp (lacks info on topography, climate, etc. here but some inclusion later)
· OT > Hellenistic: 124pp
· Roman/NT/Early Xn: 44pp
· glossary, bibliography, gazetteer, Scripture index
· (Ratio of NT/OT = .35; Hist/Phys = 24)
The Biblical World: An Illustrated Atlas by Isbouts (National Geographic) 2007 $27 hardcover
· 368 pages
· 45+ maps
· Attention to emergence of Judaism, Xnty, Islam
· NRSV, prefers late date for Exodus
· Timelines including running timeline at page bottom, sidebars on family roles, farming, trade, dress, childbirth, burial customs, and other aspects of daily existence
· MGVH: Geared more to popular than scholarly; more summary than analysis; coffeetable-like
Historical Atlas of the Bible by Barnes (Chartwell) 2010 $12 paper
· 400 pages
· 100 maps; 100+ photos and illustrations
· Intro, ANE, archaeology, History of Bible 35pp
· OT ~180 pp; late date for Exodus
· Alexander > Hasmonean ~30pp
· Roman / NT / Jewish Revolts / Spread of Xnty ~76 pp
· People of the Bible (brief bios of key persons mentioned in Bible organized chronologically) / Holy Land Today (provides capsule summaries of many sites, regions) ~30pp
· Timelines (9000 BCE > 392 CE), bibliography, glossary, index
· (Ratio of NT/OT = .36; Hist/Phys = 8.2)
New Bible Atlas by Bimson, Kane, Paterson, Wiseman, Wood (IVP) 1999 availability?
· 128 pages
· (Quoted from the book) The division of the Atlas into six parts follows a logical sequence.
o Part One is, broadly speaking, geographical. After a general introduction map to the Bible lands (pages 6-7) the focus is on the Holy Land, describing the nature of the terrain, climate and vegetation. (27pp) some pages of arch and graphics
o Parts Two and Three are arranged historically, based on the biblical record from the Old and New Testaments respectively, and are chiefly concerned with the Holy Land.
o Part Four features the major empires and peoples which play a part on the biblical scene.
o Part Five concerns the historical development and crucial significance of Jerusalem, the Holy City, and Part Six provides a brief view of the Holy Land as it is today.
· Time charts, bibliography, index
· In general attractive but pics are old
· Provides evidence for both early/late Exodus
· MGVH: This is a decent but now dated atlas.
· There are many ways to find maps, graphics, and illustrations in Logos depending on the library you have. Some things to try:
o Use a Basic search of the entire library for:
§ #image ANDEQUALS tag:geography
§ #image ANDEQUALS tag:map
§ Use Biblical Places Guide
§ Use Bible Facts Places
§ Use a Bible Dictionary or Encyclopedia (many possible)
§ (Avoid using the old Logos Deluxe Map Set: disorienting and garish)
o There is also a Biblical Place Guide which identifies every location mentioned in every verse of the Bible. I.e., as you scroll verse by verse, the Guide will update with locations linked to that verse and all maps and graphics associated. Extremely helpful!
Some atlases that are available for Logos include:
· Accordance Bible Atlas (map collection; linked, terrain, routes, etc.) This is a mapping module that is highly customizable and provides 3D perspectives.
· New Bible Atlas (IVP) 1985 (cf. Logos edition above)
· Illustrated Bible Atlas with Historical Notes by FF Bruce (Carta) 1994 $20
o 32 pages; 48 maps and illustrations
· Bible History Atlas by FF Bruce (Carta) 2005 $20
o 96 pages; 78 maps and illustrations
· The Carta Bible Atlas 2002 edition $55 (cf above)
· Carta's New Century Handbook and Atlas of the Bible by Rainey & Notley (Carta) 2007 $65 (cf above)
· The Sacred Bridge by Rainey & Notley (Carta) 2006 $130 (cf above)