Delving deep into Jewish history, author Joe Amaral explores societal mores and cultural traditions in his new book Understanding Jesus: Cultural Insights into the Words and Deeds of Christ (FaithWords, 9780446584760, $13.99, April 2011).
Modern-day Christians often bring their own presuppositions and assumptions to the reading of the Bible, not realizing how deeply their understanding of Christ’s life and teachings is affected by a 21st-century worldview. In Understanding Jesus, Amaral closes the gap created by geographical distance and over two thousand years of history. Using a chronological approach to the life of Christ, he guides the reader through significant events such as Jesus’ birth, baptism and crucifixion, pointing out illuminating details that that the Western mind would normally miss.
“Jesus wasn’t from Montana, nor was He a Canadian—He was a Jew living in first century Israel, living a first century lifestyle,” writes Amaral. “That realization has forever impacted the way I see Jesus and the way in which I now perceive the Gospels.”
Amaral’s premise is that to understand Jesus, we must understand the time and place in which he was born, the background from which he drew his illustrations, and the audience he spoke to. In Understanding Jesus, Amaral draws back the curtain on a way of life that existed during the reign of the Caesars, and in doing so, reveals truths about the way we live more than two thousand years later, half a world away.
(EDITOR”S NOTE: Information and photo from author’s press release)