Friday, September 26, 2008

The Sacred Bridge - A Recommendation for the Second Edition

I purchased a copy of Anson F. Rainey and R. Steven Notley's The Sacred Bridge: Carta's Atlas of the Biblical World (Jerusalem: Carta, 2006), a couple years ago when I still trusted publishers' blurbs. Though it is nothing in comparison to the Barrington Atlas, The Sacred Bridge is in many ways a tremendous achievement, with fabulous maps, a first-rate critical academic discussion of everything related to the historical geography of the Bible, and extensive primary sources presented in their original languages. (See the positive RBL review here.)

I read through several chapters as bed-time reading to justify the investment, and learned a lot, but I found it hard, at times, to relate the text to the accompanying maps and illustrations.

Even more frustrating, the atlas has no dedicated map index. Earlier this week I was looking for a map with the places mentioned in Acts 2:9-11:
Parthians, Medes and Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene, and Roman visitors, both Ioudaioi and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs...
I found one easily enough in the chapter on "The Early Days of the Church" (page 371), but the map did not include Elam. Turning to the index I found 15 page references after the entry for Elam, only 5 of which contain a map with Elam on it. What kind of atlas lacks a map index?

Hopefully, someday I will be able to announce on this blog that this problem has been rectified in the second edition of The Sacred Bridge and its abridgement, Carta's New Century Handbook and Atlas of the Bible, and that Carta has sent me a free copy...

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