99 books like Rabbi Jesus

By Bruce Chilton,

Here are 99 books that Rabbi Jesus fans have personally recommended if you like Rabbi Jesus. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Oxford Handbook of Jewish Daily Life in Roman Palestine

Jeanne Lyet Gassman Author Of Blood of a Stone

From my list on the life and times in Roman Palestine.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been an avid reader of historical fiction since I was very young, and I love learning about the life and times of different periods of history. One might describe me as a "research junkie." My desire to know more about the everyday lives of my historical characters has taken me on many wonderful adventures, and my personal library is full of books I use for research. I write fiction, creative nonfiction, and novels. I am currently completing a new novel about a family of downwinders, people who contracted cancer from government-sanctioned radioactive fallout from the atomic bomb tests in Nevada during the 1950s and 1960s.

Jeanne's book list on the life and times in Roman Palestine

Jeanne Lyet Gassman Why did Jeanne love this book?

When I pulled this book off my library shelves, I discovered it was still bookmarked with about 40 Post-it flags. This was one of my go-to books for research about life and times in first-century Palestine. The book is divided into sections with labels such as "Family Life," "Religion and Magic," and "Labour and Trade." Each section contains detailed discussions on subtopics related to the main section. For example, under "Family Life," you will find information on clothing, marriage, and divorce, jewelry, food, housing, etc. There are wonderful illustrations and drawings. At the end of each chapter, there is a list of suggested reading and a full bibliography. I spent hours pouring through the resources here when researching my own novel.

By Catherine Hezser (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Oxford Handbook of Jewish Daily Life in Roman Palestine as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Written by an international and interdisciplinary team of distinguished scholars, The Oxford Handbook of Jewish Daily Life in Roman Palestine is an indispensable reference compendium on the day-to-day lives of Jews in the land of Israel in Roman times. Ranging from subjects such as clothing and domestic architecture to food and meals, labour and trade, and leisure time activities, the volume covers all the major themes in an encompassing yet easily
accessible way. Individual chapters introduce the reader to the current state of research on particular aspects of ancient Jewish everyday life-research which has been greatly enriched by critical methodological…


Book cover of Atlas of the Bible

Jeanne Lyet Gassman Author Of Blood of a Stone

From my list on the life and times in Roman Palestine.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been an avid reader of historical fiction since I was very young, and I love learning about the life and times of different periods of history. One might describe me as a "research junkie." My desire to know more about the everyday lives of my historical characters has taken me on many wonderful adventures, and my personal library is full of books I use for research. I write fiction, creative nonfiction, and novels. I am currently completing a new novel about a family of downwinders, people who contracted cancer from government-sanctioned radioactive fallout from the atomic bomb tests in Nevada during the 1950s and 1960s.

Jeanne's book list on the life and times in Roman Palestine

Jeanne Lyet Gassman Why did Jeanne love this book?

Part of my job when writing historical fiction is to know the "lay of the land." That means understanding regional maps, the geography, the climate, and the flora and fauna of the era and location of my story. I turned to this book so often that some of the pages are falling out. Beautifully illustrated with color photos, maps, and drawings, this book describes the history and main features of twelve main geographical regions in the Holy Land and connects them to major events in the Old and New Testaments. It's an accessible resource that functions more as a cultural atlas than simply as a map atlas.

By John Rogerson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Atlas of the Bible as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The first atlas of the Bible to treat its subject geographically rather than historically, this unique work features the main biblical sites, illustrated with photographs and colour maps. The book opens with a description of the Bible, explains how it came to be composed and how it has been transmitted to us through medieval manuscript copies and modern translations. The second section of the text provides an outline of the historical background of the Bible, from the time of Abraham to the close of the New Testament period. The third and principal section discusses the main geographical regions of the…


Book cover of Nelson's Bible Encyclopedia for the Family: A Comprehensive Guide to the World of the Bible

Jeanne Lyet Gassman Author Of Blood of a Stone

From my list on the life and times in Roman Palestine.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been an avid reader of historical fiction since I was very young, and I love learning about the life and times of different periods of history. One might describe me as a "research junkie." My desire to know more about the everyday lives of my historical characters has taken me on many wonderful adventures, and my personal library is full of books I use for research. I write fiction, creative nonfiction, and novels. I am currently completing a new novel about a family of downwinders, people who contracted cancer from government-sanctioned radioactive fallout from the atomic bomb tests in Nevada during the 1950s and 1960s.

Jeanne's book list on the life and times in Roman Palestine

Jeanne Lyet Gassman Why did Jeanne love this book?

As its title implies, this book is accessible to the entire family and would be a great resource for Sunday school teachers who want to provide their students with a larger understanding of the life and times of peoples in ancient Palestine and Rome. The book is broken down into easy-to-find categories such as "The Home," "Warfare," and "Travel and Communication," to name a few. There are stunning photographs on every page with detailed and clear explanations. The back of the book has timelines of the Bible and a map of Palestine in New Testament times with highlights of key events in the New Testament. There is also an alphabetical index that makes it easy to find information on specific topics.

By Arthur Cundall, Rosemary Mellor, Arthur Rowe , Frederick Fyvie Bruce

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Nelson's Bible Encyclopedia for the Family as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Discusses historical and cultural topics relevant to an understanding of the Bible, under such topics as archaeology, geography, government, business, education, and health.


Book cover of Today's Handbook of Bible Times and Customs

Jeanne Lyet Gassman Author Of Blood of a Stone

From my list on the life and times in Roman Palestine.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been an avid reader of historical fiction since I was very young, and I love learning about the life and times of different periods of history. One might describe me as a "research junkie." My desire to know more about the everyday lives of my historical characters has taken me on many wonderful adventures, and my personal library is full of books I use for research. I write fiction, creative nonfiction, and novels. I am currently completing a new novel about a family of downwinders, people who contracted cancer from government-sanctioned radioactive fallout from the atomic bomb tests in Nevada during the 1950s and 1960s.

Jeanne's book list on the life and times in Roman Palestine

Jeanne Lyet Gassman Why did Jeanne love this book?

This was another book that I marked with dozens of Post-it flags for my research for my novel. The subtitle pretty much describes what it offers: A cultural, social, and political background on the land and people of the Bible, based on all the recent archaeological discoveries. This book is broken down into categories: "Family Life," "Food and Drink," "The Practice of Medicine," "Childbirth," etc. One of my favorite sections was the food and drink section. Not only does this book have photographs of the food and drink, but it also includes some simple recipes on how to prepare and serve them. I now know the proper way to serve locusts!

Book cover of The World Jesus Knew: A Curious Kid's Guide to Life in the First Century

Victoria Robb Powers Author Of My Love, God Is Everywhere

From my list on Christian reads for kids that are inclusive and safe.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an ordained minister with over 10 years of experience serving as a pastor in both the hospital and church settings. I’m also a mom of three children, ages 2, 5, and 7. I routinely get asked for resources to help raise children in the Christian faith. As both a pastor and a mother, I am a strong advocate for teaching children a theology they won’t have to heal from. All the books I recommend are progressive, inclusive, and diverse. I’ve done extensive research when it comes to faith-based literature, and I’m passionate about finding the best books to recommend to families.

Victoria's book list on Christian reads for kids that are inclusive and safe

Victoria Robb Powers Why did Victoria love this book?

If your kid is curious and loves to know wild, random facts, this is the book for you.

This book is chock-full of interesting, obscure details about life in the 1st century. This book not only teaches kids what the world was like when Jesus was alive, but it increases their engagement with their faith. It’s fun, silly, and you’ll need more than one copy if you have multiple kids, because they’ll inevitably fight over it, just like mine.

By Marc Olson, Jemima Maybank (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The World Jesus Knew as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, 11, and 12.

What is this book about?

Jesus often told stories using everyday objects to help his listeners understand life with God. But for most of us, the deep imagery and meaning behind those objects has been lost to history. This book helps kids discover the world Jesus lived in through maps, charts, graphs, and other infographic elements. They'll learn about the culture Jesus lived in-his Jewish religion, the power of the ruling Roman Empire, the role of fishermen and carpenters and shepherds. It's an invitation to explore the stories of Jesus in their cultural context, bringing new life to familiar biblical events. This beautifully illustrated book…


Book cover of Jesus the Magician

Joshua A. Fogel Author Of Maiden Voyage: The Senzaimaru and the Creation of Modern Sino-Japanese Relations

From my list on Jewish history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a historian of China and Japan whose work has hewed close to the cultural interactions between Chinese and Japanese over recent centuries. I’m now working on the history of the Esperanto movement in China and Japan from the first years of the twentieth century through the early 1930s. The topic brings together my interests in Sino-Japanese historical relations, linguistic scholarship, and Jewish history (the creator of Esperanto was a Polish-Jewish eye doctor). Over the last couple of decades, I have become increasingly interested in Jewish history. I think by now I know what counts as good history, but I’m still an amateur in Jewish history. Nonetheless, these books all struck me as extraordinary.

Joshua's book list on Jewish history

Joshua A. Fogel Why did Joshua love this book?

Finally, I offer Morton Smith’s earlier study of the real-life Jesus. Everything Smith wrote was worth the time to read.  His prose bristles with occasional invective, but always at the expense of figures from long ago. He takes no prisoners, shall we say, in his scholarship, and Jesus the Magician is exhibit A.

By Morton Smith,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Jesus the Magician as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"A twentieth-century classic, uncannily smart, incredibly learned."--from the foreword by Bart Ehrman

This book challenges traditional Christian teaching about Jesus. While his followers may have seen him as a man from heaven, preaching the good news and working miracles, Smith asserts that the truth about Jesus is more interesting and rather unsettling.

The real Jesus, only barely glimpsed because of a campaign of disinformation, obfuscation, and censorship by religious authorities, was not Jesus the Son of God. In actuality he was Jesus the Magician. Smith marshals all the available evidence including, but not limited to, the Gospels. He succeeds in…


Book cover of A.D. 30

Chad Pettit Author Of Beyond Eden

From my list on bringing the Bible to life with realistic settings.

Why am I passionate about this?

I read my first novel when I was seven and wrote my first full story when I was eight. I’ve never stopped putting words to paper. Along with a passion for reading and writing, I’ve always been an all or nothing kind of person. When I want to know something, I dig and research until I know everything I can, which is exactly what I did when my eyes were opened to the spiritual warfare going on all around us. I’ve lost count of how many dozens of times I’ve read the Bible. I’ve since devoted myself to marrying my passions to develop suspense-filled stories with intense looks into the spiritual realm.  

Chad's book list on bringing the Bible to life with realistic settings

Chad Pettit Why did Chad love this book?

I absolutely love thrillers and stories filled with suspense.

The problem with that is, all I can ever seem to find are thrillers about washed-up detectives, which are fine and all, but sometimes I want to read a suspenseful story in a different genre. If a story can do that and weave in history, war, and the Bible, I’m in.

Ted Dekker checks every box with A.D. 30, and he’s just a master of storytelling. Dekker keeps you on the edge of your seat and brings together unlikely worlds in unexpected ways that are just so much fun to read.

Even better, this book really made me think about different cultures and the things we all have in common. 

By Ted Dekker,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A.D. 30 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A sweeping epic set in the harsh deserts of Arabia and ancient Palestine. A war that rages between kingdoms on the earth and in the heart. The harrowing journey of the woman at the centre of it all. The story of Jesus in a way you have never experienced it.

Step back in time to the year of our Lord, Anno Domini, 30.


Book cover of What Jesus Started: Joining the Movement, Changing the World

Cory Hartman Author Of Future Church: Seven Laws of Real Church Growth

From my list on making disciples today the way Jesus did.

Why am I passionate about this?

Cory Hartman (DMin, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary) collaboratively crafts practical tools, interactive processes, and breakthrough content for the Future Church Company, three interconnected organizations that exist to help the church embody the movement Jesus founded. I previously served as a pastor for thirteen years and founded Fulcrum Content, a gospel communication training organization.

Cory's book list on making disciples today the way Jesus did

Cory Hartman Why did Cory love this book?

Addison’s book lengthens and broadens Coleman’s Master Plan. While Coleman focuses on Jesus’ selection, training, and sending of his twelve closest disciples, Addison also examines what Jesus did before he named the Twelve, including rich historical background of his ministry context in first-century Palestine. In this way, Addison sheds light on how to engage unreached people who are still far from committing themselves to learn from Jesus.

Addison discerns a recurring six-step pattern in Jesus’ activity, in the early Palestinian church, in Paul’s Mediterranean travels, and in global disciple-making movements today. Importantly, he lays out these steps in a way that contemporary Western Christians unused to Jesus’ method can begin practicing them together.

By Steve Addison,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked What Jesus Started as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Outreach Magazine Resource of the Year Sometimes we get so caught up in the power of Jesus shouting from the cross, "It is finished!" that we forget that Jesus started something. What Jesus started was a movement that began small, with intimate conversations designed to build disciples into apostles who would go out in the world and seed it with God's kingdom vision. That movement grew rapidly and spread wide as people recognized the truth in it and gave their lives to the power of it. That movement is still happening today, and we are called to play our part…


Book cover of Jesus Through the Centuries: His Place in the History of Culture

John Tolan Author Of Faces of Muhammad: Western Perceptions of the Prophet of Islam from the Middle Ages to Today

From my list on making you realize you don’t know what religion is.

Why am I passionate about this?

In the 1980s, I was living in Spain, teaching high school. On weekends and vacations, I traveled throughout the country, fascinated with the remnants of its flourishing medieval civilization, where Jews, Christians, and Muslims mingled. When I later became a historian, I focused on the rich history of Jewish-Christian-Muslim contact in Spain and throughout the Mediterranean. I also wanted to understand conflict and prejudice, particularly the historical roots of antisemitism and islamophobia in Europe. I have increasingly realized that classical religious texts need to be reread and contextualized and that we need to rethink our ideas about religion and religious conflict.

John's book list on making you realize you don’t know what religion is

John Tolan Why did John love this book?

If Donner shows that Muslims don’t necessarily know who Muhammad was or agree about him, Pelikan shows that the same is true for Christians and Jesus. He looks at various ways in which Christians over twenty centuries have conceived of Jesus: a sage Jewish rabbi? An apocalyptic preacher, warning of the imminent end of the world? King of the universe, destined to preside over the final judgment, model for worldly judges and kings? The paradigmatic monk and mystic? An egalitarian preacher of social justice? He has been all of these things to different Christians over the ages, and Pelikan shows how different people in very different circumstances have reinterpreted Jesus the better to fit their own ideas of what Christianity should be.

By Jaroslav Pelikan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Jesus Through the Centuries as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"A rich and expansive description of Jesus' impact on the general history of culture. . . . Believers and skeptics alike will find it a sweeping visual and conceptual panorama."-John Koenig, front page, New York Times Book Review

Called "a book of uncommon brilliance" by Commonweal, Jesus Through the Centuries is an original and compelling study of the impact of Jesus on cultural, political, social, and economic history. Noted historian and theologian Jaroslav Pelikan reveals how the image of Jesus created by each successive epoch-from rabbi in the first century to liberator in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries-is a key…


Book cover of Stealing Jesus: How Fundamentalism Betrays Christianity

Will Holcomb Author Of A Journey into Insight

From my list on that transform how we think and make us grow.

Why am I passionate about this?

One piece of advice I give my kids is to listen to people who are wrong. One of two things happen: you’ll have to define, refine, and explore your personal positions in order to articulate why they’re wrong; or you discover you’re wrong and you grow. I spent 25 years in a church that made no sense to me. That caused me to read and think about why I didn’t believe what they said was “absolute truth.” My writing is the result of a long soul-searching experience that has led me to a place I’m comfortable with and others are finding comfort in the wisdom of The Infinite Jeff.

Will's book list on that transform how we think and make us grow

Will Holcomb Why did Will love this book?

Bawer delves into the history of Christian fundamentalism in this well-researched book. It explores the “church of law” vs “church of love.” This should be required reading in churches and maybe we would stop dividing ourselves over false doctrines. Too many religions are working to divide humanity and Stealing Jesus is an important book for resolving that. 

By Bruce Bawer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Stealing Jesus as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the author of the widely acclaimed A Place at the Table, this is a major work, passionately outspoken and cogently reasoned, that exposes the great danger posed to Christianity today by fundamentalism.

The time is past, says Bruce Bawer, when denominational names and other traditional labels provided an accurate reflection of Christian America's religious beliefs and practices. The meaningful distinction today is not between Protestant and Catholic, or Baptist and Episcopalian, but rather between "legalistic" and "nonlegalistic" religion, between the Church of Law and the Church of Love. On one side is the fundamentalist right, which draws a sharp…


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