One of the best known and most important references on the life of Christ ever written, Alfred Edersheim’s The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah is a storehouse of information on the background of the New Testament. This classic work successfully portrays the streets, the marketplaces, the religious conflicts, the people, and the places of Jesus’ earthly ministry. Edersheim puts the events of Jesus’ life and ministry into their historical, social, and cultural context, including extensive references to early Jewish and rabbinical sources.
Edersheim divides his work into five sections, or books:
- Book 1—The Preparation for the Gospel
- Introductory historical, religious, political, and cultural material based on the author’s extensive knowledge of Jewish lore and customs.
- Book 2—From Bethlehem to Jordan
- The background of Herod and his reign, St. John the Baptist and his message, and the birth and baptism of Jesus.
- Book 3—From Jordan to the Mount of Transfiguration
- Thirty-seven chapters explore the miracles and teachings of Jesus’ early ministry.
- Book 4—The Descent into the Valley of Humiliation
- A history of the latter part of Jesus’ ministry from the Transfiguration to the journey to Jerusalem.
- Book 5—The Cross and the Crown
- A chronicle of each day of Passion Week, from Palm Sunday to the Resurrection.
- Nineteen entries give valuable background material on Jewish history, tradition, and law. Covers such diverse topics as the date of the Nativity, the New Testament Pseudepigrapha (“false writings”) and Apocryphal gospels, and Jewish angelology and demonology.