This volume presents a scholarly examination of the culture and landscape of Palestine and surrounding areas during the time the New Testament was written. Ermatinger, the dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Bloomsburg University, provides in the first three chapters an overview of the history and geography of the region, a description of the key groups living in and around Palestine and a summary of the non-religious influences on life in the region. These are followed by a more in-depth look at pre-Messianic Judaism and the varying notions of a Messiah held by different Jewish groups. The second half of the text focuses on the day-to-day realities of life for common groups, including builders, fishermen, clothing workers, soldiers, peasants and slaves. Chapters describing urban and rural life and family life are followed by a look at the impact of the Roman occupation. The author reiterates throughout the text that both religious and non-religious elements influenced daily life and that a deeper understanding of this life may lead to a greater awareness of the long-term impact of this time and place on the modern world. The volume includes a short chronology of major events, sidebars highlighting key concepts and people, a glossary, a bibliography of print and non-print resources and a comprehensive index. High school libraries with religious studies courses will want to add this title to their collection; also recommended for public and college libraries.