After posting my comprehensive review of William A. Simmons’ excellent new work Peoples of the New Testament World, I realized that a more blog friendly abridged version might also be needed.  Simmons’ new introductory textbook was published by the always top notch Hendrickson Publishers and thanks go out to Kathy Russ for providing me with a review copy.  Hopefully the quotes below will provide insight to those without the time to read my full length review of People of the New Testament World.

“William A. Simmons has contributed a first rate introductory text for New Testament studies.  Peoples of the New Testament World provides valuable background for the different groups of people mentioned in the New Testament.”

“Each chapter is broadly divided into two sections: a history of the group and an interaction with the New Testament.”

“The historical information regarding each group is surprisingly nuanced.  Generally introductory textbooks present their conclusions without discussing the problems that scholars encounter; however, Simmons introduces his readers to these discussions.”

“Unlike many introductory texts there are brief, yet useful, footnotes included at the bottom of each page.  However, equally unexpected, the footnotes are neither intrusive nor intimidating.”

“The inclusion of groups which are often overlooked in introductory textbooks is impressive.  For instance, slavery and patronage are two important topics about which students of the New Testament often either have misinformation (comparisons to U.S. slavery) or no information (patronage).”

“For the layman, or any newcomer to New Testament studies, Peoples of the New Testament World provides valuable introductory material.  Moreover, the footnotes and bibliographies mark this work as useful for beginning scholars as well.”