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The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah

4.32  ·  Rating Details ·  281 Ratings  ·  26 Reviews
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.

Hardcover, 1136 pages
Published June 1st 1992 by Hendrickson Publishers (first published 1883)
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Harold Taylor
Aug 18, 2008 Harold Taylor rated it really liked it
Scholarly with a warm devotional tone Edersheim’s book is great reading. A converted Jewish scholar of the first century customs he illuminates the life of Christ with insight unavailable to the average reader. You can look this book up for yourself at
Particularly enlightening is his material on the birth of Christ. He delves into who the magi really were and the political implications to Herod. He also illuminates who the Shepherds were and their connect
Sep 02, 2011 Michele rated it liked it
Shelves: books-of-2011
A labor of love! Not sure I've ever studied my scriptures so much before. I loved the first book, but to read 800 pages and then realize there was a second book with 650 pages, just about killed me. He is an incredible man and there are too many dog-earred pages to explain so I will just share a few of his deep thoughts that impressed me.
Page 620 talks about how Rabbi's would dress up in a garb that would get them recognized. They believed they should dress up to show people they were teachers.
3.5 stars.

Alfred Edersheim, who was born a Jew and didn't convert until grown, had an incredible knowledge of Jewish theology, manners and customs, and so on--not just the Talmud, but rabbinic writings over the centuries. For that the book could merit 5 stars. But in many ways he seemed isolated from his peers in some of his conclusions. There are other difficulties with the book, however, and this review is not going to be long or exhaustive, nor am I going to expound on all these points. I am
Doug May
Nov 28, 2009 Doug May rated it it was amazing
Ok I finished this monumental work and feel like I have scaled everest . It took nearly four years of devotional reading spending part of my shabat reading the scriptural background for each chapter from the gospels and then edersheim's perspective. The result is a deeper conviction in the historicity of the gospels and a strengthened faith . I honestly feel elated having just completed the resurrection chapter of book five with much more of a sense of having lived the events in the life of jesu ...more
John Avery
Dec 27, 2013 John Avery rated it it was amazing
I enjoy books that present the Jewish background of the Christian faith. Alfred Edersheim's book is an essential volume on my bookshelf. He takes the reader through the gospel story in a chronological manner. The book is written from the perspective of a man who traveled through the land and saw the places that Jesus visited. He did so long before the culture of the Middle East had been radically altered (as it has been today by modern technology and new political boundaries). Edersheim was a Je ...more
Per his request I bought this for my husband for Christmas. He says he doesn't have time for it quite yet, so I'm stealing it. It may take me the next 4 years or so :) I'm just going to go for a sub-chapter at a time, they're fairly short.

So excited to read/study it. The author's goal was illuminate the people and times when Christ was alive. I'm thinking that will be a big help with scriptural understanding etc.

Was recommended to Ross by his mentor, who said it was one of the books that inspi
Greg Whaley
Sep 28, 2011 Greg Whaley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book may have been one of the hardest books for me to read, ever! That is sad, because the book is extremely important in the pantheon of modern books about Jesus and there is much to learn for the follower of Christ. It is academic and scholarly and certainly that made the road tough for me. However, there is a wealth of information that the serious student would be wise to mine. I think it is safe to say that no other book apart from the Bible itself taught me more about the life and time ...more
May 21, 2014 ShiraHE rated it did not like it
This book, for me, is a rather difficult one to rate as I read it with such a different mindset, more than 20 years ago, now. I found it fascinating, exhilarating, and frightening all at once, as I questioned the direction my life should take back in the middle of my college studies, and in the process of leaving one faith for another. I spent 6 months, many many hours, and much ink in researching dates, references, concordances and languages with Edersheim. I came to different conclusions than ...more
Eben Tonder
Jun 01, 2009 Eben Tonder rated it it was amazing
Edersheim is a master at research and an example of someone who got s close to his subject matter that he was unable to draw accurate conclusions about the reality and extent of the Jesus-legend. It is a fascinating portrait into the world of a very superstitious nation, in a very superstitious time, desperate for a Saviour and a new identity in a changing world.

It allows you to walk the streets of the ancient world and interact with the people; to read their mindset and to understand the devel
Nov 29, 2015 Aaron rated it it was amazing
This book is dense. Very dense. But I can think of no better reference for Christians to get into the head of the ancient Jews. So often people assume that modern Judaism is an image of the religion Christ practiced. Edersheim disabuses us of that notion, and introduces the religious, social, and political forces at work in the First Century A.D., creating a vivid image of the society into which Christ came.
Feb 18, 2008 Gldroos rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: the sincere seeker after truth
Alfred Edersheim was considered to be among the foremost scholars of judaism during his lifetime. He converted to christianity and brought a wealth of knowledge to his study of the Christ. You will find this book to be an insightful and thought provoking analysis of the life of Christ from the perspective of an emminent scholar of judaism.
Jun 10, 2012 Tom rated it it was amazing
Powerfully insightful book that reveals the traditions, history, issues, thinking, and theology of the Jews and the surrounding Palestinian culture at the time of Christ. By no means and easy read, but I think worth while and very helpful in seeing and understanding the Gospels. I recommend it to all who would want a deeper insight into the "Life and Times" of Jesus.
Jason Poe
Feb 28, 2013 Jason Poe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: commentaries
This book is everything it is supposed to be; no wonder it has been such an important resource for so many years. The background and the knowledge of Judaism during the time of Jesus is unique in its complexity and how much the author knows about the subject. It is a reference I use any time I preach from the gospels.
Oct 06, 2010 Fred is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Slow reading but interesting Mr Edersheim is a converted Jew and his insight is very revealing from a Jewish prospective, although this was written in the late 1800, and although this is a rather large book over 1100 pages, i can be ordered from
Nick Woodall
Brilliant! Superb! A tour-de-force! It really helped me put all the Jewish customs, prophecy, and history into place during Jesus lifetime. It filled in a lot of blanks that I had regarding customs, history, and events. A must-read for anyone wanting to know more about Jesus.
Aug 29, 2013 Kent rated it really liked it
I have what appears to be a first or very early edition of the book. It has no copyright date. I found one online for 700 dollars. Anyone have any information about value or want to buy it. It is in very good+ condition.
Marc Bertrand
Aug 27, 2015 Marc Bertrand rated it it was amazing
My first essential on illustrating sermon drawn from the gospels. Edersheim makes the pages come alive. His words are like the fine touches of the master painters brush. There are many volunteers in my library I would sacrifice before this one.
Cheryl Ann Wills
Though the book is fairly old, the information is reliable and valuable to anyone interested in the first century AD. Much info on culture & religion. I used the book as a research resource and found it valuable.
Steven Wedgeworth
Edersheim anticipates everything that the 2nd half of the 20th century would say about Jesus and NT theology in light of 2nd Temple Judaism.
Jun 17, 2009 John rated it really liked it
for me, it took some time to get acclimated to his college level writing, but then, I understood it and very much liked it.
Nov 10, 2012 Jim rated it it was amazing
Shelves: jim-s
I love this book. I read it over and over as well as Jesus the Christ by James E . Talmage and The Life of Christ by Frederic William Farrar. All are wonderful reads. I recommend them highly.
Strongtree2 rated it it was amazing
May 10, 2013
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May 14, 2014
John Waldrip
John Waldrip rated it it was amazing
Jan 18, 2016
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Jun 30, 2013
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Dec 24, 2013
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Feb 10, 2017
Charles Lyons
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Jun 05, 2014
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Dec 28, 2016
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  • Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels: A Compendium of Contemporary Biblical Scholarship
  • Dictionary of Biblical Imagery
  • Lexical Aids for Students of New Testament Greek
  • Annals of the World
  • New Testament History
  • The Complete Works
  • Greek New Testament
  • Jesus and the Gospels
  • Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament
  • New Testament Survey
  • The Words and Works of Jesus Christ: A Study of the Life of Christ
  • Jesus and the Victory of God (Christian Origins and the Question of God, #2)
  • New Testament Commentary Survey
  • Apostolic Preaching of the Cross. Revised. (ISBN: 080281512X / 0-8028-1512-X)
  • Romans
  • The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament
  • Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words: With Topical Index
  • The Gospel of Mark (New International Commentary on the New Testament)
Edersheim was a scholar and writer on the traditions of the Jewish faith and Life of Christ He was born March 7th, 1825 in the city of Vienna, Austria. His parents Marcus and Stephanie Beifuss were of the Jewish faith. In Vienna he studied in the gymnasium and University of Austria.

Around 1845 he moved to Pesth, Hungary where he met John Duncan and other Presbyterian ministers, who were chaplains
More about Alfred Edersheim...

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