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Life in Year One: What the World Was Like in First-Century Palestine

3.30  ·  Rating Details  ·  223 Ratings  ·  48 Reviews
For anyone who's ever pondered what everyday life was like during the time of Jesus comes a lively and illuminating portrait of the nearly unknown world of daily life in first-century Palestine.

What was it like to live during the time of Jesus?

Where did people live?

Who did they marry?

And what was family life like?

How did people survive?

These are just some of the qu
Hardcover, 241 pages
Published March 18th 2010 by Riverhead Hardcover (first published February 25th 2010)
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May 31, 2011 Carla rated it liked it
This book has some interesting details about life in Jesus' time (though as the author goes through great pains to express - this is NOT a book ABOUT JESUS!). If you are preaching on the Good Samaritan story, or the healing of the lepers, or anything about dead people, you may want to reference this book. It's a good book to read to get a general sense of life in Jesus' time, but it's pretty target focused to its more intellectual Christian audience. Another comment: do NOT skip the footnotes. I ...more
John Behle
Jul 08, 2016 John Behle rated it liked it
Informative, colorful, with a sprinkling of humor, Scott Korb relates many of the ways of life in Year One to today.

We are so fortunate to have the Bible. While many ancient text scholars pooh-pooh using the Bible as a reference work for day-to-day life "back then", but why not? The New Testament has several authors, written in differing stages, but all recording, in famed graphic detail, the start of Common Era.

While Korb makes great pains to say this is not another book about Jesus, to be sur
Jun 19, 2010 Julie rated it liked it
Not as interesting as I would have hoped. Korb writes with tons of footnotes on every page, which makes the reading experience a bit schizophrenic. Korb also says often that figuring out what life was like in first-century Palestine is a guessing game since there is such a tiny amount of recorded history. I wish Korb had guessed more -- I would have liked details instead of generalities. I can imagine for myself what it would be like to live with no running water and no sanitation and no health ...more
Aug 12, 2010 Sarah rated it really liked it
This book (Not, no not, a book about Jesus)was very fun to read. It was written entertainingly and gave context to the time and place that I was unaware of. Definitely written for the lay person, in spite of the occasionally annoying footnotes. However, even those were informative and very often funny too(see tanning with dog feces). How come I never learned in Sunday school that King Herod's genitals were infested with worms?
Jul 22, 2016 Taylor rated it liked it
Pretty fun and relaxing read, very nice break from the heavy academic stuff I was doing at school, which was enjoyable. It got a little *too* casual in tone at times which was kind of annoying and I really feel like it could have done without the author's perpetual need for snarky side comments and speculation. I felt like the author jumped to a lot of conclusions regarding some subjects, such as the status/role of women in this time (I agree that it certainly wasn't *spectacular* but the way it ...more
Dave Reidy
Feb 24, 2010 Dave Reidy marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Scott is a friend and a thoughtful guy. This should be a very interesting book.
Angie Fehl
Dec 09, 2014 Angie Fehl rated it it was ok
Holy footnotes, Batman! As far as a historical read in quick, easy bites, there's some good stuff in here. But UGH, yeah... someone should have advised Korb on the footnotes thing. I was alright with it at first but EVERY page? And then having the footnotes often be longer than the actual text? That just got to feeling excessive and indulgent on the author's part. Particularly when some of the footnotes are only there for him to make a lackluster joke. What could have been a pretty interesting r ...more
Jason Pettus
Sep 20, 2010 Jason Pettus rated it really liked it
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography []. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)

I first became a fan of Scott Korb because of his remarkable 2008 book The Faith Between Us, co-authored with Peter Bebergal, in which through a series of essays disguised as letters the two not only compare and contrast their differing religious beliefs (Catholicism and Judaism), but also what it's like t
Nov 02, 2014 Lauren rated it did not like it
I consider it an act of resilience and fortitude that I managed to make it to the end. There is more than one footnote on literally, not hyperbolically, but literally almost every page, each of them straining to be wittier than the next but only succeeding in being tiring and pointless. The tone of the author is so informal as to make one question whether we're actually reading a researched topic or just chatting around a dinner table regarding a few rumors one has heard. I lost confidence in th ...more
May 19, 2016 Edwin rated it really liked it
Life in year one provides the historical context on what daily life was like in the 1st century Palestine under the Roman Empire control, from 5 BC (which is believed to be the year Jesus was born) until 70 AD (the year the Romans destroyed Jerusalem's Second Temple).

This isn't a book about Jesus though, instead it's more about his neighbours, his fellow Bethlehemite and Nazarene, the politics and economics in his area, the origin of the language he uses (a form of Greek known as Koine), the foo
Jan 15, 2011 Michelle rated it liked it
Shelves: history
This COULD have been pretty interesting, but the author's smug tone, silly footnotes, and all-around trying-to-be-too-clever did grate after a bit. Couldn't tell the author's exact position on who Jesus really was--there were a few kind of condescending comments, but by and large, the author kept insisting the book was NOT about Jesus. Kind of odd, really, since why else would anyone write or read a book about the first century A.D.? Without that one thing, why not the third century BC or the se ...more
John Hornyak
Mar 20, 2013 John Hornyak rated it it was amazing
Currently re-reading. This is a very logical look at what we really know about the time period without too many religious overtones. The author employs extensive footnotes and provides a fair critique of other works such as those by Crossan and Daniel-Rops. This is a light and thought-provoking read for anyone interested in a realistic approach to history.
Jun 27, 2012 Thom rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: dean smith
Shelves: non-fiction
A very good breakdown of everyday life, to the extent that it can be imagined from the source materials available. Especially enjoyed the comparison of these materials to what is said in the Bible, shining new light on old verses. Epilog is particularly enjoyable.
May 21, 2010 Bob rated it really liked it
Fun and informative. Not probably appealing to the hard-core historian. They don't like "fun."
Dec 15, 2012 Louise rated it really liked it
The book reads as though the individual chapters were designed as lectures for a course or as though the author is in your living room with your book club is seated in a circle. The book follows the subtitle more that its title. The author explains the difference, this century in Palestine started in a very different way than it ended.

Chapters cover Palestine's changing relationship to Rome, its money/economy, homes, food, views on cleanliness, health, respect, religion, death and war. The final
Michael Henebry
This book is pretty decent if you're interested in knowing what it was to be a Jew in 1st century Palestine. There were some insights that the author was able to give such as the growing dynamic between Rome and Israel at the time. I always knew that Rome was oppressing Israel but Korb gives specific details as to how and why they were doing so. As the author says many times throughout the book, this book is not about Jesus. This is fine but my only criticism is that when Korb is talking about C ...more
If you are interested in knowing what life was like in Palestine at the time Jesus, then you will like this book. It is not about Jesus but about how the Jewish people lived. There are many footnotes, which can become a bit tiresome, since they are in smaller print than the text. I think some of the footnotes could have been incorporated in the text.
Greg Gildersleeve
Jul 28, 2013 Greg Gildersleeve rated it really liked it
In-depth, insightful and easy to read exploration of life in Palestine during the First Century A.D., or as much of it as can be pieced together. Korb takes us through every facet of life imaginable, from death to taxes, from religion to respect. The book is at turns humorous and horrifying (as when it describes crucifixion)-- an eye-opener.

Virtually every page contains lengthy footnotes that either refer to his many sources or provide additional commentary and aside. While some of the footnotes
Doug Kolar
I'm not sure what I was expecting with this book(1), but at least it wasn't written like a history book. It was written in an easier to read mash-up of other authors takes and general assumptions on what life was like way back then. I would say that if you've watched HBO's Rome (which is roman soldier centric), you could probably follow the stories behind Kevin McKidd and Ray Stevenson's character and come up with something close to the views presented in Korb's book (2).

1. I definitely was not
Jun 27, 2011 Joshua rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2011
Shortish book by Scott Korb that looks into various elements of what it might have been like to live in Palestine in the time of Jesus. Some essays are obviously more interesting than others, but the overall message I took from the book: I would NOT want to have lived in this era! Filthy, disease ridden, short life spans, war, famine, no indoor plumbing, no air conditioning! This wasn't the easiest time to live your life to say the least. Korb likes to write footnotes. There is rarely a page wit ...more
Rocky Curtiss
Nov 23, 2015 Rocky Curtiss rated it really liked it
Very informative, and fit what I was looking for when I checked it out from the library. The author was diligent at trying to be accurate without negating the biblical narrative. It was well researched. I could have used a bit more detail on a normal daily life, but I tend to agree with Korb that there are few definitive details.
Michael Edwards
Oct 27, 2015 Michael Edwards rated it it was ok
This collection of authors notes tells the story of why he was unable to give us much information about the subject of the book, with 20% of the authors notes talking about Jesus, and why the book isn't about Jesus.
John Allenson
Mar 20, 2011 John Allenson rated it it was ok
I picked up this book in an attempt to do some research on the daily lives of people in Judea around the first century. The cover really does say it all-it's dominated by a blank space in the shape of Jesus.

The author can't get away from talking about not talking about Jesus. He spends so much time not talking about Jesus that he has virtually no time to actually talk about things like clothing, non-Jewish populations of Palestine in the first century and the affect of non-Judeaen Jewish populat
I was pretty excited about this book. While there was good information, it could have been presented much more memorably and concisely. The author spent waaaay too much time trying to convince the reader (and unsuccessfully) that this book is NOT about Jesus. He also has way to many footnotes, many of which are unnecessary. Basically, his writing style was super annoying, and because of all the extra fluff, it was hard to get to and focus on the real information about the 1st century, which is t ...more
Rachel Towns
Mar 14, 2016 Rachel Towns rated it really liked it
Good general introduction to life in first century. Useful for theology or for the general reader... Though some ideas could be complex if you were not used to them
Although easy to read and written in an accessible conversational style, footnotes and a bibliography, this book still lacks (for me) the rigor of such standard texts as Daily Life in the Time of Jesus (a book which in itself has some problems), and the comparisons between the 1st century and present day will, perhaps too quickly date the book in itself, while also making me at times skeptical(?) of the author's biases. still there are some interesting facts and musings--I found the chapter on " ...more
Aug 15, 2010 Carol rated it really liked it
I had mixed feeling on this book. Was it informational? Yes, some chapters more so than others. Did it leave me with a desire to read more on the subject? Yes, definitely would like to spend some time reading more about the Roman Empire and from Antiquities of the Jews by Josephus. Did the author drive me nuts? That would be a definite yes as well. He seemed very arrogant to me. You may wonder how that could come across in a book. For starters he used footnotes on every page. I am used to footno ...more
Nancy Moffett
Feb 26, 2014 Nancy Moffett rated it liked it
A little disrespectful of Jewish/Christian beliefs, annoying tone -too chatty for my taste. Still, he injected realism into a period of history that is often romanticized. Not terrible.
Jean Hoefling
Feb 10, 2015 Jean Hoefling rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a fun book for people interested in the culture of this time period.
This was an interesting journey into first-century Palestine, but it wasn't as good as I thought it would be. For someone who keeps insisting the book isn't about Jesus, the author sure talks about Jesus a lot. His numerous footnotes (on practically every page, sometimes more than one) range between fascinating to annoying, and I think the epilogue, about his own 21st-century trip to Bethlehem, was kind of out-of-place. But I did learn a lot, and I liked Korb's translations of King James Bible v ...more
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