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December 10, 2013December 10, 2013  0 comments  Books

Daily Life in Biblical Times by Dr. Liora Ravid provides a fascinating examination of daily life and practices in biblical times, and does so by providing a witty and interesting picture into many of the most common bible stories and characters. Social, legal and economic conditions are brought to light, and the clan structure of the families, the rule of the elders who headed their families and decided all matters, and the critical need for multiple wives is also explored as is the the concepts of "blood redeemer" and "land redeemer," and more. It shows how the arid landscape of the land of the Bible influenced the lives of the Biblical heroes.

The use of words within the bible are also examined at depth. Biblical authors made intensive use of wordplays and double, even triple entendres.
For example, the name "Jacob" has three different meanings in Hebrew, which play a crucial role in his story. The meaning of the name "Rebecca" is calf, "Leah" means cow, and "Rachel" means ewe. These three women were born at a flourishing milk farm and thus were named after milk-producing animals. In English, these names have no meaning whatsoever. This book dedicates much attention to the writing technique used by the authors of the Bible which was completely lost in the translation.



Travelujah spoke with the author, Dr. Liora Ravid, an Israeli, with a Ph.D in biblical studies about her work and what inspired her to research and write this book.

T:Tell us about your family and background.

L: I was born in Israel, in a kibbutz named Afikim which is in the Jordan Valley, very close to the Christian tourist center in the Sea of Galilee. My parents were born in Germany and came to Israel before World War II.

As a child, most of the kibbutz members considered the Bible and religion in general to be "old culture" and something that the "new" Israeli should shun, a world view that fit my parents approach to life. But apparently the Bible is part of my DNA, and the fact is that I spent all my adult life researching and teaching it.

T:How do you characterize yourself religiously

L: I live a secular lifestyle.

T:What inspired you to write this book?

L: One of the reasons that I wrote this book is that outside of academic libraries, you can't find a book that's similar to it. The books that deal with the Bible (both Jewish and Christian) that can be found in stores and on Amazon deal with its religious and moral message. They don't deal with the everyday lives of the Biblical heroes, which lived as a clan families where the elders led everything and even judges who sentenced their own family members. The stores don't have books that deal with the structure of the ancient society, polygamy, the girls' marrying age (9-11 years), the way inheritance and economy worked and so forth.

My book is written with a wide audience in mind, so it's not written according to academic standards. However it's very accurate and responsible. In its writing, I used works of many researchers who specialized in the Biblical times and history of the ancient East, archaeological books, works about the language of the Bible (which is dissimilar from modern Hebrew), and of course independent research.

T:What kind of feedback have your received from rabbis, scholars, others?

L: Rabbis usually only discuss religious literature. One cannot expect that they'll respond to a book that was written by a woman. The reviews on Amazon have been mostly excellent and even people with contrary views still praise the book.

T: Tell us about a few of the stories that truly surprised you and the characters that inspired you.  

L: I find myself interested in everything in the bible. Sarah is my biggest hero. Of the men: David. There is no doubt that David was the greatest king in the history of Israel. The New Testament emphasize many times that Jesus belonged to David's dynasty, which shows that Christian also considers him a great king. Philosophically, the book of Jove affected me greatly.

T:What did you learn the most with regard to faith from researching and writing the book?  

 L: I believe that many years of research and teaching bible have had an effect on me. I think the Bible should be a tool that builds bridges between Judaism and Christianity, and not a tool that sets them apart. Indeed, my book deals with issues that are shared to both faiths, which conforms to my own world view.

T:Any future books in your plans?

L: Yes, I'm working on a sequel to the first book. A good deal of the research has already been done, but the writing lies ahead.

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Elisa L. Moed is the Founder and CEO of Travelujah.com the leading Christian social network focused on travel to the Holy Land. People can learn, plan and share their Holy land tour and travel experiences on Travelujah.

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