I’m often asked, “Where did you get this stuff?” It began when my friend Gayle Erwin explained the seating arrangements at the Last Supper. Later, while in Israel with Gayle, we saw a live version of the same study with a complete biblical meal hosted by the colleagues of Dr. Jim Fleming. These events transformed my understanding of the Bible, but I still needed to verify the data and the journey began.

I soon realized that the bulk of the available scholarship had been seriously neglected. People gradually lost interest in this vital field of study and many important books fell out of print or languished in second-hand shops and university libraries. Thankfully, passionate investigators like Gayle Erwin and Dr. Jim Fleming sparked renewed interest in Biblical backgrounds, ancient Semitic culture and Hebrew logic.

Here is a partial list of resources that contributed to the content of my study and presentations.

Arnold, Clinton E. Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2002

Bailey, Kenneth E. Poet and Peasant. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1976

Bailey, Kenneth E. Through Peasant’s Eyes. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1980

Bailey, Kenneth E. Jesus through Middle Eastern Eyes. Downers Grove, IN: IVP Academic, 2008

Bailey, Kenneth E. The Good Shepherd. Downers Grove, IN: IVP Academic, 2014

Beard, Mary. Confronting the Classics

Beard, Mary. SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome.

Berman, Joshua. The Temple: Its Symbolism and Meaning Then and Now. Northvale, NJ: Jason Aaronson, Inc., 1995

Bowen, Barbara M. Strange Scriptures that Perplex the Western Mind. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1940

Brickner, David. Christ in the Feast of Tabernacles. Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 2006

Chill, Abraham. The Minhagim: The Customs and Ceremonies of Judaism, Their Origins and Rationale. New York, NY: Sepher-Hermon Press, Inc., 1979

Collins, Larry & Lapierre, Dominique. O Jerusalem! Day by Day and Minute by Minute: The Historic Struggle for Jerusalem and the Birth of Israel

Connolly, Peter. The Jews in the Time of Jesus. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1983

Cross, Frank Moore. From Epic to Canon: History and Literature in Ancient Israel. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998

Daniel-Rops, Henri. Daily Life in the Time of Jesus. New York, NY: Hawthorn Books, Inc., 1962

De Silva, David A. Honor, Patronage, Kinship & Purity: Unlocking New Testament Culture. Downers Grove. IL: InterVarsity Press, 2000

De Vaux, Roland. Ancient Israel. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1997

Edersheim, Alfred. The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah.Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1972

Edersheim, Alfred, Sketches in Jewish Social Life in the Days of Christ, Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1967

Erwin, Gayle D. The Jesus Style. Cathedral City, CA: Yahshua Publishing, 1983

Erwin, Gayle D. The Father Style: A fresh look at the nature of God the Father. Cathedral City, CA: Yahshua Publishing, 1994

Erwin, Gayle D. Not Many Mighty. Cathedral City, CA: Yahshua Publishing, 2006

Erwin, Gayle D. Video lecture, The Last Supper. Cathedral City, CA: Yahshua Publishing

Feely-Harnik, Gillian. The Lord’s Table: The Meaning of Food in Early Judaism and Christianity. Washington DC: Smithsonian Books, 1994

Fleming, James, Ed.D. Jesus in Jerusalem. Jerusalem, Israel: Biblical Resources, 1990

Fleming, James, Ed.D. The Life of the Shepherd, Farmer and Village in Biblical Times. La Grange, GA, USA: Biblical Resources, 2007

Fleming, James, Ed.D. Passover and the Last Supper. Jerusalem, Israel: Biblical Resources, 1990

Fleming, James, Ed.D. Survey of the Life of Jesus. Jerusalem, Israel: Biblical Resources, 1990

Fleming, James, Ed.D. The World of the Bible Gardens. Jerusalem, Israel: Biblical Resources, 1999

Frankopan, Peter. The Silk Roads: A New History of the World.

Garland, Robert. The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World. The Great Courses, Colgate University, Audiobook.

Gonzalez, Justo. The History of Christianity, Vol. 1: The Early Church to the Dawn of the Reformation.

Goodman, Naomi, et al. The Good Book Cook Book. Grand Rapids, MI: Candle Books, a Division of Baker House Publishing, 1995

Greenberg, Rabbi Irving. The Jewish Way: Living the Holidays. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, 1988

Gross, David C. & Esther R. Under the Wedding Canopy: Love & Marriage in Judaism. New York, NY: Hippocrene Books, 1996

Guzik, David. Bible Commentary. Simi Valley, CA: Enduring Word Media, 2000

Herodotus. The Persian Wars

Josephus (T.R. Whiston, translator). Antiquities of the Jewsand TheWars of the Jews. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1960

Juster, Daniel. Jewish Roots: A Foundation of Biblical Theology for Messianic Judaism. Rockville, MD: DAVAR Publishing, 1986

Kasdan, Barney. God’s Appointed Customs. Baltimore, MD: Messianic Jewish Publishers,1998

Kasdan, Barney. God’s Appointed Times. Baltimore, MD: Messianic Jewish Publishers, 1998

Khodadad, Keith Elijah. The Passover at the Time of Christ. Miami, FL: HardPress Publishing, reprinted from London Jew’s Society, 1909

Khodadad, Keith Elijah. The Social Life of a Jew in the Time of Christ. London: Church Missions to the Jews, 1929, reprinted 1959

King, Philip J. and Lawrence E. Stager. Life in Biblical Israel. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2001

Knight, George W. The Illustrated Guide to Bible Customs and Curiosities. Uhrichsville, OH: Barbour Publishing, 2007

Kolach, Alfred J. The Jewish Book of Why. Middle Village, New York, NY: Jonathan David Publishers, 1995

Madden, Thomas F. Istanbul: City of Majesty at the Crossroads of the World.

Maxwell, Desi. Jesus in His Jewish World(DVD). Lisburn, N. Ireland: Xplorations Ministries, 2010

Mazar, Eilat. The Complete Guide to the Temple Mount Excavations. Jerusalem, Israel: Shalom Academic Research and Publication, Old City Press, 2002

Montefiore, Simon Seabag. Jerusalem: The Biography.

Nun, Mendel. The Sea of Galilee and Its Fishermen in the New Testament. Israel: Kibbutz En Gev, 1989

Pinto, Hannaniah and James W. Fleming, Ed.D. Jesus’ Last Night with His Disciples. La Grange, GA: Biblical Resources, LLC, 2008

Pixner, Bargil O.S.B. With Jesus in Jerusalem: His Last Days in Judea. Israel: Corazin Publishing, Rosh Pina, 1996

Pixner, Bargil O.S.B. With Jesus Through Galilee According to the Fifth Gospel. Israel: Corazin Publishing, Rosh Pina, 1992

Price, S.R.F. Rituals and Power: The Roman Imperial Cult in Asia Minor. Cambridge University Press, 1984

Pritchard, James B. The Ancient Near East: An Anthology of Texts and Pictures, Israel. Princeton University Press, 1958

Probert, Robert. I Am My Beloved’s. Colton, CA: Sherea Press Publishing, 1992

Punton, Anne, The World Jesus Knew,Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1996

Rice, Edwin Wilbur. Orientalisms in Bible Lands. American Sunday School Union, 1910

Ritmeyer, Leen and Kathleen. Jerusalem in the Year 30 A.D. Jerusalem, Israel: Carta, 2004

Rivers, Charles, Editor. Antioch: The History and Legacy of the Ancient Syrian City Established by the Seleucid Empire

Rivers, Charles, Editor. Scythia: The History and Legacy of the Scythians.

Sacks, Stuart, Hebrews Through a Hebrew’s Eyes: Hope in the Midst of a Hopeless World. Baltimore, MD: Lederer Books, a division of Messianic Jewish Publishers, 1995

Simon, Roni. The Story of Israel: One Land, Many Civilizations, One Promise—4000 years of History. Jerusalem: 2008

Spangler, Ann and Lois Tverber. Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus: How the Jewishness of Jesus Can Transform Your Faith. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2009

Stern, David H. The Jewish New Testament Commentary. Baltimore: Messianic Jewish Resources International, 1992

Stern, David H. Restoring the Jewishness of the New Testament. Clarksville, MD, USA: Jewish New Testament Publications, 1990

Unterman, Alan. Dictionary of Jewish Lore and Legend. London: Thames and Hudson Ltd., 1991

Vamosh, Miriam Feinberg. Daily Life at the Time of Jesus. Herzila, Israel: Palphot Ltd. 1999

Vamosh, Miriam Feinberg. Food at the Time of the Bible. Herzila, Israel: Palphot Ltd., 2004

Vamosh, Miriam Feinberg. Women at the Time of the Bible. Herzila, Israel: Palphot Ltd., 2007

Wagner, Jr., Clarence H. Lessons from the Land of the Bible. Israel: Bridges for Peace, 1998

Walter, Dany and Deborah Lynch. The Promised Land: God’s Schoolhouse for the Understanding of the Scriptures. Israel: 2008

Wight, Fred H. Manners and Customs of Bible Lands. Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1953

[Please note that some of the above authors embrace a rationalist view of the Bible known as the Documentary Hypothesis, a position that rejects the possibility of miracles and of God speaking to people. I profoundly disagree with this position. These are included in my bibliography due to their excellent empirical data, even though their contextual interpretation is contentious at best.]