Reviewed by Robert A. KUGLER , Gonzaga University, SPOKANE, WA 99210
Originally published in Italian Atlante Biblico Interdisciplinare [Rome: Edizioni San Paolo, 1998]) this volume provides a wealth of information in a very small package. Perego's aim to serve those who "wish to deepen their knowledge of the Bible by placing themselves in the wider context of the sacred texts" (p. 13) reveals the character of the atlas. It is clearly intended for a lay audience and it also assumes the reader's assent to the sacred character of the biblical record,that is to say, it assumes that the reader is engaged with the Bible as a matter of faith. Perego keeps the atlas true to these aims throughout. With each of the twenty-four chapters, which cover the scope of the biblical narrative, Perego includes six parts. Taking pride of place are the maps, all of which are handsomely produced. Accompanying the maps are discussions of the literary context, historical setting, archaeological evidence, social setting, and exegetical traditions associated with the biblical portions covered.
Although the atlas is aimed at a lay audience, Perego is not fainthearted when it comes to presenting the results of critical scholarship. In virtually all of the sections noted above, but especially in those dealing with the literary, historical, archaeological, and social contexts, he includes many contemporary critical observations on the text and its history. That he does so in such a readable fashion is especially commendable.
It is worth noting that Perego produced most of this volume while in residence at the École Biblique et Archéologique Française in Jerusalem, with the help of Prof. Marcel Baudry, the École's resident authority on the region and its geographical features. Perego took Baudry's instruction well, and has made a very serviceable work from it. The volume is recommended for lay users and parish libraries.