All the People in the Bible: An A-Z Guide to the Saints, Scoundrels, and Other Characters in Scripture

All the People in the Bible: An A-Z Guide to the Saints, Scoundrels, and Other Characters in Scripture

All the People in the Bible: An A-Z Guide to the Saints, Scoundrels, and Other Characters in Scripture

All the People in the Bible: An A-Z Guide to the Saints, Scoundrels, and Other Characters in Scripture

Synopsis

"More than any other book, the Bible offers an amazing collection of fascinating characters ranging from the holiest of the holy to some of the most depraved scoundrels imaginable. Many are mentioned only in passing, yet history and archaeology can often fill in the blanks and flesh them out as exciting human beings. For this reason we have in many cases been able to tell much more about them than the Bible alone reveals."
-- Richard R. Losch (from the preface)A comprehensive gathering of persons found in the Bible, including the Apocrypha, All the People in the Bible really delivers on its title: literally all of the Bible's characters appear in this fascinating reference work. From the first article on Aaron to the final entry on Zophar, Richard Losch details each person in a lively narrative style.The bulk of the book consists of Losch's A-Z articles covering the familiar and the not-so-familiar figures in Scripture. Names of people who are found only in genealogies or who had no significant effect on history are included solely in the alphabetical listing starting on page 452. That listing, "All the People in the Bible and Apocrypha," includes pronunciations, brief identifications, and biblical references. Persons covered in greater detail in the main part of the book are identified in bold print.Losch's intriguing look at all the people in the Bible is anything but a dry reference work. This is a book to dip into and enjoy over and over.

Excerpt

More than any other book, the Bible offers an amazing collection of fascinating characters ranging from the holiest of the holy to some of the most depraved scoundrels imaginable. Many are mentioned only in passing, yet history and archaeology can often fill in the blanks and flesh them out as exciting human beings. For this reason we have in many cases been able to tell much more about them than the Bible alone reveals. Pontius Pilate, for example, is presented rather gently by the writers of the Gospels, yet historical records and tradition show him to have been a loathsome person.

There are many biblical names not included here except in the appendix. Many are listed in genealogies and nothing more is known of them, and others had no significant effect on history or legend. For example, there are thirtyone Azariahs in the Bible, yet in our opinion only two merit attention, and they are better known by other names: Azariah the friend of Daniel, better known as Abednego, and Azariah the king of Judah, better known as Uzziah. On the other hand, we have included several individuals who are not actually mentioned in the Bible, yet were very much involved in the events of the time. For example, the Seleucid emperors and the Hasmonean kings are ignored in the Bible, and only a few of them are mentioned in the Apocrypha. Nevertheless, they played a major role in the transition from Old to New Testament times. Alexander the Great and the Roman emperor Claudius had a profound effect on the history of biblical times, yet for a number of reasons they are either ignored or mentioned only in passing in the Bible. Likewise, it is impossible to get a full picture of any of the Herods without looking at a cross section of their whole amazingly dysfunctional family and seeing the incredible contrasts in them. Probably the best of the lot was Herod Agrippa I, who, despite his warts and his persecution of James and Peter, was a faithful Jew and basically a good man. His daughter Bernice, on the other hand, was married to two of her uncles while she carried on an incestuous affair with her brother, until she left that all behind to become the mistress of the Roman emperor’s son.

We cannot draw a neat line and put saints on one side and scoundrels on the other. in fact, most of the great leaders of Judaism and Christianity started out as the worst sort of scoundrels. Abraham lied and cheated his way through Egypt in order to save his own skin. Jacob bilked his brother out of his birthright, then deceived and lied to his father in order to cheat his brother out of his paternal blessing. David was a liar, an adulterer and murderer, a terrible husband and a worse father. Matthew was a publican, the most contemptible kind of traitor to his own people. Tradition paints Mary Magdalene as a prostitute, even though the Bi-

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