Biblical botany meets archaeology with lovely visuals.
Agronomist and botanist Jensen (Bibliography on Seed Morphology, 1998, etc.) brings to an English-speaking audience a translation of his 2004 Danish book, Bibelens Planteverden. The 98 entries cover plants that are mentioned in the Bible and have been found in archaeological digs in Israel and the environs, arranged alphabetically by their English names. Each entry includes the botanical name, the current English name and the name as given in the New Revised Standard Version, Anglicized edition of The Holy Bible. Next comes a miniconcordance of biblical references to the plant, a short botanical description and pertinent archaeological and/or cultural references. Where needed, Jensen discusses translation issues: For example, despite certain translations of Jeremiah 10:5, cucumbers are in fact native to Northern India and their cultivation in Ancient Egypt is not documented. The 20 color images from the Codex Vindobonensis Medicus Craecus I, created from the first to third centuries, benefit from their large, 8.5-by-11 cut size and acid-free paper and are thus particularly interesting because of their date of origin. An additional 111 black-and-white illustrations show botanical details and artifacts from the region that employ botanical elements, such as coins and wall decorations. The book has a detailed, academic approach, including careful annotations for the text and the illustrations, as well as a bibliography and index. Beyond its obvious allure for Bible readers who wish to understand more about the Scriptures’ botanical references, the book will appeal to those interested in botany, archaeology, history and botanical illustration. It would also be a useful addition to the library of anyone interested in the role of plants in folklore.
Beautiful illustrations and fascinating insight into understanding the role of plants in biblical times.