We live in an age of great change, and it is for this reason that books become dated. The knowledge
explosion ensures that any book eventually has to be revised in order to keep its reader fully informed.
There are also styles in writing and illustration that are characteristic of a particular time and place.
These things have been true of Manners and Customs of Bible Lands, which was written by Fred
Wight in 1953. Historians, archaeologists, social anthropologists, and theologians have worked hard on
the Scripture text and at sites in the Holy Land to provide more information for the person who wants a
deeper understanding of the Bible’s setting. Much of their work is referred to in the bibliography of this book.
But there is another reason books become dated. They sometimes so stimulate the readers’
appetites that those persons want more. This updated and rewritten version of Manners and Customs of
Bible Lands has attempted to provide additional information to meet such a need. In addition, travel
to the Holy Land has shown many Christians that Bible background is a help in making Scriptures come alive.
After travelers return home they want information of a more satisfying kind than they were able to glean
from a short visit. Opportunity has been taken within this book to help people who still plan to visit
the Holy Land.
Not only do many Christians owe Fred Wight a debt for opening their eyes and for creating
an appetite for more, but they also ought to give him credit as they read this new book. Before I wrote
it I read the older work several times until it became part of my own thinking. In the work of Christian
ministry truly we enter into each others’ labours.
I pray that the work we have both done, and the results of scholars’ work made known during
the past thirty years, will so stimulate readers to thirst for more.
Ralph Gower London 1986