The books of the New Testament are some of the most extraordinary documents ever created - brilliant, vivid works central to the lives of many millions of readers over the centuries.
Yet, the picture they give of Jesus' world is a very partial one. Written thirty to eighty years after the events they describe and with very specific doctrinal aims they addressed a Greek-speaking audience when Christianity was at its most precarious.
Geza Vermes, one of the world's foremost biblical scholars, is uniquely positioned to guide the reader through the many conundrums presented by the New Testament. 'Who's Who in the Age of Jesus' is an ambitious and enjoyable attempt to sift through all the sources for the period to create biographies of the major (and some fascinating minor) figures from Jesus' era.
The book allows readers to understand a Jewish, Roman and Hellenistic world crowded with explosive, mutually antagonistic groups - a world which would give rise both to a new Judaism and ultimately to Christianity.