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Prof credits team for award-winning Bible atlas

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FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)–A seminary professor who wrote an award-winning Bible atlas wants the kudos to go to everyone who had a part in what he called a team effort.

The “Holman Bible Atlas” by Thomas Brisco, professor of biblical backgrounds and archaeology at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, won a Gold Medallion Award from the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association at its meeting July 8 in New Orleans.

“A lot of good people did a lot of good things to make an atlas like this,” Brisco said. “The award says all the work was worth it, that the work achieved its purpose.”

He added that the word “team” applies particularly to the production of an atlas because so many people with different specializations are involved, from mapmakers to graphic artists, in addition to the publisher’s efforts to keep the project coordinated.

The atlas was published by Broadman & Holman, a division of the Southern Baptist LifeWay Christian Resources.

Though there have not been many formal reviews of the atlas as of yet, scholars from across the country have been praising the work. Alan Birkey, an associate professor of Greek and religion at Taylor University in Indiana, had kind words for Brisco’s efforts.

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“[The atlas] is a perfect match for what I was looking for and I have thoroughly enjoyed using it this past semester,” said Birkey. “My students had nothing but good to say about it.”

Birkey’s comments are welcomed by Brisco, who said that his aim in creating the atlas was to fill a need for a resource for readers ranging from laypeople and Sunday school teachers to seminary students.

The atlas, which began life in 1986 as an 80-page project and was published last year at 298 pages, won the award in the category of reference works/commentaries, competing with four other finalists.

In judging Gold Medallion entries, the ECPA is guided by four considerations: how effectively the writer addresses the subject matter of a book; the author’s style and expression; the graphic presentation of the book; and the significance of the work’s contribution and the book’s impact on the marketplace.

The atlas includes an extended bibliography, 132 maps, 153 photos and a text that presents a chronological overview of biblical history.

The overview begins with a table of nations and the condition of the ancient Middle East in Paleolithic times and takes the reader through the era of the patriarchs, the Exodus, the monarchy, the intertestamental period, all the way through to the Roman Empire and the Bar-Kochba rebellion. The atlas also features many photographs taken by Brisco during his numerous trips to the region.
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