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Rose Publishing continues to provide excellent resources for church & home. Thousands of homeschool families have found their publications to be extremely helpful for their study of the Bible and church history.

Ten years ago they published a wonderful set of maps called Then and Now Bible Maps. That resource continues to be in print, but they’ve now released a Deluxe version of the Atlas with double the number of pages, and a CD-ROM with each of the maps in .jpg and .pdf format. There on five maps on the period from Beginnings to the Exodus; four maps on the Conquest & the Judges; five maps on the Divided Kingdom; five maps on the Life of Jesus; and seven maps on Paul’s Journeys and the Spread of Christianity.

Along with each map in this spiral bound reference book is a clear overlay with modern-day boundaries and place names. It is extremely helpful for students (and teachers) to see the modern nations and cities that correspond with biblical places.

Deluxe Then and Now Bible Maps is a hardback (with spiral binding inside), 40 pages, and sells for $29.99 direct from Greenleaf Press.

Rose Pamphlets

Rose is also the publisher of an excellent series of 12-panel reference pamphlets on a wide variety of biblical reference and church history topics. I particularly like their compact timelines and their apologetics topics like Denominations, Translations, Worldviews, and Eastern Religions. Greenleaf stocks all of these pamphlets. They’re well organized, well-researched, balanced, and designed to fit neatly inside a Bible as a reference tool. They’re very affordable, at $3.99 each.

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The full title is:

The Christmas Story
From the King James Bible * According to the Gospels of Matthew and Luke
Paintings by Gennady Spirin

It’s quite unusual to find a modern artist whose style evokes the late medieval/early renaissance style of Giotto and Fra Angelico – but Gennady Spirin is such an artist. Spirin was born in the USSR in 1948 and studied at the Academy of Arts in Moscow. He came to the US in 1991. He has won four gold medals from the Society of Illustrators in New York.

Kathy Viksjo writes in The Times on June 7, 1998:

“He incorporates Raphael’s rich color—deep gold, blue and crimson reds—together with the Italian master’s classical compositions, into many of his illustrations. The microscopic precision of his super—realism recalls Flemish great Jan Van Eyck, while Spirin’s unbelievable graphic facility is like that of German Renaissance artist, Albert Durer…Even at first glance, viewers intuitively know that this is one of the masters of our time…Spirin is like a magician, using his paint brush as a wand.”

This is not a coffee-table art book. It is a comfortable 7.5″ x 7.5″ It is a book to be read out loud with a child in your lap – slowly, allowing reader and listener to linger and marvel over the beauty of the paintings.

The text and paintings move gracefully through the familiar sections of the Christmas narrative, weaving together the passages from Luke and Matthew. Gennady works in tempera, watercolor, and pencil. He quotes from the great masters of western Christian art, but in his own distinctively delicate style.

There is the Annunciation, the Journey to Bethlehem, the angels and the shepherds, the journey of the wise men, and finally the classic iconic scene of the Adoration of the Magi. Here are four examples:

The Christmas Story has just been released by Henry Holt this month for Christmas, 2008. It is a hardback, 32 pages and may be ordered directly from Greenleaf Press for $12.95.

– Rob Shearer
Publisher, Greenleaf Press

For those of us who are book-lovers (and if you’re not, one wonders why you’re reading this blog!), this is a delight. It is billed as “the story of writing – from ancient picture scripts to medieval manuscripts and modern printed books.”

As with all the Eyewitness Books, this one is a visual feast. There are 25 two-page spreads, each illustrated with photographs of museum-quality artifacts. There is a bit of overview text, and then lengthy captions underneath each photograph describing the item in detail. The spreads are titled:

What is writing?

On Press

First signs

Early printed books

Writing with signs

Typefaces

Egyptian writing

Binding

ABC…

Illustrated books

Before paper

Learning words

Paper

Handwriting

A medieval Psalter

Children’s books

Manuscript books

Words at work

Books from Asia

The typewriter

Islamic books

The book market

Getting ready to print

Keeping your words

Typesetting

Examples of medieval handwritten manuscript books

There is a fascinating chart on page 16 showing the alphabet family which compares the letter forms from Phoenician, Modern Hebrew, Early Greek, Classical Greek, Etruscan, Classical Roman, and Modern Roman.

As you can see from the spread titles above, the focus is on book-making BEFORE the 20th century. There is no coverage of modern book-making machinery or computer typesetting. For those topics, though, there are other books.

With its 8 page center section devoted to Gutenberg, moveable type, and his press, this book makes an excellent resource for anyone studying the invention of the printing press. It will give you extensive background on how “books” were created in the ancient world, which helps you to understand the significance of what Gutenberg accomplished.

I’ve scanned three of the sample spreads and placed them to the left here.

This is a reproduction of the Gutenberg press

Gutenberg Bible on the right, Caxton’s Canterbury Tales on the left, and an Aldine edition from Venice in the center.

Book, like all the other Eyewitness Books is a hardback, 64 pages, with a price of $15.99. It can be ordered directly from Greenleaf Press by clicking here.

– Rob Shearer
Publisher, Greenleaf Press

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catalog cover

The New Greenleaf Press catalog is done! Yeah!

This is NOT a full catalog, listing ALL of the products we sell. We continue to add products (now over 1400!) and update the online store every week and a full printed catalog would be out of date before it could even be printed. This is, instead a summary of the history study packages, Famous Men” books, Reformation biographies, and English for the Thoughtful Child, volumes 1 & 2 – and a few selected titles for each time period. ALL of our titles are available and in-stock.

You can download the .pdf by clicking here or on the cover image above. And you can always order online or look up complete reviews on any product we carry at the Greenleaf online store.

Hard-copy should be in the mail next week.

– Rob Shearer

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bible timeline cover

bible time line inside

Rose Publishing Company has long been one of my favorites. The company was started in 1991 by a Sunday School teacher and a public school teacher and has systematically expanded their line of charts, maps, and pamphlets. While the charts and maps are marketed primarily for classrooms, the pamphlets are well designed for individual use – in fact, they’re sized just right to slip inside the cover of your Bible. Greenleaf has just added 48 of the Rose pamphlets to our website. Here are the titles:

Here are some pamphlets on Biblical concepts & themes:

In addition to the Bible reference pamphlets, there are several very nice pamphlets dealing with church history:

Finally, there are 13 pamphlets that summarize key issues in apologetics: comparing Christianity with various competing worldviews, religions, and cults:

And finally, there are two pamphlets on Abstinence & Dating that are very concise & effective in communicating with young people:

Each of these pamphlets is only $3.99, and can be ordered directly from Greenleaf Press. We’ve set up a separate category for the Rose Reference Pamphlets, as well as including many of them in our Bible section.

– Rob Shearer
Director, Schaeffer Study Center
Publisher, Greenleaf Press

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caedmonAn unusual topic for a children’s book, but the result is delightful! Caedmon’s Song by Ruth Ashby tells the story of a 7th century cowherd who became a songwriter. We have only one hymn that he wrote (Caedmon’s Hymn), but it is the earliest known writing in Old English, or Anglo-Saxon. The story of Caedmon is told in Bede‘s Ecclesiastical History of the English People, written in 731 AD.

With a simple, straightforward text, the book tells the story of Caedmon, who works for the abbey taking care of the cows. “He slept with the cows, and he ate with the cows. Cows were his life.” And he hated poetry.

He hated poetry, because he had none. The custom among the villagers on a feast day, was to sit around the hearth at night, “telling stories of heroes and monsters, great battles fought and fortunes made and lost.” They passed the harp around the tables and each took his turn singing a song and telling a story. Caedmon could never think of anything to tell or of any song to sing. No wonder he hated poetry.

When once again on St. Stephen’s feast one year, Caedmon cannot think of a thing to say or sing, he storms out of the hall, furious and embarrassed.

As he slept later that night in the cowshed, a young man came to him in a dream and commanded him to sing him a song. Caedmon opens his mouth and sings a song celebrating God’s creation of the world. That nine-line song is the only one of his writings to survive.

When he sang his song to the others in the village the next day, they were astounded. Here was Caedmon, who hated poetry, singing a new song, which he had composed himself! How was this possible?!

Then it was seen by all even as it was, that to him from God himself a heavenly gift had been given. Then they spoke to him and told some holy story and divine words of knowledge; they bade him then, if he could, that he turn it into poetical rhythm. Then, when he had undertaken it in this manner, then he went home to his house, and came again in the morning, and with the best adorned song he sang and rendered what he was bid (to recite.

Bede‘s biography of Caedmon tells us that he wrote many hymns:

. . . he wrought many songs. And so also many others he made about divine mercy and judgment. In all of them he eagerly sought to pull men away from love of sin and criminal deeds, and to love and to zealously awake to (the doing) of good deeds. For he was a very devout man . . .

The abbess persuaded him to become a monk and she saw to it that he was taught all of the stories from the Bible. And Caedmon spent the rest of his days writing songs to the glory of God.

This is a wonderful story to share with children. It celebrates the gift of creativity that God gives to some of us – and highlights the important role that music and hymns have always played in the worship of the church. It is also a warm and affectionate picture of what life was like in the early centuries of the middle ages – after Rome fell, after the conquest of the Angles and the Saxons, and before the rise of the kingdom of England.

Caedmon’s Song is a $16.00 hardback, 32 pages oversize, color illustrations – available from Greenleaf Press. The publisher’s write-up designates the reading audience as ages 5 and up.

– Rob Shearer
Publisher, Greenleaf Press
Director, Schaeffer Study Center

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Dr Ruth Beechick is a wise woman. Her quiet, calm, commonsense approach toThree Rs homeschooling has been refreshing and relaxing homeschool moms for twenty years now. I would strongly contend that the only book you need to teach your children in grades one to three is her Three R’s: A Home Start in Reading; A Strong Start in Language; An Easy Start in Arithmetic ($12.00).

Dr. Beechick has an uncanny ability to examine a subject and think clearly about how it should be taught and how it can best be taught easily. She has a firm grasp of the history of education that makes her almost immune to educational fads and hype.

Beechick Biblical Home EdLast year, she published a foundational book that I cannot recommend too highly: A Biblical Home Education ($14.99).

Her central thesis is that Christian homeschoolers ought to make the Bible the foundational book of their children’s education. Amen!

Her first four chapter discuss practically how to do this:

Bible for Homeschoolers
World History to Match the Bible
Science to Match the Bible
Worldviews to Match the Bible

The next five chapters of her book focus on skills rather than content: Thinking, Reading, Studying, Writing, and Grammar after Writing. Cyndy (the beautiful Mrs. Greenleaf) strongly endorses Ruth’s ideas about “grammar last,” AFTER your students have mastered speaking clearly and have acquired basic writing skills.
Finally, she gives us a wonderful chapter on “Informal Beginnings,” that takes much of the sensible observations of the “unschoolers” and sets them in context as she talks about how young children first begin to acquire skills by conversation, manipulation, and play. The best line from this chapter, “. . . moms need to know that what their children need most is their natural, loving, peaceful home environment.”

The last chapter is titled Curriculum Materials. The opening line offers some of the best advice I’ve heard, “Curriculum materials are less important than we tend to think.” Dr. Beechick gives a concise summary of the many types of curriculum and offers her concise advice on the strengths and weaknesses of each. Of course, I like her advice on how to teach history, “use real books not textbooks.” Though I would quibble a bit with her dismissal of doing thing in chronological sequence. I agree its not absolutely necessary, but I think, overall, that it makes things easier.

This is a great book to recommend to new homeschooling moms. It will give them a valuable perspective and help to reassure them that homeschooling does not have to be hard.

A Biblical Home Education is $14.99 and can be ordered from Greenleaf Press.

The Three R’s is $12.00 and is also available from Greenleaf Press.

– Rob Shearer
Director, Schaeffer Study Center
Publisher, Greenleaf Press

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Its a frequent canard from those who have objections to Christianity – the idea that Jesus was a much nicer man than Paul. Jesus is love and compassion. Paul was a misogynist and homophobe (i.e. he hated women and gays). Lurking behind this is the idea that Jesus never really claimed to be God – it was his followers and the early church who got carried away, made claims on his behalf that he never would have endorsed, and “invented” Christianity as a religion.

In the early 1990’s, A.N. Wilson, a British author, biographer, journalist, and lapsed Christian wrote a book titled, Jesus: A Life. He dismissed the biblical accounts as completely unreliable fabrications and proceeded to tell the world an entertaining story about the Life of Jesus as revealed to A.N. Wilson – without much evidence of course, but very imaginative.What Paul Said A very important scholarly response was forthcoming from the learned Bishop of Durham, N.T. Wright in 1997: What Saint Paul Really Said. This short (180 page) volume is rooted in thorough scholarship and a lifetime of study and appreciation for the New Testament texts and the history of the New Testament world. Wright decisively refutes A.N.Wilson on every point in dispute.

But Wright’s book is useful in ways that transcend its immediate purpose. His first chapter is a concise and very useful outline of the history of Pauline studies in the 20th century. His second chapter is by far the best discussion of who the Pharisees were that I have ever read. His third chapter focuses on the original meaning of the word “gospel” in the Greek and Roman world. I thought I knew what the word meant, but I was wrong. It is a technical term in Greek, meaning the announcement of a great military victory, or the rule of a new king or emperor. Jesus death and resurrection fit both categories, of course, but it was startling for me to think that the announcement in the marketplace of a new emperor was an “evangelion” as well. This changes what we must think of the political dimension of Christianity. The Roman world proclaimed, “Caesar is Lord!” When Christians proclaimed, “Jesus is Lord!” they were on a collision course with Roman culture, Roman religion, and Roman politics.

Wright’s fourth chapter examines how Paul could proclaim that Jesus was God within the context of strict Jewish mono-theism. He does this by examining closely three core passages from Paul’s letters: 1 Corinthians 8:1-6, Philippians 2:5-11, and Romans 8:1-11. Wright’s study is masterful, insightful, and inspiring.

Wright’s fifth chapter analyzes Paul’s engagement with and challenge to the pagan worldview of his day. Again by closely analyzing what Paul wrote, Wright demonstrates Paul’s faithfulness to Jesus’ teaching as he confronts the pagan world.

Wright’s sixth chapter is a detailed analysis of the word “righteousness” in Paul’s writings. This is a rich vein to mine and Wright uses it to show Paul’s understanding of how Jesus fulfilled the Law and established a new covenantal relationship that included both Jew and Gentile.

Chapter seven analyzes the word “justification” – a concept at the core of Christian theology.

In chapter eight, Wright moves on to examine Paul’s view of the Church. Paul, according to Wright, sees the Church as a community focused on worship, hope in the resurrection, holiness, love, and mission

Chapter nine is a rousing call to take these New Testament concepts and live them out today: Gospel, Justification, and Righteousness

Chapter ten is a reflective summary on the original question: Did Paul found Christianity? Wright’s answer is a decisive “NO!” Paul faithfully taught that which was delivered unto him and his teachings are consistent with and faithful to his Lord, Jesus Christ.

Perhaps the most striking passage from the book for me is the following:

“The gospel is not a set of techniques for making people Christians. The gospel is the announcement that Jesus is Lord!”

This is a rich book. Worth reading and re-reading. I highly recommend it as an introduction to the writings of Paul in particular and the fundamental biblical vocabulary and concepts in general. You can order it directly from Greenleaf Press by clicking here, paperback, 180 pages, $17.00.
And God be praised for the Bishop of Durham!

– Rob Shearer
Publisher, Greenleaf Press
Director, Schaeffer Study Center

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Modern Parables

Modern ParablesThere is a renaissance of Christian film-making going on. As Christian film-makers have acquired more experience and knowledge the quality of their work has been improving dramatically. Just this week, I watched a series of short films (about 12 minutes each) that were scripted and shot to re-tell six of Jesus’ parables. They’re extremely well done and display an awareness and mastery of the vocabulary of film that is a step beyond the sub-genre of “Christian films.”The six films have been produced and packaged together by a Nashville company called Compass Cinema in a boxed set called Modern Parables. The set includes 3 DVDs (with two films each) along with a student book and teacher’s guide. The films are ideal starter material for small group bible studies, youth groups, or Sunday school, or even home school. The accompanying study guides are rich in scriptural content. The point of the study is not to study the film, but to use the film as an aid in understanding the scriptures.The six parables retold are Hidden Treasure, Samaritan, The Shrewd Manager, The Widow & Judge, The Sower, and Prodigal Sons.

After each film there is an onscreen commentary/message by an evangelical pastor (two Presbyterian, two Baptist, and two Independent), including one by Classical homeschooling star George Grant.

There’s also a teacher’s audio CD with audio files that teachers can listen to at their leisure as an additional resource to help prepare for leading discussions.

MP TeachersYou can purchase the boxed set kit (which includes the 3 DVDs, 1 audio CD, Teacher’s Guide, and Student Book) for $129 by clicking here and adding it to your cart. Additional copies of the Teacher’s Guide are 12.99. Additional Student Books are $8.99.
Here’s a link to the online trailer for Prodigal Sons.

This is a very engaging way to study scripture. Its great to see creative Christians mastering this rich medium. Five Stars!

– Rob Shearer
Publisher, Greenleaf Press
Director, Schaeffer Study Center

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epicenterJoel C. Rosenberg has had a fascinating career over the past ten years. He worked for the Heritage Foundation in Washington DC as a researcher. He worked for Steve Forbes and Rush Limbaugh. He’s worked for Benjamin Netanyahu and Natan Scharansky. With his background in politics and communications, and his familiarity with the politics and the players in the Middle East, he decided to write a novel in 2000. The novel begins with a terrorist attack in which airplanes are hijacked and crashed into buildings in the US. The manuscript was completed and was being reviewed for publication in New York city when the deadly attacks on 9/11/2001 occurred.

In Epicenter, Rosenberg returns to non-fiction to provide readers with an update of the startling events unfolding in the Middle East – events which are no secret, but they are being overlooked and go unreported by the mainstream media. Rosenberg sees three remarkable developments occurring right now in the Middle East:

  1.   There is an emerging alliance between Russia and Iran (Magog and Persia) which seems to be a fulfillment of biblical prophecy.
  2.   Israel is experiencing unprecedented economic prosperity – and may be on the verge of discovering oil and gas reserves that will dramatically alter the economic realities of the Middle East.
  3.   Muslims (Arab, Persian, Pakistani) are turning to Christ in record numbers.

Have you read about any of these in the news?

Rosenberg carefully documents what is going on and just as carefully seeks to analyze and understand what is going on in the Middle East from a biblical perspective.
This is a fascinating book. Without being sensationalistic, Rosenberg increases the reader’s understanding of what the future may hold in the Middle East.

You can order directly from Greenleaf Press by clicking here. 

– Rob Shearer,
Directory, Schaeffer Study Center
Publisher, Greenleaf Press

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