The story and images you see in THE REIGN OF GOD are informed by endless hours of research: Reading books and academic papers, listening to podcasts and lectures on the history of ancient Judea and Rome. The bibliography here with links to each media is not complete at all, but represents the main sources I used for the first book.

Lectures and Podcasts

— Marc Goodacre: NT Pod – Mark Goodacre
A wonderful podcast series with various topics on New Testament and early Christianity research, presented by Marc Goodacre of Duke University.

— Thomas Sheehan: Historical Jesus – Stanford Continuing Studies Program
Great introductory lecture series on the historical Jesus and the developments leading up to and following his life by Thomas Sheehan at Stanford University.

— Philip Harland: Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean » Podcast – Philip A. Harland
An eye-opening collection of lectures on ancient religions from Mesopotamia to Rome and how they all influenced the Bible. The series on apocalypticism is especially relevant to the ancient Jesus.


— Scott Korb: Life in Year One
Riverhead Books
This was one of the books I started with and it is an easy to read introduction to the world of Jesus.

— John Dominic Crossan: Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography
Harper One
The go-to introduction to the historical Jesus by one of the most respected scholars in this field.

— Flavius Josephus: The Jewish War
I read the German version of this great ancient classic which inspired me greatly.

— Joan E. Taylor: The Immerser: John the Baptist within Second Temple Judaism
Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
The best research on John the Baptist! This influenced a large part of my depiction of John/Yochanan.

— Tom Holmen & Stanley E. Porter: Handbook for the Study of the Historical Jesus
Brill Academic Pub
An extensive  collection of current research papers on the historical Jesus and the religion of his time.  Highly recommended reading if you’re able to find it in a library…

— Reza Aslan: Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Narareth
Random House
A superb summary of the academic consensus about Jesus, his time and early Christianity, thrillingly written.

— Thomas Cahill: Desire of the Everlasting Hills – The World Before and after Jesus
Anchor Books
Not an academic work like some other here, but the theology is inspiring.

— Peter Connolly: The Holy Land (Ancient World)
Steimatzky Ltd.
I don’t know what I would have done without this. Great visual representations of ancient Jerusalem and the Roman campaign against the Judean rebellion.

— William G. Dever: The Lives of Ordinary People in Ancient Israel
Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
Not quite the time of Jesus, but helpful in imagining life in the ancient rural world.

— William den HollanderJosephus, the Emperors, and the City of Rome: From Hostage to Historian
Brill Academic Pub
A great research shedding light on Josephus’ life and relationship to the Flavian emperors. 

— Tessa Rajak: Josephus
Bristol Classic Press
A thorough and tested introduction to Flavius Josephus and his role during the Judeo-Roman War.

— Peter Connolly: Rome and Greece at War
Greenhill Books
Another wonderful work by Connolly with helpful illustrations of ancient warfare and military organization.

— Michael Simkins: Roman Army form Caesar to Trajan (Men at Arms)
Osprey Publishing
Osprey’s amazing “Men at Arms” series was very useful drawing Roman uniforms.

— Samuel Rocca: The Army of Herod the Great (Men at Arms)
Osprey Publishing
Finding material on Herod’s soldiers is incredibly hard. This book helped me coming up with the look of his men in the story.

— Philip Matyszak: Legionary: The Roman Soldier’s (Unofficial) Manual
Thames & Hudson
A very funny overview of the Roman army through the ages that helped me imagine life in the camps.

— J.H. Patterson & D.J. Wiseman: New Bible Atlas
Found this in a used book drive. Good but old reference of the agricultural calendar and geography of Palestine.

Further works that were helpful:

— Martin Hengel: Die Zeloten: Untersuchungen Zur jüdischen Freiheitsbewegung in der Zeit von Herodes I. bis 70 n. Chr.
— Yann Le Bohec: The Imperial Roman Army
— Richard Laquer: Der jüdische Historiker Flavius Josephus
— James A. Kelhoffer: The Diet of John the Baptist
— Tessa Rajak: Josephus: The Historian ad His Society
— John Thackeray: Josephus: The Man and the Historian
— Yigael Yadin: Bar Kochba: Archäologen auf den Spuren des letzten Fürsten von Israel


Here are some of the research papers that informed work on Book 1. I picked them up from various sources which are now impossible to track down, but I at least can provide authors and titles.

— Cornelis Bennema: The sword of the messiah and the concept of liberation in the fourth gospel
— Fernando Bermejo-Rubio: Jesus and the anti-Roman resistance: A reassessment of the arguments
— Guy Bloch, et al: Industrial apiculture in the Jordan valley during biblical times with Anatolian honeybees
— Gustaf Dalman: Arbeit und Sitte in Palästina
— Hans Drexler: Untersuchungen zu Josephus und zur Geschichte des jüdischen Aufstandes 66-70
— Jonathan Edmondson: Introduction, Flavius Josephus and Flavian Rome
— Mark Goodacre: Mark, Elijah, the Baptist and Matthew: The success of the first intertextual reading of Mark
— Martin Goodman: Josephus as Roman citizen
— Philip A. Harland: The economy of first-century Palestine: State of the scholarly discussion
— Hata Gohei: Imagining some dark periods in Josephus’ life
— Catherine Hezser: The Graeco-Roman context of Jewish daily life in Roman Palestine
— Hayim Lapin: Jerusalem the consumer city: Temple, cult, and consumption in the Second Temple Period
— R. H. Kennett: Ancient Hebrew social life and custom as indicated in law narrative and metaphor
— Steve Mason: The writings of Josephus: Their significance for New Testament study
— Steve Mason: Of audience and meaning: Reading Josephus’ Bellum Judaicum in the context of a Flavian audience
— Steve Mason: Of Despots, diadems and diadochoi: Josephus and Flavian Politics
— Joan E. Taylor: Ho Huios tou Anthrōpou, “The Son of Man”: Some remarks on an androcentric convention of translation
— Eibert J.C. Tigchelaar: The white dress of the Essenes and the Pythagoreans
— Mohammad Waheeb, et al: The Hermit Caves in Bethany beyond the Jordan (Baptism Site)
— Zvi Yavetz: Reflections on Titus and Josephus