The Jesus Scandals: Book Review and Giveaway

Dr David Instone-Brewer

Instone-Brewer, David I was dlighted when David Instone-Brewer, with whom I work on Tyndale House’s STEP Project, contacted me and asked me to write a review of his latest book, The Jesus Scandals: Why He Shocked His Contemporaries (and Still Shocks Today).
I have always been fascinated with research that attempts to shed light on the meaning of obscure biblical texts by drawing upon relevant background material from the culture of day. In this case the author uses the theme of “Scandals” in Jesus’ life and teachings and among Jesus’ friends, using his extensive knowledge of rabbinic sources, to explain why what Jesus said and did was so shocking to the religious people of his day. scandals-small Each chapter contains references to these sources for further reading.

Of course, there are dangers in relying on background alone to clarify the meaning of biblical texts. There are countless examples where new interpretations of particular verses have been suggested based on background material that later turned out to have been misinterpreted, or in one case I can think of, completely fabricated! Rabbinic material is difficult to date, so that danger of an anachronistic interpretation is very real. However, the author is well aware of these potential pitfalls (as he has described in detail elsewhere), and strives to avoid falling into them.
The chapters are deliberately short and pithy, allowing them to be read in a few minutes, meaning that they could easily be used to provoke a discussion in a Bible Study or home group context, especially as a modern day application is suggested. The chapter on “Censored Arrest Warrant”, based on a document acquired by Tyndale House in Cambridge, where David works, can also be viewed as a video:

I found this and the chapter on “Child Abuse” particularly interesting as I had never come across this material before. Those interested in the New Testament teaching on divorce will want to read the chapters on “No Fault Divorce” and “Marital Abuse”, perhaps going on to read the author’s major work on that subject [Divorce and Remarriage in the Church: Biblical Solutions for Pastoral Realities].

Whether you agree with all of David’s conclusions or not, I am sure that you will find as I did that your understanding of the context of Jesus’ life and ministry is expanded and enhanced, and so warmly recommend this book. For a sample chapter and a peak at the introduction and table of contents, click here.

I thought that this was such a great book that I bought another copy which you can win book by entering the giveaway below [i.e. it is not the free copy I was sent to review 🙂 ].

This Giveaway is now closed.

An Introduction to Digitisation Part 2 of 2: Processing the Scanned Image

In Part 1 of this series I looked at basics of scanning a book or article. In this section I look at how to processing the scanned  images into OCRed PDF files..

1) Rotating and cropping
Processing can be done straight after scanning or done in a batch later. Using Advanced Tiff Editor rotate the images (using Select All [CONTROL + A] first). Resize the image so you can see the whole page on the screen and use the crop tool to cut it down to the required size.

2) Cleaning up gutters, spots and shadows
Using the cut tool, cut out gutter-shadows, dark edges, spots or other marks. Once all the pages are completed, save the file and exit the program.

Converting to an OCRed PDF

Open Adobe Acrobat and use the “Recognise Text in Multiple Files” tool to select all the finished files. Select a 300dpi overlay and run.

Final optimisation and output

The outputted pdf file appears automatically on your disk. Check the file size and the quality. If the image quality is poor or the file seems excessively large (experience will tell you this) run Adobe’s file optimisation option.

I make no claim that is the definitive introduction, but it is based on several years experience acquired using the hardware and software described. Can anyone contribute any insights they have gained in doing similar work? If so, please leave a comment.

An Introduction to Digitisation Part 1 of 2: Scanning Your Material

This is the first in a 2-part series in which I will be explaining the basics of digitisation. I am assuming no previous experience with any of the hardware of software that will be mentioned.

A Word about Copyright

Before you begin work on any printed material you must ensure that it is either in the Public Domain or that you have the written permission of the current copyright holder. Failure to do so is a breach of International Laws and could result in prosecution. Never assume that you have the right to digitise any material without checking its copyright status and obtaining explicit permission to proceed.

What you will need


Advanced Tiff Editor: This is available for purchase and download from You will use this software to prepare images of the material in multi-page TIFF format ready to conversion to PDF. This editing software is quite powerful and you will probably only need to use a few of its features.
The software is available for personal use, business use and as a site licence. You can get a 10% discount on this software using this code: 0764E089F0. I am a member of this compnanies affiliate program and so I am able offer this discount from the commission received from sales.
Adobe Acrobat Writer: This software outputs the TIFF images as PDF documents outputs your material as a finished PDF document reader for use. It may be possible to obtain cheaper PDF writing software from other sources, but they must be able to perform the tasks described below to be useful. It is not necessary to purchase the “Professional” version (which is more expensive). All the features you will need are included in the “Standard” version, such as Adobe Acrobat X Standard.
DropBox: This program allows you to back-up and share your files with colleagues easily. The free version gives you 2GB of free storage. Use this link to get an extra 500MB when you download and install the software.


PC / Laptop: In order to run the above software you will need a PC or Laptop running MS Windows XP or newer operating system. Adobe Acrobat is the most demanding piece of software, so you should check the minimum requirements of both the version of Acrobat Writer you purchase and that of the scanner to ensure that your machine is powerful enough to run them.

Scanner: You will require a professional quality flat-bed scanner such as the Canon CanoScan 9000F Color Image Scanner. It is possible to scan material using cheaper scanners, but they are generally much slower and their lamps are not as bright. Using an inferior scanner will increase the length of time spent scanning and result in poorer quality results, especially if the material does not lie completely flat on the scanner platen as in the case of tightly bound journal articles and books. Investing in a good quality scanner will be worth the extra initial cost.

The Scanning Process

1) Running Advanced Tiff Editor
Start the program (with the scanner connected and turned on) and click on the “Acquire” button (it has a picture of a scan on it). This brings up the scanner preview and settings screen. Place the material to be scanned on the platen and click on the “preview” button.

2) Setting scan resolution and colour
Scanning at 300 dpi gives the best balance between image quality and file size. Scan in Black & White unless the bending of the pages means that the text becomes unreadable. In this case Greyscale should be selected, which gives you extra options to improve the image. The increased file size can be reduced using Adobe Acrobat later (see Part 3).

3) Scanning
Once you are happy with the settings click the “Scan” button and see what the scan looks like. If it is OK then continue to the next page and repeat until the document is complete.

4) Saving the images
Save the file using a web-safe file name (one that does not have illegal characters like spaces or capital letters). It will save time if you use the same file-name throughout the process, although the extension will change from .tif to .pdf.

In Part 2 I will explain how the scanned image is processed prior to conversion to a PDF file.