Donald P. Ryan, “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the World of the Bible”

The author is a a faculty fellow (with a Ph.D.) at Pacific Lutheran University, and it sounds like he may be a Christian.  I read only pages 175-236 (“Daily Life in the Holy Land” and “The Romans Take Their Turn”); it was pretty good, but of course provides just a brief overview.

Two books recommended (202) are Philip King’s Life in Biblical Israel and J. Lane Miller’s The Harper’s Encyclopedia of Biblical Life (the former is called “outstanding” and the latter “might be considered a classic”).