I think the author did a great job helping the reader to understand or empathize with SOME desertion circumstances while not trying to downplay the negative ethical or military impacts of the deserters. It's a pretty level-headed look, leaving the reader up to developing his own opinion while presenting facts in an interesting way. I had no idea desertion was such a huge phenomenon.
Historical context for the writing of the Gospels and the political environment in which Jesus lived.
I feel like I learned more about the people around Jesus more than I did him, but that's part of the context-building nature of the book.
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