Sheryl Tribble's Reviews > Archaeology and Bible History

Archaeology and Bible History by Joseph Free
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's review
Dec 15, 2012

liked it
Read from February 14 to December 01, 2012

Not a book for skeptics, both because it has brief theological discussions and because it treats the Bible as the most accurate historical document. I think in some ways it doesn't go far enough in treating the Bible as historical, since the authors pretty much accept standard chronology, which IMHO is a mess. Even guys who don't see the Bible as historically accurate, like the guys who wrote "Centuries of Darkness," are convinced that Egyptian and Mediterranean ancient history is chronological chaos; I tend toward the Velikovsky-Courville theory myself, and think the Biumson-Livingston one too simplistic, but I'm more sure that the standard view is seriously out of synch for a fair while than I am about which alternate theory is right.

At any rate, in terms of chronology, I'm finding this book woefully dated (even though a lot of it agrees with the modern majority). OTOH, since cultural standards and technologies and topography didn't change in the ancient world as rapidly as they can today, and the authors comment on all three when discussing the events in the Bible, there's still a lot of useful information here. By the time the author gets to Solomon's era (when the various chronological theories start agreeing pretty much), the chronological stuff stopped bugging me.

The author makes some interesting choices -- for instance, after a full page discussing the (pagan) Temple complex at Baalbek, with pictures, he deals with the destruction of the Jewish temple in Jerusalem with one sentence! He believes Revelation was written in the 90s, yet in so doing gives me even more reason to date it earlier than I'd had before! But I would think doing a book like this would be like writing a Study Bible -- there's always a ton more you could use; the challenge is deciding what to leave out.

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