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The Natural History of the Bible: An Environmental Exploration of the Hebrew Scriptures
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The Natural History of the Bible: An Environmental Exploration of the Hebrew Scriptures

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  21 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews
Traversing river valleys, steppes, deserts, rain-fed forests, farmlands, and seacoasts, the early Israelites experienced all the contrasting ecological domains of the ancient Near East. As they grew from a nomadic clan to become a nation-state in Canaan, they interacted with indigenous societies of the region, absorbed selective elements of their cultures, and integrated t ...more
Hardcover, 354 pages
Published December 7th 2005 by Columbia University Press (first published 2005)
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Nate
Mar 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, theology, nature
It is not often that one comes across a book about the Bible written by an environmental scientist. The author clearly demonstrates how the varied natural environments of the Holy Land and places of exile, such as Assyria, Babylonia, and Egypt, interact with the text. In Hillel's own words:

"The formative ecological experiences of the ancient Israelites affected their outlook and behavior not only for a time, but indeed for all time. What began as serial adaptations to shifting circumstances and
...more
Kevin Larsen
Overall, I'm disappointed with the book. Hillel attempts to do much more than "an environmental exploration of the Hebrew Scriptures." Had he stayed with ecology the book would have been much shorter and consequently valuable. I certainly gained some insight from reading; but, it was when he truly focused on ecology and not his understanding and exposition of biblical studies. One illustration of pages that contributed nothing to "an environmental exploration" was ten pages devoted to defending ...more
Sharon Mollerus
Aug 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
One of two books I received for Christmas from my favorite archeology (and engineering) student was The Natural History of the Bible: An Environmental Exploration of the Hebrew Scriptures by Daniel Hillel. She knew of my interest in learning more about the history of the Old Testament after reading Joseph and His Brothers. It has been an enjoyable and meditative read, revisiting favorite characters with a particular focus on the environmental backdrop of the Bible.

Hillel, as a believer and envir
...more
Abby
I know, it's weird...but this was one of the most interesting things I've ever read. I might buy it. Hillel has a real flair for integrating history with ecology without overdoing the possible connections. He introduces an element of storytelling as he retells familiar stories in his own frame of reference: the ecological context. While many scholars advocate examining the scriptures in context, Hillel is to be applauded for combining work in many fields that are too often kept separate. He free ...more
Sara
Jun 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
I heard Hillel speak last year, and liked his talk so much that I wanted to read something he had written. The book is really incredible in what it covers, and even though I have almost no knowledge of the Bible I found the history fascinating. It makes the Bible a must more interesting book now knowing the context in which it was put together.
The writing is good, and you can see his passion in the work- but it is also very very detailed and was at times really hard to get through. But I'm glad
...more
KA
May 13, 2008 rated it really liked it
The author is an ecologist by training, and although he has made a good-faith effort to familiarize himself with a massive range of biblical scholarship, in the end he's not a biblical scholar, and it shows. Almost no one believes anymore that "qedeshah" should be translated as "temple prostitute," and yet he takes that translation for granted. I recommend the book with this caveat: read it for the ecology, but be skeptical of his presentation of biblical studies; he's out of date on a lot of th ...more
Tuck
Dec 01, 2009 rated it it was ok
not bad, but pretty dry. has a real good index if you need to look something up, but not the most compelling reading, though i thought it could be.
Margaret Sankey
Jul 23, 2011 rated it liked it
Those pastorialists are a serious pan in the ass. That crazy one god thing, their goats always monopolizing the well, why can't they just behave like good ancient city people!?
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