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HALL OF FAMEon 27 October 2005
Ian Wilson's new book, 'The Bible Is History', is an important contribution on the side of those who accept and look for historical truth in the Biblical text. Almost half a century ago, Werner Keller put together a text entitled 'The Bible As History', and Wilson states that it is his intention to carry on in that tradition, with updates from recent discoveries.
Write a book on the Bible, and you must expect people to throw rocks at you.
This is particularly true of this kind of book. On the one hand, it comes closer than most academically-acceptable histories of accepting the Bible as an historically accurate text. And yet, almost at the same time, Wilson undercuts the audience which may support his work most enthusiastically by agreeing with archaeologist William Dever, who once remarked that 'No archaeologist in his right mind would go searching for the Garden of Eden.'
Wilson explains the source-text theory of the Bible (with sources such as E, J, P, D, possibly others), basic archaeological and geological ideas, and flatly rejects what he terms (several times in the text, in fact) `extreme fundamentalist' views such as the 4004 BC calculation for the date of creation, etc.
Having gotten past the hurdles that would fell many who would read and take this book seriously, he begins to explore the Bible as a primary source, and reconciles much with modern discoveries and interpretations in archaeology, history, and science. For instance, he talks about the recent Black Sea discoveries which may hold keys to massive flooding (as stated in Genesis). He unfortunately omits the discussion of the new satellite data which show a dried riverbed below the sands of the Saudi peninsula which could be a third of the four rivers from Eden (as two rivers mentioned are well known, Tigris and Euphrates, why should the other two be fictional? Ancient writers usually went to great lengths to make accurate markers, and probably are preserving ancient knowledge that they assumed would still be known to future readers.).
His discussion of evidence, and lack thereof, of various contentious points such as the Exodus, the conquest of Canaan, the warfare with the Philistines and the House of David itself, are compelling and interesting, if not entirely convincing.
The text is beautifully illustrated with drawings, pictures, and maps. He provides many useful tidbits throughout the text, like a handy chart which shows the parallel and development of alphabetic and pictogram characters, including Proto-Sinaitic, Byblos tomb script, Moabite stone script, Aramaic, Dead Sea Scroll, Hebrew Bible, and Greek alphabetic script. Wonderful pictures of recent archaeological finds are included; satellite photos of regions are set next to geopolitical maps; all of this is used to support the various parts of the Bible Wilson sets forth.
This book will most likely irritate more than satisfy historians and scholars of all schools of thought, including the minimalists of which Wilson is most likely one. But it is a good read, with a lively style and interesting layout, brief chapters to tantalise and stimulate debate. With equal care for the sanctity of the text and the ever-changing nature of modern evidence, Wilson has given us a good volume for study and reflection. Given the illustrations, it would also make a good 'coffee table' book.
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on 6 September 2013
This is thoughtful endeavour on a vast subject and i like it; it would be good for others to read it
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on 10 January 2015
This is a fascinating book. He does not attempt to pass judgement on faith; he just looks at the Bible as an account of a people and attempts to evaluate the historical evidence to support and assist the the account. Highly recommended!
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HALL OF FAMEon 28 April 2006
Ian Wilson's new book, 'The Bible Is History', is an important contribution on the side of those who accept and look for historical truth in the Biblical text. Almost half a century ago, Werner Keller put together a text entitled 'The Bible As History', and Wilson states that it is his intention to carry on in that tradition, with updates from recent discoveries.

Write a book on the Bible, and you must expect people to throw rocks at you.

This is particularly true of this kind of book. On the one hand, it comes closer than most academically-acceptable histories of accepting the Bible as an historically accurate text. And yet, almost at the same time, Wilson undercuts the audience which may support his work most enthusiastically by agreeing with archaeologist William Dever, who once remarked that `No archaeologist in his right mind would go searching for the Garden of Eden.'

Wilson explains the source-text theory of the Bible (with sources such as E, J, P, D, possibly others), basic archaeological and geological ideas, and flatly rejects what he terms (several times in the text, in fact) `extreme fundamentalist' views such as the 4004 BC calculation for the date of creation, etc.

Having gotten past the hurdles that would fell many who would read and take this book seriously, he begins to explore the Bible as a primary source, and reconciles much with modern discoveries and interpretations in archaeology, history, and science. For instance, he talks about the recent Black Sea discoveries which may hold keys to massive flooding (as stated in Genesis). He unfortunately omits the discussion of the new satellite data which show a dried riverbed below the sands of the Saudi peninsula which could be a third of the four rivers from Eden (as two rivers mentioned are well known, Tigris and Euphrates, why should the other two be fictional? Ancient writers usually went to great lengths to make accurate markers, and probably are preserving ancient knowledge that they assumed would still be known to future readers.).

His discussion of evidence, and lack thereof, of various contentious points such as the Exodus, the conquest of Canaan, the warfare with the Philistines and the House of David itself, are compelling and interesting, if not entirely convincing.

The text is beautifully illustrated with drawings, pictures, and maps. He provides many useful tidbits throughout the text, like a handy chart which shows the parallel and development of alphabetic and pictogram characters, including Proto-Sinaitic, Byblos tomb script, Moabite stone script, Aramaic, Dead Sea Scroll, Hebrew Bible, and Greek alphabetic script. Wonderful pictures of recent archaeological finds are included; satellite photos of regions are set next to geopolitical maps; all of this is used to support the various parts of the Bible Wilson sets forth.

This book will most likely irritate more than satisfy historians and scholars of all schools of thought, including the minimalists of which Wilson is most likely one. But it is a good read, with a lively style and interesting layout, brief chapters to tantalise and stimulate debate. With equal care for the sanctity of the text and the ever-changing nature of modern evidence, Wilson has given us a good volume for study and reflection. Given the illustrations, it would also make a good `coffee table' book.
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on 4 September 2015
Very well researched, well written, good maps and photographs. Ian Wilson is a incisive historian.
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on 4 September 2015
Very interesting book
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on 4 November 2005
Surely the most important question of all is "Does God exist and if so does He interact personally with humans?"
Whichever side of the issue you land will have enormous implications on everything else. Life is a roller coaster after all - for believers the wild ride ends back at the begining and Dad takes you home, for atheistists the wild ride ends with the car going off the end of a cliff.
It seems to me therefore that as the consequences of getting it wrong are potentially infinite (literally) we all owe it to ourselves and each other to put some effort into making up our minds. Most of us seem to just drift along in a mere climate of opinion either way and put more effort into deciding what car to drive or where to holiday than we do into the "Ultimate Question".
If you want to make a start on seriously evaluating the evidence for yourself this book is a great place to start.
Do yourself a favour READ THIS BOOK.
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on 3 March 2016
very good
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