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From Eden to Exile: Unraveling Mysteries of…
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From Eden to Exile: Unraveling Mysteries of the Bible (2007)

by Eric H. Cline

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I am glad this book was aimed at amateur people like me who have not done much research. This was a good discussion of mysteries of a number of events in the Old Testament. We do need to remember that all books are one persons research and subject to discussion.
It was a good book, well written and I would recommend it.
  hope3957 | Aug 22, 2009 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I wanted to like this book, and on a very basic level I did. However, as a few other reviewers have noted, this book brings very little new scholarship to the table. What is does right: It brings together in a single volume the basic modern scholarship on some of the most popular (and least understood) biblical accounts. And it debunks some popular, and flawed, misconceptions. What it lacks: The book does not bring anything new to the discussion and reads more like a History Channel documentary or NatGeo special. This may be an unfair criticism. Since National Geographic is the publisher of this book, it may have struck it's target audience perfectly. ( )
  jlhilljr | Jan 8, 2009 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
There is nothing new here. "Nothing to see, folks. Move along." The book is presented as new insight, when in fact it will be old hat to anybody with cable television. Gilgamesh, etc. It's all here and we've already heard it all before. The author claims not to have any axes to grind. As a Bible believer, I find that hard to believe in light of statements about other researchers such as, "Other times they are guilty of setting off on their investigations with an a priori set of assumptions, such as the infallibility of the Bible, which does not inspire confidence in the impartiality of their investigations." In other words, the author will listen to, consider and objectively weigh the opinions of others, provided they're not actually serious about the Bible being God's word.

On the whole, the entire point of this book seems to be about the author simply getting his voice heard amongst the din of all the others attempting to undermine God's word, regardless of the fact that he really has nothing to add which hasn't been said before.

I was hoping for a study that actually delved into the Scriptures themselves rather than into the often flawed collective understanding of a handful of stories - straw-men that are easily blown away by scientist and honest Bible believing scholar alike. Is it too much to ask for a researcher to interpret the Pentateuch in light of what the other 61 books say about them? Apparently so for someone who is committed beforehand to the Bible's fallacy and only interested in finding natural explanations which meet the satisfaction of natural-minded skeptics.

Skip the book and turn on A&E or the History channel for much of the same baloney. Or better yet, skip them all and read your Bible with confidence. "For he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him." Hebrews 11:6. ( )
1 vote vicmowery | Jul 26, 2008 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
In this fascinating, concise book, author Eric H. Cline, a renowned scholar in classical archaeology explores seven mysteries and myths of the Hebrew scriptures: The Garden of Eden, Noah's Ark, Sodom and Gommorah, Moses and the Exodus, Joshua and the Battle of Jericho, Ark of the Covenant, and Ten Lost Tribes of Israel. Cline approaches these accounts from the perspective of an archaeologist seeking to make sense of the evidence presently available to compare how closely the findings match the accounts.

His book is interesting, and at times engaging. Cline provides nuanced insights into the places and peoples mentioned in these well-known stories from the Hebrew scripture/Old Testament. One example of this is, in his chapter on Joshua and the Battle of Jericho in which he notes that a large earthquake may well have taken place in that region around the time this event was thought to occur:

"The only persistent scientific suggestion that attempts to explain the collapse of the walls of Jericho is the one that states that it may have been caused by a fortuitous earthquake since shouting and the blowing of trumpets alone will not bring down a wall. It is frequently pointed out that Jericho is located in a zone that is still seismically active, since the Great Rift Valley where Jericho is situated straddles the boundary between the two tectonic plates: The Arabian plate and the African Sinai plate."

His knowledge of geography and archaeology are expert, however, as he himself is the first to admit, he has very limited knowledge of scriptural interpretation or literature. This is one significant drawback of what is an otherwise very interesting book. Also, the insights he mentions- like the one mentioned above, or logistics of what may have been behind the Israelites crossing the red (or Reed Sea- tidal changes, etc) are certainly far from new or earth-shattering.

Cline also includes a detailed map of the ancient Mediterranean and Fertile Crescent regions, along with several very interesting pictures and diagrams of ancient artifacts, including a mummy, Sumerian clay tablets, and the dig at Megiddo, which he has explored extensively. Overall a very good book, only lacking in the above-mentioned areas of lack of a working knowledge of scripture or textual interpretation, and general dearth of new archaeological information about these biblical stories. Well worth reading, however for gleaning the nuggets of expert insight Cline offers on these stories from his fields of expertise. ( )
3 vote peacemover | Jul 21, 2008 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This book may be based on some real research, but ultimately, it leaves the reader feeling unfulfilled.

Unless a reader has little to no knowledge of the topics and needs an introduction, most will find this book lacking. I wonder why those who don't would find the book of interest in the first place. This is really the type of book I'd expect to find on a remainder shelf at Barnes & Noble.

As someone who has studied much of the eras written about, I was hoping to find more insight and information than I did. A reader would be much better served elsewhere.

The book was poorly edited, it didn't read well, and its conclusions at the end of chapters were not well supported. Left me wishing that I had spent my time reading something else. ( )
  ebnelson | Jun 8, 2008 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Eric H. Clineprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Glyder, KimberlyCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
"The greatest challenge for anyone trying to 'solve' a Biblical mystery is that the Bible interweaves the historical and the theological, the mystical and the verifiable - often in one sentence."
-Molly Dewsnap Meinhardt, Biblical Archaeology Society
"When you set out on your journey to Ithaca

then pray that the road is long,

full of adventure, full of knowledge."


-Constantine P. Cavafy (1911)
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"In From Eden to Exile, acclaimed archaeologist Eric H. Cline explores some of the Bible's most puzzling and enduring mysteries, shedding new light on questions that have intrigued scholars and believers for centuries."--BOOK JACKET. Examines seven mysteries of the Hebrew Bible, from the Garden of Eden and Noah's Ark, to the Exodus, the Babylonian Exile, and the Lost Tribes of Israel, placing these biblical stories in their archaeological and historical context.… (more)

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