Sunday, January 15, 2012

Unveiling the Kings of Israel: Revealing the Bible's Archaeological History

For those of you with non-fiction readers, Unveiling the Kings of Israel: Revealing the Bible's Archaeological History is a fascinating look at how the archaeology of the Middle East supports Biblical accounts of the kings of Israel and Judah.

David Down, editor of "Archaeological Diggings" magazine, has spent over forty years excavating in the Middle East. Unveiling the Kings of Israel compares generally-accepted archaeological timelines to biblical chronology. Down maintains common timelines used to date Egypt and Palestine need to be adjusted by up to 600 years. When these adjustments are made, the archaeology of the region supports biblical records with remarkable accuracy.

Down begins with Noah and the flood, and the location of Ararat. Then, he progresses throughout the entire Old Testament, detailing finds supporting the existence of the patriarchs, judges, and kings of Israel. The book ends with a chapter on the life of Jesus. Unveiling the Kings of Israel is full of detailed photographs of archaeological relics and famous sites. Down also includes maps, charts and diagrams, to help explain the significance of major archaeological discoveries.

What I Like: I found Down's arguments about how archaeology supports biblical passages enlightening. His work adds to biblical reliability, and explains the context of the Bible. I appreciate the multiple Bible references he uses in each chapter.

I also like the abundance of photographs. They allow readers to visualize many Old Testament settings. The detailed captions Down includes with each picture tell us why the item or location is important, and make browsing through the book worthwhile, even if you don't read the entire text.

What I Dislike: I wish some of Down's charts and explanations would have been placed earlier in the book. He assumes we are comfortable with archaeological time periods (such as the Iron Age, Middle Bronze era, etc. . . ). Down writes a very helpful explanation of "How Archaeology Works," but we don't find it until chapter nine. For novices, like myself and my family, this would have been helpful to read earlier in the book.

Also, in Chapter 11, Down mentions a physical affliction specific to men when aroused. He gives a rather blunt description of statues found portraying this affliction.

Overall Rating: Very Good for content, but only Good for organization

Age Appeal: There isn't a clear age range given. I would say 8 and up for browsing, but 14 and up to actually read.

Publisher Info: MasterBooks, 2011; ISBN: 13-978-0-89051-609-6; Hardcover, 170 pages, $29.99

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