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The Ancient World of the Bible por Malcolm…
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The Ancient World of the Bible (edição 1994)

por Malcolm Day (Autor)

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Answers to questions, recreations of buildings and battles, and detailed maps create a picture of Bible times.
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I am a little reluctant to classify this book as nonfiction. I expected this book to discuss the environment of the biblical world, but the text is primarily a paraphrasing of biblical stories. The book is more like those bibles that contain a section with labeled drawings of artifacts than a book that teaches about biblical culture. I won't assert whether a version of scripture is fiction or nonfiction, whatever that might mean.
The nonfiction in this book is found in the captions of the illustrations, of which this book has many. In fact this book is almost more of an informational picture book, where the scripture (the main text) is the narrative, and the illustrations are of places, things, and types of people, rather than characters or actions. The book uses maps effectively; on the first page is a map of the world with a portion squared in and the caption that all preceding maps will fall in this area. Some of the maps were not particularly illustrative of the text (for example, Lachish is shown on a map but is not mentioned in the text, while Sodom and Gomorrah are in the text but not the map. Some illustrations on the map are repeats from other maps but bear no pertinence to the text. Generally, though, every page has a map to relate the material.
There is also a timeline on the first page to place the stories. I had a bit of a problem with some of what the book asserts. The book is not a revisionist Creationist text that attempts to rewrite science to support scripture, but it does limit itself to that which is in the bible. For example, there are no dinosaur pictures (so no assertion that humans and dinosaurs coexisted in Eden, and likewise, no assertion that dinosaurs and humans lived millions of years apart). I have no problem with that, but the book's factual focus made certain statements misleading. The book describes Noah's three sons as the ancestors of all modern people (scripturally sound) and describes Africans as being from Ham, Europeans and Asians coming from Japheth, etc. (a popular belief in the 1800's but by no means clearly implied from the scripture which scrambles that tribes up pretty well.) I really would have rathered the map on King Solomon put the word "probable" in front of the phrase "route of the Queen of Sheba." Some of the paraphrasing of the scripture deleted phrases that I thought took away from the artistic and literal meaning of the text. The one exception I found was the story of Jonah, which I thought was a beautiful retelling that was made stronger by the historically accurate description of the Assyrians he was supposed to prophesy to. These literary and scientific scruples aside, I thought the pictures were used excellently. Illustrations of actual artifacts from the Middle East put a realistic image to the story (which is what the book is all about). The depiction of what an Egyptian princess or the entrance to Babylon were quite accurate. A peeve of mine with these kinds of books is to make writing the equivalent of squiggles (for example, using random pictures to illustrate heiroglyphs rather than just using actual heirogylphs, and this book's attention to detail admirably avoids that vice. The writing on artifacts is legible and accurate. There is also a table with two alphabets from the period for interested students. One further strength of the book is its illustrations of important cultural material. After reading this book, a student would understand how grain was harvested or limestone quarried, and what impotant plants and animals looked like. Particularly honorable mention goes to the explanation of biblical measurements, which although not deep was very clear and and unconfusing. I have three problems with the scholarship of the book. The New Testament world is not mentioned at all, and nowhere is this scope referred to. There are no references to where the facts in this book come from for someone to check. And finally, there is no description of how biblical scholarship works, which would be appropriate for a book of this scale presenting this material. All this being said, I would not have a problem using this book with a student whose interest in the bible might directed into a more general interest in Middle Eastern history. ( )
  KeithMaddox | Feb 3, 2012 |
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