Book Review-title

The Letter and the Scroll
by Robin Currie & Stephen G. Hyslop, National Geographic, 2009,
335 pages, $40.00 (hardcover), ISBN-13: 978-1-4262-0514-9

Book coverOne of the most prolific publishers in the United States is National Geographic. Their books are expensive (this one costs $40.00), full of beautiful pictures, and well organized. Unfortunately, their approach in the past has been highly critical of Christianity. They have approached the Bible from a minimalist point of view, with a generally negative air and an emphasis on problems more than solutions. This book is a welcomed exception. The authors state “The purpose of this book is not to prove or disprove the Bible but to explore the world that gave rise to its Scriptures and consider them in their historical context — an approach that can enhance one’s appreciation for the Bible both as a work of history and as a statement of faith” (page 19).

The book is divided into eight chapters covering major eras in biblical history. The chapters are titled (1) “Sumer and Akkad: Land of Abraham”; (2) “Egypt: Pharaoh’s Land”; (3) “Canaan: The Promised Land”; (4) “The United Monarchy: Kingdom of David and Solomon”; (5) “Israel and Judah: The Divided Kingdom”; (6) “Persia, Greece and Rome: Imperial Overlords”; (7) “Galilee and Judea: Where Jesus Walked”; and (8) “Jerusalem: A Land Besieged.” Each of these subjects is discussed by referencing or quoting Scripture and then showing what artifacts and historical records there are for what is stated. There is very little editorializing and a minimum of judging of the credibility of the account given in the Bible.

This is a useful book. The pictures and art work are typical National Geographic quality and the book could be used as a reference and picture source for class teaching very effectively. It would be very useful in a church library, but its price may make it of limited use for individuals.

Back to Contents Does God Exist?, JulAug10.