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Publication Date: 2017
For many, the names Bethlehem, Babylon, and Jerusalem are known as the setting for epic stories from the Bible featuring rustic mangers, soaring towers, and wooden crosses. What often gets missed is that these cities are far more than just the setting for the Bible and its characters they were instrumental to the creation of the Bible as we know it today.
Robert Cargill, Assistant Professor of Classics and Religious Studies at the University of Iowa, is an archeologist, Bible scholar, and host of numerous television documentaries, such as the History Channel series Bible Secrets Revealed. Taking us behind-the-scenes of the Bible, Cargill blends archaeology, biblical history, and personal journey as he explores these cities and their role in the creation of the Bible. He reveals surprising facts such as what the Bible says about the birth of Jesus and how Mary s Virgin Birth caused problems for the early church. We ll also see how the God of the Old Testament was influenced by other deities, that there were numerous non-biblical books written about Moses, Jacob, and Jesus in antiquity, and how far more books were left out of the Bible than were let in during the messy, political canonization process.
The Cities That Built the Bible is a magnificent tour through fourteen cities: the Phoenicia cities of Tyre, Sidon, and Byblos, Ugarit, Nineveh, Babylon, Megiddo, Athens, Alexandria, Jerusalem, Qumran, Bethlehem, Nazareth, and Rome. Along the way, Cargill includes photos of artifacts, dig sites, ruins, and relics, taking readers on a far-reaching journey from the Grotto of the Nativity to the battlegrounds of Megiddo, from the towering Acropolis of Athens to the caves in Qumran where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered.
An exciting adventure through time, The Cities That Built the Bible is a fresh, fascinating exploration that sheds new light on the Bible."
“An engaging journey into the Bible and archaeology from a new perspective: instead of starting with kings, prophets, or texts, the author starts with ancient cities in which so much was born - all the while combined with a lively personal account that puts flesh and bones on the tale.”
“Cargill is a lucid and expert tour-guide, taking us from city to city to explain how and why the Bible is an extraordinary product of its material and urban contexts. The people, places, and peculiarities of ancient West Asia come alive in this exhilarating tour of the biblical past.”
“After three decades of books that discuss how the Bible came into being, we have something new! Rather than focusing on textual or compositional history, Cargill explains the social settings that gave rise to the sacred books. Accessible and engaging…critical reading for all students of the Bible. Highly recommended.”
“In a compelling narrative that sparkles with life, Cargill takes his readers on a thrilling tour through the cities that built the Bible. The expert guide leaves his readers longing for more. A wonderful way to deepen your knowledge of the Biblical writings, their historical context and the ancient world.”
“Cargill uses archaeology, literature, and personal experience to help readers contextualize the biblical Mediterranean and gain a firm hold on the topography of the Old Testament and the New Testament. By tying the literature to the geography, Cargill has provided a fascinating, dynamic map for readers to navigate with.”
“Catapults the reader from place to place in the ancient Near East and Mediterranean, and along the journey, the Bible comes to life as a real and complicated mess of texts written by humans with a variety of agendas. Eminently readable. Totally down to earth. And very much fun.”
“Mr. Cargill has done a great service for the field of religious studies. It is a new approach--examining the Bible from the perspective of its cities. After reading it, you may want to take a trip to visit some of these ancient sites and cities yourself.”
“Behind the pages of the book most revered by Jews and Christians, Cargill transports readers to these ancient locales, illuminating the municipal dynamics that shaped the Bible. Readers skeptical and pious will learn much here about the history and archaeology of the Bible. ”
“A compelling read. Cargill captures the excitement of different times and places as he narrates the history of the major events and influences that derive from each location. For the interested layperson wanting an up-to-date introduction to biblical studies, this is the book to read.”
“With heartfelt sincerity and timely humor, Cargill possesses the historical knowledge, command of biblical languages, and archaeological expertise necessary to successfully communicate the tale of the Bible’s beginnings with a passion that highlights his love for the biblical world.”
“The most original and entertaining approach to telling the story of the Bible that I’ve seen. This is both a delight to read and reliable in its scholarship. Anyone who wants to know how recent archaeological discoveries how have revolutionized our understanding of the Bible should read this book.”
“Professor Robert Cargill is among the world’s most capable and impressive biblical scholars and archaeologists. The Cities that Built the Bible is without peer. Scholars and enlightened laypeople will want to have this volume in their personal libraries.”
“In an appealing narrative full of interesting discussions and asides, Cargill takes the reader on a journey over the lands and through the pages of the Bible. A must read for anyone wanting to learn more about the Old and New Testaments...and the cities that built them.”
“Woven through with insightful scholarship, humor, and the warmth of his own personal experience, Cargill will take you under the ground, into a cistern, across a border, and into closely-guarded archives to see things you’d never otherwise see, which allows you to see the Bible itself in new ways.”
“A riotous gazetteer, one filled with astute observations about the literal and figurative building materials that biblical authors mined from key cities of the ancient world. Readers will happily accompany their learned tour guide as they reconsider Near Eastern influence on the Bible and perceive its text from new perspectives.”