Book picks similar to
The Ark Before Noah: Decoding the Story of the Flood by Irving Finkel
The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts
Israel Finkelstein - 2001
They argue that crucial evidence (or a telling lack of evidence) at digs in Israel, Egypt, Jordan, and Lebanon suggests that many of the most famous stories in the Bible—the wanderings of the patriarchs, the Exodus from Egypt, Joshua’s conquest of Canaan, and David and Solomon’s vast empire—reflect the world of the later authors rather than actual historical facts. Challenging the fundamentalist readings of the scriptures and marshaling the latest archaeological evidence to support its new vision of ancient Israel, The Bible Unearthed offers a fascinating and controversial perspective on when and why the Bible was written and why it possesses such great spiritual and emotional power today.
Aristotle's Children: How Christians, Muslims, and Jews Rediscovered Ancient Wisdom and Illuminated the Middle Ages
Richard E. Rubenstein - 2003
His ideas spread like wildfire across Europe, offering the scientific view that the natural world, including the soul of man, was a proper subject of study. The rediscovery of these ancient ideas sparked riots and heresy trials, caused major upheavals in the Catholic Church, and also set the stage for today's rift between reason and religion. In Aristotle's Children, Richard Rubenstein transports us back in history, rendering the controversies of the Middle Ages lively and accessible-and allowing us to understand the philosophical ideas that are fundamental to modern thought.
Jerusalem: The Biography
Simon Sebag Montefiore - 2011
From King David to Barack Obama, from the birth of Judaism, Christianity and Islam to the Israel–Palestine conflict, this is the epic history of 3,000 years of faith, slaughter, fanaticism and coexistence.How did this small, remote town become the Holy City, the ‘centre of the world’ and now the key to peace in the Middle East? In a dazzling narrative, Simon Sebag Montefiore reveals this ever-changing city in its many incarnations, bringing every epoch and character blazingly to life. Jerusalem’s biography is told through the wars, love affairs and revelations of the men and women – kings, empresses, prophets, poets, saints, conquerors and whores – who created, destroyed, chronicled and believed in Jerusalem. As well as the many ordinary Jerusalemites who have left their mark on the city, its cast varies from Solomon, Saladin and Suleiman the Magnificent to Cleopatra, Caligula and Churchill; from Abraham to Jesus and Muhammad; from the ancient city of Jezebel, Nebuchadnezzar, Herod and Nero to the modern times of the Kaiser, Disraeli, Mark Twain, Rasputin and Lawrence of Arabia.Drawing on new archives, current scholarship, his own family papers and a lifetime’s study, Montefiore illuminates the essence of sanctity and mysticism, identity and empire in a unique chronicle of the city that is believed will be the setting for the Apocalypse. This is how Jerusalem became Jerusalem, and the only city that exists twice – in heaven and on earth.
The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English
Anonymous - 1962
Hidden in the caves at Qumran by the Essenes, a Jewish sect in existence before and during the time of Jesus, the Scrolls have transformed our understanding of the Hebrew Bible, early Judaism, and the origins of Christianity. This fully revised edition of the classic English translation by Geza Vermes, the world's leading scholar on the subject, offers an astonishing look into the organization, customs, and beliefs of the community at Qumran. Enhanced by much previously unpublished material and a new preface, this will remain the authoritative translation of the Dead Sea Scrolls for years to come.
A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam
Karen Armstrong - 1993
Karen Armstrong's superbly readable exploration of how the three dominant monotheistic religions of the world - Judaism, Christianity, and Islam - have shaped and altered the conception of God is a tour de force. One of Britain's foremost commentators on religious affairs, Armstrong traces the history of how men and women have perceived and experienced God, from the time of Abraham to the present. From classical philosophy and medieval mysticism to the Reformation, the Enlightenment, and the modern age of skepticism, Armstrong performs the near miracle of distilling the intellectual history of monotheism into one compelling volume.
1177 B.C.: The Year Civilization Collapsed
Eric H. Cline - 2014
The pharaoh's army and navy defeated them, but the victory so weakened Egypt that it soon slid into decline, as did most of the surrounding civilizations. Eric Cline tells the gripping story of how the end was brought about by multiple interconnected failures, ranging from invasion and revolt to earthquakes, drought, famine, and the cutting of international trade routes. Bringing to life a vibrant multicultural world, he draws a sweeping panorama of the empires of the age and shows that it may have been their very interdependence that hastened their dramatic collapse. Now revised and updated, 1177 B.C. sheds light on the complex ties that gave rise to, and eventually destroyed, the flourishing civilizations of the Late Bronze Age--and set the stage for the emergence of classical Greece and, ultimately, our world today.
Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth
Reza Aslan - 2013
Two thousand years ago, an itinerant Jewish preacher and miracle worker walked across the Galilee, gathering followers to establish what he called the “Kingdom of God.” The revolutionary movement he launched was so threatening to the established order that he was captured, tortured, and executed as a state criminal. Within decades after his shameful death, his followers would call him God. Sifting through centuries of mythmaking, Reza Aslan sheds new light on one of history’s most influential and enigmatic characters by examining Jesus through the lens of the tumultuous era in which he lived: first-century Palestine, an age awash in apocalyptic fervor. Scores of Jewish prophets, preachers, and would-be messiahs wandered through the Holy Land, bearing messages from God. This was the age of zealotry—a fervent nationalism that made resistance to the Roman occupation a sacred duty incumbent on all Jews. And few figures better exemplified this principle than the charismatic Galilean who defied both the imperial authorities and their allies in the Jewish religious hierarchy. Balancing the Jesus of the Gospels against the historical sources, Aslan describes a man full of conviction and passion, yet rife with contradiction; a man of peace who exhorted his followers to arm themselves with swords; an exorcist and faith healer who urged his disciples to keep his identity a secret; and ultimately the seditious “King of the Jews” whose promise of liberation from Rome went unfulfilled in his brief lifetime. Aslan explores the reasons why the early Christian church preferred to promulgate an image of Jesus as a peaceful spiritual teacher rather than a politically conscious revolutionary. And he grapples with the riddle of how Jesus understood himself, the mystery that is at the heart of all subsequent claims about his divinity. Zealot yields a fresh perspective on one of the greatest stories ever told even as it affirms the radical and transformative nature of Jesus of Nazareth’s life and mission. The result is a thought-provoking, elegantly written biography with the pulse of a fast-paced novel: a singularly brilliant portrait of a man, a time, and the birth of a religion.
The Early History of God: Yahweh and the Other Deities in Ancient Israel
Mark S. Smith - 1990
Miller In this remarkable, acclaimed history of the development of monotheism, Mark S. Smith explains how Israel's religion evolved from a cult of Yahweh as a primary deity among many to a fully defined monotheistic faith with Yahweh as sole god. Repudiating the traditional view that Israel was fundamentally different in culture and religion from its Canaanite neighbors, this provocative book argues that Israelite religion developed, at least in part, from the religion of Canaan. Drawing on epigraphic and archaeological sources, Smith cogently demonstrates that Israelite religion was not an outright rejection of foreign, pagan gods but, rather, was the result of the progressive establishment of a distinctly separate Israelite identity. This thoroughly revised second edition ofThe Early History of God includes a substantial new preface by the author and a foreword by Patrick D. Miller.
The Ancient Celts
Barry Cunliffe - 1997
For two and half thousand years the Celts have continued to fascinate all who have come into contact with them. THE ANCIENT CELTS presents an absorbing account of the tribes whose origins and identity still provoke heated debate. Exploring the archaeological reality of the Iron Age inhabitants of barbarian Europe, Professor Cunliffe traces the emergence of chiefdoms,patterns of expansion and migration, and the development of Celtic ethnicity and identity.
Babylon: Mesopotamia and the Birth of Civilization
Paul Kriwaczek - 2010
He chronicles the rise and fall of dynastic power during this period; he examines its numerous material, social and cultural innovations and inventions: The wheel, civil, engineering, building bricks, the centralized state, the division of labour, organised religion, sculpture, education, mathematics, law and monumental building.At the heart of Kriwaczek's magisterial account, though, is the glory of Babylon - 'gateway to the gods' - which rose to glorious prominence under the Amorite king Hammurabi, who unified Babylonia between 1800 and 1750 BC. While Babylonian power would rise and fall over the ensuing centuries, it retained its importance as a cultural, religious and political centre until its fall to Cyrus the Great of Persia in 539 BC.
The Ornament of the World: How Muslims, Jews, and Christians Created a Culture of Tolerance in Medieval Spain
María Rosa Menocal - 2002
Combining the best of what Muslim, Jewish, and Christian cultures had to offer, al-Andalus and its successors influenced the rest of Europe in dramatic ways, from the death of liturgical Latin and the spread of secular poetry, to remarkable feats in architecture, science, and technology. The glory of the Andalusian kingdoms endured until the Renaissance, when Christian monarchs forcibly converted, executed, or expelled non-Catholics from Spain. In this wonderful book, we can finally explore the lost history whose legacy is still with us in countless ways. Author Biography: María Rosa Menocal is R. Selden Rose Professor of Spanish and Portuguese and head of the Whitney Humanities Center at Yale University. She lives in New Haven, CT.
A History of the Bible: The Book and Its Faiths
John Barton - 2019
This exceptional work, by one of the world's leading Biblical scholars, provides a full account of how the different parts of the Bible came to be written; how some writings which were regarded as holy became canonical and were included in the Bible, and others were not; what the relationship is of the different parts of the Bible to each other; and how, once it became a stable text, the Bible has been disseminated and interpreted around the world. It gives full weight to discussion of the importance of the Tanakh (Old Testament) in Judaism as in Christianity. It also demonstrates the degree to which, contrary to widespread belief, both Judaism and Christianity are not faiths drawn from the Bible texts but from other sources and traditions. It shows that if we are to regard the Bible as 'authoritative' it cannot be as believers have so often done in the past.
The Origin of Satan: How Christians Demonized Jews, Pagans and Heretics
Elaine Pagels - 1995
With magisterial learning and the elan of a born storyteller, Pagels turns Satan's story into an audacious exploration of Christianity's shadow side, in which the gospel of love gives way to irrational hatreds that continue to haunt Christians and non-Christians alike.
Temples, Tombs & Hieroglyphs: A Popular History of Ancient Egypt
Barbara Mertz - 1964
In Temples, Tombs, and Hieroglyphs, Dr. Mertz explores the breathtaking reality behind her fiction by casting a dazzling light on a remarkable civilization that, even after thousands of years, still stirs the human imagination and inspires awe with its marvelous mysteries and amazing accomplishments.A fascinating chronicle of an extraordinary epoch—from the first Stone Age settlements through the reign of Cleopatra and the Roman invasions—Temples, Tombs, and Hieroglyphs brings ancient Egypt to life as never before. Lavishly illustrated with pictures, maps, photographs, and charts, it offers tantalizing glimpses into Egyptian society and everyday life; amazing stories of the pharaohs and the rise and fall of great dynasties; religion and culture; folklore and fairy tales; stories of the explorers, scientists, and unmitigated scoundrels who sought to unravel or exploit the ageless mysteries; and breathtaking insights into the magnificent architectural wonders that rose up from the desert sands.Revised and updated to include the results of the most recent historical research and archaeological finds, Dr. Mertz's book is unhampered by stuffy prose and dry academic formality. Instead, it is a vibrant, colorful, and fun excursion for anyone who's ever fantasized about exploring the Valley of the Kings, viewing up close the treasures of the temple of Queen Hatshepsut, or sailing down the Nile on Cleopatra's royal barge.