The Cities That Built the Bible
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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.
a “young woman” (, na‘arah) after the rape. Gen. 24:16 even defines betulah specifically as one who has not had sex: “The girl (, na‘ar) was very fair to look upon, a virgin (, betulah), whom no man had known (, yada‘ ).” 25. Gen. 24:43 is the only other time, out of nine total instances, that ‘almah is translated in the LXX using the term parthenos. 26. Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho 67. 27. It is worth noting that beginning in Dialogue with Trypho 71, the “proof” that Justin Martyr
Assyrian menace caused the single event in the late eighth century BCE that changed Jerusalem, the capital of the small backwater kingdom of Judah, into the inviolable city that became the dwelling place of almighty God and the center of the Western world. When Assyria destroyed ancient Israel, it ironically catapulted Jerusalem into the position of sole remaining stronghold for the ancestors of the Jewish people. For this reason, Nineveh is partly responsible for the composition and the
closely identified with Babylon than Yirmeyahu (Jeremiah). Jeremiah was active during the reign of King Josiah and continued his prophetic activity through the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in 587 BCE. The famed “weeping prophet” is traditionally credited with writing the books of Jeremiah and Lamentations. However, although the prophecies early in the book (chaps. 1–25) may be attributed to Jeremiah the prophet, many scholars point to the narratives about Jeremiah (e.g., chaps. 25–29,
became the term used most often in the New Testament for the fiery underworld abode that came to be known as “hell,”11 but two other Greek words are used to reference this place of unquenchable fire as well. The first is Hades (Gk.ᾅδης), the Greek god of the underworld, whose name became synonymous with the abode of the dead.12 The second is Tartarus (Gk. Τάρταρος; 2 Pet. 2:4), the deep dungeon of torment beneath Hades reserved for the vilest of criminals, where they are punished for eternity.
inevitably must choose between similar competing words in the destination language, and each word may have slightly different connotative meanings. As Sirach says in its prologue, “What was originally expressed in Hebrew does not have exactly the same sense when translated into another language.” This posed a problem for Jewish leaders who wanted to promote a new Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible: How do we get our fellow Jews to accept a Greek Bible? The solution became the Letter of