Book Review: A Pictorical Guide to Biblical Archaeology -- By: Anonymous
BSP 3:1 (Winter 1990) p. 28
Book Review: A Pictorical Guide to Biblical Archaeology
Author: Bob Boyd
Reviewed by Ron Zuck
“A picture is worth a thousand words” and “the past is the key to the present” are two cliches which place Robert T. Boyd’s book A Pictorial Guide to Biblical Archaeology in good perspective. In the preface, Boyd says that archaeology was a dead subject to him because he became bogged down by the amount of material and its technical nature. He early on found that the problem was not peculiar to him. Thus he was motivated to write this book—a book non-technical in nature—that would add life and interest to the pages of Holy Scripture by text and photo.
Boyd has a well-organized volume. As one becomes involved in archaeology, the discovery is made that, contrary to general thought, ancient man was as civilized as we are today. The first chapter is a comprehensive view of the major aspects of life in the past, i.e., business, government, medicine, religion, domestic life, recreation, music, etc. A brief narrative of how archaeology has supplied information in these areas, opens vistas for the reader to understand that man has been created as we know him today.
“Digging Up What’s Down,” chapter 2, explains in laymen’s terminology the technical aspects of an archaeological excavation. The steps taken in determining the site and the methods of excavation are described in detail. Boyd cleverly places you on the scene. But he does more. As the objects are uncovered, he ties the related Bible passages to the new discovery. The importance of strata (layers of occupation) and the use of pottery in determining the chronology of a site is presented. With typical “Boyd wit,” items of human interest are included, such as speculation on how a brick received a goat track impression.
The remaining chapters of the book divide Bible history into five periods: early Genesis, Abraham to Moses, Israel in the Land of Palestine, the intertestamental period with an emphasis on the Dead Sea scrolls, and New Testament archaeology. Each chapter parallels the biblical narrative. Boyd answers many of the problems raised by those who would discredit the historicity of the Scriptures. After stating their objection or criticism, Boyd provides an archaeological discovery which vindicates the text of Scripture. He is not trying to “prove” the Bible (it does not need to be proved), but is giving good reasons for those whose faith might be tried to believe the Bible is truly God’s Word.
While Biblical archaeology occupies most of the book, it is not written as a textbook on the subject. To categorize the content, it doubles as a handbook and also as a practical commentary. It is beneficial to both laity and c...
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