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Publisher's Summary

The findings of historians and archaeologists open a thrilling world of discovery as they bring their methods and insights to the iconic stories of the Bible. These 24 content-rich lessons take you on a multidimensional journey through the Bible, from Genesis to the Crucifixion, through the lens of the latest historical and archaeological research. 

Through Professor Isbouts’ enthralling commentary, you’ll uncover eye-opening perspectives on biblical events such as:

  • Genesis - Examine evidence from ancient Sumer of a monumental flood that happened 5,000 years ago and study Mesopotamian architectural forms that may correlate with the story of the Tower of Babel;
  • The Exodus from Egypt - Follow the actual path of Moses and the Israelites, a well-traveled artery through mining regions, oases, and trade routes from Egypt to the Midian, the region southeast of Sinai;
  • The Kingship of David - Relive David’s divisive rule as king of the Hebrews and visit structures excavated in the “City of David”, which may be the core of David’s residential and administrative complex;
  • Israel under the Assyrians - Learn how an ancient Assyrian clay document confirms the Bible’s account of the Assyrian invasion of Judah and view the magnificent Assyrian tableaux that depict the siege of the city of Lachish, described in the Bible; and
  • The Early Life of Jesus - Take a penetrating look at the peasant revolts and bloodshed in Galilee during the youth of Jesus, after which Joseph and Jesus were likely to have been conscripted laborers for the Romans.

Deeply fascinating for those who have an interest in the Abrahamic faiths, ancient civilizations, and archaeology, The History and Archaeology of the Bible throws fresh and revealing light on the iconic scriptures that - in far-reaching ways - have shaped our world. 

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio. 

©2021 The Great Courses (P)2021 The Teaching Company, LLC

What listeners say about The History and Archaeology of the Bible

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Writer disbelief Bible was inspired is distracting

As far as the history and archaeology contained in the book, it is well worth the read. It does serve the purpose of making the Bible much more understandable. However, in the places where it is indicated that the Bible accounts are not accurate or correct it can cause doubts. It could be that the interpretation of words cause a bit of this problem. In some places the writer points out that more accurate interpretation of words has this effect.

9 people found this helpful

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More theological than historical

I was disappointed that Isbouts began with a greater acceptance of the historical value of scripture than other historians I've read. He admits to being a practicing Christian -- there's certainly nothing wrong with that and I appreciate his candor at the outset. But his faith eclipses his science. He accepts that Hebrew stories of creation, the flood and others echo existing, earlier myths. He concludes this was deliberate so hearers would be starting from shared ground in discovering the one, true god. (Far more likely, those folktales were just appropriated -- long after the originals -- and repurposed.) He states that it has been determined that the technology of Noah's time would have allowed the creation of a boat the size of the Ark. Perhaps. But could it then have held all of those creatures? Was the flood indeed worldwide? Those questions are left hanging. But if the need for the worldwide animal rescue was factually unnecessary, what use was the boat even if it was achievable? Isbouts' presentation style is very good, even in audio-only. But Cynthia Chapman's "The World of Biblical Israel" is a much more clearheaded and facts-based, though still very respectful, exploration. Isbouts presents far more apologetics than science.

7 people found this helpful

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Not done as a audiobook that well

Lot of clips from a video series that doesn't translate to audio only well. Other than that its ok, didn't learn alot of new info compared to other lectures but it was enjoyable. Jean is a good speaker and that definitely helped, his little added details were nice.

6 people found this helpful

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disappointed

I've never been disappointed with The Great Courses up till now. This talk had many minor inaccuracies and several major assumptions, all leading the apparent theme of the series which is that pretty much the whole Bible is fiction. The speaker professes to be Christian, which is fine; however, I cannot understand how someone can base their faith on what they consider to be mythology.

2 people found this helpful

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Disappointing

A lot of odd, occasionally illogical, theories - with the author offering nothing to substantiate them.

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Best 2

I've listened to over 50 great courses and this is in my top two.

1 person found this helpful

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Preacher not a scientist

Irritating basic assumption that "we all believe in Bible" shines through. If you are after archeological and historical science like me, don't bother with this one.

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Too much time spent defending religion...

I barely made it through the first chapter, he spent way too much time/effort talking about how Christianity fits with science.... This shouldn't be a lecture on whether the bible is true or not, it is supposed to be on the archeological discoveries etc.

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skip it

I’m no expert and I have no axe to grind. Isbouts is delivering derivative info so we can hardly credit him with a good story so I have only his delivery to rate and he is incredibly annoying on multiple levels. First of all he has written his “lectures” for an 8th grade audience or worse. He talks down to the audience in a sort of Disney-fide way, trying to soothe the feelings of literalists while appealing to the secular humanists. The result is insufferable. And he pronounces various ancient language words with what seem like fake affected accents, do we have such a command of the accent these words were uttered with?

Overall it feels fake and inauthentic and vanilla-ized.

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More Story than Context

I was very excited to start this book. A lot of the histories I have been reading lately have had moments in which they shed light on biblical events and I really looked forward to having someone take me through the bible, adding historical context to major stories, but while Isbouts did do that, it never felt like it was his primary purpose as I listened to this audiobook.

Isbouts really just tells the biblical story. For the first six lectures (25% of the course) he does little more than make reference to other ancient stories with similar themes as he walks the listener through Genesis and Exodus. I would recommend simply skipping these first six lectures.

After that, matters improved somewhat, especially when Isbouts gets into discussion of the northern and southern Jewish kingdoms, their origins, and to what extent they were truly united under Saul, David, and Solomon. I also found his section on Pontius Pilate and King Herod and the extent of their various authorities quite fascinating. But overall, I felt like the lectures were heavy on the story and light on the historical context.