Book Reviews

Reading List for July, 2019: Biblical Archaeology, the Africa Campaign, the History of English, and more…

Here’s what I read in July. Not as long a list this time, but some really substantial material.

The Lives of Ordinary People in Ancient Israel: Where Archaeology and the Bible Intersect by William G. Dever

I found this book it to be very informative, and a worthwhile read for anybody interested in Old Testament history. The author does not approach the subject from an Evangelical perspective, but neither does he succumb to postmodern revisionism.

One impression that has been growing on me as I study the OT, and which this Dever helped to confirm with archaeological data, is the pervasiveness of idolatry in pre-captivity Israel (both northern and southern kingdoms). It was the rule, not the exception. Dever spends some time describing the pervading syncretism of the high places mentioned so often in the Scriptures. Fascinating.

Encyclopedia Brown and the Case of the Secret UFOs by Donald J. Sobol

Another Encyclopedia Brown book read to boys, a chapter at a time, over lunch. They are getting pretty good at solving the mysteries before we look at the answers…sometimes even figuring them out before I do.

Also, I’m noting the sly humor the author slides into his stories…like a tight-fisted little girl whose name is “Penny Nichols”.

An Army at Dawn by Rick Atkinson

A fascinating, detailed-but-not-dry look at the campaign to liberate North Africa from the Nazis at the outset of World War Two. One of the author’s main emphases is the transformation of the US military from a peacetime force to a war machine.

Highly recommended. And it’s the first of a trilogy…which means that now I have two more books for my list.

I Samuel as Christian Scripture: A Theological Commentary by Samuel R. Chapman

A detailed look at I Samuel. Not particularly easy reading, but well worth the effort. Among other things, this author gives the most in-depth treatment of Saul that I have seen to date.

The History of the English Language, Second Edition by Seth Lerer

In preparation for a talk I gave at our English Day event (more on that later), I chose to listen to this series of lectures on the history of the English Language. I had previously listened to another of the Great Courses series – this on the history of medieval England – so I had high expectations.

I was not disappointed. Dr. Seth Lerer managed to keep my attention throughout the entire course, with each lecture adding to my knowledge of the subject, while at the same time increasing my eagerness to learn more. Especially interesting to me were the sections on the Indo-European language family, and the fusion of the Anglo-Saxon and Norman-French languages.

If you are at all interested in the study of the English language, I highly recommend this lecture series.

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