Why I Wrote ‘The Cities that Built the Bible’

The Roman Forum

The Roman Forum

On March 15, 2016, HarperCollins will be releasing my latest book, The Cities that Built the Bible. You can read more about the book and preorder your copy today at http://citiesthatbuiltthebible.com.

In a nutshell, I wrote the book because Nicole Kidman once asked me where the Bible came from, and I didn’t have a ready answer. So I spent the next decade researching the question. But instead of asking who wrote it, or how it became the holy word of God to believers, I wanted to demonstrate how various ancient political entities and international events–each represented by a particular city–contributed to the composition of the Bible.

I also wanted to look at the Israelite, Judahite, Jewish, and Christian responses to these events, as these reflections upon the successes and tragedies experienced by those who believed in the Hebrew God became some of the very texts preserved in the Bible.

Cover of The Cities that Built the Bible by Robert R. Cargill, Ph.D.So join me as we travel through these ancient cities and we’ll explore their history, their archaeology, and how each of them drove the building of the Bible.

For both the religious and the non-religious, understanding the forces that shaped this most influential of books is possible on a guided tour through The Cities that Built the Bible.

Preorder today at http://citiesthatbuiltthebible.com.

 

 

Preorder now: The Cities that Built the Bible

On March 15th, my latest book, The Cities that Built the Bible will be released by HarperOne. Cover of The Cities that Built the Bible by Robert R. Cargill, Ph.D.

The book has a simple thesis: without the cities of Tyre, Sidon, Byblos, Ugarit, Nineveh, Babylon, Megiddo, Athens, Alexandria, Jerusalem, Qumran, Bethlehem, Nazareth, and Rome, we wouldn’t have the Bible as we have it today. I wrote this book in order to demonstrate the influence that certain cities in antiquity had over the composition and canonization of the Bible. Each city discussed in the book makes key contributions that produced the Bible we have today.

Now to be sure, I could have discussed a number of other cities like Corinth, Thessaloniki, Ephesus, Constantinople / Istanbul, İznik (Nicaea), etc. (and to be honest, I did originally, but had we left them in the manuscript, we’d be looking at an expensive 2-volume set), but these are the cities that made the largest contributions to the development of the Bible.

I’ve written this book so that everyone can read it, from specialist to newcomer; from those who know Hebrew and Aramaic and Greek to those who have only heard of those languages. I include a number of my own stories (like that time I, well, kind of entered into Lebanon illegally, or the time I got to visit the secret vault inside the Shrine of the Book where the Dead Sea Scrolls are stored) and experiences on archaeological excavations and other travels through the Holy Land. I deliberately included a ton of relevant Bible verses in an effort to demonstrate how the social setting and the archaeological discoveries from each of these cities influenced and relate directly to the Bible.

As I said earlier, The Cities that Built the Bible is on sale March 15, but you can preorder your copy today at the book’s website, http://citiesthatbuiltthebible.com. It is my hope that the book will deepen your understanding of the biblical world, the history of the eastern Mediterranean, and will inspire you perhaps to travel to a few of these places. Once you’ve preordered your copy of The Cities that Built the Bible, visit the Media section of the website to read and download quotes from the book that you can share on your social media sites. And please link to http://citiesthatbuiltthebible.com when you post them!

Enjoy the book! Tell your friends. I can’t wait to hear what you think of it. And I hope you have as much fun reading it as I had writing it.

Public Lecture: Dr. L. Michael White Named University of Iowa Ida Beam Distinguished Visiting Professor

Dr. L. Michael White

Dr. L. Michael White is the Ronald Nelson Smith Professor of Classics and Religious Studies & Director of the Institute for the Study of Antiquity and Christian Origins at the University of Texas at Austin and one of this year’s Ida Cordelia Beam Distinguished Visiting Professors at the University of Iowa.

Dr. L. Michael White, the Ronald Nelson Smith Professor of Classics and Religious Studies & Director of the Institute for the Study of Antiquity and Christian Origins at the University of Texas at Austin, has been named one of this year’s Ida Cordelia Beam Distinguished Visiting Professors at The University of Iowa.

Professor White will be offering a public lecture entitled, “A Jewish Community in the Port of Rome: Recent Excavations in the Ostia Synagogue”.

Title
“A Jewish Community in the Port of Rome: Recent Excavations in the Ostia Synagogue”

When
Monday, October 22, 2012 at 6:00 p.m.

Where
140 Schaeffer Hall, University of Iowa

More Info
For more information, download the flyer here.


Dr. White will also give the following additional presentations:

Coffee Hour
4:00 p.m., Tuesday, October 23, 2012
3rd Floor Atrium, Gilmore Hall, University of Iowa

Colloquium
“Solving a papyrological puzzle with MSI: Ordering the fragments of PHerc 1471 (Philodemus’s ‘On Frank Criticism’)
5:00 p.m., Tuesday, October 23, 2012
106 Gilmore Hall

Brown Bag Lunch
“Scripting Jesus: The Gospel Authors as Storytellers”
12:00 p.m., Wednesday, October 24, 2012
3rd Floor Atrium, Gilmore Hall


The Ida Cordelia Beam Distinguished Visiting Professors series and lectures are sponsored by:

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
The Department of Classics
Center for the Book
Digital Studio for the Public Humanities
The Department of History
The Department of Religious Studies

%d bloggers like this: