3 out of 4 stars
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In The Biblical Clock: The Untold Secrets Linking the Universe and Humanity with God’s Plan by Daniel Friedmann and Dania Sheldon, research covering hundreds of years and dozens of different scientists, scholars, and Rabbis is used to support the notion that cosmic cycles are a physical time-map for the lifespan of the world. Friedmann is a CEO of global technology company and a fervent seeker of understanding how to reconcile Jewish beliefs with the current scientific theories about the world. As someone with knowledge and background in science, specifically engineering, he has decided to tackle a mostly buried theory about the age of the world.
The book hops from different timelines and locations to follow a streamline theory that history follows a specific pattern in cycles of six sets of 6,000 years, where the entrance into the seventh cycle will be the latest possible time for the start of the the end of the world. Friedmann also suggests that there are many ways to connect the Biblical teaching that the world is between 5,700 to 10,000 years old to a scientific theory that the world is over four billion years old. For this concept, he uses two possible ways of thinking. One: the world was created with the evidence of billions of years of wear from the start of human life. Two: the beginning of Biblical time measurement starts at a different period altogether, before which “God’s time” actually consisted of billions of years. Throughout the book, Friedmann examines the patterns that exist throughout history and explains how the current age is one of the last before the end of time according to ancient Jewish belief.
I would rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. The research that went into the contents of the book is evident, and it was an entertaining read. However, I think that the third part and ending of the book were a little flat compared to the radical theories of the first two parts. This book would be great for a reader who really wants to dive deep into the religious history of Judaism or for people who have wrestled with reconciling their faith in the Bible with scientific theories. If a reader was looking for an exact date and way the world is going to end, this book might not be for them. The text is grounded in solid history and context up until the last couple chapters which are mostly ambiguous conjecture.
What I loved about the book was the way Friedmann and Sheldon used history to tell stories. Most historically based books will be pretty dry and not entertaining to read. At the beginning of each chapter was a historical fiction conversation between real people. Having historical findings in a narrative format made the content much more manageable, even if some creative liberties were taken. Throughout the book there were also pictures, tables, and diagrams which aided in understanding the detailed theories of the book. Friedmann made several of these tables himself, but some of the diagrams were from historical documents. These visual aids added both interest and credential to the writing.
While the narrative stories worked for the chapters also dredged in research and scholarly papers, the last section’s narrative was my least favorite part. Friedmann tells a long story of a theoretical way the world could end. Compared to the rest of the book this story felt flat with unrealistic characters. Because this section was already mostly conjecture built from previous claims, having a fictional scenario felt less grounded in reality. Though some people might enjoy the visualization of what the beginning of the end might look like, this narrative section was too long and not as interesting as the rest of the book. Despite this chapter, the book was well edited, contained a lot of history that I didn’t previously know about Judaism, and was entertaining all the way through.
The Biblical Clock
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