4 out of 4 stars
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No one knows for sure how the world began. Believers in God have accepted with faith the account of Genesis, and scientists have been working diligently over the millennia to put the pieces of the puzzle together. The Biblical Clock considers two major questions of the creation story. Firstly, was the world created in six 24-hour days, or were the days of Genesis totally different? Secondly, are the six days of creation a pattern for future world events? Authors Daniel E. Friedmann and Dania Sheldon explore Christian and Jewish texts and trace the lives and works of several scholars in this field to find answers.
The Biblical Clock is the fourth book in Daniel E. Friedmann’s Inspired Studies Series, linking scriptural writings to scientific knowledge. In his foreword, Friedmann discloses that he is of the Jewish faith and a scientist. While for many the worlds of science and scripture diverge, Friedmann’s works explore the probability that they are actually in sync. You do not have to be religious or be a scientist to be intrigued by the concepts explored, but you must have an open mind.
Friedmann and Sheldon use storytelling as a device to explain challenging topics. They invent scenes at pivotal moments in the lives of the scholars whose works they explore. The book commences in dramatic fashion in 1291 with sage Isaac ben Samuel fleeing with his manuscripts from the Siege of Acre. Another scene takes us to the future in the year 2133. I really enjoyed these narratives as they put you firmly in the time and mindset of the people involved. What was life really like centuries ago, and what will it be like a century from now? The authors have included several photographs of people and places connected with this research, and charts and maps to help us better understand their concepts and the patterns that they have discovered.
I liked the sense of a quest that the authors set us on, as we trace along with them the movement of various pieces of literature and evidence throughout the centuries. The works of Isaac ben Samuel from the thirteenth century were only deciphered in 1976, seven hundred years later. His works show that he focused on solving the mysteries of man’s existence, and, according to the authors, saw patterns and meanings where other persons did not. This was a great place from which to start the discussion on creation.
As I read, I was struck by the realization that there is a vast amount of work written about creation. The authors have provided an extensive listing of sources at the end of the book so that if you are so minded you can read for yourself the texts from which they obtained their information. This work is a solid research project, and not just wishful thinking on the part of the authors. The book provides evidence, and indicates possible conclusions, but leaves it to the reader to make up his or her own mind.
The Biblical Clock has been professionally edited with no grammatical or spelling errors noted, nor any type of indecent language included. Given the polarized views of religion and science this topic will not appeal to everyone. However, if you like research, are a science or history buff, or you just want to consider another opinion on the early chapters of Genesis, this book is a great one to read. I give it 4 out of 4 stars because while it is a non-fiction work, the authors have ably illustrated their message through narratives and have achieved a highly readable and thought-provoking treatise on time in the Bible.
The Biblical Clock
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