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From Eden to Exile: Unraveling Mysteries of the Bible [Kindle Edition]

Eric H. Cline
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Eric H. Cline uses the tools of his trade to examine some of the most puzzling mysteries from the Hebrew Bible and, in the process, to narrate the history of ancient Israel. Combining the academic rigor that has won the respect of his peers with an accessible style that has made him a favorite with readers and students alike, he lays out each mystery, evaluates all available evidence—from established fact to arguable assumption to far-fetched leap of faith—and proposes an explanation that reconciles Scripture, science, and history.

Numerous amateur archaeologists have sought some trace of NoahÕs Ark to meet only with failure. But, though no serious scholar would undertake such a literal search, many agree that the Flood was no myth but the cultural memory of a real, catastrophic inundation, retold and reshaped over countless generations. Likewise, some experts suggest that JoshuaÕs storied victory at Jericho is the distant echo of an earthquake instead of IsraelÕs sacred trumpets—a fascinating, geologically plausible theory that remains unproven despite the best efforts of scientific research.

Cline places these and other Biblical stories in solid archaeological and historical context, debunks more than a few lunatic-fringe fantasies, and reserves judgment on ideas that cannot yet be confirmed or denied. Along the way, our most informed understanding of ancient Israel comes alive with dramatic but accurate detail in this groundbreaking, engrossing, entertaining book by one of the rising stars in the field.

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Cline, a professor at George Washington University who has written several popular books on biblical studies and archaeology, here turns his attention to some of the most enduring biblical mysteries: Was there really a Garden of Eden, and if so, where was it? What happened to Noah's ark? Did the Israelites really trek through the desert for 40 years? What happened to the 10 lost tribes of Israel? These are topics that can and have filled up numerous books of their own, but what Cline intends here is a quick overview, a brisk trip through some of the great mysteries of biblical history, advancing his own theories about what happened and mentioning alternative opinions.In the final chapter, on the lost tribes, for example, after offering persuasive arguments for his opinion that most of the Jews of the time fled to Judah or intermarried with the Assyrians, who occupied the land, he then says, definitively, These people were never lost. An accessibly written introduction that will likely prompt readers to dig deeper. Cooper, Ilene


"In a world that turns more and more to irrational views of history, Eric Cline demythologizes the 'mysteries of the Bible.'He does so with the force of reason, using clear language and a perfect command of the ancient records and the finds from the field."
—Israel Finkelstein, Institute of Archaeology, Tel Aviv University, author of The Bible Unearthed

"Eric Cline explores some of the most challenging mysteries of the Bible, from the location of the mythic Garden of Eden to the historical question of how the Ten Lost Tribes were lost. A stimulating and fluent read throughout, and always instructive."
—Baruch Halpern, Pennsylvania State University, author of David's Secret Demons

"Cline is a serious scholar in full command of the subject matter and the available material evidence for recovering and reconstructing the history of Israel in its ancient Near Eastern context."
—David Noel Freedman, University of California at San Diego, author of The Nine Commandments

Product Details

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
45 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scholarly and eminently readable July 1, 2007
In "From Eden to Exile," Eric H. Cline takes several library stacks' worth of biblical, archaeological and enthusiasts' ponderings on the mysteries of the Bible and delivers a highly readable, cogent explanation of their findings. Written in part as a companion piece to National Geographic Channel's television series on the same topics, this is no lightweight transcription of those shows, but rather a scholarly work of merit. Cline's writing is clear, conversational and at times witty as he weighs theories about each of these biblical mysteries against three points of evidence: biblical sources, non-biblical sources and empirical archaeology. Most impressive, however, is that "From Eden to Exile" does not simply present the data; Cline bravely delivers conclusions based on the evidence and his own well-respected expertise in the fields of ancient history and archaeology. Alternative theories by armchair archaeologists and untrained amateurs are given their due where appropriate, but Cline does not hesitate to dash unfounded notions with fact and reason. The reader is left with an unambiguous pronouncement on each of the mysteries addressed; even when the pronouncement is that the data is inconclusive, the reader clearly understands the wherefore and the why. Reading "From Eden to Exile" is like sitting in on a distinguished lecture series about the most enduring biblical and archaeological questions of the modern era.
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35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Methodology is all important June 27, 2007
The single most valuable item for me is the author's explanation of the scholarly processes or methodologies which are needed to undertake any investigation. Wrong premises or presuppositions can result in wrong-headed conclusions. Cline explains these scholarly methodologies and uses them in his investigations. Subjects he adresses are: (1) The Garden of Eden; (2) Noah's Ark and the Flood; (3) Sodom and Gomorrah's location; (4)The dating of the Exodus; (5) The Fall of Jericho; (6) The Ark of the Covenant; (7) The Lost Tribes of Israel. Each of the seven has its own "problems" and he carefully notes them and attempts to come to grips with them. Are we dealing with truth or fiction? How to determine which? The book is an engrossing read and its scholarly methodologies ought to be helpful to all who are interested in these subjects.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Exiling pseudo-archaeology December 15, 2007
I just finished Eric H. Cline's book From Eden to Exile: Unraveling Mysteries of the Bible. It examines seven "mysteries" of the Hebrew Bible from an archaeological perspective. Mr. Cline is a biblical archaeology scholar and is the associate directory of an ongoing excavation in Meggido (the biblical Armaggedon) in Israel.

The book is aimed at the interested layman and his writing style is very readable and easy to understand. His treatment of the various mysteries in the Hebrew Bible is short but informative. While I question some of his positions, on the whole the book is a great resource and I recommend it to everyone.

The seven mysteries his book tackles are:

1) The Garden of Eden

2) Noah's Ark

3) Sodom and Gomorrah

4) Moses and the Exodus

5) Joshua and the Battle of Jericho

6) The Ark of the Covenant

7) The Ten Lost Tribes of Israel

What's surprising in his book is his acknowledgement and treatment of crackpots. I'm used to scholars ignoring works by the lunatic fringe, for even acknowledging their theories gives them too much credibility. Not with Cline's book. In each of the mysteries, he enumerates both sober and fantastical ideas, challenging them for their consistency with the archaeological record. His dismissal of some fringe works can be acerbic, but not unwarranted as most of these "theories" get more media attention and gives genuine research a bad name.

I won't go into detail on each of the mysteries (go out and buy a copy if you want to know more!) but I will have to nitpick on his chapter about the Ark of the Covenant. I think he gives too much credibility with the biblical claim that King Josiah rediscovered the Ark (p.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Scholarship May 18, 2008
Eric Cline, who has served as a consultant to National Geographic's "Science of the Bible" series, has written a great book for the layman who's curious about a scholarly perspective on the bible. More beginner-oriented than "The Bible Unearthed," "From Eden to Exile" explores 7 "mysteries" of the bible:

*The Garden of Eden- There have been theories that the Eden story has a kernel of truth to it. Many archaeologists have tried to locate the Garden of Eden, in places from Iraq to Missouri, but no hypothesis has ever gained wide acceptance in the archaeological community. We'll probably never find the Garden of Eden outside the bible.

*Noah's Ark- Expeditions are launched every year to locate Noah's Ark, but none of them have panned out. Cline wonders why no one is looking for the ark in Gilgamesh or the other ancient flood stories. Contrary to what many think, the bible never says that the Ark landed on Mt. Ararat, only on "the mountains of Ararat," which is much more vague.

*Sodom and Gomorrah- Many attempts have been made to locate the cities, but none have succeeded definitively. If the flood story is purely mythical, then quite frankly, it's all moot.

*Moses & The Exodus- Cline notes that the story of Moses' birth, flight, and discovery is probably a foundation myth, similar to Sargon of Akkad, Romulus and Remus, and Cyrus the Great. How much truth is there to the Exodus story? We don't know, and probably never will. Efforts to pin down the Pharoah who would have been alive during the Exodus have not succeeded, nor have efforts to locate archaeological evidence for a mass exodus. Egyptian scriptural evidence for such an event is not to be had.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
It is OK, but to the end there is not a real conclusion, about what is true or not.
Published 18 days ago by Rudolf Koch
2.0 out of 5 stars PAST TENSE
The book was formulaic, dull, monotonous ........ I just couldn't get myself past page 23, though I tried. Sorry.
Published 22 days ago by Joan Michel
5.0 out of 5 stars A+
Published 1 month ago by William Miles
4.0 out of 5 stars Eden to Exile
Well written and well researched by the author. Not all mysteries are answered(if ever they could be), but the book presents all relevant theories about them, making reasonable... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Doug English
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't You Just Love Religion?
Mr. Cline? I'd like to thank you first of all. Your quest for truth, valid data and everything that goes with that is to be commended. Read more
Published 4 months ago by James A Rozhon
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Eric cline in this book examines the major events and places in Hebrew Bible and tries to find answers to frequently asked questions such as where is the garden of eden? Read more
Published 5 months ago by CW
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't be put off by the subject and title.
I was a little surprised to see this book recommended for me by Amazon, but having read the authors other work I decided to give it a try. Read more
Published 5 months ago by kiore
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
I like this book. It is a sad story with a happy ending.
Published 5 months ago by John E. Banks
1.0 out of 5 stars A disappointment....
"Unraveling" should not be in the title of the book at all. A better title would perhaps be 'Discussions on the Unsolvable Mysteries of the Bible: Why They Can't Be... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful read!
Wonderful read! Enjoyed the possibilities presented, the additional historical information and the expert analysis of the data. Charming, interesting and thought provoking.
Published 6 months ago by June E. Redburn
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More About the Author

Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and winner of the 2014 (and first-ever) "Best Popular Book" award from the American Schools of Oriental Research for his recent book "1177 BC: The Year Civilization Collapsed," DR. ERIC H. CLINE is Professor of Classics and Anthropology, Director of the Capitol Archaeological Institute, and former Chair of the Department of Classical and Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at The George Washington University, in Washington DC. A National Geographic Explorer and Fulbright scholar with degrees from Dartmouth, Yale, and the University of Pennsylvania, he is an active field archaeologist with 30 seasons of excavation and survey experience in Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Cyprus, Greece, Crete, and the United States, including ten seasons at the site of Megiddo (biblical Armageddon) in Israel, where he is Co-Director, and seven seasons at Tel Kabri, where he is also Co-Director. A three-time winner of the Biblical Archaeology Society's "Best Popular Book on Archaeology" Award (2001, 2009, and 2011) and a popular lecturer who has appeared frequently on television documentaries, he has also won national and local awards for both his research and his teaching. He is the author or editor of 16 books, almost 100 articles, and three recorded 14-lecture courses. His previous books written specifically for the general public include "The Battles of Armageddon: Megiddo and the Jezreel Valley from the Bronze Age to the Nuclear Age" (2000), "Jerusalem Besieged: From Ancient Canaan to Modern Israel" (2004), "From Eden to Exile: Unraveling Mysteries of the Bible" (2007), "Biblical Archaeology: A Very Short Introduction" (2009), "The Trojan War: A Very Short Introduction" (2013), and, most recently, "1177 BC: The Year Civilzation Collapsed" (2014). He has also co-authored a children's book on Troy, entitled "Digging for Troy" (2011). For a video of his "Last Lecture" talk, go to


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