Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Review: Ancient History From Primary Sources: A Literary Timeline, by Harvey and Laurie Bluedorn

There's a lot of noise being made these days about revisionist history; it's hard to know who to trust. In such an era, the value of primary sources--documents by those who were there--is all the greater. I've always been a proponent of going straight to the source... the trouble is that, with thousands of years of documented history behind us, the paths to the sources can be hard to find.

That's what makes this book so valuable.

The Bluedorns' timeline stretches from Creation to the fall of the Roman Empire in A.D. 427, marking off important events and personalities along the way. Referenced all the way through the timeline are the primary documents that record these events, getting as close as possible to them. Not only that, but the book comes with a CD-ROM that contains these pieces of primary literature themselves!

Ancient History From Primary Sources is a great reference book, laying out the history of the ancient world in easy-to-follow format. It includes the Bible throughout the timeline, helping connect the sometimes disjointed view of history that those of us who've grown up with the Scriptures are prone to. Moreover, the book contains lengthy chapters overviewing the Bible, the literature of Egypt, the Hebrews, Mesopotamia, Greece, and Rome.

As is the case with the rest of their books, the Bluedorns write from a conservative Christian viewpoint. Folks who share their worldview will appreciate the head's-up they give on various moral issues in ancient literature, and the heavy attention they give to understanding all things through the framework of Scripture.

1 Comments:

Anonymous NonNobis1963 said...

Rachel! I just read your review of this book on Amazon.com. And it's... this blog post! Cheater cheater pumpkin eater. I've saved the book to my favorites list, and i'll score a copy soon as i have the cash. It sounds like the perfect resource for my program. Until now, i've found myself in the unenviable position of having to choose between conservative Christian, but silly and unprofessional, world history texts (Streams of Civilization, Bob Jones, A Beka) on the one hand, and the really well-done ones with scholarly credibility, but steeped in nonChristian assumptions (Civilization Past and Present, and a cast of thousands). It's a terrible choice to have to make, and it kind of makes me angry. What is UP with Christians? Anyway, i look forward to procuring a copy of the book you recommend here. :)

In other news (one of many Thomson-isms i've picked up), you seemed interested in my query about your publishing company. Yes, there are several levels on which we might fruitfully dialogue over the next few years. There are certain out-of-print books that i'd love to be able to use with my students, and it's maddening not to be able to. Also, as i mentioned earlier, i'll be assembling materials of my own during the next few years that it would be nice to publish somewhere other than Kinko's. We might scratch each other's backs, you and i. Perhaps an ill-chosen image. But you take my meaning.

11:08 AM  

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