Monday, February 17, 2014

Discovering the City of Sodom, By Steven Collins and Latayne C. Scott

Few stories in the Bible fire the imagination more that the story of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.  In Genesis 19, we read that "the Lord rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah," destroying "all those living in the cities--and also the vegetation in the land," and that all that was left was the next morning was "dense smoke rising from the land, like smoke from a furnace."  In their new book, Discovering the City of Sodom: The Fascinating, True Account of the Discovery of the Old Testament's Most Infamous City, Drs. Steven Collins and Latayne C. Scott tell the story of Dr. Collins's research into the location of Sodom.

The location of the city of Sodom, as well as whether the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah did, in fact, exist, or were simply legendary, have long been points of contention among biblical scholars and archeologists.  Dr. Stephen Collins, of Trinity Southwest University, is a Christian and an archeologist. Maintaining a high view of scripture as well as a commitment to the scientific method in the field of archeology, he insists that "you've got to let the text and the ground talk to each other."

Starting with the clear biblical geographical descriptions of the location of Sodom, and looking at the remains of ancient cities in the area of the Dead Sea, Collins and his team have compiled a convincing body of evidence that the location of the city of Sodom is not under the Dead Sea, or in the southern end of the Dead Sea, but in the kikkar, the fertile, disc-shaped region at the north end of the Dead Sea.

I appreciated the balance Collins brings to his work, placing a high priority on the testimony of scripture as having distinct historical value, as well as his careful historical placement of the cities' destruction based on dating methods at the site itself.  Collins is a great story teller as well, not only laying out his case for this placement, but describing how he came to his conclusions and the story of his crucial discoveries and revelations.  He also paints a full picture of Sodom and its importance in the region's economy and history, including the role it played in biblical history even after its destruction.

I know by the nature of archeology, like any area of research, that there will be many detractors offering alternate theories to Dr. Collins's about the location of Sodom.  But the evidence that he has compiled make a convincing case, presented in a compelling, readable book.

Thanks to Edelweiss and the publisher for the complimentary electronic review copy!

1 comment:

  1. Dr. Collins and I thank you for your thorough and thoughtful review! May God bless you!