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The Archaeology of the Holy Land From the Destruction of Solomon`s Temple to the Muslim Conquest

TheArchaeology of the Holy Land: From the Destruction of Solomon`sTemple to the Muslim Conquest

TheArchaeology of the Holy Land: From the Destruction of Solomon`sTemple to the Muslim Conquest

Thebook, TheArchaeology of the Holy Land: From the Destruction of Solomon`sTemple to the Muslim Conquestby Jodi Magness, provides an introduction to the history andarchaeology of ancient Palestine. The book covers events dated from586 BCE, the destruction of Solomon`s temple, to 640 CE, the Muslimconquest. Much focus is on the archaeology of Jerusalem and theperiod of the Second Temple. All these events are in the time ofJesus and Herod the Great. Jodi Magness is a professor in the fieldof religious studies at North Carolina University, Chapel Hill, andshe teaches Early Judaism at the University. She has also authoredand edited several other books related to her field of study. Herbook provides a comprehensive outline of the archaeology of thehistorical period of Jesus and Herod the Great. In addition, the bookcontains different historical contexts, and for each age, the author,has offered readers a historical context of the Mediterranean worldand the ancient Near East, including many events that took place inPalestine.

Thebook is seventeen chapters in length, and the introduction presentsreaders with the basic knowledge required to understand the field ofarcheology. In the 1st chapter, the author has introduced the readerto the birthplace of Christianity and Judaism, a complex andfascinating land. The book also has maps and citations from the Bibleto support the findings and claims of the author. For a betterunderstanding of the book, the author prepares the reader beforebeginning to lay out the information in chronological order. The booktells readers what is going to be covered and how that will be done.Also, the author describes some of the concepts in archaeology sothat her audience can easily relate to the context of the book. Thebook provides a comprehensive explanation concerning the meaning,methods, and principles of archeology, as well as the methods ofdating and the importance of archaeology in understanding anduncovering historical events. Chapter two to ten are outlined inchronological order from the geography and early history of Jerusalemin chapter two. Chapter three discusses the Babylonian and Persianperiods while Chapter three covers the Hellenistic period, and thefifth chapter accounts for the late Hellenistic period (Magness,2012). Additionally, chapter six to ten talks about the final timesfrom different perspectives.

Chaptereleven discusses the practices that were present during the time ofthe ancient Jewish, and it does not say much about the era andregion. Chapter fourteen focuses on the expertise of the inhabitantsliving within a limited geological area ancient Palestiniansynagogues is one of the subjects that is central to Magness’expertise. Chapters twelve, thirteen, sixteen, and seventeen maintainthe chronological approach. Chapter twelve examines the period of thedestruction of Jerusalem and the temple while chapter thirteenfocuses on Hadrianic Jerusalem (Magness, 2012). Chapter fifteen andsixteen explore the Byzantine period, whereby the former coversJerusalem and the latter discusses the remaining part of Palestineunder Christian rule.

Theauthor has also given her readers the option of doing furtherresearch and has provided a list of recommended readings. Inaddition, the book has a “sidebar” feature where the author givesdetails regarding a particular topic. For instance, on pagetwenty-six, the author has provided an in-depth meaning of the term‘Temple’ in the sidebar (Magness, 2012). Some of the topicsincluded in the sidebar are Hezekiah’s Tunnel (43-44), TalpiyotTomb (250-252), and Wilson’s Arch (167), among many others.Throughout the book, there are valuable maps, black-and-whitephotographs that provide a better comprehension of the content, andillustrations. The last pages of the book contain a helpful glossary,transitory timeline, and a comprehensive index. Furthermore, thethree items located at the end of the book act as an introduction toreaders who are not familiar with archeology or those that need topolish their understanding a little bit.

Thestrength of Magness’ book can be attributed to four factors: (1)illustration using maps and photographs that paint a clear picture inthe readers mind, (2) providing a detailed timeline that is conciseand critical in identifying the various archeological periods, (3)providing information on the sidebar, which enables readers to have abetter grasp of concepts, places, objects, and archaeologicaldiscoveries, and (4) the manner in which the book has been writtenmakes it easier for undergraduate students to comprehend. The book iswritten by an archeology expert who has participated in someexcavations, and so anyone who reads the book is confident about theworks that she has presented. The book is quite detailed, andscholars either in college, university, or high school, andarcheology enthusiasts can use this book for their research work andfurther reading for a deeper understanding.

Thebook could also be used to have a better understanding of the newtestament for scholars who have majored their studies in religiousstudies. On reading the book, it is clear that a whole lot ofknowledge has been condensed, and it should be noted that the authorhad waited for twelve years to write this book. For that reason, theorganization of the book itself represents the effort that the authorhas put to ensure that the book is finally published and accessibleto the public. Everything in the book from the photographs,illustrations, and sidebars to the glossary, timeline, and indexreveal the hard work that was invested in research, writing, editing,and publishing. The author has gone an extra mile to ensure that thereader does not encounter any difficulties when reading or reviewingher book. Jodi Magness has a reputation in the field of archeologyregarding her ability to convey information and results to a broadaudience.

Thebook, TheArchaeology of the Holy Land: From the Destruction of Solomon`sTemple to the Muslim Conquestby Jodi Magness, was published on August 2012 by Cambridge UniversityPress and has a total of 397 pages written in English. ISBN-10(0521124131) and ISBN-13 (978-0521124133). The available formats arepaperback, hardback, and eBook, and can be purchased online, thoughthe retail price depends on the seller or if it is used or new. Themost common sites that the book can be purchased are CambridgeUniversity Press, eBay, Walmart, and Amazon. Also, the book isavailable on Google Books but there is a viewing limit, and so somepages are not available. Given the contents of the book, it is worthbuying and reading for persons interested in the subject.


Magness,J. (2012). Thearchaeology of the holy land: From the destruction of Solomon’stemple to the Muslim conquest.Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.