Friday, May 3, 2013

Book Review: Tower of Babel: The Cultural History of Our Ancestors by Bodie Hodge

Rating: 5 Stars

Difficulty: Easy to read and understand, layman's terms.

Age Recommendation: Preteens, Teens, and Adults.

Often times, when eating a meal with our extended family, the topic of of ancestry is brought up in discussion. We hear of a famous actor or sports player who was related to us in some distant way, or of a strange marriage arrangement which connects two related families, and so on. Oftentimes, the conclusion of such conversations is simply the old saying, “It’s a small world!” However, the real conclusion should be that we are all one human family...and we all go back to Adam, and more recently, the Tower of Babel

In this eye-opening volume, Tower of Babel: The Cultural History of Our Ancestors, biblical history buff, Bodie Hodge of Answers in Genesis, “maps it all out” (literally) from Babel to today, starting from the authoritative history found in the pages of Scripture. One thing that is particularly common with most literature written about the Tower of Babel today, is that it usually starts from a ‘traditionalist’ reading of the Biblical text and not necessarily what the text actually says. Not so with this book, in which Hodge presents a case for the rebellion and dispersion at Babel based on what is clearly revealed in the Word of God, and uses it to explain the world’s cultures, customs, legends, and languages. Perhaps one of the most fascinating things about this book is that it ties the ancient world with the modern world, showing how many of the Earth’s geographical locations and cities are named after biblical patriarchs, how some of the pagan ‘deities‘ worshipped in ancient times are really the ancestors of these people groups who were dispersed from Babel, and how the languages of today would have developed from the language families given by God at Babel. 

After having read Bill Cooper’s groundbreaking work on the genealogy and ancient history of Europe, After the Flood, I was eager to learn more, but was saddened by the fact that there is very little work (much less reliable or biblical) on this intriguing topic. When I received notice that Master Books (a division of New Leaf Publishing Group) was publishing a new release on this topic, I immediately requested a copy to review. Having read through it now, I am looking forward to distributing this book in our creation club bookstore at our monthly meetings. Here are just a few of my thoughts on this fascinating title:

  • Bodie Hodge has certainly done his homework, and has laid solid ground for further research in this important area.
  • This is a very readable book; any preteen could pick up and fully understand this book.
  • The chapters (with an exception of Chapter 17) are very short (4-8 pages) and meant for easy and timely reading; great for travel. (Note: I read the last 1/3 of the book in a the center aisle of an airplane.) 
  • Chapter 17, though a long read, has been thoroughly researched and includes priceless information on the whereabouts and travels of the biblical patriarchs, which are confirmed by the records of extra-biblical historians and culture experts.
  • The whole of the book is truly challenging (in a good way, ‘as iron sharpens iron’) for creationists, since a majority of the book is focused on refuting some of the formerly held (even by the author) misconceptions about the Tower of Babel event, and giving biblical creationists a wholly biblical understanding which stays loyal to the text of Genesis 10-11.

Conclusion: Everyone wants to know about their family tree. Many non-Christian religions and cults are entirely focused on knowing who their ancestors are. However, as Hodge concludes in this book, it is because we are all one human family through our ancestor Adam that we all need a Savior who is one of our relatives: Jesus Christ. The message of the Bible’s trustworthiness inevitably leads one to the One who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, which is the end-all message of this must-have, faith-building book. I highly recommend picking up a copy of Bodie Hodge’s Tower of Babel

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