Thursday, October 16, 2014

A TOS Review: iWitness Books (explore Bible history!)





In our house history is the favorite subject. Unless, Xbox is considered a “subject.” Which I am guessing it’s not.

I, myself, have always loved history. When I was younger I wanted to be an archaeologist. One Christmas, my parents bought me a really cool book about ancient Egypt. I poured over the pages and planned my ‘round the world adventure.

haven't  had the opportunity to travel ‘round the world, but I still enjoy reading about early cultures and peoples.

Josiah and I got to review the neatest history resources recently.  


When the IWitness Books from Apologia Educational Ministries arrived in my mailbox I once again found myself pouring over the pages of some fascinating history.  Not only that, but these books are filled with historical and archaeological references and resources that point to the infallible truth of Scripture. 

Who would guess that 3 little books would be packed full of such intriguing stuff? We received iWitness Biblical Archaeology ($14.00), Old Testament iWitness ($14.00) and New Testament iWitness ($14.00). They can be read by independent readers ages 11 and up, but can be enjoyed as read alouds with the whole crew.

I decided that Josiah and I would read these books together. 

I left it up to Josiah to what book we would dive into first. He chose iWitness Old Testament.  I need to first tell you that my father is a Biblical Languages Scholar. I have heard him speak about many interesting and intriguing facts about Bible history. There was plenty in this book I had never heard before. I was just as fascinated by the material as Josiah.

Mr. Powell shared with us how the Jewish Scribes came up with meticulous practices and rules when copying the text. The scribes even had to follow rules about bathing and wearing certain clothes.
(On a side note. I’m considering implementing that rule myself. Young teenage boys!)
The books also contains some really neat Archaeological finds.



This is a picture in the books of the Tel Dan Stele which is from the 9th century BC. It part of a victory monument discovered in Israel. It is significant because it mentions the House of David.


Old Testament iWitness also has a wonderful timeline (love the timelines!).



New Testament iWitness is just as neat. As a Christian, I was probably a bit more familiar with some of the information. A few years ago, I took a summer Greek class my Dad offered. I have to tell you that I didn’t learn much Greek, but I did zero in on some fascinating Bible history. Sorry, Dad!

The criteria for what was placed in the “Canon” is just fascinating. Did you know that a book had to be written by an apostle or companion of the apostle who accurately recorded his teaching? Or that the book had to be written while the apostles were still alive?


This is just a picture of one of the oldest fragments of the New Testament. It comes from the Gospel of John. It is dated AD 125-130.



Another interesting tidbit is that we have more copies of the New Testament than any other ancient book.  5813! In fact, I seem to remember Homer’s Illiad being required reading There are only 1757 copies of it.



I loved, loved iWitness Biblical Archaeology. Doug Powell tells us that the world uses archaeology to argue against the Bible. Here he has given us some information that helps us understand Bible history better and introduces us to some great archaeological finds.

A recent movie (no need to mention any names) was about a Great Flood. Another reading assignment I had in college was of Gilgamesh. It is a Babylonian flood story. Naysayers generally dismiss the Biblical account of Noah as such mythology also. I loved the whole section and the search for Noah’s Ark. Fascinating stuff!


There is so much more!

We are also given information about the times and travels of Jesus. This picture is of Peter’s house. It was discovered in 1968.



My Thoughts

These are gorgeous books overall.  The struggling reader will have a harder time with them. The fonts used made it difficult for my dyslexic boy to read them on his own. However, I personally loved the use of the photographs, paintings and historical finds. They have the look of a scrapbook. I also like how pieces of information are divided among scraps of paper and scrolls. They really are a visual history story. 

I also used the book in our Teen Small Group at church. The information was easily accessible and so interesting.  I can see myself going back to them time and time again.

I love having all these resources in one (or three!) handy location. There is so much good stuff. I think you will be inspired.



Take a minute to read this interview with Doug Powell, the author of the iWitness books. He actually is an accomplished musician as well! 

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