Review Details

Discovering the City of Sodom

Product Review (submitted on October 24, 2013):
I grew up loving the Indiana Jones movies. I appreciated the action married with interesting (pseudo-) facts about history. I probably wanted to be an archaeologist once before I realized it involves a lot more digging and cataloging than swinging and shooting. I’d never read a book on biblical archaeology—or any archaeology for that matter—until I read Discovering the City of Sodom by Dr. Steven Collins and Dr. Latayne C. Scott. I thought it may be boring, having left the Indy dreams behind. I was mistaken.

This book immediately drew me in and took me on an adventure. A true adventure. A current, modern adventure. I was reminded that, even in the 2010’s, there are stories the dirt has yet to tell. There is more evidence for the validity of scripture that has yet to be found.
There is a framing narrative telling the story of “Dr. C,” an archaeologist and Near East tour guide who is beginning to believe that everything he has been taught about the location of Sodom is wrong. This frame story unfolds like a fictional narrative, but is meant to reflect Collin’s own very similar experience.

This story is broken up by accounts of Collins and his team setting out to find the real Sodom by doing something that seems like a no-brainer: starting with the Genesis account of the destruction of Sodom and going from there. Collins and Scott use an unprecedented combination of archaeology, geography, linguistics, mathematics, forensics, chemistry, and exegesis to all but prove that Tall el-Hammam, located northeast of the Dead Sea the kikkar of the Jordan is the Sodom of the Bible.

It’s a fascinating read, probably even for those who don’t read books about biblical archaeology or history—people like me. Discovering the City of Sodom is aimed enough at a popular level that it works as a kind of primer on biblical archaeology. It sent me looking for more information on the excavation of other biblical cities. Even though our faith isn’t solely dependent on the evidence unearthed by archaeologists, it’s nice to know that the historicity of the Bible is consistently reinforced by these discoveries.

One section I really appreciated was the authors’ admonition of the Bible scholar to always take the Bible authoritatively, but not necessarily always literally. What a great takeaway!

Sean Runnette does a great job on the narration, especially with a book that has so many difficult-to-pronounce place names. I highly recommend this book!

Please Note: This audiobook was gifted as a part of the Christianaudio Reviewers Program in exchange for my unbiased review of this work. This has in no way influenced my opinion or review of this work.