I was tickled pink to get a review copy of Eric Cline's From Eden to Exile: Unraveling Mysteries of the Bible. Those who know me know that I'm not usually drawn to Biblical studies as a field, but I do like to know what is going on in a field that is important to any Christian theology. Cline did not let me down. This is an engaging read.
The first thing that grabbed my attention was Cline's project. He is not trying to shoulder up some agenda of proving or disproving the historicity of the Bible, rather he provides a frank look at the Biblical, extra-biblical and archeological evidence (or lack thereof) for several fascinating Biblical mysteries. These mysteries include such favourites as the location of Eden and Noah's ark, as well as finding the lost tribes of Israel. If you are looking for someone to tell you that there are clear answers for any of these mysteries you probably want a different book.
While the whole book is quite engaging and accessible, it was his concluding chapter that really shined. Here Cline urges us not to give up our various positions on the historicity of the various early Biblical accounts, but rather to take seriously all the data. To avoid speculating and going beyond the evidence. But remember that the Biblical narratives are about something more important than a verifiable history. "People read the Bible to find themselves in it, and many people don't just read the story, they live it." (p.185)