Last week, a friend from college sent me a copy of a new book that his mother had written on biblical archaeology. I told him I would be happy to read it, but honestly, I had no idea what to expect.
The book, Fables Don’t Leave Footprints, by Jan Sessions, turned out to be a very pleasant surprise. The book is well-researched, and provides an excellent first step for beginners into the world of biblical archaeology. Early on in the book, Sessions states: “[Christians] go through life believing the Bible is true but are generally unaware of the vast array of outside-the-Bible evidences that verify the Bible as ‘real history’” (16). Sessions became aware of that evidence through her studies of archaeology, and wants to share it with her readers.
Here are some of the strengths of this book, and a reason why I think it is an excellent resource for the average Christian-in-the-pews who is interested in the evidence for the historical reliability of the biblical witness:
First, the book is incredibly readable. The book is only 198 pages total (including footnotes), with excellent pictures and charts that illustrate the archaeological discoveries that the author describes. Furthermore, the chapters are short, which keeps the pace of the book moving along.
Second, the book is really attractive. A lot of times when people self-publish books, they frankly do not look very good. That is not the case here. I am picky about things like typography, page layout, and graphic design, but the work on this book was very nice.
Third, and most importantly, Fables does a great job of introducing the reader to a variety of different types of archaeological discoveries which bolster the historicity of the biblical accounts. I want to emphasize the word introducing: this is not a scholarly book, and it does not attempt to enter into technical archaeological debate. But it does introduce you to some of those issues, and also provides footnotes for the reader who wishes to study further.
If you are a Christian who is already aware of archaeological discoveries that are relevant to Scripture, then Fables might not teach you a lot of new information, but it is a helpful review of the vast array of important discoveries that have been made. And if your exposure to biblical archaeology is minimal, then the book could very well be a real eye-opener.