244 pages, 120 colour photos and colour & b/w illustrations
Birds and Bibles in History is the most comprehensive scientific study of the birds mentioned in Christian Bibles ever. It is the result of author Tian Hattingh being both a Biblical Hebrew student and an amateur ornithologist. It was completed over a twelve year period which included a number of in loco visits to Israel. He investigated all 409 references to birds mentioned in Christian Bibles, ensuring that the original Hebrew and Greek texts are reproduced as accurately as possible.
Part 1 covers the development of Ornithology from ancient times to this day. It focuses on the Biblical authors like Moses and Job, ancient writers like Aristotle, carries on through the Middle Ages, and right up to modern times. Influences from the likes of Darwin, Audubon, Gilbert White, and Eugene Marais are dealt with in detail. Relevant subjects like migration, extinction, bird-strikes, and nomenclature, are also dealt with.
Part 2 deals with the development of all Bibles, and shows how this three thousand year long process influences the way that we have to deal with Bibles in general. It also shows how we should keep "textual criticism" in mind when dealing with the passages referring to birds in particular.
Part 3 presents the reader with concise information about the thirty six bird species mentioned in Bibles, including the relationship of the different avian families to man through the ages. It shows how each reference should be translated to produce the "closest natural equivalent" of the original meaning. This includes for example twenty-five references to nine Owl species, and the most famous rooster in the world. As a result of his study, Tian has come to the startling conclusion that the Biblical authors, and not Aristotle as is generally accepted, were in fact the first Ornithologists.
This conclusion is motivated in Part 4, by using the example of the Great Flood in Genesis 6-9, and the Ostrich in Job 39.
The Indexes in Part 5 present the wealth of information in different formats, making it readily accessible and a useful source of reference to scholars and laymen alike. Even avian terminology like "feather", and "fly" for example, are included. Birds & Bibles in History contains no less than 120 colour photographs, adding an additional splendour rarely seen in a publication of this kind.
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