Tuesday, November 30

Seeds of Turmoil - The Biblical Story Behind Conflict in the Middle East

The story of the conflict in the Middle East is a troubled one. Today that conflict seems to reach headlines nearly every day. Whether a terrorist bombing, the current US military operations, or Islamic leaders decrying Israel. The story behind this is also a long one. For many people, the issue is thought to have arisen in the late 1940’s (1948 to be exact) when Israel officially became a recognized state in our world. And while that event certainly has led to much conflict in the Middle East, author and pastor Bryant Wright suggests in his book, Seeds of Turmoil: The Biblical Roots of the Inevitable Crisis of the Middle East, that the issue is much deeper, dating back to the time of Abraham.

What’s that? Wasn’t Abraham the father of Israel? Yes. However, Wright also explains how Abraham was also the father of Islam (even though that was not his intent). If you want to know the whole explanation, I’ll let you read the book.

I’ll give you the short version here: Sarah could have children. Abraham had a kid through the maid, Hagar. Abraham then had a kid with Sarah a bit later. Hagar gave birth to Ishmael and Sarah to Isaac. Ishmael’s descendents include Mohammed, the ‘founder’ of Islam and Isaac is one of the father’s of Israel.

Wright then goes on to explain the relationship between the descendents of Isaac and Ishmael through many biblical periods and then leads up with today. In fact over half the book is the biblical history. The rest is mostly comprised of Israel’s, Islam’s, and Christianity’s views on the conflict.

As far as the book itself, I found Wright to be repetitive when explaining the biblical history. Often he would mention one event multiple times and explain it. One such example is the reference to Abraham sleeping with Hagar. While that might’ve been important to reference in various chapters, Wright then goes on to explain that it would’ve been sinful. And that was fine the first time. But the second, third, fourth, etc. time, we don’t need the extra explanation. We already understand his view.

And while the Biblical view is interesting, valid, and important, I wish Bryan would’ve spent some more time deconstructing current events and relating them a bit more. Though, I think perhaps he tried to avoid this to differentiate this book from others about the Middle East. Still, the Biblical history perspective was interesting and fresh, a view I haven’t engaged before and one that deserves thought. This is a quick read and an easy one.

3/5 stars

Read more about this book on Thomas Nelson's product page here.
I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255

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