Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Amazing Bible Timeline Review

As part of the TOS Review Crew I was sent "The Amazing Bible Timeline" from the company Bible Charts and Maps, LLC. They can be found at www.BibleTimeline.NET . The product is, well, pretty amazing. It is large, 37" by 45" and can be hung as a wall chart or put on a flat surface. The Bible Timeline is put together in a compact circular format and the timeline goes in a clockwise direction. This timeline is a great way for visual learners to put the people in the Bible in order and can add historical clarity to a Bible study. It is priced at $29.97 and comes with free interactive maps of the Holy Land and a digital timeline for the computer.

The Bible Timeline shows order, and overlap in generations and history. For example, Daniel and Confucius lived at the same time. I loved seeing that Adam was still alive at the same time as Noah's father. When I was sent the timeline to review, I started looking at it with my husband. That weekend we had friends from our Church over for dinner and we pulled out the Timeline and really enjoyed looking at the chart and pulling out our bible and looking up different topics. I wanted others opinion on this product, especially since it refers to the Bible and I am not a Biblical scholar. My friends were impressed with the product and really found it fascinating. They were asking me for the website information and were considering purchasing charts for their homes as well. That following Monday, I was surprised to see an email from the company responding to some concerns that other TOS Crew members had regarding this product. As I said, I am not a Biblical scholar so many of the concerns raised were not even on my radar, however, I feel that I need to share this information with you so that you can make an educated purchase. The Company does offer a 60 day money back guarantee if you are not satisfied with the product. To be honest I was disappointed to hear other reviewers had issues with it, I thought it was a great product and could be used as a good teaching tool. I have decided to copy and paste the body of the email from the company here so that you can read and decide for yourself if this product may be right for you:

"Response to the LDS Question and Ussher's Table"
We have been questioned about the following:The Native American belief in a White God who would one day return. This is historical fact. You can find it in the Complete Idiot's Guide to Native American History - a condensed version of history. If it makes that book you know it's standard historical fact. People have known that Native Americans (north and south) believed in a person they called either the White God, The Great White God, The Fair God or The White Bearded God "who would one day return" since the Spanish first showed up in America. Not only did Cortez take advantage of it, the Spanish priests constantly commented on it. This is history not Mormon doctrine.

Every quote on the Amazing Bible Timeline referring to that fact is from highly regarded historians such as the Harvard trained historian Prescott.No serious historian disagrees with this. The disagreement arises over whether or not this has anything to do with Christ or whether or not any Native Americans (north or south) are related to the lost ten tribes. Cortes used the belief in the return of a Great White God to defeat the Aztecs by either claiming he was that God or at least not denying it. Sources: The Complete Idiots Guide to Native American History by Walter Fleming page 52 - you can read it online. You can also reference the following: "Letters and Dispatches of Cortes," translated by George Folsom (New York, 1843); Prescott's "Conquest of Mexico" (Boston, 1843) which is referenced on the Timeline; and Sir Arthur Helps's "Life of Hernando Cortes" (London, 1871)Common Christian Belief that the Great White God, The White God, The White Bearded God or The Fair God refers to Christ. Sources for Christian belief that this referred to Christ. Note that none of these are LDS and there are tons of them besides these few. This is historical fact, like it or not. The only question is, who was this person really? And are the Native Americans related in any way to the lost ten tribes? "History of America before Columbus VI : According to documents and approved authors" (Philadelphia 1900) Dr. Peter de Roo"Most ancient and modern authors agree in saying that the Christian religion had been taught to the Indians in pre Columbian days. Bastian establishes this opinion by the numerous analogies he points out between the religious belief and practices of the Christians and those of Americans aborigines. Von Humboldt admits the parity to be so striking as to have given the Spanish missionaries a fine opportunity to deceive the natives by making them believe that their own was none other than the Christian religion....Quite a number of ancient writers, such as Garcilasso de la Vega, Solorzano, Acosta and others are equally explicit in asserting that several Christian tenets and practices were found among our aborigines." Pages 423-424 (some of his books are on line but not VI.
Also note there are many references to writings by early Spanish Catholic priests writing about the legends of the White God and the teachings of same and their similarities to Christianity. ) William Prescott (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_H._Prescott) The wiki article mentions his access to unpublished documents in Spain and that he was considered a fair and impartial historian. In his book" Conquest of Mexico" (referring to the Fair God) Prescott says, " In a preceding I have noted the popular traditions respecting Quetzalcoal, that deity with a fair complexion and flowing beard, so unlike the Indian physiognomy, who, after fulfilling his mission of benevolence among them, embarked on the Atlantic Sea for the mysterious shores of Tlapallan. He promised, on his departure, to return at some future day..... That day was looked forward to with hope or with apprehension, according to the interest of the believer, but with general confidence throughout the wide borders of Anahuac."
The statements regarding historical belief in similarities between ancient people in America and Jewish people and temples It is historical fact that this similarity was noted and widely accepted throughout the Christian world long before the LDS church began. (see Radin's book and his footnotes on the Timeline) Since the DNA evidence this is now in dispute. We removed most of these statements before the 2008 reprinting. We did it without trying to rewrite the historical fact that for centuries many people, Christians and non-Christians alike thought there were similarities between Native American peoples and cultures and the Middle eastern peoples and cultures.As we have reprinted the timeline we have removed most of the references to any interpretations of history that are no longer accepted by the majority of Christians and will continue to do so on future updates but refuse to rewrite history including historical beliefs.

Why is there an LDS version of the Timeline? We began working with the Amazing Bible Timeline in 1975, forty-four years after its first printing in 1931. 1975 was a time when Christians were committed to building greater unity or cooperation among Christian faiths, very different from todays time of Bible bashing and rejection of any Christian whose faith does not exactly match our own. The contention among Christians today is appalling to us and we don't support it. (We were asked to provide primary references that there was such a time and attitude. Fair enough. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/178836/ecumenism)

To answer the question, we were asked to provide an LDS version. We did it and we still provide it today. None of the original Timeline dates were changed and no LDS dates were added to the original Amazing Bible Timeline. A separate version was made. The two timelines have separate copyrights and ISBNs. When the North and South American history dates were added (Olmecs through Mayans and more) they were taken from archaelogists working in those areas. After that was done, not before, Book of Mormon dates were added to the LDS version.

Does the Timeline have an LDS slant? We don't know how it could. The original Timeline on which ours is based does not have an LDS background. We added dates from 1931 to 2000 so unless you think there's some LDS slant to WWII or the first astronauts on the moon there isn't one.
Bill and Margaret both come from varied religious background. Bill attended a non-denominational church throughout his youth and young adulthood. Margaret attended Baptist, Presbyterian,Episcopalian and Catholic depending on where she lived or which relative she was visiting. We feel we have a broad understanding of Christian doctrine.This is not a platform to proclaim our variety of Christianity (other than our belief in Christ as our personal savior) but a stewardship to an ongoing project. We hope it outlives us as it did the original author. We don’t feel it belongs to us any more than Ussher’s chronology or the King James version of the Bible belongs to us. We do everything we can to keep ourselves out of it and to present it as the history it is intended to be.We feel strongly that the Amazing Bible Timeline should be just as accessible to all Christians as is the Authorized King James Bible and Ussher’s chronology. The Timeline is used by Non-denominationals, Baptists, Fundamentalists, Evangelicals, Lutherans, Methodists, Presbyterians, Catholics, Seventh Day Adventists, Friends Churches and more. Therefore, we willingly and happily answer questions about Bible history on our site.

We do not answer doctrinal questions. We do our best to ensure there is no doctrine on the Timeline (other than a belief in the Bible and it's history) and to make sure it is historically accurate. If you find something you believe is more doctrine than history, please let us know. Also if you catch any errors in spelling or dating please let us know. This is a huge work and even after years of checking we sometimes find an error. After researching it we are happy to make changes before future printing.

Why do you keep talking about Ussher’s Chronology. What does that have to do with the Bible dates?If there are dates printed in the margins of your Authorized King James Bible they are from Ussher’s table not the other way around. The original Hebrew texts on which the Old Testament of the Bible is based didn’t come with dates although it does mention time frames. The dates calculated by Bishop Ussher were added to the margins of the Authorized King James Bible in 1701 ninety years after it's first printing. Many Biblical scholars still believe Ussher's Chronology is the most accurate. We hope you enjoy using The Amazing Bible Timeline as the tool it is intended to be –
to see the order of Biblical events
to visualize the length of time between Biblical or world events
to coordinate Biblical history with secular history. If you have more questions you are welcome to either call us at 877-966-7300 or
email us. "

That is the email that was sent to me and I copied and pasted it. I felt obligated to share it out of fairness to the company to give them an opportunity to explain and back up their product and also out of fairness to any potential buyers. I personally liked the product and I will hold onto it and use it as a reference that it was intended to be.

This has been as TOS Homeschool Crew review. As a member of the Homeschool Crew, we are given homeschool related products and asked to write an honest review. The items are provided to us by the companies, but we are not paid for our reviews.

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