The Lost World of the Flood: Mythology, Theology, and the Deluge Debate / by Tremper Longman III & John H. Walton. 2.11.2019

IVP Academic ISBN 9780830852000

Adult Rating: 4

The Lost World of the Flood provides an academic approach to the narrative of the flood found in Genesis chapters 1-11, presenting it as an ancient document influenced by the Ancient Near East (ANE) culture to which it belonged and focusing on the historical/literary context of this genre of writing. The authors, Tremper Longman and John Walton, who are noted Old Testament scholars, posit that it is the interpretation the events recounted in these biblical texts, and not the events themselves, that are inspired by God. The scope of the book focuses on explaining their method of interpretation, giving background using other ANE texts, providing their conclusions about how to understand the text, and discussing the scientific and literary evidence for the flood. This book is the fifth book in the Lost World series.

Even though the genre of this title is clearly academic, the reading style is easy to understand and the concepts are carefully built upon one another. The authors support their findings with extensive research. The topic is controversial though. While the authors affirm the inerrancy of Scripture, they do interpret the text in a way that may differ from views held by many evangelical Christians. Thus, they assert that the flood recorded in Genesis was an actual event but not a world-wide flood (such a global flood not being supported by geological evidence according to an included “guest” chapter written by a geologist), and that it was instead described using cataclysmic language (meant to be hyperbolic) which was common in ANE literature. They explain that the narrative was intended to convey a theological message, rather than an historical or scientific one.

The book does give some very important insight on ANE culture and will provoke thoughtful reflection, which makes it a valuable resource even if the reader does not agree with the authors’ conclusions.

Tatyana Claytor, CLJ