I’m not aware of any recent book that attempts to do what Andrew Steinmann (professor of theology and Hebrew at Concordia University, Chicago) has done with his new book: From Abraham to Paul: A Biblical Chronology (Concordia Publishing House, 2011). In fact, Eugene Merrill says that “this meticulous and magnificent [work is an] addition to (indeed, replacement of) such magisterial works on biblical chronology as those by Edwin Thiele and Jack Finegan.”
Nicholas Perrin (Franklin S. Dyrness Chair of Biblical Studies at Wheaton College Graduate School) writes in the foreword:
Andrew E. Steinmann’s From Abraham to Paul . . . is a book which should have been written decades ago. Here’s why. Steinmann not only assumes quite rightly that history matters, but he also shows two things about biblical history.
First, he shows that in many cases with a little scholarly spadework we can have a pretty good idea as to when key events took place, events like the life of Abraham, the Conquest of the Promised Land, the birth of Jesus, or Paul’s Second Missionary Journey. These events are not the yarn of legend: on the contrary, there is every good intellectually-compelling reason to accept them as history, history that really happened in time and space. . . .
The second thing Steinmann shows about history and this is no less important is its complexity. Some of the questions which the book takes up are thorny questions indeed, having provoked lots of black ink and fiery debate along the way. The author’s approach is never polemical, but always clear; the positions taken are not necessarily always the standard positions, but they are always defended from the evidence. Indeed, it is precisely this quality that makes the book such a delight to read. . . .
We should be grateful for books like this. We should be grateful, because God made history and history matters. Apart from the conviction that our faith is a historical faith, we are left only to cast about. But, when we are fully persuaded that sacred history meshes with the history in which we live and move and have our being, that is when biblical faith becomes a real possibility. Likewise, every intellectually serious reader of the Bible (pious or not so pious) will learn to think twice before allowing himself or herself to be bullied (happily or anxiously) by the skeptics. True, there is so much we don’t know. But, by the same token, there is much we can know and know with some confidence.