Many thanks to Shawn Myers at Bridge-Logos for giving me the opportunity to review The God of the Mountain by Penny Cox Caldwell.
Books and studies related to the story of the Exodus and the location of Mount Sinai are a favorite of mine. When I came across The God of the Mountain on the Bridge-Logos new release list last October, I knew I had to read it.
Jim & Penny Caldwell lived with their two children in Saudi Arabia during the late 1980’s and into the early 1990’s. During the Gulf War Penny and the children had to return to the United States, while Jim remained in Saudi Arabia working in the oil industry. When the rest of the family returned to Saudi Arabia, Jim, Penny, and the children were in need of a long overdue time of rest, relaxation, and reconnection. In January 1992 they embarked on an overland family vacation into Egypt. What began as a seemingly normal vacation became much more as the Caldwells encountered many signs and wonders along the way. The events set in motion on this trip would alter the course of their lives forever.
The first 3/4 of the book recounts the family’s overland journey from Saudi Arabia to Egypt, their adventures throughout Egypt, and then back again. Personally I haven’t had the privilege of travelling in the Middle East, so I thoroughly enjoyed the play by play descriptions of the ins and outs of travelling via automobile in a foreign land. Also, I appreciated that this was a family adventure of sorts as Jim and Penny Caldwell brought their two children with them for the majority of the endeavors recounted in the book. The latter part of the book tells of the Caldwell’s first three journeys into the Jabel Lawz and surrounding areas of northwest Saudi Arabia in search of evidence for the Exodus and the ‘real’ Mount Sinai. Towards the end of book Penny shares that they feel Jabel Lawz is a good alternate site for the Biblical Mount Horeb and Jabel Maqla is a good alternate site for the Biblical Mount Sinai. Outside of the three journeys mentioned in the latter part of this book, the Caldwells made 12 additional trips into northwest Saudi Arabia. Penny hopes to share the stories behind these trips in a later book. As a result of these adventures, the Caldwells have met people and gone places they never thought possible. Today Penny and Jim work with the Split Rock Research Foundation to share their story throughout the world.
All things considered, I thoroughly enjoyed reading The God of the Mountain. The thing that stood out the most to me as I read this book is that it is chock full of photos. These go a long way in drawing the reader into the thick of the adventure throughout the entire book. Readers who are familiar with other books and films dealing with Jabel Lawz as a candidate for the ‘real’ Mount Sinai will surely recognize many of these photos, which originated with the Caldwells. Readers who are interested in the Exodus story and alternate locations for Mount Sinai will certainly want to give The God of the Mountain a look.
Penny Cox Caldwell became an avid desert explorer when her family moved to Saudi Arabia in January of 1988. As a prolific writer, she has documented with great precision their extensive travels and adventures throughout the Middle East. She is the Senior Vice President of Split Rock Research Foundation and gives live presentations with her husband Jim at churches and synagogues of their discoveries and exploits, most notably in Arabia. You can learn more about Penny Caldwell at www.splitrockresearch.org.
Buy this book on Amazon: The God of the Mountain
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