Professor pens book on the science behind the Bible

GW Classics Professor Eric H. Cline may have sold more than 10,000 copies of his most recent book, “From Eden to Exile,” but that does not mean he is receiving praise for his publication.

“From Eden to Exile” uses known evidence in an attempt to solve biblical mysteries including the Garden of Eden, Noah’s Ark, Sodom and Gomorrah, Moses and Exodus, Joshua and the Battle of Jericho, the Ark of the Covenant and the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel.

“I won’t receive kudos from my colleagues for this book. They know this information,” Cline said. “I wrote this for the general public to counteract the nonsense of amateurs and enthusiasts.”

Cline said he was worried this book would damage his reputation because of its attempt to address a wider audience, but the book needed to be written.

“It is part of our duty as scholars to educate the public about the truth.”

Cline is now chair of the departments of classical and Semitic language and literatures, associate professor of classics, co-director of excavations at Kabri Archaeological Project and associate director of excavations in Megiddo, Israel.

Despite holding tenure at GW, he has a much deeper connection to the University than most professors. Rather than displaying his diplomas in his Phillips Hall office, Cline proudly displays his birth certificate. He was born at the old George Washington University Hospital.

During the preview lecture portion of Eric Cline’s interview for a job at GW in 2000, Cline told students, “It feels good to be back.”

Cline has earned a reputation as a passionate and interesting educator and has made it his goal to establish the number one program for archaeology undergraduate majors in the country, he said.

“One of the reasons I chose to come to GWU was for the chance to work with Dr. Cline,” said Robyn LeBlanc, a senior who is triple majoring in archaeology, classics and history. “He’s one of the main reasons why I’ve perservered in doing what I’m doing. Let’s face it, archaeology is a seemingly glamorous profession, but it takes a lot of work and a lot of long hours and much more commitment than many people realize.”

Cline worked to incorporate the enthusiasm and passion he displays in the classroom into “From Eden to Exile.”

“It is an absorbing read and will enthrall even those who thought they were uninterested in the subject,” said Norma Franklin, who is working with Cline on the excavations in Megiddo, Israel, in an e-mail.

“But most importantly he has kindly and diplomatically put the proponents of pseudoscience in their place (that place being the realm of science fiction) and shows where the real issues lie.”

“Eden” was written as a companion to “Science and the Bible,” a television series on the National Geographic Channel for which Cline consulted. He realized that the average person cannot distinguish between Bible scholars and self-proclaimed experts, and the general public needs accurate information from academics.

“He is truly a star on our faculty,” said Elizabeth Fisher, GW professor of classics and chair of the search committee that brought Cline to GW. “(He) lives out the model of the best in the profession: prolific in his publications for both a professional and a wide general audience, a stimulating teacher and generous adviser to his students, and a hard-working, cooperative and versatile contributor to faculty governance at both the departmental and college level.”

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