Bryan Wright’s Seeds of Turmoil: The Biblical Roots of the Inevitable Crises in the Middle East claims to provide “a clear, in-depth explanation of the origin, history, and significance of the Middle East conflict” beginning with its roots in the Biblical story of Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar. However, the book actually seems to be interested in doing three things: proving that Abraham’s sin in having sex with Hagar was the beginning of the Middle East crisis, proving that Sarah’s faithlessness in God’s covenant was the beginning of the Middle East crisis, and proving that Arabs are not the rightful heirs of the Promised Land.
Rinse, repeat. And I do mean repeat… over and over again.
Religiously, I don’t have a major problem with the book. I agree with some of its basic assertions, though I feel like Wright attempts to re-create the Adam/Eve problem in terms of who is responsible for the “sin” that leads to the conflict between Jewish and Arab peoples. I’m not sure if that’s terribly important to our contemporary or historical understanding of the Middle East conflict, and it certainly isn’t important to me on a personal or political level. Or even on a religious level.
Still, my major problem with the book is, perhaps, that it wasn’t what I was looking for: a well-researched, well-written discussion of the relationship between the Bible and the Middle East conflict. I wasn’t interested in a devotional-esque “now think about this” type of discussion of such a serious problem in contemporary politics. Comparing the situation between the Jewish and Arabs of the Middle East to a hypothetical discussion of what might happen if the Native Americans wanted their land back is frustrating both because it is not a good comparison and it, again, tries to simplify a situation that is beyond simplification.
Furthermore, for anyone who enjoys reading good writing this book is not something you want to pick up. As far as historical discussions OR Biblical discussions go, this is not a well-written book. From dropped quotations to completely non-Biblically based statements about the Bible, the book had me shaking my head. In fact, I began underlining things that made me say, “What?” because I couldn’t figure out why an editor left it in the final edition. For example, “I’ve traveled to the Holy Land countless times. I wish I could go tomorrow. There is something special about it” (33). Why are you saying this?
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”