The time was the Bronze to the Iron Age, the third to first millenniums B.C. Great leaders arose from Iraq to Eygpt-- Sargon of Akkad, Gudea of Lagash, Hammurapi of Babylon, and Akhenaten of Egypt--and from these lands of the Fertile Crescent came the underpinnings of Western civilization: law, science, arts, and the alphabet. But the human spirit wanted more. In a universe run by mercurial gods who kept humankind in bondage, there emerged the need for one all-powerful divinity, one omnipresent as mentor and protector. The book of Genesis, with its narratives of real people struggling to survive, provided that God, and thus the roots of monotheism. Genesis: World of Myths and Patriarchs is an in-depth look at the civilizations that formed the background of the first book of the Bible. Drawing on the great archaeological discoveries in the Middle East over the past century, everyday life of the people of Genesis is viewed through their politics, arts, nomadic migrations, commerce, religion, and moral values. With over 250 illustrations, including sixty-four color plates, this rich visual panorama describes what the authors of Genesis saw, and what events and ideas moved them to write the story of their people's origins. The book includes fourteen maps and charts, a selected chronology, and a list of gods of the Middle East. Cyrus Gordon and Nahum Sarna, two of the most renowned scholars of ancient Near Eastern history and Bible, provide the text. Genesis: World of Myths and Patriarchs acquaints us for the first time with the people we know from this familiar book of the Bible, and with the places they inhabited and the culture they developed. We trace what was borrowed, rejected, and transformed to create a new and unique ethic which has continued to shape the world.