Vad hände på vägen till Jerusalem? (What happened on the Road to Jerusalem?; 2020)

“It is a special experience to travel through history.” This is how Lena Einhorn begins her second journey into the biblical past.

In two previous books, What happened on the Road to Damascus? (The Jesus Mystery) (2006) and A Shift in Time (2016), she compared the New Testament tales with historical narratives from the same era. And she arrived at the conclusion that the New Testament is written in two layers, one seemingly ahistorical, one which closely follows the narratives from the historical sources. She drew the conclusion that the biblical authors and editors struggled with two partly incompatible agendas: to present an irreproachable religious canon, and at the same time to present true history. What happened on the Road to Damascus? was translated into a number of languages, and its conclusions are still the focus of much discussion.

In her book, What happened on the Road to Jerusalem?, she goes further back in time, and focuses her curious and critical eyes on the Old Testament, and in particular on the Torah, the Five Books of Moses. The events portrayed in these books to a large extent take place in Egypt, one of the great civilizations of ancient times. We read about Egyptian kings, about devastating epidemics, about massive migrations. But why is there no corroborating evidence? Why is there not a single Egyptian inscription confirming that an Israelite, Joseph, ever ruled over Egypt? Or that Moses, or Aaron, or Joshua ever existed?

Could the explanation be that the authors and editors of the Old Testament struggled with the same incompatible goals as the authors and editors of the New Testament? Will we also in this case find the historical traces only under the surface of the narrative?

With great curiosity, and scientific precision, Lena Einhorn investigates the sources, and invites the reader on a colorful journey of the past.


Lena Einhorn has an impressive ability to present historical research so that you turn the pages as if it it were a thriller.

Christer Hugo, BTJ



Her journey contains many thrilling and thought-provoking discoveries … What Happened on the Road to Jerusalem? Is an impressive and very learned  contribution to research.

Bo Larsson, Kyrkans tidning



She twists and turns every stone and shard she finds. Puzzle pieces are examined, compared, put together and taken apart again. Hypotheses are tested and rejected… My admiration is based on the fact that Lena Einhorn stays with the questions. Her business is not to assert what cannot be asserted. Nor does she want to disqualify every statement whose truth cannot be proven. She is not an apologist for any view of history, outlook on life or religion. Rather, it seems, she is driven by a love of the story itself… I am tempted to call Lena Einhorn a very highly qualified dreamer.

Maria Küchen, Sydsvenskan



Committed, sincere and fun to read. There is really nothing amiss when it comes to the joy of storytelling and the eagerness to discover. Einhorn vividly tells about both ancient Israel, and with great knowledge about the scholars who searched for traces of it.

Joel Halldorf, Expressen