3 Stars Out Of 5
Won't Know Much More Afterwards
August 18, 2013
Age: Over 65
This book is essentially for beginners who, while still committed Christians, have made a break with biblical literalism, and are looking for new exploratory ground for their freshly recovered critical faculties. Intermediate and advanced students of the Bible will find little of value in it. Literalists (and some orthodox believers) probably will get mad, suffer higher blood pressure, and stop reading. The author's humor, which suffuses the book, can be somewhat heavy-handed (yes, I think I already know that Moses probably did not look like Charlton Heston; not too sure about Pharaoh and Yul Brynner, however). The purpose seems to be to disabuse the reader of simplistic and Hollywood-influenced perceptions, just in case the reader really is that much of a beginner. The most useful parts of the book deal with the Old Testament histories (Judges, Samuel, Kings, Chronicles, and, to some extent, Ezra and Nehemiah). The reader, on the other hand, may skip the author's "best of" selections from Psalms and Proverbs, without any real loss of substantive content. The material on the gospels is pretty unimpressive. Slightly more interesting are the author's remarks on the Pauline epistles. For the end materials, the bibliography is probably the most useful component. Rather than simply listing his sources, the author appends brief comments which may help the beginner to better define critical interests, and to locate helpful references. The glossary is of interest merely to suggest that modern and comprehensive theological dictionaries exist, which incorporate extensive archaeological and philological materials. So, to the beginning critical thinker: read once, then move on. For others, don't expect much.