What They Don't Tell You: A Survivor's Guide to Biblical Studies, second edition  -     By: Michael Joseph Brown
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What They Don't Tell You: A Survivor's Guide to Biblical Studies, second edition

Westminster John Knox Press / Paperback

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Product Description

Biblical studies courses in college and seminary are not the same as Sunday school classes, a realization that can be challenging for many students.

This popular textbook by Michael Joseph Brown helps students navigate the unfamiliar terrain of biblical studies. Brown provides basic information about the Bible and biblical criticism. He defines the jargon and presents the variety of perspectives students will encounter in the classroom.

This new edition has been updated to account for changes in biblical scholarship since the first edition was released in 2000. He has also added several new rules of thumb, a discussion of contextualized forms of biblical interpretation, and an appendix with suggestions for getting started on the task of exploring and interpreting biblical texts. This helpful guide will prepare students for the oft-disorienting experience of analyzing and engaging the Bible in academic settings.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 176
Vendor: Westminster John Knox Press
Dimensions: 9 X 6 (inches)
ISBN-13: 9780664235949

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Author Bio

Michael Joseph Brown is Academic Dean and Professor of New Testament and Christian Origins at Payne Theological Seminary, the oldest African American seminary in the United States. He is also the author of several other books and numerous articles, his most recent being The Lords Prayer and Gods Vision for the World: Finding Your Purpose through Prayer.

Editorial Reviews

“Entering biblical studies can be like listening to one side of a conversation taking place in another language. What They Don’t Tell You is like having a friend who knows the language. As both a pastor and biblical scholar, Michael Brown is well positioned to help students understand the academic biblical world and connect it with their experience in the church. Full of short, clear advice, What They Don’t Tell You helps students to see the Bible in a new way and get the most from classes and commentaries.”
—Susan E. Hylen, Associate Professor of New Testament, Candler School of Theology, Emory University
“I came away from this rereading of What They Don’t Tell You overjoyed that this book has been revised. Brown’s book is directed toward students who encounter academic biblical studies for the first time, and this book does indeed offer them an invaluable companion on this journey. But what a gift to teachers of biblical studies as well: here in one place are the answers to all the questions students bring to every semester of biblical studies. Start the course with this book, and students will be able and eager to engage whatever biblical material we teach them!”
—Gail R. O’Day, Dean and Professor of New Testament and Preaching, Wake Forest University School of Divinity
“This book is written with knowledge and skill from a place of experience and with a love for biblical studies. Dr. Michael Joseph Brown offers educators and students an accessible framework and vocabulary for approaching biblical studies. The text is for all who are serious about the critical study of the Bible, and it provides clarity for students entering into the oftentimes confusing world of biblical scholarship.”
—Sally Holt, Professor of Religion, Belmont University
“The second edition of Michael Joseph Brown’s ‘survivor’s guide’ should be a supplemental textbook in every introductory course on the Bible. Prof. Brown’s ‘rules of thumb’ are the wise advice of not only a survivor but also an expert in the teaching of biblical studies. A welcome guide to every student who is beginning the journey, since it captures the joy and the pain of an experience that many of us have shared!”
—Emerson B. Powery, Professor of Biblical Studies, Messiah College

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  1. Michigan
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: Male
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Engaging and Important Primer to Biblical Studies
    October 12, 2015
    John M Kight
    Michigan
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: Male
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 4
    Michael Joseph Brown is Academic Dean, Interim President, and Professor of New Testament and Christian Origins at Payne Theological Seminary. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Vanderbilt University, as well as a Master of Divinity degree and Doctor of Philosophy degree from University of Chicago. Brown has authored a number of books, including, Blackening of the Bible: The Aims of African American Biblical Scholarship, The Lords Prayer through North African Eyes: A Window into Early Christianity, and What They Dont Tell You: A Survivors Guide to Biblical Studies.

    Originally published in August 2000, What They Dont Tell You has sought from the beginning to equip and prepare incoming students with a general survey and exposure to the underbelly of biblical studies. Now, 15 years later, an up-to-date second edition has entered into the marketplace with a fine-tuned appearance and revised content. Brown rightly acknowledges that the milieu of biblical scholarship has shifted slightly since the original publication of the book, and sought to address accordingly. Consequently, Brown has added additional rules of thumb and an appendix that the reader is sure to find helpful.

    What They Dont Tell You remains organized in a logical manner to best cultivate the needs to the student or interested reader. The book opens with a brief introduction to the world of biblical studies, juxtaposing the aims of devotional bible study with that of an academic study of the bible. Here Brown offers an excellent survey of the history of biblical scholarship, as well as an overview of the various methods of biblical interpretation. The remainder of the book presents 29 rules of thumb that are thematically ordered around: (1) reading and interpreting the Bible, (2) understanding biblical scholarship, and (3) surviving the newfound understanding presented by Brown.

    The list of rules comprising this book, according to Brown, are not [meant to be taken as] exhaustive, nor are they meant to be taken as hard-and-fast rules that can never be broken (xii). This explains Browns choice to label them rules of thumb rather than merely rules. But, this also displays a potential shortcoming of the book as a rule of thumb is somewhat subject and largely variegated in nature depending on who you ask. In other words, the book should be understood as more of a list of Browns personal rules of thumb when approaching the topics, rather than a list of concrete list for biblical studies in general. Still, I think Brown has brought together a thorough list of important considerations when approaching the subject of biblical studies. His effort is surely not aimless.

    What They Dont Tell You is a wonderful primer to the world of biblical studies. Brown has provided an engaging and timely revision to a well-received book. Be prepared for occasional disagreement with Browns rules of thumb, but dont be too quick to through the baby out with the bathwater. If you are interested in entering the arena of biblical studies, Brown will certainly get your feet wet with the right kind of water. It comes recommended from this reader.
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