Friday, February 03, 2006

Book Club!--"How to Read the Bible" by Marc Zvi Brettler

Book: "How to Read the Bible by Marc Zvi Brettler.

From Publisher's Weekly:
How does a person read the Bible, which is a product of another time and culture, and have it make sense? Brettler, who chairs the department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies at Brandeis, begins with the complicated web of doctrine, history and myth that is the Hebrew Bible and untangles it until a clear and beautifully drawn picture emerges. His mode of interpretation is the "historical-critical" method—reading the text in its historical setting, employing critical methodology to explicate and, when possible, harmonize "the multiple ancient perceptions of God, preserved in our composite Bible." After explaining his approach, Brettler takes readers through the historical periods of the Bible, placing the stories in their proper context. He explains, for example, the importance of the Jewish exile in Babylon to the people's view of the prophetic calling. He also discusses the poetic books, their formation and content, and the messages of the prophets. The result is an eye-opening journey through a familiar text, a fresh look at an old story. Written for the beginning reader as well as the scholar, this is an outstanding introduction to the Hebrew Bible and the history of Israel, and should be widely read.
If there is interest, and by that I mean if even one more person "joins" then we will have a Book Club! We will discuss the book in future posts.

Note: you do not have to agree with a single word of the book or the approach it takes to participate.

"Sign up" here and stay tuned for a schedule.

edit: NPR article on the book, including lengthy excerpt from the first chapter.

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