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How to Read the Bible: A Guide to Scripture, Then and Now | [James L. Kugel]

How to Read the Bible: A Guide to Scripture, Then and Now

In How to Read the Bible, Harvard professor James Kugel leads the listener chapter by chapter through the "quiet revolution" of recent biblical scholarship, showing time and again how radically the interpretations of today''s researchers differ from what people have always thought.
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Publisher's Summary

In How to Read the Bible, Harvard professor James Kugel leads the listener chapter by chapter through the "quiet revolution" of recent biblical scholarship, showing time and again how radically the interpretations of today''s researchers differ from what people have always thought.

The story of Adam and Eve, it turns out, was not originally about the "Fall of Man",l but about the move from a primitive, hunter-gatherer society to a settled, agricultural one.

As for the stories of Cain and Abel, Abraham and Sarah, and Jacob and Esau, these narratives were not, at their origin, about individual people at all but, rather, explanations of some feature of Israelite society as it existed centuries after these figures were said to have lived. And whatever the original Ten Commandments might have been, scholars are quite sure they were different from the ones we have today.

Such findings pose a serious problem for adherents of traditional, Bible-based faiths. Hiding from the discoveries of modern scholars seems dishonest, but accepting them means undermining much of the Bible's reliability and authority as the word of God. What to do?

In his search for a solution, Kugel leads the listener back to a group of ancient biblical interpreters who flourished at the end of the biblical period. Far from naïve, these interpreters consciously set out to depart from the original meaning of the Bible''s various stories, laws, and prophecies - and they, Kugel argues, hold the key to solving the dilemma of reading the Bible today.

How to Read the Bible is, quite simply, the best, most original book about the Bible in decades. Clear, often funny, but deeply serious in its purpose, this is a book for Christians and Jews, believers and secularists alike.

©2008 James L. Kugel; (P)2008 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

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  •  
    Noah poway, CA, United States 10-17-10
    Noah poway, CA, United States 10-17-10 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
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    Overall
    "A faith-building scholarly work"

    The narrator is very dull but don't let that stop you! The author makes up for the unemotional reading by having written in a well organized and interesting manner all sorts of Biblical insights which will challenge everything you ever knew about the Bible. The scope of this book is enormous!
    You will learn Biblical archeology, ancient language interpretation, historical motivations for writing and many theories about the creation, organization and re editing of Holy Scripture.

    As a Christian my faith in Christ was strengthened even while the Bibles contradictions and misinterpretations were brought to light. I always read the Bible thinking that this or that didn't make sense or add up. Now I have a greater understanding of Holy Scripture as well as a renewed faith in the sovereignty of God and His ability to use an imperfect collection of writings and transform them into His inspired word.

    Seriously, this book was fantastic!

    11 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Raleigh greensboro, NC, United States 04-01-11
    Raleigh greensboro, NC, United States 04-01-11 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    80
    74
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    5
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    "bible reading with head and heart"

    is the bible an important book ?
    is it even the word of God ?
    is it even significant literature ?

    is it full of mistakes ?
    does it apply to our modern daily lives ?
    does it tell a coherent useful story ?

    kugel tries to answer these questions
    his style is both erudite and approachable
    his university students are a fortunate group

    one faction reads "from" the bible
    they want to learn and believe and live better lives
    for them it is an ancient and true compass

    one faction reads "about" the bible
    their knowledge is exhaustive and precise
    but they deny any possibility of supernatural meaning

    it is amazing to me how little these 2 groups overlap
    kugel tries to have a foot in both factions
    his background makes him more than qualified to try

    the bible does matter and it is more than literature
    evangelicals should not fear scholarly examination
    scholars should not fear transcendent belief

    there is stubbornness on both sides
    kugel's thoughtful style wears both sides down
    he shows how to read the bible with head and heart

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    D. Ofallon Saint Louis, MO 09-05-13
    D. Ofallon Saint Louis, MO 09-05-13 Member Since 2015

    book

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    "Great"

    Eye opening book; full of insights compiled through the centuries. A must read for believers and non-believers, Christians or Jews

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • "unknown"
    Warszawa, Poland
    5/30/14
    Overall
    Performance
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    "Material sharp as a razorblade"

    This book is serious, author is serious and when you complete reading you have feeling like end of shift in coal mine. Don't get me wrong - what I mean, its the countless materials used for this piece of art. Mr Kugel did great job.
    This book is must read for all believers and non-believers. It is eye opening or closing, depending from what angle you are looking at it.
    Go on, spent some time and appreciate Mr Kugel work, you wont be disappointed.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Dee S
    Bath, Somerset
    10/15/13
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    "Good way of learning more about the bible"

    I am slowly listening to this book so that I can take it all in. It explains the histourt of the bible and what lanuage it was written in and how it has been changed over time to what we have to day.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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