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Humanists of Fort Worth Message Board Humanists of Fort Worth Discussion Forum › Six books about the Bible

Six books about the Bible

user 18037361
Group Organizer
Fort Worth, TX
Post #: 94
A bible scholar friend told me that he could open the eyes of any real critical thinker with no more than half a dozen books about the Bible. Here are his written recommendations:

On Genesis, there is none better than Richard Elliot Friedman's, "Who Wrote the Bible?," though it should really be entitled "Who wrote Genesis?" because that is what it is really about.

On the Gospels, I like both "Gospel Fictions" and "Who Wrote the Gospels?" from Randel Helms, but especially "Gospel Fictions."

On constructing the Christian myth, I like Richard Rubinstein's, "When Jesus Became God" and Hyam Maccoby's "The Mythmaker: Apostle Paul and the Invention of Christianity."

On Revelation, I like William Barclay's commentary entitled, "The Revelation of John." This one is intended for use by believers, but Barclay shows how Revelation was not written by the Apostle John, but some other John that we don't even know who he was and that the whole thing is really about the sack of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 AD and doesn't have anything to do with predicting the future.

On the whole Bible, there is no one better than Joseph Wheless and his masterpiece, "Is it God's Word?" If I were to recommend one book to read, this would be it.

Ben B
user 118951712
Tyler, TX
Post #: 11
This is a very interesting book list. Barclay's book on the Book of Revelation is particularly relevant to my recent blogging interests. I have been having a discussion with someone who believes in an Christian eschatological view called Preterism. The dating of the various books of the New Testament, The Book of Revelation, and the Gospel of John weigh heavily in their analysis.

Having Biblical knowledge makes a non-theist seem informed and worth conversing with, but I have found that logical arguments about the Bible will not change the beliefs of many Christians.

Isaac Asimov said "Properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived.” Asimov was most assuredly not referring to arcane things like who the author of Revelation was or when were the Gospels written, those are the kind of things friendly professors debate over tea. I am sure Asimov was referring to things that were attributed to god and which modern people think are abominable. You don't have to try very hard to find what Asimov was referring to, for example see "Top 20 evil Bible Stories" at http://commonsenseath...­ . Most of those awful things in the Bible are in the Old Testament but Jesus himself supposedly said he didn't come to change the Jewish law one bit.

So what gives, the Christian world seems to be insensitive to how bizzare their guide book is? The answer is they have committed themselves to things they value more than knowledge and logic, such as conformity with and position in their close community. Faith for them is a castle of dreams with many ladders. The ladders are to be climbed with passion and the walls are to never be breeched by outsiders. To persuade them they must be convinced that your values match their values and your outlook will help them obtain what they want. That's a tall order, but I think Humanist are up to it. Good luck!
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