How to Read the Bible

  • by James L. Kugel
  • Narrated by Mel Foster
  • 36 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

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.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

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
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- Raleigh

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!
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- Noah

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-21-2008
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio