If you missed attending one of my firesides or the Sperry Symposium, this is for you. I recorded the audio/powerpoint from my final presentation last weekend, which benefitted from having done it three times.The length is about 1:10, and unfortunately I cut the audio before I closed with some testimony about the utility of the Old Testament, my appreciation for it, etc. The first slide is up for almost two minutes, they do change. And below are books/authors I quote or allude to in the slides. The actual paper has many more references, of course, and I’ll be posting it in chunks. (And if you want to link, please link to this post, not direct to the youtube video.)
Becoming “Competent Readers,” Learning the “Rules of the Game,” Reading with Ancient Eyes
- Richards/O’Brian, Misreading the Bible with Western Eyes: Removing Cultural Blinders to Better Understand the Bible Excellent book, though not focused solely on the Old Testament.
- Brettler, How to Read the (Jewish) Bible (This is very basic, short, and accessible.)
- Barton, Reading the Old Testament (Still accessible, but longer and more complex. Barton is the one who talks about “competent readers,” using a chess analogy.)
- Relevant excerpts from the last two here. Highly recommended.
The Bible is Weird
- Matthew Schlimm, This Strange and Sacred Scripture: Wrestling with the Old Testament and Its Oddities and
- Robin Parry, The Biblical Cosmos: A Pilgrim’s Guide to the Weird and Wonderful World of the Bible
- Harper-Collins Study Bible– Based on the New Revised Standard Version, this is often assigned for New Testament 101, or Hebrew Bible 101 at colleges. The publisher is the Society of Biblical Literature, and translation and notes are done by a variety of scholars, so there’s little religious bias.
- NKJV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible– This exists in two versions, one with the New King James Version translation, which is basically an update to some of the archaic language of the KJV, but still has many of its problems. It also exists with the New International Version translation, which is highly problematic. The NIV is demonstrably biased; it cheats. So be sure to get the NKJV version. As you might guess from the title, the notes and essays focus on the cultural backgrounds, those things ancient audiences (likely) knew which moderns don’t. Review here. It’s edited by John Walton, an Evangelical scholar I like, and my understanding is that the notes and essays are derived or shortened from this stand-alone series.
- Jewish Study Bible– This translation and notes/essays are all written by Jewish scholars, which means it only covers the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament. It’s a fantastic resource that will enlighten and challenge (since, for example, Jews are unlikely to interpret Isaiah as messianic prophecies of Jesus.) I enjoy contrasting its views with those of the NIV.
- NET Bible-The advantage of the New Electronic Translation is it’s entirely free and online at http://Netbible.org, and in free App form, called Lumina. There are thousands and thousands of footnotes, often about translation or background.
On Bible translations, and using Free Greek and Hebrew tools, see
- my article here in Religious Educator (skip to the Application section for Bibles/tools)
- my two blogposts here and here showing how to use free tools in Logos.
On genre, listen/read my podcast here.
Others Quoted/alluded to–
- Nahum Sarna, a Rabbi with a PhD in Semitics who has written about Genesis, Exodus, and other books.
- Kenton Sparks, an Evangelical Bible scholar who does some fantastic work about faith, scholarship, and the nature of scripture, especially this one and this one.
- V. Philips Long, Art of Biblical History.
- Kevin Barney, “Understanding Old Testament Poetry” Ensign, June 1990.
- Moberly’s article in Reading Genesis After Darwin
- Thomas Alexander, Mormonism in Transition: A History of the Church from 1890-1930. This book, originally commissioned by the Church, contains the discussion of the 1922 FP letter about Jonah and Job.
- C.S. Lewis, various.
- Raymond Brown, 101 Questions on the Bible,
- Grant Hardy, Understanding the Book of Mormon
- Elder Ballard’s blockbuster discourse to Seminary/Institute teachers, and then the edited version in the Ensign.
- The recent document pointing to non-correlated resources.
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