Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Review - The Bible (Good News Translation)

I'm going to do something here that may be a bit controversial. I'm going to review the Bible as if I were reviewing a work of fiction. Because the Bible is not actually a single work, but is rather composed of a collection of works within it, I'll be reviewing each book of the Bible individually, and linking to all the reviews here. I'll be working this read and review process in with my regular fiction reading and reviewing, so I'll probably be going through one book a week or so.

Why am I doing this? The first reason is that the Bible is enormously important to American (and to a slightly lesser extent British) science fiction and fantasy. References to the Bible can be found in the fiction of Robert A. Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, J.R.R. Tolkien, Roger Zelazny, Stephen King, and many other science fiction and fantasy writers. Some writers, like Orson Scott Card or C.S. Lewis, have written works of genre fiction that are basically allegories for stories in the Bible (or in Card's case, the Bible plus the Book of Mormon, which I may read and review at some point in the future). You simply cannot read classic science fiction and fantasy and not stumble into stories that can only be fully understood without the context of the Bible.

The second reason is that I want to. It is a fictional work, and more or less falls into the category of fantasy fiction (the fact that some people have gotten caught up in the fantasy and think the Bible is somehow factual is neither here nor there). And since this blog is dedicated to reading and reviewing fiction, I'm going to read and review it.

The third reason is that Isaac Asimov wrote guides to the Old and New Testament, and I own both books. At some point in the future, I'll be reading and reviewing those books, and to put them into context, I need to have the Bible itself examined and analyzed first.

Old Testament

RuthSong of SongsNahum
Samuel 1JeremiahHabakkuk
Samuel 2LamentationsZephaniah
Kings 1IsaiahHaggai
Kings 2JeremiahZecheriah
Chronicles 1LamentationsMalachi
Chronicles 2Ezekiel

New Testament

LukeColossiansPeter 1
JohnThessalonians 1Peter 2
ActsThessalonians 2John 1
RomansTimothy 1John 2
Corinthians 1Timothy 2John 3
Corinthians 2TitusJude

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  1. Fascinating choice. As a Jewish person we call the Old Testament the Hebrew Bible. Since we don't consider it supplanted by the New Testament, or a new covenant. You might find James Tabor's blog interesting - biblical scholar.

  2. @Julia Rachel Barrett: Yes, of course. That's one of the reasons I specified which translation I'm using. After I finish this project, I may go through and do it again with a different translation (I have two others), and at some point I may do the same thing with some other religious books like the Koran and the Book of Mormon. I don't actually own a copy of the Hebrew Bible (other than as presented as the Old Testament in Christian versions). It might be interesting to go through that too and see what the differences are.

    I should note, again, that I am reviewing it as I would review fiction, and not necessarily from a theological perspective. The book is culturally important, but I am not going to presume to try to pick apart the theological underpinnings of various faiths.