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86 of 93 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Dubious Disciple Book Review
Could this be Spong's best yet? Perhaps not, his books are all so powerful, but it's definitely my new favorite. I've actually been looking for precisely this sort of book, so I was really excited to find it--authored by one of my favorite writers, no less!

Spong goes book-by-book in pretty much chronological order through the Bible, explaining scholars' best...
Published on December 14, 2011 by Dubious Disciple

versus
16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Small Critique
The author has done a great service to the ordinary reader by distinguishing fact from fiction. An excellent Jesuit theologian, in talking about the Old Testament, once said you should pay attention to the message and laugh at the package. The author has rightly picked apart the package, but should have
given much more weight to the the theological message of each...
Published on February 10, 2012 by bburkesj


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86 of 93 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Dubious Disciple Book Review, December 14, 2011
This review is from: Re-Claiming the Bible for a Non-Religious World (Hardcover)
Could this be Spong's best yet? Perhaps not, his books are all so powerful, but it's definitely my new favorite. I've actually been looking for precisely this sort of book, so I was really excited to find it--authored by one of my favorite writers, no less!

Spong goes book-by-book in pretty much chronological order through the Bible, explaining scholars' best guesses at each book's origin (place, time, authorship) and the historical atmosphere out of which they were written. The idea for this collection sprang from a series of lectures Spong was invited to give, beginning in the summer of 2006, about how various Biblical books came to be written and regarded as scripture. Much of the information here was known to me already, but there was a host of new insights as well. I've got yellow highlighter marks all over the book! Here are some of the more interesting discussions you'll find:

[1] The formation of the Torah, the first five books of the Bible. You'll learn more about the Documentary Hypothesis, and how scholars believe these five books came together, from the four primary sources. Not the most complete explanation, but surely the easiest to understand I've ever read.

[2] The "prophetic principle" (you'll find out you had no idea what a "prophet" is) and the historic background behind the three "books" of Isaiah. Scholars are coming to the conclusion that Isaiah had not just two authors, but at least three.

[3] The "protest" literature within the Bible, and what stimulated its writing.

[4] The "national mythmakers" who preserved Israel's history.

[5] The evolution of the Apostle Paul's beliefs, and how he grew over time from a fiery, apocalyptic preacher into a mellow, thoughtful philosopher.

Of course, you'll read about the Gospel story, the pastoral influence, the Johannine corpus, it's all there and it's all very readable. Highly recommended!
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an excellent introduction to a progressive approach to biblical interopretation, February 28, 2012
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This review is from: Re-Claiming the Bible for a Non-Religious World (Hardcover)
According to Gallup's latest research, only 3 out of every 10 Americans interpret the Bible literally. Spong's Re-Claiming the Bible is an introductory survey text for the 70% who acknowledge the Bible is something far richer, more complex, and more human. If you are a mainline Christian who will never attend seminary and have never participated in an extended parish based course designed to explore the 66 books of the Bible in-depth, then you simply must read this book (and, ideally, gather together with others to discuss it as well).

Spong introduces modern biblical scholarship to a general audience as he explores the creation and content of the books that are now included in the Christian canon. His explanations are written in plain English, avoiding unnecessarily complex theological vocabulary unfamiliar to the uninitiated. Further, he is careful to construct his own view (e.g. dating specific books) only after sharing the historic perspective and that of modern scholarship. In short, Re-Claiming the Bible provides a helpful, practical, and engaging look at what the Bible really is and includes.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spong hits it out of the park, October 2, 2012
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This review is from: Re-Claiming the Bible for a Non-Religious World (Hardcover)
This is the Bible book I've been waiting 65 years to read. This is the interpretation I always sensed was real but could never put my finger on because of the way I'd been indoctrinated by churches, bible studies, and the rigid thinking of fellow Christians who said it was dangerous to doubt the Bible. Truly refreshing, rational and if there ever was a page-turner book on the Bible, this is it.
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23 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well researched and thoughtful commentaries, December 7, 2011
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This review is from: Re-Claiming the Bible for a Non-Religious World (Hardcover)
The Reverend Jack Spong has dedicated his life to probing the underpinnings of theology, especially Christianity. His books, published over a thirty-five year period, exemplify his moving through stages of personal discovery and maturity. This book, his latest, but probably not his last, presents the times of origin and the cultural environments of all of the Old Testament books and the Gospels and letters of the New Testament. It is a full Bible survey course in one easy to read volume.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Re-Claiming the Bible for a Non-Religious World, October 16, 2012
Some may think this book is sacreligious, however, this book answers a lot of questions I have had for most of my life.

The book makes the Bible real.
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35 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Truth about the Bible, December 6, 2011
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This review is from: Re-Claiming the Bible for a Non-Religious World (Hardcover)
Bishop Spong is the leading expert on dymythologizing the bible. He has written a number of books that are well researched about the real Jesus, the bible, and whether or not there is a hereafter. This book is no exception. He is a former fellow of the Jesus Seminar and a leading intellect of our time. Bottom line most of the bible contains stories and are not true. This is true for both the Old and New Testaments. He believes in God, but not as he has been traditionally defined. For seekers of truth this is the book for you.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Some say he has taken away the Bible being the inerrant word of God, but..., March 12, 2012
This review is from: Re-Claiming the Bible for a Non-Religious World (Hardcover)
... you can't take away what was never there.

When I started reading this, I had a more closed mind. I was lying to myself. Although I continued reading this, I still thought very low of John Shelby Spong although I did respect, understand, and even admire his views. A little while later, I saw a couple of films of him giving lectures, where I realized that was backing him up was not as much being logical, but it was love. I discovered that Bishop Spong was someone who truly underneath it all had a heart. I then continued reading his book, and I started to see that come out more in his writing. After a while, I realized that he wasn't dismissing the Bible, in fact, I had more appreciation for some of the books from what he said. I at first thought it would be better to get this book from a Biblical scholar just simply giving the facts, but to me, it seems to be better to have it be from a Bishop who isn't dismissing it.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Small Critique, February 10, 2012
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This review is from: Re-Claiming the Bible for a Non-Religious World (Hardcover)
The author has done a great service to the ordinary reader by distinguishing fact from fiction. An excellent Jesuit theologian, in talking about the Old Testament, once said you should pay attention to the message and laugh at the package. The author has rightly picked apart the package, but should have
given much more weight to the the theological message of each book. I would recommend this book. William T. Burke, S.J.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Great Book by Bishop Spong!, September 21, 2012
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This is an excellent and honest introduction to the Bible and Biblical scholarship. I knew somewhat much of the material in this book,from having already read several of his others, but I love the way Bishop Spong succintly and clearly puts everything together. You can see clearly the evolution of the Jewish religion, and how the Jewish scriptures were created, and how that fits in with Jesus and the birth of Christianity. His analysis of how the Gospels were written will open your eyes. At least, I hope. This is definitely not a book for fundamentalists. And I Thank God for that.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Keep an Open Mind, April 19, 2012
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We are using this book in an Episcopal men's study group. It has generated some lively and good discussion, but has not shaken anyone of our group's faith. It has probably helped better define some of our faith's major tenants. If you believe the Bible to be an infallible detailed history book, this book is not for you.
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Re-Claiming the Bible for a Non-Religious World
Re-Claiming the Bible for a Non-Religious World by John Shelby Spong (Hardcover - November 8, 2011)
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