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Secret Origins of the Bible Hardcover – June 1, 2002

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Tim Callahan has written numerous articles on religion and mythic themes in popular belief, as well as book reviews, for Skeptic Magazine.

He has also had articles published in the Humanist. For many years he has studied the myths of the Mesopotmians, Egyptians, Canaanites and Greeks as well as those of the Celtic, Teutonic and Slavic peoples.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 468 pages
  • Publisher: Millennium Press; 1st edition (June 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0965504786
  • ISBN-13: 978-0965504782
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.4 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,025,349 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

245 of 273 people found the following review helpful By Rob111111 on March 9, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book is an excellent layman's introduction to the "documentary hypothesis" and an excellent starting point for someone interested in a truly analytical analysis of scripture based on it's historical context. The author presents the scholarly debates and questions regarding the history of the Bible in enough detail to understand the arguments and yet maintain a level that is accessible to the layman. He also provides an extensive bibliography that provides an interested reader with ample opportunity to verify the material for themselves. Tim Callahan himself states in this book that this material is well known among scholarly circles and has been debated endlessly and refuted, without success outside their own clique, by apologists. This book is simply presenting core scholarly arguments that have been hidden behind, what the general public sees, as an incoherent and hopelessly daunting mountain of verbose and conflicting and outrageous interpretations of scripture made by apologists and mystics. This is the book the fundamentalists don't want people to see. It is a book that presents the scholarly criticisms, which fundamentalists have fought vainly against for decades, in a format that people can understand. Now people can read this book and use it's bibliographical references to pursue biblical research for themselves and not rely on the fundamentalists' arguments from authority.
Now just a few personal words about some of the criticisms I have seen posted.
Beware of the arguments of Christian fundamentalists and apologists.
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56 of 60 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Eigenvalue on October 7, 2005
Format: Paperback
The book's title is a little bit odd, since there's nothing secret about any of the information in the book. In fact, the most important conclusion is obvious to anyone who has ever read the various books of the Bible: The Bible simply cannot be the infallible word of an omniscient being. The reason is that the Bible contradicts itself all over the place, including and especially in some of the most famous passages. One clear-cut example is the existence of two contradictory creation myths, right there for anyone to read.

The fallibility of the Bible will not come as a surprise to most people. Actually, by "most" I mean two-thirds, which means that a terrifying 33% of Americans think that everything written in the Bible should be taken literally. Some of these people work in the highest levels of the U.S. government and have access to nuclear weapons.

As Callahan points out, this fundamentalism is a major problem because the Bible was clearly written by quite fallible human beings to advance a political and philosophical agenda relevant only to a particular time and place. The evidence for this conclusion comes from:

1) comparative mythology, which shows that most of the major stories in the Bible can be found in older myths, only with a different cast of characters and slightly different plotlines.

2) history, which shows that many of the events described in the Bible could not have happened in the reported sequence.

3) science, which shows that a lot of the things that are recorded in the Bible could not have happened on planet Earth.

4) The Bible, which by contradicting itself repeatedly, eliminates the possibility that everything in it is true.
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113 of 128 people found the following review helpful By G. James on November 23, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This is a wonderful book, and packed with research about the mythological origins of the bible. A great read for those who don't want to blindly accept the bible as some mystical holy writ, but as a conglomeration of many different mythological themes that
were floating about and/or were created directly by the first city-state of civilization in fertile mesopotamia. All religion can be traced to this wonderous valley of the crescent. Callahan does his work thoroughly in tracing bible origins old and new. His writing is easy to follow and interesting throughout, never too 'scholarly'. Quite enjoyable and not cynical or 'bible-bashing', this book respectfully satisfies any curious mind. It also confirms how detrimentally arrogant the folly and laziness of fundamentalist literalism is.
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76 of 86 people found the following review helpful By C. Hannum on March 2, 2004
Format: Paperback
Repeat a lie often enough and people will believe it even when you smack them over the head with the truth. It takes a special kind of fool to believe that the particular 66 (or 73 for the Catholics) books of the Bible just appeared inspired and in their final form to lead mankind for all ages. Like any ancient work, they have origins and it's refreshing to see someone look at the Bible as what it is: an organic outgrowth of even older religious ideas as well as multiple revisions to eliminate contradictions or censor unpopular notions (about 75% of the original books have been purged altogether and there isn't a single extant book in the modern Bible that has survived unaltered from its earliest forms).
Unless you simply enjoy having your comfortable beliefs unchallenged, this book is a great read. Further, this is the sort of factual information needed to combat the often overwhelming ignorance in the world.
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