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The Good Book: A Humanist Bible Hardcover – March 29, 2011
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About the Author
A.C. Grayling is professor of philosophy at Birkbeck College, University of London. He is the author of the acclaimed Among the Dead Cities: The History and Moral Legacy of the WWII Bombing of Civilians in Germany and Japan, Descartes: The Life and Times of a Genius, and Toward the Light of Liberty: The Struggles for Freedom and Rights That Made the Modern Western World. A fellow of the World Economic Forum and past chairman of the human rights organization June Fourth, he contributes frequently to the Times, Financial Times, Economist, New Statesman, and Prospect. Grayling's play "Grace," co-written with Mick Gordon, has played to full houses in London and New York, starring Lynn Redgrave; its central debate over the virtue of religion gives Grayling a strong platform for The Good Book. He lives in London.
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Top Customer Reviews
This book is not a compilation of work. You will not open it up and find passages from various works called out by author. It is truly written in the style of the Bible - Grayling has taken the collected wisdom of hundreds of secular philosophers and melded it together in the flowery prose form typical of the Bible. There is no reference list at the back to tell you where anything came from, he has taken the ideas and the texts and melted them together.
The Good Book begins with Genesis, where you can see the ideas of Darwin laid out in an inspirational way. Reading through this I was really pleasantly surprised at how much I liked it. I'm used to this language being peppered with things I don't believe in, and listening to it at weddings or funerals generally gives me a lump in my stomach. Here was the same kind of lofty language, but saying the things I believed! I didn't realize how much I would enjoy hearing Darwin's theory of evolution told as a beautiful story of how we began and the cycle of life.
As you make your way though the book, you can clearly see where he has incorporated Plato's dialogs, but without specific references. Characters are mentioned in the same way as the Bible, introduced without preamble, just snippets of conversation or story which attempt to showcase an idea. There are passages on grief and death as well.
If you are looking to learn the works of these philosophers in an intellectual way, this is not the book for you. This book is meant to absorb the ideas they upheld in a more spiritual feeling way.Read more ›
Others say dense, I say full of subtleties.
Others say hard to read, I say filled with english of the highest degree.
Others say devoid of references, I say the knowledge is timeless.
Do not delve into this looking to have atheistic beliefs reinforced, passages by ancient authors quoted, summarized, and referenced, or to have science presented as a refutation to the biblical history of the world. This is a work that should be taken wholly unto itself. Enjoy.
Regarding the criticism of the lack of footnotes - valid point, at first I was a bit disappointed that there were no sitations of the author, however I think I am actually glad he didn't put them in because it truly would be a distraction for me. I could see myself not focusing on the passage and become more concerned about who wrote what. Then I'd have to go look it up, etc. It seems a bit more pure this way with only the wisdom and poetry to focus on. I bought 4 copies for friends and family. I treasure this text like a box of gems to open and discover every day. I'm lucky to have found out about it and yes it is far superior and a lot less scary than the original.
I never found the Christian Bible to be of any value. The writing is poor quality, with only a few memorable lines in the whole vile volume of bigotry, racism, sexism, xenophobia, and feces obsessions. The Jewish and Muslim versions started or continued that same trashy series. The Mahabharata is no better, though the unintelligible and incoherent mess of characters makes that book more confusing than revolting.
Here is a book I am not afraid to let my child read. No stories about daughters banging their drunk dad. No stories about sacrificing unnamed daughters to some god. No cooking food over dung. No genocide. No deaths of all first born sons. No promises of cured illnesses. No appeals to an end of the universe. No masochistic gods having themselves beaten so they can become a zombie. Nope. Just a clean book of good thoughts. Probably the book they would have written 3000 years ago if they weren't ignorant, warmongering, polygamous, and genocidal tyrant sheep herders too busy laying siege to their "promised land" to give a hoot about kindness or charity.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I am really having a hard time getting through this book. The author is a learned philosopher, but he is way over my head in his theological approach to life.. Read morePublished 27 days ago by jeanstur
It got me through.
It was uplifting.
It didn’t contain nonsense.
It lived up to its name.
I read it each night by red G.I. Read more
This is an exceptional work that I believe deserves to be in every thinking family's home, regardless of religion. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Fantasy Fan
What an amazing book. It is so rich in wisdom that you might find yourself highlighting whole pages!Published 2 months ago by NEIL HINES
This is an excellent book. No preaching. Just the foibles and greatness of mankind and lessons a many.Published 3 months ago by WNC 57
too much really- don't think i'll ever get round to reading it all.Published 6 months ago by Phil Burgess