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The Prostitute in The Family Tree Paperback – August 1, 1997


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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Douglas Adams served as Professor of Christianity and the Arts at Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California until his death in 2007.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 136 pages
  • Publisher: Westminster John Knox Press; 1st edition (August 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0664256937
  • ISBN-13: 978-0664256937
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.3 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,018,686 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Ken Frank <kbfrank@cyberg8t.com> on December 29, 1997
Format: Paperback
No, this is not the Hitchhiker's Douglas Adams. But yes, the author delights in irony and satire in the Christian Bible. He finds it in counter-establishment interpretations of Jesus' parables, the letters of Paul, and portions of Hebrew scripture. Adams' key is to read the aforementioned passages not as universal moralisms but as mirrors of ourselves. We see our own foibles and shortcomings in the Biblical characters. For instance, Adams suggests the "Prodigal Son" is not some born again idealist we cannot hope to emulate but a con artist trying to keep his head above water. There is hope for us, says Adams, if we learn from the Bible stories that God does not give up on the morally disfunctional. One advantage of this approach is that it provides a coherent understanding of otherwise unfathomable passages such as the Parable of the Unjust Steward.
The "prostitute" of the title is a reference in the Gospel of Matthew to Rahab, an ancestor of Jesus. That Jesus' family includes a prostitute is something many might like to cover up, but Adams uses it as a springboard for ironic understandings of scripture. Those who are looking for refreshing and subversive readings of Biblical texts will enjoy this book. It makes what is saintly look more human.
The author details several practical methods for leaders of Bible studies to introduce his style of interpretation.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By L. Alldredge on August 29, 2006
Format: Paperback
This was a great book. I picked this up thinking this was the "hitchhikers guide" Douglas Adams. I really enjoyed this book but I think it should be stated this is NOT the 42 guy. So if you're looking for his books, this is not one of them.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 13, 2002
Format: Paperback
I wish Dr. Adams had lectured at the seminary I attended. This book is an outstanding addition to the professional preacher's library. It discusses scripture in down-to-earth-language, exegetes passages clearly without excess scholarly fuss, and provides an "alternative" view of some of our favorite biblical texts that is still firmly based in scripture and accurate in interpretation. If your congregation is not primarily consisted of PhD's, you will find this book a very helpful and amusing resource.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Steve Gibson on March 31, 2009
Format: Paperback
I don't write homilies, but I often sit through them. Mr. Adams (again -- it's not THAT Douglas Adams) does a great job of showing how homilies can be made relevant and, dare I say it, secular by appealing to not only the faith in all of us, but also the rationality. Easy to read book that can be scanned or read cover to cover.
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70 of 97 people found the following review helpful By CloneRomyNo1 on June 18, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I thought that this would be a great book written by THE Douglas Adams, author of HHG2G and well known atheist. Wow, was I mistaken! Anyway, I've got nothing against this book. I just want to make sure other people don't make the same mistake I did.
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17 of 23 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 31, 1998
Format: Paperback
Have you ever seen a movie preview that was hilariously funny and promised lots of potential for developing that humor, only to find that all the best scenes were included in the preview? That's somewhat the feeling I had after finishing reading this book. Now, I would not go so far as to liken the book to Vogon poetry, but it could have done more with its topic and title!
The book does have some interesting insights into the raw edges in Biblical stories. For clergy who are looking for innovative ways to bring the scriptures to life, this could be a very good resource. For individual study and/or entertainment, don't bother.
Particularly disconcerting was the way in which the book simply ends - without any particular ending. It was almost as if Adams just ran out of ideas - or time - or pages committed by his publisher...
Too bad: the title really did sound promising...
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15 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Chelsea Williams on November 26, 2005
Format: Paperback
For people who are fans of Douglas N. Adams the author of the Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy series, I would like to warn you that the author of The Prostitue in the Family Tree: Discovering Humor and Irony in the Bible is a different person named Douglas E. Adams. Unlike the famious radical British athiest Douglas N. Adams, E. Adams is an American preacher who is not in any respects a comedian. I hope you do not make the mistake that I made.
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