Understanding The Bible and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Qty:1
  • List Price: $16.00
  • Save: $2.84 (18%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Only 6 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: **Ships directly from Amazon** Great condition. No marks or writing observed inside. Cover clean with a few marks and minor wear on corners/edges. Binding in good condition. Eligible for FREE 2 Day Shipping with Amazon PRIME.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Understanding the Bible: An Introduction for Skeptics, Seekers, and Religious Liberals Paperback – June 15, 2004


See all 4 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
$13.16
$8.39 $2.48


Frequently Bought Together

Understanding the Bible: An Introduction for Skeptics, Seekers, and Religious Liberals + A Chosen Faith: An Introduction to Unitarian Universalism
Price for both: $26.32

Buy the selected items together

Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Image
Looking for the Audiobook Edition?
Tell us that you'd like this title to be produced as an audiobook, and we'll alert our colleagues at Audible.com. If you are the author or rights holder, let Audible help you produce the audiobook: Learn more at ACX.com.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Beacon Press (June 15, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807010537
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807010532
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #398,351 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

According to this engaging but not always convincing liberal gloss on the Good Book, biblical literalism is an idolatrous departure from the Bible's "enduring but non-literal wisdom," which progressives can reclaim through informed interpretations of biblical metaphor and symbolism. Drawing on historical and contemporary Bible scholarship, Buehrens, a Unitarian minister and co-author of A Chosen Faith, gives an illuminating if brief rundown of each book in the Bible, one informed by feminist, literary and lefty political critiques. The results are mixed. Themes of liberation and social justice emerge in the Exodus narrative, the Prophetic books and the Gospels. But on fundamentalist hot-button issues like homosexuality and women's rights, the Bible's clear statements defy interpretive rehabilitation. Faced with outright prohibition on a man "lying with a man as with a woman," Buehrens suggests that "the inner spirit of what is intended" there might be different. He champions "reading against the grain": with that interpretive strategy, the New Testament's urging of submissiveness on wives and servants, for example, attests to husbands' and masters' anxiety over the egalitarianism of Church congregations. And his anti-literalist, Bible-as-metaphor approach sometimes throws the religion out with the bathwater, as when nonbelievers are reassured that stories of miracles and resurrections can also be seen as metaphorical rather than actual events. Unfortunately, Buehrens's laudable attempt at "reading the Bible to overcome oppression" drains away much substantive content.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

In his introduction, Buehrens offers several compelling reasons for studying the Bible. You aren't fully literate without it; if you can't or won't understand it, others will interpret it for you. And to his mind, most importantly, you can't be spiritually mature by simply rejecting the Bible as oppressive. Buehrens, who is affiliated with the Unitarian Universalist church, offers humanist or liberal interpretations solidly based on the original texts, and he also draws on other historical and literary sources to bolster his explanations. Although this is by necessity an overview, Buehrens does a masterful job of coursing through both Testaments, placing events and pronouncements in context of both prevailing theology and the times. An interesting balance to biblical interpretations that are weighted in the other direction. Ilene Cooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

John Buehrens was president of the Unitarian Universalist Association from 1993 to 2001. He is now minister of the First Parish in Needham, Massachusetts, and special assistant to the secretary general of the World Conference of Religions for Peace. He is author of Understanding the Bible, coauthor, with Forrest Church, of A Chosen Faith, and coauthor, with Rebecca Ann Parker, of A House for Hope.

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

49 of 51 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 22, 2003
Format: Hardcover
If you consider yourself a traditionalist or a modernist or neither, you will find this book a tremendous aid in interpreting Hebrew and Christian scriptures. I highly recommend this book to anyone wishing to wrest the bible from the pejorative ranks of literalism.
If you've ever lived in a place where people use the bible to justify ever action, and you do not have knowledge of the bible, you may have found that you had arrived at a battle and you were unarmed. If you've ever been to a place where people use the bible as a cookbook, applying the letter of its content, but not the spirit, and do authoritative damage to others, then you will find John Buehrens' book, Understanding the Bible, a refreshing, easy-to-read book that captures the spirit of the bible while providing the reader with the necessary armor to shield them against any biblical interpretation that is based in disguised fear rather than compassion.
John Buehren looks at the bible through a modern-day lens that includes both Jewish and feminist perspectives that enables us to unchain the bible from the past and make it relevant and useful for the 21st Century.
Whether you consider yourself to be a skeptic, seeker, or religious liberal, neglecting the rich rhetoric and iconic power of the bible is to ignore the impact that it has had on western Society and continues to have. Buehrens looks at historical aspects, original intent, and how tradition has reshaped the historical literature of the bible. Understanding the bible is key to our being interpreters of our common Judaeo-Christian heritage and is key to taking responsibility for our own spiritual maturation.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By LanceFR on May 26, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I recommend this book to everyone I know, no matter what their religion or lack there of! Rev. Buehrens helps open up the Bible and educate you enough to read it and come to your own conclusions, whether you agree with everything he says or not. I'm a new Muslim and highly recommend this to all people because the Bible truly is part of literature and history and should be read and known by all. I was actually recommended this book by a rabbi friend who believes that despite it covering the ENTIRE Bible (Old and New Testaments), he points out that it shows the literary importance and historical importance of the work as a whole, no matter what your

(dis)beliefs are.

Take the time and READ THIS BOOK!
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
36 of 43 people found the following review helpful By J. Atlas on August 18, 2005
Format: Paperback
I've come to believe that expectations matter a lot when you pick up a book to read. For me, this book fell short of my expectation, but then again, my expectations were probably unreasonable.

I attended a Christian liberal arts college, majoring in English, and decided to take quite a few Bible classes as electives. I knew that there would never be another time like then to explore the issues raised by the biblical text. My professors were fantastic (language experts, brilliant people, and progressive Christians), so my understanding of the Bible flourished there.

Fast forward one and a half years, and I find myself forgetting much of what I learned. Buehren's book, however, did little to help me regain my intellectual footing. Had I skimmed a bit before leaving the library, I would have seen that he planned, excepting the first couple chapters, to summarize the entire Bible. There was scant analysis or interpretation.

If you haven't read the Bible through and desire a sense of narrative (what happens and when), this would be a great starting point for study. However, if you are looking more for help understanding and appreciating the stories of the Bible, I'd point you towards a topical study instead. Buehrens would do well to take his abilities and understanding and apply them to a book-length study of a book of the Bible, say, Exodus, instead of wrangling with the whole massive thing in one short book.
2 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By M. Fos on May 17, 2007
Format: Paperback
Buehrens claims to have written his book for 'Skeptics, Seekers, and Religious Liberals', and I fit into all three categoies. Having had a religious upbringing that required blind faith in the Church's teachings without any room for questioning and interpreting on one's own, it is wonderful to read Buehrens' statements that it is necessary to read and interpret the Bible through one's own personal experience. Buehrens writes simply and understandably without making the reader feel that he is 'talking down' to someone of lesser intelligence. Thank you, John Buehrens, for opening the door to an adult understanding of scripture that doesn't make me feel silly or inadequate.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Gary Mcvety on November 11, 2006
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent and easy to understand book for anyone with an open mind about the origins and interpretations of the Bible. As a skeptic I now have a better appreciation for the Bible as an important work of literature in spite the baggage of my fundamentalist upbringing.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By "mattgball" on August 11, 2003
Format: Hardcover
If you consider yourself a traditionalist or a modernist or neither, you will find this book a tremendous aid in interpreting the Hebrew and Christian scriptures. I highly recommend this book to anyone wishing to wrest the bible from the pejorative ranks of literalism.
If you�ve ever lived in a place where people use the bible to justify ever action, and you do not have knowledge of the bible, you may have found that you had arrived at a battle and you were unarmed. If you�ve ever been to a place where people use the bible as a cookbook, applying the letter of its content, but not the spirit, and do authoritative damage to others, then you will find John Buehrens� book, Understanding the Bible, a refreshing, easy-to-read book that captures the spirit of the bible while providing the reader with the necessary armor to shield them against any biblical interpretation that is based in disguised fear rather than compassion.
John Buehren looks at the bible through a modern-day lens that includes both Jewish and feminist perspectives that enables us to unchain the bible from the past and make it relevant and useful for the 21st Century.
Whether you consider yourself to be a skeptic, seeker, or religious liberal, neglecting the rich rhetoric and iconic power of the bible is to ignore the impact that it has had on western Society and continues to have. Buehrens looks at historical aspects, original intent, and how tradition has reshaped the historical literature of the bible. Understanding the bible is key to our being interpreters of our common Judaeo-Christian heritage and is key to taking responsibility for our own spiritual maturation.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Customer Images

Most Recent Customer Reviews


What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?