Customer Review

230 of 287 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good message but suffers in implementation, June 13, 2004
This review is from: The Holy Bible: King James Version (Paperback)
I'm not generally a fan of fantasy fiction, but I felt obligated to read this title, it being the popular example of the genre. The story has a good premise that I can't help but think suffers in its implementation. The collaborative writing and editing processes, to say nothing of numerous translations, render the basic message somewhat indistinct. For example, as early as the first chapter, the authors make an attempt to introduce literally everything into the plot, even going so far as to suggest that the beginning of the story is the beginning of the universe. The rest of the book, however, makes no attempt to reconcile these far-reaching plot threads, instead focusing solely on the actions of a (relatively) small group of characters in the Middle East. Even with these strenuous limitations the remainder of the novel suffers from an overabundance of characters, most of whom are crude caricatures and only mentioned in passing. The authors would have done better to limit the scope of the plot, both in time and setting, to better highlight their message. The few characters who are developed suffer from serious inconsistencies as a result of the collaborative writing process.
Take, for example, the main character, God. In the first half of the book, which has a very linear and logical format, God is something of a bully. Only a few pages into the first chapter he has condemned the entire human race to a lifetime of suffering by casting their ancestors out of an idyllic paradise. Whenever anyone says or does anything critical of him, God either kills them outright or makes them wish they were dead. He kills women and children, he levels cities, at one point he even wipes out the whole human race with the exception of a single elderly couple, who are forced to engage in years of back-breaking manual labor simply to survive. God's history is never fleshed out; the authors simply leave him in place, unchanging, as a literal deus ex machina to be called into play whenever the plot gets too convoluted. It isn't hard to imagine that God's character in this part of the book was inspired by the Greek ideal of Zeus: an omniscient entity who rains suffering upon mankind from on high whenever he's in a bad mood.
At some point the original authors apparently felt they had done their part and the book sat around unfinished for a few centuries until a new group came along to add their contribution. The second portion of the story, the "New Testament", doesn't start off in a promising manner: God, evidently still in his Zeus mode, impregnates a mortal woman who, by his own admission, has done nothing wrong. (The authors even make a point of saying that, although married, she was a virgin prior to this episode.) Predictably, she gives birth to a half-human demigod, who at the age of thirty suddenly decides to start talking to people about his origins. Apparently fatherhood has softened God up somewhat; he's now willing to forgive and forget, no matter what people do, as long as they're willing to tell him how great his son, Jesus, is. The authors make no attempt to explain the about-face, and after a while some Romans show up to kill off the Jesus character, without God's interference. The intervening portions of the book are devoted to a collection of pithy parables with less-than-subtle morals, presented out of order and without context. Here the editors' methodology of slapping together the works of disparate authors, even leaving out whole books to clear up the larger inconsistencies, comes into play. A few main characters wander about, telling everyone how great Jesus was, presumably so that God, who doesn't show up at all in this part of the story, will treat them well. The narrative is stripped of any cronological basis and on the whole becomes fairly tedious.
Having fortunately sensed that they were losing their audience, a third group of authors then came along and added a brief summary so fantastic that it makes the rest of the book seem like an accurate history. God makes another appearance, just in time to see the human race he allegedly loved destroyed - except, of course, for those people who told other people about what a nice guy his son was.
On the whole, the book could have better presented its moral message by sticking to a well-defined format, be it a cronological narrative or a succession of fables. It's certainly worth a read; just be prepared to be confused by the characters and their motivations.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
 

Comments


Sort: Oldest first | Newest first
Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 24, 2007 6:23:37 AM PDT
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 2, 2007 7:16:32 AM PDT
Jon Raymond says:
His review was thoughtful and intelligent unlike your comment which looked like it was written by a retarded 3rd grader.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 22, 2007 11:02:08 AM PDT
Tolson says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

Posted on Oct 15, 2008 5:25:13 PM PDT
M. Ness says:
As an Atheist i think this is one of the funniest things I've read in a long time, though i do understand how some religious people would find it offensive.

though you do have to admit, as a novel, a book, the bible is a bit scatter brained. that's what happens after thousands of years of editing i guess.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 18, 2011 11:49:19 AM PDT
Irish Lace says:
Home schooled, right?

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 18, 2011 1:38:36 PM PDT
Michael says:
I would guess a combination of underfunded public schools and lazy parents who left the television to raise this shining example of America's future.
‹ Previous 1 Next ›

Review Details

Item

3.8 out of 5 stars (839 customer reviews)
5 star:
 (444)
4 star:
 (120)
3 star:
 (78)
2 star:
 (68)
1 star:
 (129)
 
 
 
Used & New from: $0.01
Add to wishlist
Reviewer


Top Reviewer Ranking: 19,777,540