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The Bible for Grown-Ups: A New Look at the Good Book Paperback – April 10, 2018
"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
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'Loveday intelligently and successfully assesses the Bible in ways that are accessible and useful for those with open, inquiring minds.' - Publishers Weekly. 'A hymn to an irrepressible longing in the human spirit for higher meaning ... Loveday writes with a clarity that is little short of gripping.' - Matthew Parris, Spectator
About the Author
Simon Loveday trained as an anthropologist and a literary critic, teaching at UEA and Oxford. He also edited the psychological journal Typeface and wrote The Romances of John Fowles. He lectured at Keele University and lived in Wells, Somerset, where he was at one time Chair of the Wells Festival of Literature. Simon Loveday died in October 2016.
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My reading of his book certainly confirms this for me. In that sense, the book is an amazing feat of discovery and not of judgement. What he does do, is compare conflicting texts within and between the Old and New Testaments, with great care for linguistic, cultural and historical issues. He does take a critical look at the different statements in both Testaments on retribution and compassion, between damnation and salvation, as well as the differences between heaven on earth or the life eternal.
Simon Loveday makes a careful examination of the ambiguity between the notion of Christ as the Son of God or the Son of Man, as well as identifying some of the confusions created by the contextual use of Greek and Hebrew of the original versions. Naturally he considers the consequences resulting from whether you believe that the New Testament was written for Jews or for Gentiles, for those in Judea or those of the Diaspora.
While he does say that there is “very little correspondence with historical reality”, he does emphasize that the the Good Book is full of symbolism, synonyms and metaphors. Simon examines the parts in detail, but concludes that the whole is very significant, notwithstanding the inconsistencies that he points out. He reminds us, that just as with Bible literature, that the writings that interpret the Torah are more voluminous than the Torah, with the same applying to writings about the Qur'an.
This book is important in the way it exposes inconsistencies and confusions in the Bible, without coming down on the side of belief or disbelief. In this way I think The Bible for Grownups is really important for people of many faiths and none. If you stand back from what he describes, the 'whole' of his message may serve to elucidate so many sectarian divisions and conflicts in the world of today, both within and outside the Christian Church. His book describes many instances of where an interpretation depends so much upon where one is standing and the values and convictions held in your community.
Loveday's book is an antidote to 'blind faith'. Would that other books could be written in a secularly similar vein about the sacred books of other faiths—that we might all get along much better.