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Pocket Guide to the Bible: A Little Book About the Big Book Paperback – May, 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
Boyett (Pocket Guide to the Apocalypse) packs a surprising amount of information into this little guide. With humor always at the ready, he dashes through a glossary of biblical terms, a list of key characters and a summary of every book of the Bible. The introduction kicks off with a nod to the difficulties of biblical interpretation and a few of the less-than-stellar movements it helped inspire ("The Bible has motivated its readers to tend the sick.... It also motivated the Crusades"). This forthright tone continues throughout, though Boyett clearly writes from an evangelical perspective. The guide also includes an interesting history of the English Bible and summary of translations. Younger readers who would like to be more familiar with the biblical text will appreciate Boyett's tone, while older readers who have been in the church most of their lives will learn—or be reminded of—many things along the way. The book has a few weaknesses: the endless list of books and biblical events gets tedious; readers may have benefited more from thematic summaries. And there are a few references those outside the church won't understand. But overall, the guide is well written, fun and brief—which, when you're attempting to summarize the entire Bible, is quite an accomplishment. (June 6)
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From the Publisher
It's the world's all-time best seller. It's the most influential book in Western civilization. It's sitting in practically every home in America. Yet few of us have a clue about what's going on within our Bibles' gold-lined, onionskin pages. Until now. In Pocket Guide to the Bible: A Little Book About the Big Book, author Jason Boyett hilariously spotlights the events, characters and themes of the Old and New Testaments.
Top Customer Reviews
Sounds ludicrous! But that's exactly what Jason Boyett sets out to accomplish in Pocket Guide to the Bible: A Little Book About the Big Book. And, in most respects, he nails it, with a frankness and hilarity that many scholars could learn from.
If you're looking for a brief guide on biblical interpretation (aka: hermeneutics), keep looking. Boyett's not trying to dissect the difficult Hebrew and Greek syntax. But, if you're looking for a witty, lighthearted approach to a serious text (the Bible), then this book's for you.
Boyett pulls no punches in exposing some of the more ridiculous stories and texts in the Bible, yet at the same time tries to uphold it's authority and majesty. One part glossary (or, to use his term, `biblicabulary'), another part roll call of Biblical characters, and yet another part Biblical survey, and yet another part history of translations and versions, and finally, a concluding part humorous miscellany of quirky Biblical facts and observations, Boyett `guides' one through the Bible like no book on Scripture I've ever read.
At times I laughed out loud, and at other times I skimmed to the next chapter. That is to say, take this Pocket Guide for what it is: a Pocket Guide. It's not a page-turning thriller novel, nor is it a serious attempt at Biblical scholarship. It's simply one author's lighthearted attempt at viewing the Bible through the eyes of a humorist by looking at the Good Book from a number of different angles.
Overall, I'd say it's a very worthwhile read...Boyett's one-liners are alone worth the price of the book. Here are some zingers:
* When using the biblical term `flesh' in a sentence: "When Angelina Jolie showed up with her newly adopted AIDS orphan, my spirit empathized with her concern for the hurting children of the world, but my flesh kept staring at her bazongas." (p. 13)
* He even uses `IM' language: "LOL" (p.102)
* His reference to King Xerxes' parade of wives in the book of Esther: "a check-out-my-smokin'-wife show for visiting VIPs." (p. 103)
* "Bomp-chicka-bow-wow"...When referring to the book Song of Solomon.
* A word I know I've never seen in Christian publishing: "Apeshiznit" (109)
* When referring to the debate over circumcision in Galatians: "join the Snippy Brigade" (p.122)
* On Erasmus' real name, Gerrit: "Knowing this (his real name) exponentially increases his wedgie potential..." (p.144)
There's more where that came from...but you'll have to buy the book.
Biblicabulary - "A glossary of the Good Book," pretty self-explanatory
Cast of Characters (A to J) - The major players of the Bible, plus some of the weirder minor ones too.
Cast of Characters (K to Z) - See above.
What Happens, Part 1 - "The Old Testament at breakneck speed," pretty much the Cliff Notes version of the Bible
What Happens, Part 2 - "The New Testament at breakneck speed."
The Brief History of the Holy Writ - "A timeline," basically the complete history of the Bible.
Versions and Perversions - "A selective survey of translations," this chapter runs through the major players in the translation game. Disappointingly doesn't cover the Hippie Bible, but I'm letting it slide.
List Ye Be Smitten - "Biblical Flotsam and Jetsam," a bunch of lists of really random stuff, really funny, weird things here.
Who to recommend this book to? I think that anyone could get something out of this book. People who know everything about the Bible will enjoy the dry wit applied to the subject. Those who know nothing about the Bible will find themselves amused and learning quite a bit in a short amount of time. Those who have no sense of humor about the subject will probably hate this book. I was caught off guard by some of the jokes myself (in terms of being surprised, not offended), but it's always good to have fun with fundamentalists. That is what fundamentalist starts with anyways.
So, in other words, I definitely recommend this book to anyone who wants to have a few laughs at the expense of long-dead biblical characters while learning a thing here and there as well. Boyett does it again with a book that makes biblical theology fun.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
very fast, light description of the material being read.
The Pocket Guide to the Bible
Very good purchase. I am sharing it with family now.