15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Faith and Opinions,
This review is from: How to Read the Bible: A Guide to Scripture, Then and Now (Hardcover)
This is a fascinating book, especially for those of us who were forced to study the Bible in our youth, but given only one interpretation. I was raised in the Church of Christ, a conservative Protestant sect that does not consider itself a sect, but the one true church. We were taught the Bible from one point of view, and not allowed to deviate from that point of view by even one degree, or question its truth. There was no Biblical scholarship offered then, so it was with great pleasure that I read this book, for me an introduction to that discipline. I have no basis on which to criticize Mr. Kugel's scholarship, though I suspect it is exemplary, but I can say how much I appreciate his attitude: He has opinions, but is respectful of others'; he has strong beliefs, but accepts the fact that other people have equally strong but opposing beliefs. How rare it is to find someone able to be opinionated yet tolerant. He also writes clearly, and the book is in the main easily readable.
I would not recommend it to someone who doesn't know the Bible at all, but for anyone like me who knows only one view of it, it is a wonderful book. It concerns mostly the "Old" Testament, but anyone raised in the Christian religion will find it quite valuable. Read this book, and learn something about how the Bible came to be. Like it or not, the Bible is a huge part of our inherited Western culture, and this book helped me understand some of the ways it is interpreted, and misinterpreted, in a historical context.
Thank you, Mr. Kugel, for piquing my curiosity after forty years of disinterest.