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9780380728398

Don't Know Much About the Bible: Everything You Need to Know About the Good Book but Never Learned

Davis, Kenneth C.

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9780380728398: Don't Know Much About the Bible: Everything You Need to Know About the Good Book but Never Learned

With wit, wisdom, and an extraordinary talent for turning dry, difficult reading into colorful and realistic accounts, the creator of the bestselling Don't Know Much About®, series now brings the world of the Old and New testaments to life as no one else can in the bestseller Don't Know Much About® The Bible. Relying on new research and improved translations, Davis uncovers some amazing questions and contradictions about what the Bible really says. Jericho's walls may have tumbled down because the city lies on a fault line. Moses never parted the Red Sea. There was a Jesus, but he wasn't born on Christmas and he probably wasn't an only child.

Davis brings readers up-to-date on findings gleaned from the Dead Sea Scrolls and Gnostic Gospels that prompt serious scholars to ask such serious questions as: Who wrote the Bible? Did Jesus say everything we were taught he did? Did he say more? By examining the Bible historically, Davis entertains and amazes, provides a much better understanding of the subject, and offers much more fun learning about it.

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The Bible, author Kenneth Davis explains, fits that definition of a "classic" offered by Mark Twain: a book that people praise and don't read. But this entertaining historical study will likely compel listeners to reach for their dusty copies of the world's most-owned but least-understood anthology once again. And not simply because the author reminds us of the drama and intrigue, the tales of rape, impaling, and ethnic cleansing routinely found in its pages. Davis paints the larger historical context in which the Bible was written, providing a sense of the culture and environment in which the familiar stories came to life. Calling on new research and scholarship into the Bible's composition, he provides fascinating background to dimly remembered stories that gives them renewed impact. Using a series of easy-to-follow questions and answers, he offers explanations about when and by whom the Bible was written; how the stories of other traditions influenced the Judeo-Christian teachings; where the Garden of Eden might have been located; why an earthquake may have played a part in the "walls tumbling down" at Jericho; why Jesus may not have said everything we think he did, and much more. He also points out that mistranslations from the original Hebrew have made their way into modern versions of the Bible, explaining where and how they occurred. Conceding that his program will anger some, as it challenges many cherished but mistaken assumptions about the Bible, Davis also hopes that listeners recognize that Christian belief and uncovering the truth are not at odds in this program, but rather that learning and wisdom, even when they reach unsettling conclusions, can ultimately complement faith. (Running time: six hours, four cassettes) --Uma Kukathas

Review:

Kenneth Davis, popular purveyor of stuff you should know but never learned, turns his research engine to the land of Job and Jesus. Ever wonder who wrote the Bible, what the difference is between a disciple and an apostle, or how the Dead Sea Scrolls measure up? Davis tackles the entire Bible, book by book, from Genesis to Revelation, offering succinct capsules of the action and backgrounders that are as entertaining as the tabloids--except that Davis's information is reliable. On every page, you can see the immense amount of research he has put into this work, drawing on the most up-to-date scholarship and presenting it in fresh, easy-to-swallow doses. Chronologies at various points put historical events into perspective. The high point of Don't Know Much About the Bible comes in the New Testament section, where Davis compares the different versions of the Gospels for the various episodes in Jesus' life and offers insights on issues that are still discussed today. By the way, did you know that Jesus' name was really Joshua and that he wasn't born in the year 1? More tidbits await. --Brian Bruya

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