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Thread: Reading Suggestions for Biblical Studies

  1. #1 Reading Suggestions for Biblical Studies 
    Forum Masters Degree Golkarian's Avatar
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    Just wondering if anyone can reccomend books on the origins of the Bible, perhaps a book on higher criticism. I am interested mainly in the gospels and the origin of Daniel, any Bibles with notes would be nice as well. It would be nice if it mentioned some of the competing theories.

    Thanks.


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  3. #2  
    Forum Masters Degree Twit of wit's Avatar
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    Bible with detailed notes: http://bible.org/netbible/
    You should learn at least basics of the languages and read the original, IMO. (depending how serious is your interest, of course)


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  4. #3  
    Veracity Vigilante inow's Avatar
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    Not a book, but a wonderful special from PBS Nova:

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/bible/

    In this landmark two-hour special, NOVA takes viewers on a fascinating scientific journey that began 3,000 years ago and continues today. The film presents the latest archeological scholarship from the Holy Land to explore the beginnings of modern religion and the origins of the Hebrew Bible, also known as the Old Testament.

    This archeological detective story tackles some of the biggest questions in biblical studies: Where did the ancient Israelites come from? Who wrote the Bible, when, and why? How did the worship of one God—the foundation of modern Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—emerge?

    "'The Bible's Buried Secrets' is both a scientific detective story and dramatic adventure that digs deeply into the Bible and the history of the ancient Israelites through the archeological artifacts they left behind," said Paula S. Apsell, NOVA Senior Executive Producer. [Hear more about NOVA's approach to covering the subject in this FAQ].

    NOVA travels to several excavations of ancient cities in the Near East, filming newly discovered remains and interviewing leading archeologists and biblical scholars. These in-depth interviews—along with historic works of art, ancient artifacts, animations of biblical passages and scenes, and dramatic recreations—provide the latest account of the ancient Israelites and how they found their one God, the God not only of modern Judaism, but also of Christianity and Islam. [Read related expert interviews online, including Writers of the Bible, Moses and the Exodus, The Foundation of Judaism, and Archeology of the Hebrew Bible.]

    "To this day, the Hebrew Bible, or Old Testament, is a sacred text for more than three billion people throughout the world," said Gary Glassman, the program's writer, producer, and director. "The film's international team of archeologists and scholars researches biblical texts and examines artifacts and ancient manuscripts to illuminate how the concept of one God emerged to later form the foundation of the three great monotheistic religions."

    The film's investigation of biblical archeology reveals provocative new insights. One vital clue to the past is an inscription discovered at Tel Dan in Israel that refers to the "House of David"—the first text outside the Bible to confirm that King David actually existed. Another important find is a carved Hebrew alphabet—in fact, the earliest complete Hebrew alphabet—at Tel Zayit, an excavation site southwest of Jerusalem. This alphabet suggests the existence of a literate royal court at the time of David and Solomon, the 10th century B.C., raising the possibility that scribes could have written portions of the Hebrew Bible at that time. [Explore a time line of Archeological Evidence, including these and other finds.]

    Perhaps most extraordinary, the discovery of pagan idols at dozens of archeological sites throughout biblical Israel challenges old assumptions about the rise of monotheism. The idols prove that some ancient Israelites continued to practice polytheism until the time of the Babylonian Exile around 586 B.C., centuries later than previously thought.

    Filmed on location throughout the Middle East, the film transports viewers into the world of the Old Testament through guided explorations of ancient ruins and advanced digital animation techniques, which bring sacred places, including the long-lost Temple of Solomon, to life. As part of the project, NOVA commissioned a hand-crafted, illustrated Bible—a bound collection of artwork featuring images of ancient frescoes, illuminated medieval manuscripts, and paintings by European masters. These striking visuals evoke memorable scenes from biblical literature, such as God speaking to Moses from the burning bush and David as he slays the giant Philistine warrior, Goliath.

    According to Apsell, "In addition to exploring the historical authenticity of the biblical narrative, this powerful intersection of science, scholarship, and scripture also provides a unique insight into the deeper meaning of biblical texts and their continuing resonance through the centuries."


    Watch Online:
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/bible/program.html
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  5. #4  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard SkinWalker's Avatar
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    You might try Tim Callahan's Secret Origins of the Bible and any of Bart Ehrman's works.
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  6. #5  
    Forum Masters Degree Golkarian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by inow
    Not a book, but a wonderful special from PBS Nova:

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/bible/

    In this landmark two-hour special, NOVA takes viewers on a fascinating scientific journey that began 3,000 years ago and continues today. The film presents the latest archeological scholarship from the Holy Land to explore the beginnings of modern religion and the origins of the Hebrew Bible, also known as the Old Testament.

    This archeological detective story tackles some of the biggest questions in biblical studies: Where did the ancient Israelites come from? Who wrote the Bible, when, and why? How did the worship of one God—the foundation of modern Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—emerge?

    "'The Bible's Buried Secrets' is both a scientific detective story and dramatic adventure that digs deeply into the Bible and the history of the ancient Israelites through the archeological artifacts they left behind," said Paula S. Apsell, NOVA Senior Executive Producer. [Hear more about NOVA's approach to covering the subject in this FAQ].

    NOVA travels to several excavations of ancient cities in the Near East, filming newly discovered remains and interviewing leading archeologists and biblical scholars. These in-depth interviews—along with historic works of art, ancient artifacts, animations of biblical passages and scenes, and dramatic recreations—provide the latest account of the ancient Israelites and how they found their one God, the God not only of modern Judaism, but also of Christianity and Islam. [Read related expert interviews online, including Writers of the Bible, Moses and the Exodus, The Foundation of Judaism, and Archeology of the Hebrew Bible.]

    "To this day, the Hebrew Bible, or Old Testament, is a sacred text for more than three billion people throughout the world," said Gary Glassman, the program's writer, producer, and director. "The film's international team of archeologists and scholars researches biblical texts and examines artifacts and ancient manuscripts to illuminate how the concept of one God emerged to later form the foundation of the three great monotheistic religions."

    The film's investigation of biblical archeology reveals provocative new insights. One vital clue to the past is an inscription discovered at Tel Dan in Israel that refers to the "House of David"—the first text outside the Bible to confirm that King David actually existed. Another important find is a carved Hebrew alphabet—in fact, the earliest complete Hebrew alphabet—at Tel Zayit, an excavation site southwest of Jerusalem. This alphabet suggests the existence of a literate royal court at the time of David and Solomon, the 10th century B.C., raising the possibility that scribes could have written portions of the Hebrew Bible at that time. [Explore a time line of Archeological Evidence, including these and other finds.]

    Perhaps most extraordinary, the discovery of pagan idols at dozens of archeological sites throughout biblical Israel challenges old assumptions about the rise of monotheism. The idols prove that some ancient Israelites continued to practice polytheism until the time of the Babylonian Exile around 586 B.C., centuries later than previously thought.

    Filmed on location throughout the Middle East, the film transports viewers into the world of the Old Testament through guided explorations of ancient ruins and advanced digital animation techniques, which bring sacred places, including the long-lost Temple of Solomon, to life. As part of the project, NOVA commissioned a hand-crafted, illustrated Bible—a bound collection of artwork featuring images of ancient frescoes, illuminated medieval manuscripts, and paintings by European masters. These striking visuals evoke memorable scenes from biblical literature, such as God speaking to Moses from the burning bush and David as he slays the giant Philistine warrior, Goliath.

    According to Apsell, "In addition to exploring the historical authenticity of the biblical narrative, this powerful intersection of science, scholarship, and scripture also provides a unique insight into the deeper meaning of biblical texts and their continuing resonance through the centuries."


    Watch Online:
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/bible/program.html
    Oh yes, I remember you suggesting this before, unfortunately you can only watch it in the US. Found it on youtube though.


    I'll also look for the book reccomended by skinwalker.

    Thanks.
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  7. #6  
    Forum Bachelors Degree Apopohis Reject's Avatar
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    No doubt you have heard the expression 'throwing the baby out with the bath water', which is an appropriate observation to make when it comes to those original Hebrew documents that we have latter-day compiled to produce our 'Bible'.

    Centuries of religious domination has led many of us to accept and surrender to mythical conjecture and an amazing melange of supposition based upon previously conjectured myth. And even though mythical garbage exhibit A. clearly cannot co-exist with mythical crap exhibit B., C. or even D., through religious compromise according myth, people still manage to convince themselves they all concurrently make sense. Truly astounding, even though I have to admit I was once right there - in the middle of this regiment.

    On the other side of the coin, many others such as SkinWalker - of the knee-jerk brigade, present as having chosen to disregard the whole lot as nothing more than empty figments of vivid religious imagination.

    Then there is probably the largest group - the fence-sitters, who cannot make up their mind, so believe that either side is somehow valid and/or correct at some point about something, but please don't ask them any questions, because they simply don't know, sorry; and discussion/investigation is best avoided in any case - sorry again.

    So if we remove the bath water contaminated with the myth-regiment, the knee-jerk denier brigade and of course the superficial fence-sitters, are we yet able to locate a baby, clean enough to dry and clothe?

    Well I have to admit that the above (essential) investigation is no easy task, yet the news is not all gloomy, and the Golkarians of this world can be assurred that the truth is still out there. However the very first and primary prerequisite is that any individual commencing upon such an investigation, really needs to GET REAL - with himself - in a manner he has never done previously. For even though the truth is indeed 'out there', he will never recognise it until he locates it 'in here'.

    So Golkarian, research and investigate to your heart's content, but first do yourself a great favour, and investigate your self - honestly. Then when you look into the Hebrew documents that come our way as the Bible, you will stand a far greater chance of discovering the essential insights within those pages. that can only be termed REALITY - indeed the wellspring of reality - indeed the baby himself; that you simply will not locate from any other source or previously aggregated congregation.
    sunshinewarrior: If two people are using the same word, but applying different meanings to it, then they're not communicating.
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  8. #7  
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    Check out 'THe Book of J' by Harold Bloom & David Rosenberg and 'A History of God' by Karen Armstrong.
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  9. #8  
    Veracity Vigilante inow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stlekee
    ...and 'A History of God' by Karen Armstrong.
    I enjoyed watching Armstrong get mutilated here.

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2...p_on_karen.php


    Here's one tiny piece of an overall well executed evisceration:

    So once more I'm lost in the reasoning Armstrong is using here — she is using a strange claim not made by atheists of a principle not implemented by atheists to endorse the compatibility of religion and democracy, a non-conflict that most atheists wouldn't argue over.

    Bleh. What a mess of goo and vapor. I don't doubt that Armstrong is an intelligent woman, but she's giving us another reason why religion is bad for people and for nations: it turns good brains to mush.


    For those who don't like the nonsense shredding which often comes with the above site, here is a more reasoned and patient view of her work:

    http://www.truthdig.com/arts_culture..._god_20091203/
    The complaint that the new atheists (Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, etc.) are theologically incompetent, and that a subtler appreciation for the finer points of theology would expose the shallowness of their attacks, is by now a common one. But few defenders of religion attempt actually to spell out the theological details; and the results of those attempts that have been made are, in my experience, deeply unsatisfying.

    <...>

    In other words, it is precisely our lack of knowledge of God that enables us to say, well, pretty much whatever we want about God—except, of course, that God was not in Christ (but only an atheist or heathen would want to say that anyway). This is mysticism and metaphysical hand-waving raised to a truly objectionable level. If you do not know what you are denying then you also do not know what you are asserting; our inability to conceptualize cannot, on the one hand, prevent skeptics from denying Christ’s divinity while at the same time allowing the faithful to assert it.

    Armstrong’s apophaticist’s disavowal of God thus appears to be a conceptual Trojan horse—a sop to the skeptic whose real intent is to permit religious speculation to go on as before, unchecked by rational criticism and debate. The strategy reduces to saying “God isn’t this, God isn’t that” without ever giving a positive account of what God is, while still regarding oneself as justified in talking about and orienting one’s life around God. This is like the debater who responds to every objection by insisting “Well that’s not what I meant” without ever managing to say what he does mean.

    <...>

    Her uncritical acceptance of the “non-overlapping magisteria” view is only one of the mistakes she makes about science. According to her, Einstein’s theories of relativity implied that science was “unable to provide us with definitive proof [and that] its findings are inherently limited and provisional”; Karl Popper argued that all scientific hypotheses “could never be perfectly verified and were no more reliable than any other ‘belief,’ because testing could only show that a hypothesis was not false”; and Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle showed “that it was impossible for scientists to achieve an objective result because the act of observation itself affected their understanding of the object of their investigation” and somehow implied “the deep interconnectedness of all reality.” All quite wrong, of course. What may be the most serious misunderstanding leads her to utter the tiresome canard that “there will always be an element of what religious people call ‘faith’ in science.” Of course “acting on faith” here simply means “acting in the absence of absolute certainty,” so that a scientist’s willingness to proceed on the assumption that a certain hypothesis is correct is, to Armstrong’s mind, essentially the same phenomenon as religious faith. (As is drinking a glass of milk or turning a key to start one’s car, for that matter.) But there is all the difference in the world, precisely because the scientist, if reasonable, will so proceed only if there is good practical reason to do so, and only unless and until the evidence proves the hypothesis false. The responsible scientist, that is, respects the fact that she is not absolutely certain, and is thus ready to be proved wrong. Indeed, any responsible scientist can tell you what evidence would cause her to abandon her hypothesis; whereas it is the rare religious believer indeed who is able to do this.

    But there I go, talking about religious believers again, when Armstrong has shown that religion is not a matter of belief—right? Well, as I said above, she has tried to show that, but not convincingly; and even if she could show it, it is not clear that that could somehow defend religion as actually practiced in our world.

    In short, her entire argument is encapsulated by this:


    The caption reads: "God is transcendent, clever clogs. So we obviously can't understand him. Duh!"
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  10. #9  
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    OK, I just read through those links about Karen Armstrong. Somebody doesn't like her. Imagine that. I still recommend her book, "The History of God" as an intelligent attempt to understand how the idea of God has changed over time.

    Here's a quote from The Washington Post Book World - "An admirable and i
    mpressive work of synthesis that will give insight and satisfaction to thousands of lay readers"

    And The New York Times Book Review -
    "Witty, informative, and contemplative. Ms Armstrong can simplify complex ideas"

    Time - "Absorbing, a lode of learning"

    The original question was about good books on the subject of Christian history/prehistory.
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  11. #10  
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    Anything by Jaroslav Pelikin, Elaine Pagels, but stay away from karen armstrong shes not much of a scholar.
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