How to Read the Bible

How to Read the Bible : History, Prophecy, Literature-Why Modern Readers Need to Know the Difference, and What It Means for Faith Today

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More people read the Bible than any other book and, as Steven McKenzie shows in this provocative volume, most of us misread it. McKenzie argues that to comprehend the Bible we must grasp the intentions of the biblical authors themselves-what sort of texts they thought they were writing and how they would have been understood by their contemporaries. McKenzie examines several genres that are typically misunderstood, offering careful readings of specific texts to show how the confusion arises, and how knowing the genre produces a correct reading. The book of Jonah, for example, offers many clues that it is meant as a humorous satire, not a straight-faced historical account of a man who was swallowed by a fish. Likewise, the very names "Adam" (man) and "Eve" (life) tell us that these are not historical characters, but figures who symbolize human origins. For anyone who takes reading the Bible seriously and who wants to get it right, this book will be more

Product details

  • Paperback | 224 pages
  • 152.4 x 231.14 x 20.32mm | 340.19g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0195383303
  • 9780195383300
  • 354,171

About Steven L. McKenzie

Steven McKenzie is Professor of Hebrew Bible at Rhodes College, in Memphis, more

Review quote

"Thoughtfully considered and ably written, this book is highly recommended for all libraries." --Library Journal"Steven L. McKenzie offers a fresh take on the ancient texts of the Bible and allows us to see the familiar biblical landscape in wholly new and illuminating ways. How to Read the Bible is authoritative and provocative, often witty and always insightful and illuminating, an essential tool for modern readers of the Jewish and Christian scriptures." --Jonathan Kirsch, author of God Against the Gods: The History of the War Between Monotheism and Polytheism and The Harlot by the Side of the Road: Forbidden Tales of the Bible"In order to determine what the Bible means, we must first determine the intentions of its authors, intentions expressed in the literary genres they used. In his examination of several genres used in the Bible, McKenzie demonstrates through detailed analysis how the identification of genre is as necessary for the understanding of biblical literature as it is of any literature. An important and insightful book." --Michael D. Coogan, editor of The New Oxford Annotated Bible, Third Edition, and The Oxford History of the Biblical Worldshow more

Table of contents

Introduction ; JONAH AND GENRE ; Chapter One ; NOT EXACTLY AS IT HAPPENED ; Historiography in the Bible ; Chapter Two ; FORTHTELLING, NOT FORETELLING ; Biblical Prophecy ; Chapter Three ; LIFE'S REAL QUESTIONS ; Wisdom Literature in the Bible ; Chapter Four ; NOT THE END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT ; Apocalyptic Literature in the Bible ; Chapter Five ; ISSUES IN THE CHURCHES ; The Letters of the New Testament ; Notes ; Bibliography ; Indexshow more

Rating details

45 ratings
3.42 out of 5 stars
5 22% (10)
4 29% (13)
3 29% (13)
2 9% (4)
1 11% (5)
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