For millennia, people have used the Bible as a touchstone on important social and political questions, and rightly so. But many use the Bible simply as a weapon to wield against opponents in a variety of debateswithout knowing what the Bible actually says about the issue in question.
In The Bible Now, two respected biblical scholars, Richard Elliott Friedman and Shawna Dolansky, tell us carefully what the Hebrew Bible says or does not say about a wide range of issuesincluding homosexuality, abortion, women's status, capital punishment, and the environment. In fascinating passages that shed new light on some of today's most passionate disputes, the authors reveal how the Bible is frequently misunderstood, misquoted, mistranslated, and misused. For instance, those who quote the Bible in condemning homosexuality often cite the story of Sodom, and those who favor homosexuality point to David's lament over the death of Jonathan. But as the authors show, neither passage is clearly about homosexuality, and these texts do not offer solid footing on which to make an argument. Readers learn that female homosexuality is not prohibitedonly male homosexuality. And on the subject of abortion, the Bible is practically silent, with one extraordinary exception.
The Bible has inspired people to do great good but has also been used by people to do great harm, so it is vitally important for us to pay attention to itand to get it right. The Bible Now shows us how we canand cannotuse this ancient source of wisdom to address our most current and pressing issues.
|Publisher:||Oxford University Press, USA|
|Product dimensions:||6.20(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.00(d)|
About the Author
Richard Elliott Friedman is the Davis Professor of Jewish Studies at the University of Georgia and Katzin Professor of Jewish Civilization Emeritus of the University of California, San Diego. A nationally recognized biblical scholar, Friedman is the author of the bestselling Who Wrote the Bible? as well as The Disappearance of God, The Hidden Book in the Bible, Commentary on the Torah, The Bible with Sources Revealed, and The Exile and Biblical Narrative.
Shawna Dolansky is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Northeastern University. She is the author of Now You See It, Now You Don't: The Relationship Between Magic and Religion in the Hebrew Bible and the editor of Sacred History, Sacred Literature.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Homosexuality
Chapter 2: Abortion
Chapter 3: Women's Status
Chapter 4: Capital Punishment
Chapter 5: The Earth
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
"The Bible Now" takes five issues of socio/political relevance today and seeks to reveal what the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) actually has to say on these subjects, if one goes to the original text. Translations are inherently flawed, because the translator must make choices that interpret the text. No language can be translated word for word into another, because words have multiple meanings, and those meanings are not the same in every language. The more distantly relate the languages, the more interpretation is necessary to translate. Biblical Hebrew and English are pretty far apart.Three chapters of the book were excellent. Homosexuality, Abortion, and the Death Penalty, are discussed thoroughly, logically and coherently. The authors clearly have liberal opinions personally, but they argue fairly when the Bible's statements support less than liberal views. The issues are viewed differently depending on whether the passage is in prose, poetry, or law. The other two chapters are on Women and the Earth (i.e. enviromentalism.) These chapters were not nearly as good. While i agree with the author's personal views - that women must have equal rights with men and that we must do all we can to preserve the health of the Earth - I think their arguments presented were weak and rambling. I strongly recommend the better chapters, but don't expect the quality of the book's arguments to be equal in all chapters.