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Paperback What the Bible Really Says: Casting New Light on the Book of Books Book

ISBN: 068801979X

ISBN13: 9780688019792

What the Bible Really Says: Casting New Light on the Book of Books

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Book Overview

In this day of notable archaeological finds that piece together newly discovered data and uncover evidence of ancient civilizations, What the Bible Really Says sheds new light on the present translations and interpretations of the Bible. Manfred Barthel systematically goes through the Old and New Testaments, calling attention to the passages that need, in his view, illumination, reexamination, and reinterpretation.

Customer Reviews

3 ratings

Refreshing Current Outlook on the Old Testament Makes Sense

This is the first book I have read by Manfred Barthel. Barthel is an excellent example of the detail, thoroughness and thoughtfulness for which German writers are known. The English translation by Mark Howson, with additional material adapting it and providing context for English-language readers, is likewise superb. It sounds like an original writing in native English, not like the stodgy, unnatural and rough English we sometimes get of the German scholars. Barthel probes Bible content and related backgrounds and evaluates cultural updates from archaeology and other sciences that will shed light on biblical content. He does not seek just to simplistically prove that what the Bible says is true in an objective modern factual sense. His goal is rather to enter the world of the Bible, to develop a feel, and an appreciation for the text and the cultural and historical context it seems to represent. He reaches for the worldview behind what he reads there, attempting to see what would be meant in that original context, what styles of expression and what cultural format comes to light. He does an excellent job of critically evaluating findings of modern sciences, such as archaeology, new historical findings and textual studies to relate them to events, perspectives of personalities in the Bible. This is particularly fulfilling in regard to the Old Testament, which is rarely probed at the level of popular Bible study and pulpit theology. Few people seem to really know what the stories in the Bible really say, and less of an idea how they might fit together, or how you can make sense of two or three versions of the same story in Genesis or other parts of the Torah. I bought this book in 1985 on one of my trips to the United States form Kenya, when I gathered books on various subjects. I never got around to really reading this till 2003. It was an exhilarating experience, very satisfying as part of a three-year study of the Old Testament I planned for myself, supplemented with additional background studies in the New Testament, the Dead Seas Scrolls and related historical periods. I read the book leisurely, with critical reference to other sources over about a month's time in September and October 2003. Barthel provided some very stimulating discussions on various findings in archaeology that throws light on names and laces and events in the Bible. Anything in history and archaeology related to the Middle East and the Bible interests me. He goes through the Bible books in sequence and gives information from various sciences that help explain, clarify or verify each. There is more on the Old Testament, but also some related to the New Testament and a good section about the Essenes that gives some helpful insights. This was interesting and helpful because it brought to life the contemporary situation in these biblical events. I always like to study the Old Testament, particularly, to understand the stories, not just as history, bu

I LOVE This Book

Bookstore shelves are full of Apologetic writings trying to prove stories in the Bible are literally true. If that's what you are looking for, get another book. What the Bible Really Says is thought-provoking, appealing to the intellect of the beliver. Yet the book is surprisingly readable.As we journey through the Old and New Testaments, Barthel digs through the controversial stories in the Bible and the similar myths in ancient religions without ever questioning the authority of the Scriptures. He constantly shows us that the Bible is more than a collection of Sunday school stories, but he never leads us to question our faith.Highly recommended!

Scholarly and Accessible at a Bargain Price

I am a layman who is interested in the study of the Bible. I am most interested in books about the Bible that are responsible and scholarly without preconceived ideals and theological agendas. I am not interested in books that make odd claims for shock value or that go out of their way to try and break new ground. This book delivered what I was looking for better than any other I have read so far.This book which was originally written in German and translated to English provides the layman with fascinating insights which are responsible and scholarly. One such example is the observation that many ancient traditions included written laws prior to the laws of Moses (designed to regulate the affairs of a society which usually involved denoting retaliation). What was unique about the laws of Moses (i.e., the Ten Commandments) was not only "You Shall have no Other Gods before Me" but "You Shall Love Your Neighbor as Yourself" which has no other precedent in the laws of ancient religions. You will also be treated to such wit and wisdom as "... the first law of biblical criticism - speculation flourishes when facts are in short supply..."If you are looking for commentary, this is not the book for you. You will be disappointed as the author only examines two of the five Books of Moses: Genesis and Exodus. He indicates that the other three books of Moses primarily concern sacrifices, statistics, and long lists of place names and then he moves on to the Book of Joshua and the Conquest of Canaan. This book is a reader meant for those who are interested in the highlights and fascinating insights about the Old and New Testaments that have been learned over the course of time.
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