(Cross-posted at Benjamin the Scribe.) First, Amazon is offering 30% off any physical book you buy for the next two days, by entering HOLIDAY30 at the checkout. Great time to pick up that hardcover Jewish Study Bible, Jewish Annotated New Testament, NRSV, or similar “expensive” hardcover you can’t get otherwise. Amazon link to the details. Short list. This was really hard to put together, much more than my OT list.
Tag: Recommended resources
Reading and Writing (Genesis): Books, books, and more books
I have a few things in my way before being able to work full-time on Genesis 1– a recalcitrant article draft, some travel, volunteer work, etc. In the meantime, I’m making slow but good progress. I’m beginning to suspect the most important parts of the book will be the first two sections dealing with groundwork/assumptions and LDS entanglements with Genesis, not the last two sections on the ancient Near Eastern context or the text/translation itself. I’m interested in a lot of things that are secondary or tertiary to the main thrust of the book, such as the history of biblical interpretation, the history of interaction between science and religion, history of science, and how other religious traditions have handled the challenges to tradition, authority, doctrine, etc. It’s terribly difficult to avoid spending too much time filling out these secondary areas, but I really can’t afford the time to read everything relevant; there is a TON of relevant scholarship. Below are a few things that are on my virtual nightstand that may be of interest, not all related to Genesis.
Recommended NT Resources part 2: General and Reference (updated)
Many of these can be purchased in paper, kindle, or from Logos or Accordance. (I’m a big Logos user.) As with all my recommendations, take them with a grain of salt. I neither fully endorse nor vouch for everything said in these, but you will certainly learn and grow by reading them. Samples are often available from Amazon or Google books, and in some cases I’ve linked to others here or in the past. If you missed it, part 1 is here.
Recommended NT Resources, Part 1: Translations, Text, and the Bible in General
(Cross-posted at Benjamin the Scribe) We’re 80% of the way through our Old Testament, and the time has come to start looking forward. As I did for the Old, so I will do for the New. This time, I’ll break it up into a few posts, probably a few weeks apart. (Part 2, Part 3 are here.) As before, the absolute best and easiest thing you can do to increase the quality and frequency of your Bible study is to supplement your KJV with a different translation. You can do it with a free app or website, or go old school and buy hardcover. I do both. Below are some recommendations on Bibles. (If the idea of reading a non-KJV application bothers you, see my Religious Educator article at the bottom, which includes Apostolic examples of non-KJV Bible use in The Ensign and General Conference.)
Old Testament Gospel Doctrine Reading and Resources!
December has finally arrived! For the last six months, I’ve felt like Old Testament is just around the corner. Finally we’re into the last loose stretch of D&C and I can put up the first Old Testament post. With the cyclic return to the Old Testament comes the perennial question, how do I make sense of this? Where should I turn to read “out of the best books”? Look no further, friend, for here is a scattered list. (I’ve been even busier than anticipated, and just don’t have time to polish or add images.) First, though, a note. All the books below can be divided into two structural categories. There are those arranged by book, chapter, and verse, and those that are not. The first category includes commentaries, introductions, guides, histories (generally), and Study Bibles. These are the easiest books to use because you simply read them along with our schedule, or go directly to the chapter/verse you need help with. Having information so focused has a downside, namely, that it tends to be narrow. The second category of books includes dictionaries, encyclopedias, maps, general books, monographs, journals, and most reference materials. Building a broad knowledge of the history, culture, and thought of the Israelites and their neighbors takes time, study, and reading, mostly of this second kind of book. Even though category II books often contain scriptural indexes, these are usually to verses cited in that volume, not all the verses…
Genesis vs. Science: Background, Readings, and Discussion
One of the problems that crops up with Genesis is its proper context, its genre, what background it should be read against (modern science or ancient Near East?) That is, modern western English readers have a particular (modern) worldview with various questions and issues. When they read Genesis, they naturally place it into that setting, and read it against that (modern) background, which creates conflict. It’s as if we’ve summoned an expert witness to trial, only to surprise her with questions far outside her area of expertise. Although she gives strong indications to that effect, the judge forcefully says, “Just answer the questions please!” The lawyers seize upon any statement, and force it into relevance. Only recently have defense attorneys appeared in the courtroom to object to this treatment, with several lengthy briefs detailed below. The history of interpretation of Genesis’ early chapters is fascinating, particularly the science/religion debate. The Creationists: From Scientific Creationism to Intelligent Design, Expanded Edition is a great history of the interpreters and the conflict generated by their interpretations. Alas, Mormons get several mentions. 1 Another good volume on the science side is Saving Darwin, which I found enlightening. The commonly-held and mistaken view of the history of interpretation goes something like this. Since the dawn of time, the “literal” reading of Genesis has been the correct and only reading. But then Darwin and Science came along, and now the only reason people reject the traditional “literal” reading is…
Reading Tom Wright’s New Testament Commentary for Everyone
Writings on the scriptures often comes from one of two perspectives. 1) Devotional-but-clueless, i.e. the author is able to read/write devotionally on a passage because they don’t know any other way to read it. They don’t address context or difficulties or objections or avoid pitfalls, because they’re completely unaware of them. It’s often trite and shallow (and I don’t think you necessarily need length to have depth, lead to reflection, or inspire.) Lest I be misunderstood, it is entirely possible to be devotional and clueless, but still meaningful, I just think it’s rare and find little value in spending my time to read it. And let us not even speak of the abomination of trying to pass off rhyming poems as “spiritual thoughts.” 2) Knowledge-but-without-faith-implications, i.e. the author doesn’t care about affecting behavior, spiritual experiences, or the implications of the content for faith and doctrine, but is intent on talking about Roman culture, or Hebrew grammar, or Ugaritic history. This also is rare in a Church setting, but is completely valid and normal in other contexts. Some of my favorite authors are such because they neither hide from the difficult questions nor avoid wrestling with their implications for believers. I do not like my devotional material to be empty spiritual calories, nor do I like my knowledge divorced from all application, meaning, and implication for someone of faith. Small indeed is the number of authors who can successfully give spiritual…