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The Bible According to Mark Twain

4.19  ·  Rating Details ·  1,004 Ratings  ·  62 Reviews
In this brilliant and hilarious compilation of essays, letters, diaries, and excerpts--some never before published--Mark Twain takes on Heaven and Hell, sinners and saints and showcases his own unique approach to the Holy Scriptures including
Paperback, 416 pages
Published December 6th 1996 by Touchstone (first published 1995)
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Sep 10, 2009 Brody rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone whose read the bible.
HILARIOUS. I can't say enough about Twain-- his insights are right on the money, and he dissects things in a way I personally had never thought about, but makes so much sense immidietly upon hearing them.
Tulpesh Patel
Aug 18, 2010 Tulpesh Patel rated it it was amazing
Shelves: religion
The Bible According to Mark Twain is collection of his writings on the Eden, and God’s flooding of the Earth and Heaven, written over a period of nearly 40 years. I must confess, for my sins, that this is the first Mark Twain I have ever read, save for his countless quotations and aphorisms which litter books and websites of an atheistic bent.

The book is composed of two principle sections, the first is Twain’s understanding and re-working of the Christian creation myth through fictionalised diar
Jan 07, 2008 Cory rated it it was amazing
I thought I might be a kangaroo, but it must be a new species because she keeps calling it Adam...


Oh Samuel Clemens, where are you now? Your blasphemy is a gift to the world.
Jul 07, 2009 Sarah rated it really liked it
Mark Twain is still funny even after a century. But, like the reviews say serious thoughts are behind the satirical remarks. Sometimes sweet and sentimental, sometimes indignant and scornful, the book contains a lot of Twain's unfinished work.
From "Extracts from Adam's Diary," comes the tender quote, " is better to live outside the Garden with [Eve:] than inside it without her."
From "Eve's Diary," comes Adam's lament at the grave of Eve, "Wherever she was, there was Eden."
From "Captain Whe
Rebecca Nesler
Sep 12, 2007 Rebecca Nesler rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Mark Twain enthusiasts
I think that rather than the Biblical references, the real selling point of this book is it's collection of unpublished and obscure works by Mark Twain. It's a must have for any collector.

This is a collection of Mark Twain's satirical writings on the Bible. Some of them are unfinished and others are relatively unknown. They range from clever mockery (Letters From Earth) to romantic tragedy (The Diaries of Adam and Eve).

My one complaint about this book is that it tries to do too much. Mark Twai
Nov 22, 2007 Mark rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Hell yeah!
Not only does Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) share my birthday, but we also share many an opinion. This satiric romp warms my heart. It really does.
Feb 06, 2008 Jason rated it really liked it
Recommended to Jason by: Austin
Shelves: loved-em
Very witty. If you like satire, this book is for you. Curious would probably be the best word to describe it.
Jun 23, 2012 Mark rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy, spiritual
I find it amusing that modern day atheists are so quick to claim certain personages to their own- like Twain, Jefferson, and Paine. The evidence to me from reading this shows that Twain might have been super-critical of the dominant US religion, but by no means is he claiming no God exists. Rather, he seems to be criticizing the inequities, the inconsistencies with reality, and the closeminded-ness of the typical believer of his time. For in one of the final entries of this well-addended book he ...more
Thom Swennes
Jul 11, 2012 Thom Swennes rated it liked it
The Bible According to Mark Twain is a wordy spoof that takes the reader to the very roots of creation. I can well imagine this narrative wasn’t embraced by all who picked it up as it pokes Twain’s humorous literary finger at the Old Testament. I enjoyed it for what it was and leave the theological complaints to others. It isn’t his best work but it does bear his unmistakable brand of humor. I particularly enjoyed the Excerpts From Adam’s Dairy as it showed that particular part of Genesis in a n ...more
Apr 27, 2008 jeanette rated it it was amazing
Shelves: must-reads
This book is fascinating. If you like Twain you will love this book that Dr. McCullough has put together.
Edris Daughtry
Oct 17, 2007 Edris Daughtry rated it it was amazing
Presents a different outlook!
Apr 05, 2008 Lisa rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Jul 08, 2008 Tiffany rated it really liked it
These are some of Twain's best stories.
He's laugh-out-loud irrevrent.
S.A. Alenthony
Jun 20, 2009 S.A. Alenthony rated it it was amazing
Letters from the Earth is a brief, witty, and remarkable funny series of reports from Satan about certain behaviors of man (and God) that he has been observing over time. Because it isn’t very long, it is generally published together with other short, irreverent writings from Twain (often including the equally hilarious Diaries of Adam and Eve). The version I own is part of a book entitled The Bible According To Mark Twain, edited by Howard G. Baetzhold and Joseph B. McCullough. I cannot recomme ...more
Oct 11, 2016 Mary rated it liked it
Twain's writings on the Bible are of varying quality, but his sure humorous touch is present throughout.
Sean Endymion
Through diligent editing, Baetzhold and McCullough have forged Twain’s ancillary work on religion and theology into a (more or less) organized narrative. By structuring these pieces into the three parts of Eden/Flood, Heaven, and Satan’s letters, they have also codified Twain’s evolving taste in how exactly to tackle religion – from humor to satire to outspoken antagonism. The inclusion of a substantial (100+ page) section of editorial notes and letters from the author shows both an intellectual ...more
David James
Feb 11, 2013 David James rated it it was amazing
It's Mark Twain. At some points side-splittingly funny, at other points caustically bitter, sometimes prudish, sometimes ribald, and always filled with crystalline insight. Never a man to suffer fools or foolishness in any sense, much less gladly, Twain takes on Christians and Christianity with brutal doses of logic and realism. He exposes the God of the Bible for what he is: a genocidal lunatic who makes Adolph Hitler and Joseph Stalin look like a pair of rank amateurs. He asks how anyone could ...more
Prooost Davis
Nov 02, 2014 Prooost Davis rated it really liked it
If Mark Twain believed in God, it was not the God of the Bible or the God preached from the pulpit, but a God big enough to have created the universe that modern science was revealing at the turn of the Twentieth Century. The biblical God was petty, jealous, and did not deserve the praise heaped upon him. The modern God, on the other hand, was too big to care about, let alone meddle in, life on our tiny dust speck of a planet.

Parts of this collection will be familiar to people who have read Lett
Dec 27, 2014 Mitch added it
Shelves: literary-fiction
This book, containing as it does, a variety of Mark Twain's writings about a variety of Biblical subjects over many years of time, is difficult to rate as a whole.

Personally, I found his Adam and Eve stories not more than mildly interesting. His tale of Captain Stormfield's visit to Heaven was much more engaging, perhaps because it read almost like science fiction and it threw in some interesting takes on old ideas.

Mr. Twain's last work, Letters from the Earth, was of an entirely different chara
Michael Dixson
Feb 17, 2016 Michael Dixson rated it really liked it
Excellent satire on several aspects of the Bible and Christianity (but mainly the Creation myth and the afterlife). The works seem (to me, at least) almost to be organized from the most innocuous (those that merely create amusing/charming stories based around events from the Bible) to the more acerbic and harsh critiques against Christianity. "Letters from the Earth" has to be the most vicious (and, at times, hilarious) satire of mainline Christianity that I've read. It had me grinning from ear ...more
Sep 24, 2014 blakeR rated it really liked it
I got this book primarily for the "Letters from the Earth," so the four stars go for that. The book as a whole gets three. The rest of the book was made up of stories that had mostly been printed elsewhere. I was surprised and a little disappointed that the scope of the book was limited to Twain's feelings on The Fall and Heaven. It is apparent from some of the appendices that his religious opinions ranged wider than that, so I'm not sure why they weren't included. The "Letters" were great thoug ...more
Athar Barghouthi
Jul 03, 2015 Athar Barghouthi rated it it was amazing
The most hilarious, logical, masterful book on criticizing Christianity and the abrahamic religions in general. After finishing this book it was settled, I couldn't ever again look at any religion in another way.
It's very well-built and logical and I think anyone who at least doesn't appreciate this book is either ignorant or too offended by it.
P.S. I am a believer, and I don't think this book in any way advocates Atheism because Atheism itself is just another religion.
The portrayal of 'God' ac
Dec 25, 2012 Anthony-raymond rated it it was amazing
Shelves: blaspheme, satire, atheism
A fantastic collection of essays, diaries, and stories. Some of Twain's most interesting and satirical works dealing with the Bible and religion. Particularly of interest are the pieces that were deemed too risque to publish during his lifetime. An essential read for any atheist, freethinker, agnostic, and Twain lover.
Dec 10, 2009 Karen rated it really liked it
I love Mark Twain even more after reading this. His take on Christianity/religion is spot-on. Some of the stories were rough or unfinished, but it was interesting to glimpse into his writing process. Some of the editor's notes were a little tedious because I wasn't very interested in which publisher wanted a re-write, etc. On the whole, the book is very worthwhile.
Nov 09, 2015 Connor rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
This was school reading for me at some point in high school. I'm not particularly a very religious person, so I thought this book was absolutely hilarious. While it is amusing, some bits are a tad serious as well. I think everyone would find things to like in this collection of Mark Twain's writings and opinions. Good on ya, Samuel Clemens!
Dec 18, 2012 Jessica rated it it was amazing
The book Mark Twain had to wait 100 years to publish.

"Tomorrow I mean to dictate a chapter which will get my heirs & assigns burnt alive if they venture to print it this side of 2006 A.D. — which I judge they won't. There'll be lots of such chapters if I live 3 or 4 years longer. The edition of A.D. 2006 will make a stir when it comes out."
Christopher Rex
Mar 08, 2009 Christopher Rex rated it really liked it
Mark Twain is the greatest. His sharp wit, brutal cynicism and sardonic social commentary all come to play in this collection of Twain's "religious" writings. Biblical interpretations and re-telling of classic Christian tales in a way only Twain could do it. Highly recommended is the essay "Letters from the Earth". Jesus himself would laugh at this.
Sigmund BoPs
Feb 13, 2015 Sigmund BoPs rated it it was amazing
truly one of my favorites --- my grandfather had the first edition --- to this day I'll never understand why he let me borrow it and then keep it ---- for sure the nicest and truest gift I've ever and will ever receive
Apr 01, 2016 Anna rated it really liked it
While the book as a whole was quite well-written I would have given it four stars even if it had nothing but Letters from the Earth. I have always regarded Twain in my head as the witty bumpkin who wrote kids books but Letters from the Earth broke my assumptions.
John Hornberger
Oct 17, 2010 John Hornberger rated it liked it
Bored with the background info...but Adam and Eve's diaries are fun.

Too easy to put down, because it includes a lot of unfinished, unpolished work. I'm sure there's more in there that I'd like, but I'm not going to look for it. Time to move on!
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Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American author and humorist. He is noted for his novels Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885), called "the Great American Novel", and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876).

Twain grew up in Hannibal, Missouri, which would later provide the setting for Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer. He apprenticed with a printer. He also work
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