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Don't Know Much About the Bible: Everything You Need to Know About the Good Book but Never Learned (Don't Know Much About)

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3.82  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,081 Ratings  ·  82 Reviews
With wit, wisdom, and an extraordinary talent for turning dry, difficult reading into colorful and realistic accounts, the creator of the bestselling Don't Know Much About, series now brings the world of the Old and New testaments to life as no one else can in the bestseller Don't Know Much About The Bible. Relying on new research and improved translations, Davis uncovers ...more
ebook, 560 pages
Published March 17th 2009 by HarperCollins e-books (first published 1998)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,762)
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Joe
May 29, 2015 Joe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: listened-to
After reading this I know (wait for it...wait for it) much more about the Bible. Davis manages to touch on every book of the Bible and gives the appropriate context and meaning including potential authorship. I had no idea the vast time periods that separated not just different books of the Bible but different sections within the books.

The Bible itself seems to be the victim of well-intentioned fine tuning and embellishing. Someone took something that they believed in and said "Hey, If we add th
...more
Arthur
Feb 18, 2008 Arthur rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Christians, Jews, atheists, English majors, etc.
Shelves: history, religion
I've read several of the books from this series, and this was probably my favorite. Davis is a very entertaining writer, and he presents information in a way that makes it interesting even to someone who has never really wondered about the particular ideas he's writing about. The book, like all of Davis's books, is patterned in a question and answer format. He poses a question, such as "Where did Cain's wife come from?" or "How does God feel about cross-dressing?", and then he tries his best to ...more
Julie
Oct 10, 2008 Julie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religions
I wish there were a filter I could put this through so I wouldn't have to endure Davis' humor. It just doesn't work for me. The content is here and he has done his research. But he isn't a particularly thoughtful fellow and he doesn't shy from giving his own interpretations of the bible and stating them as fact. Almost what I was looking for but at the same time really off.

I've yet to find something better. What is right about it? Gives detailed easy to understand summaries and notes on transla
...more
Sarah Burns
Jun 08, 2009 Sarah Burns rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I loved this book, for the sheer reason that it gave me some perspective on my religion of choice. I'm not saying that it changed the way I see the world, or changed my belief system, it just let me learn about the Bible. It was something that took a month, but it was worth it. The explanations aren't inflammatory for the sole reason of being inflammatory, it leaves a lot of margin for interpretation and personal belief systems.

My conformation class taught me nothing, and so this was my way of
...more
Scott
Nov 15, 2010 Scott rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, non-fiction, religion
I bought this book about 12 years ago - but finally got around to reading it cover to cover. I've read two other "Don't Know Much About" books in the past - and this one follows the same formula: brief elementary questions about each topic, and answers delivered with a wry / satiric sense of humor. There are also references to pop culture and current events throughout to keep the books more light-hearted and easy to read. Despite the Bible's challenging depth, I felt like Mr. Davis was mostly su ...more
Jesse Winslow
Jul 25, 2010 Jesse Winslow rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Overall, this is probably the best book I've read on the subject. That subject being the history and idiosyncrasy of the Bible. Although not as detailed as Friedman's "Who Wrote the Bible?" it covers the entire Bible, not just the Old Testament. A fantastic book for believers and non-believers alike as it gives you quite a bit of insight into the background of the Good Book and many of the stories you were taught incorrectly in Sunday School.
Amber
Aug 24, 2010 Amber rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you are an athiest, you will find this humorous. If you are of christian faith, you will find this offensive and blasphemous. I find it to be a very necessary educational manual that future schools should teach children. How silly wars based on religion would seem.
Michelle Vivienne
Aug 24, 2010 Michelle Vivienne rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I finnished this book on Christmas Eve. It's a Christmas miracle! This book highlights the important and entertaining events in the Old and New Testament. I was surprised to found out how violent and sexual these times were. I found the events very engaging and somewhat reminicent of greek mythology which I also like learning about.

While I now have a better understanding of the bible I really disliked that the writer made it obvious that he does not believe that the bible's events took place. T
...more
Laura
Jul 23, 2008 Laura rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I had to stop reading this because it was just too annoying having Kenneth C. Davis belittle the bible and write about how some of the "stories" contained were probably not true and that the Hebrews just stole the ideas from their neighboring nations. It is quite obvious that Kenneth does not think that the bible is the divinely inspired word of God and I figured that if I was going to read a book about the bible I might as well read a book written by a christian, at least they would believe wha ...more
Deborah Fransen
Aug 24, 2010 Deborah Fransen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Written by an historian, this book approaches the Bible as a work of literature and history, not religion. It reveals in a witty and easy-to-read style about what the Bible says and what it DOESN'T say. Davis has performed exhaustive research, placing Biblical events and people within their historical contexts; he takes on misconceptions, mistranslations, and misinterpretations in a convincing manner, bringing the ancient civilizations and personalities to life.

The result is a great read, espec
...more
Jessica
Aug 24, 2010 Jessica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in christianity or religion in general
This book gives a great overview both of the stories of the bible and of scholarly opinion regarding the history of the bible. Ken Davis can definitely get pretty corny at times, but I appreciate his generally balanced presentation. Contrary to what another reviewer thought, I think he is somewhat religious and goes to some lengths to try to prevent that from overly coloring his approach. And wow, I would be surprised if many people already know all of the often bizarre, violent and/or contradic ...more
Terry
Dec 15, 2015 Terry is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Finally reached the New Testament - it has taken me about 3 years to read the Old Testament in my Bible, along with this informative and entertaining guide.
"Don't Know Much About the Bible" presents a study which explains the Bible from an unbiased, historic and modern point of view. It respectfully explains Jewish, Christian and Muslim teachings along side of each other, which I find interesting.
Gina
Nov 12, 2010 Gina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"I am surprised that this book has kept my interest. The writing with touches of humor is excellent. I'll be looking for his other books on history and geography."
Ray
Oct 07, 2010 Ray rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good to have as a reference so that you can combat crazies who misquote religious text.
Lynn Erhorn
Sep 02, 2012 Lynn Erhorn rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I read this book as a new Christian, and was fascinated by some of the "explanations" offered for potentially difficult Bible passages. Though it was years ago, I still remember my "Aha!" moment reading that the parting of the Red Sea was likely a poor translation, and probably referred to "The Sea of Reeds," a shallow, easy-to-cross marshy body of water. Today, I'm annoyed every time I think of how this description minimizes God, disrespects the text, and disregards the entire point of the Holy ...more
Todd Martin
”The best cure for Christianity is reading the Bible.” - Mark Twain

Don't Know Much About the Bible takes a historical/critical look at the old and new testaments of the Bible. Ken Davis (an American popular historian, best known for the Don't Know Much About... series of books) takes a similar approach to biblical scholarship as Bart D. Ehrman, except I would characterize Davis’ work as more suited to a general readership in that it is far less detailed and scholarly.

The conclusions of the two a
...more
Alexander
Sep 01, 2009 Alexander rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If your knowledge of the Holy Bible and its history sucks (like mine did), then pick up this book.

There were a few sections here and there where Davis seems to just recount a synopsis of what happened in the Bible, story-wise, but the rest of the book is great reading. He makes learning about the Bible a lot more interesting than Sunday school would typically do.

Great for believers and non-believers, alike.
Beth
This book gives the very basic standard interpretation of how the Bible was compiled. The Old Testament was written from four schools, and compiled at some point in 200-300 BCE. Elohist, Yahwist, Deurteronomist, and Priests are the names of the four.

His section on the New Testament was okay, but nothing special. Oh and yeah, his humor is like an in-law uncle -- mildly annoying.
shannon
Feb 18, 2008 shannon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: liked
Very thorough, fair and even-handed, I found this book interesting and helpful. How much will I remember? Eh.

I was Ken Davis' publicist during my brief Harper Collins tenure, and his books really are fun, informative and easy to digest. And I really don't know much about the Bible. If the category showed up on my championship Jeopardy! it would be all over for me.

Jennifer Orr
I'm currently reading an incredible book about the history of Catholicism and the Jews and haven't been to Sunday school in 20 years, so DKMuch has been a great reference for me (now I finally know what happened to Lot's wife). I especially appreciate that the author gives the actual historical perspective of the era in which the Bible was actually written.
Andy
Aug 08, 2007 Andy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: History buffs, Evangelical Christians
A perfect companion to everyones favorite religious book. Don't Know Much about the Bible goes chapter by chapter explaining the context of each book and the historical setting in which these stories were told. It is everything you have ever wanted to know about the Bible but were too afraid of the cleansing fires of hell to ask!
Shanelle
Aug 24, 2010 Shanelle rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
While this book was really interesting and brought some very good points to the table, it was just too disturbing and cynical for me to finish. Part of the appeal of the Bible is in the unknown, and for every last little detail to be challenged was difficult to swallow. I made it about halfway through before I finally stopped reading.
Wendy
Oct 12, 2008 Wendy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Since I was pretty ignorant about the bible this was a great introduction. I enjoyed getting to know the stories of the bible and also the examination of the authors of the bible, the likelihood of the people being real people, and the changes in the meanings of passages as they have been translated over the ages.
Tom Darrow
Jul 13, 2011 Tom Darrow rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Davis makes a quality "every-man" intro book. His introduction is, admitidly, a bit dense, but the rest of the book does a great job at explaining the ins and outs of the Bible. It contains enough nuts and bolts to appeal to a non-believer, but gives enough respect to the Bible to make a diehard Christian happy.
Christina
Jul 06, 2008 Christina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who want an entertaining overview of Hebrew and Christian scripture.
This treatment of the scriptures is a good overview. It seeks to answer some difficult and compelling issues but does not provide enough information to be balanced. Although I agree with much of the work, it seems set-up to cause controversy for the sake of controversy.
Linda
Sep 26, 2008 Linda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reference
Very interesting read. The author definitely comes from the believer's point of view and skips over a few things I'd like to see explained, but overall good. Investigating the origins of stories and the history surrounding the writers provides interesting insights.
Peri
Apr 19, 2009 Peri rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you believe that everything in the Bible is an absolute fact, not metaphor nor a human interpretation of ancient events, it is not for you. While it does clarify some events and personalities, it's a little too flip for my taste.
Kate
Jul 16, 2008 Kate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Got this book from Lisa's recommendation. Love it! I took classes in college about Jewish and Christian beginnings that I didn't learn as much about as I have now. And I am only way through the book. Thanks Lisa!!! ...more
Nancy (NE)
Obviously something that will stay on here a while as I work through this at the same time as I am doing some scriptural study - honking hardcovers - not something to cart around like other reads...
Mila
Nov 10, 2010 Mila rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Funny, witty and easy to read. I like the way the chapters are outlined so you can leaf through and choose a chapter that sounds interesting so you don't have to read it in sequence.
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Madison Mega-Mara...: # 74 Don't Know Much About the Bible 1 1 Nov 01, 2014 07:09PM  
  • The Hidden Book in the Bible
  • American Jesus: How the Son of God Became a National Icon
  • Born of a Woman
  • The Harlot by the Side of the Road: Forbidden Tales of the Bible
  • Forbidden Knowledge: From Prometheus to Pornography
  • The Complete Gospels: Annotated Scholar's Version
  • Unsolved Mysteries of American History: An Eye-Opening Journey Through 500 Years of Discoveries, Disappearances, and Baffling Events
  • Asimov's Guide to the Bible: The Old and New Testaments (2 Vol.)
  • Why Do Catholics Do That?
  • Papal Sin: Structures of Deceit
  • The History of Hell
  • The Other Bible
  • That's Not in My American History Book
  • Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew
  • The Oxford Illustrated History of Christianity (Oxford Illustrated Histories)
  • The Oxford Companion to the Bible
  • Antichrist: Two Thousand Years of the Human Fascination with Evil
  • 101 Myths of the Bible: How Ancient Scribes Invented Biblical History
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Kenneth C. Davis is the New York Times bestselling author of the Don't Know Much About series of books and audios for adults and children. The first title in the series, Don't Know Much About History became a New York Times bestseller in 1991 and remained on the paperback list for 35 consecutive weeks. It has since been revised several times and now has more than 1.6 million copies in print.

He is
...more
More about Kenneth C. Davis...

Other Books in the Series

Don't Know Much About (8 books)
  • Don't Know Much About the Civil War: Everything You Need to Know About America's Greatest Conflict but Never Learned
  • Don't Know Much About Geography: Everything You Need to Know About the World but Never Learned
  • Don't Know Much about History: Everything You Need to Know about American History But Never Learned
  • Don't Know Much About the Universe: Everything You Need to Know About Outer Space but Never Learned
  • Don't Know Much About Mythology: Everything You Need to Know About the Greatest Stories in Human History but Never Learned
  • Don't Know Much About Anything: Everything You Need to Know but Never Learned About People, Places, Events, and More!
  • Don't Know Much About Anything Else: Even More Things You Need to Know but Never Learned About People, Places, Events, and More!

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