One thing I liked about this book is that it made me think, and that's always a good thing. It made me think about what I believe and why I believe it...moreOne thing I liked about this book is that it made me think, and that's always a good thing. It made me think about what I believe and why I believe it, and it reminded me that I've let my theology studies slide lately. I've read Eusebius, who figures in this story, and I think it was Alfred Edersheim who taught me about ancient Jewish oral and written traditions, which caused me to lose any belief in a strict literal interpretation of the Bible. That said, I don't know what I think about this Gnostic stuff. It bears further study.
As for this debut novel, it was basically a treatise on Gnosticism interspersed with a story about the discovery of some ancient scrolls, finding them, losing them, finding them again. It was a quick, diverting read, but I would've liked to see more character development and the story could have been fleshed out a bit more (perhaps seeing Punjeeh at work after one of the bombings), and the abrupt ending was disappointing. I wanted to know what happened after -- how the main characters were affected by what they had learned and how the two boys and their families fared with their windfall, but all I got was a neon sign flashing "SEQUEL! SEQUEL!" (less)
A quick read, does a good job of explaining the Book of Revelation in terms the average reader can understand. This is probably the book I should have...moreA quick read, does a good job of explaining the Book of Revelation in terms the average reader can understand. This is probably the book I should have given to my mother, who was suckered into that "Left Behind" crap, instead of Worthy Is the Lamb, which she returned to me saying that she couldn't make heads or tails of it.
Worthy is still my favorite; it's a more scholarly and more complete work that explains such things as why Revelation was written in apocalyptic form rather than straightforward prose, and the historical origins of the numbers and symbolism scattered throughout the book, which the original audience of the book would have understood more immediately than we do.
I wish I'd had Worthy on hand for side-by-side comparison while I read Breaking the Code, but it's currently on loan (again) to my father-in-law, the unrepentant premillenialist. We've been working on him for years, but it's been a futile enterprise so far. Incredibly frustrating, but what can you do?(less)
I always thought of these Rapture-ready folks as "fringe," but when your rug is over 50% fringe, it gets a bit unwieldy, doesn't it?
Anyway, I did enjo...moreI always thought of these Rapture-ready folks as "fringe," but when your rug is over 50% fringe, it gets a bit unwieldy, doesn't it?
Anyway, I did enjoy Rossing's book and gained some new perspective from it, but for my more immediate purposes -- finding weapons to use in winning back some of my Left Behind-seduced loved ones -- I don't think it'll make a good loaner, for two reasons: Rossing injects some of her own lefty political views into the text, and also she dedicates the book to her husband. Whose name happens to be Lauren.
Here in blood-red Oklahoma, that's enough for the entire book to be rejected out of hand as left-wing anti-Christian propaganda. I'm very sad about that, but I'm just stating facts here. This is what I've got to work with. I'm just a tiny blue fish in a red, red sea and this is the tide I swim against every day of my life.
Sometimes I wish I had the ability to do Vulcan mind-melds, so that people would walk away from me going, "Oh, now I get it!" I'd be such a busy, busy girl.(less)
I picked this up at a library book sale and, when it finally shuffled to the top of my to-read pile, I cringed because I haven't had much luck trying...moreI picked this up at a library book sale and, when it finally shuffled to the top of my to-read pile, I cringed because I haven't had much luck trying to read ancient history. It doesn't seem to be my cup of tea.
It was a pleasant surprise then to find in this book such an engaging study of a tumultuous period of the Roman Empire, from the reign of Augustus through the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem and the siege at Masada.
My only quibble is that the Chinese chapters didn't seem to belong here at all. I kept waiting for the connection to become clear, but it never did.(less)
I was raised in the KJV-only tradition, and can remember my dad in the late 1960s looking askance at teenagers and young adults in our congregation bu...moreI was raised in the KJV-only tradition, and can remember my dad in the late 1960s looking askance at teenagers and young adults in our congregation burying their noses in Good News for Modern Man. I made a number of attempts to read the KJV in my youth, and might have made it all the way through once. As beautiful as the language is, I couldn't really make heads or tails of it.
It was many, many years later that my husband finally lured me into tasting the forbidden fruit of the NIV. And, hallelujah! The heavens opened and the angels sang! Finally, instead of laboring over what was to my mind a florid, overwrought text, it was all laid out clearly and simply before me. A pure pleasure to read, although, yes, my suspicious little mind insisted on laying out the KJV and NIV side by side on my first read-through. Now my most often-used Bible is an NASB wide-margin edition heavily annotated from my studies with FF Bruce, Alfred Edersheim, and Eusebius.
I tell you all this because I thought I had left the KJV far behind me, but after reading this book I'm tempted to give it another go.
God's Secretaries contains very little information on the actual work of creating the KJV, as so few in-process records have survived. What it does instead is to paint a picture of the environment in which the KJV was conceived and executed. England has passed through the violent paroxysms of the Reformation, old Queen Elizabeth has finally died, James of Presbyterian Scotland has taken the throne, and the Puritans have begun splitting off from the Church of England. Nicolson gives insight into the tenor of the times and the personalities and motivations of many of the men brought together to create this new, definitive English translation. Also, he does a very good job of explaining the lasting success of the KJV and selling it as far superior to any modern translation:
The Jacobean translation process was richly and densely social. Endless conversation and consultation flowed across the final judging committee, testing the translation not by sight but by ear. This Bible was appointed to be read in churches... and so its meaning had to be carried on a heard rhythm, it had to appeal to what T. S. Eliot later called 'the auditory imagination,' that 'feeling for syllable and rhythm, penetrating far below the conscious levels of thought and feeling, invigorating every word.'(less)
On the cover it's described as a "devotional biography" and, after reading it, I'd have to say that t...moreI'm really struggling with how to rate this book.
On the cover it's described as a "devotional biography" and, after reading it, I'd have to say that the term "biography" was applied rather loosely. There isn't a linear presentation of the facts of this man's life and career that you would expect, well, that I expect in a biography; it's more like a series of essays on Mullins' faith, works, and beliefs, with a few bare-bones biographical details thrown in.
This book told me very little that I didn't already know about Rich Mullins. I knew that he was a maverick and a basher of sacred cows, I had correctly deduced quite a bit about his beliefs from the lyrics of songs he wrote and his in-concert talks and from interviews he gave, and I admired the fact that he'd made a fortune and could have been even more successful in his field if he'd played along with the star-making machine but, instead, he chose to give away everything he had and work with the poor. I knew that he was one of those rare souls who put his money where his mouth was.
I wanted the linear biography. A more secular biography, I guess. So, in that sense, this book really disappointed me.
On the other hand, I'd hate to discourage anyone from reading it because there's real value here, especially for somebody struggling with their own faith or with Christianity as a whole, like I did for a good many years. What this book offers is an example of a man who truly lived his faith and whose views might make a lot more sense to anyone (like me) who's appalled by the Jerry Falwells and Pat Robertsons of this world and that narrow, bigoted and legalistic brand of Christianity gives all the rest of us such a bad name.(less)