If you grew up in Oklahoma, and particularly in Northwest Oklahoma, and even more particularly in Enid, OK - then this book should interest you greatl...moreIf you grew up in Oklahoma, and particularly in Northwest Oklahoma, and even more particularly in Enid, OK - then this book should interest you greatly.
James recounts his boyhood living on the claim his father staked in the Land Run. Later, his family moves to Enid as he attends Enid High School (originally housed in a downtown building alongside an opera company!), and he begins his career in journalism working as a reporter, a subscriptions manager and a printer in Enid's various papers.
The most remarkable part of this book is the amazingly quick change that the town of Enid undergoes. At the beginning of the story it is a frontier, wild-west, tent city complete with saloons. By the end of the story, a scarce 10-15 years later, it is a brick-building town with a $"100,000" courthouse at the center. It has essentially transformed into the town it is today.
James is an entertaining personality, precocious and energetic. Enid's two-time Pulitzer prize winning author is a wonderful narrator throughout.(less)
This is another uplifting, encouraging book from Jack Kornfield. It's not a heavy read, but more of a meditation on life and spirituality. It consists...moreThis is another uplifting, encouraging book from Jack Kornfield. It's not a heavy read, but more of a meditation on life and spirituality. It consists mostly of stories and quotations from spiritual teachers in the Buddhist, Christian, Jewish and Sufi traditions, plus more ideas from famous historical figures, etc.
If you like great quotations, read this with a pencil in hand, as you will be circling things on ever other page. Kornfield writes with a very straightforward, nurturing style which reeks of sincerity. A nice guy for sure - and one that can sit for days at a time in a remote Thai forest!(less)
You don't have to agree with all of Crossan's conclusions to see that THIS is how you study early Christianity - through anthropology, archaealogy, te...moreYou don't have to agree with all of Crossan's conclusions to see that THIS is how you study early Christianity - through anthropology, archaealogy, textual criticism, etc. etc.
Read this book only if you are very, very, very interested in what may have happened in between Jesus' life and the letters of Paul. At times it is fascinating (studying oral tradition of different cultures, memory studies, textual criticism, etc.). At times it is really detailed and boring - but that's only because Crossan tirelessly explains his methodology. Interesting stuff - I read it over a few months.(less)
If you are interested in early church history, then this a book for you. The followers of Christ were more diverse over the first few centuries of the...moreIf you are interested in early church history, then this a book for you. The followers of Christ were more diverse over the first few centuries of the Christian religion than they are even now. From the Ebionites, who followed the laws of Judaism and used only a version of Matthew as their gospel, to the Marcionites, who only used the letters of Paul and Luke and NO old testament, there were many different interpretations of the religion. This book explores these two groups plus the Gnostics and the Proto-orthodox (they weren't "orthodox" yet) through their writings. This is difficult business because once one group came to dominate the others, most of the writings of the other groups were destroyed. In fact, many gospels and letters are only preserved through letters quoting them in order to condemn them. And many of the writings have only been rediscovered in the 20th century.
Of course, anyone with a New Testament knows how diverse views were in the early church. You just have to read the many references to "false teachers" in the NT to see that. Surely these "false teachers" also felt that the writers of the NT had it wrong. Paul's disagreements with Peter (Galatians) and with the so-called "super apostles" (2 Corinthians) are also good examples.
My favorite part of the book is where Ehrman describes the Jewish origins of Gnosticism. He does so in a very brief and effective way tracing Jewish views of God from the Exodus and the Davidic monarchy through the classical prophetic line of thought, to the emergence of apocalyptical literature, to the arrival at Gnostic thought where the material world is evil and not the product of the "true" God ( represented by Christ) but is rather the creation of the "demiurge" (Yahweh), an imposter God who thinks that He is the one and only God.
Ehrman is thorough and open-minded in his discussion of ancient texts and beliefs. He speculates on why the proto-orthodox view of Christianity "won". The Ebionites required circumcision for conversion - not promising for winning converts. The Marcionites ignored the Old Testament in a culture where ancient authority was revered - nobody wanted another cult with no history. The Gnostics were not into organization and hierarchy - a problem for growing and sustaining a religion. And they were into seriously symbolic stuff - difficult for many to accept.
Ehrman also discusses ancient forgery, both inside and outside of the New Testament, including one example (The Secret Gospel of Mark) where many scholars are very divided on its authenticity.
It's all really interesting, and Ehrman is at time humorous and rarely, if ever, boring. This review, of course, is only scratching the surface of the surface. If you're interested in this subject, this is a great read.
This is a good companion book to the works of Elaine Pagels since she focuses almost exclusively on early Christians Gnosticism. Ehrman rounds things out nicely.(less)
The problem is that Grover asks you to not turn any more pages, because of his belief that there is a monste...moreThis book starts out great! I love Grover.
The problem is that Grover asks you to not turn any more pages, because of his belief that there is a monster at the end of the book. I decided to honor Grover's wish.
Oh, I turned a few pages. But when Grover took the time to tie all the pages together to discourage me from turning any more, well, I just didn't have the heart to go on. The little guy was really scared.
But I can't help but think.....are all monsters necessarily bad? You know it's funny - one could ALMOST consider Grover himself to be a type of monster.....
Well, it's not for me to decide now. I chose to respect Grover's feelings.(less)
The title of this book is definitely the most provocative thing about it. I would bet you $20 that the publishers came up with it rather than the auth...moreThe title of this book is definitely the most provocative thing about it. I would bet you $20 that the publishers came up with it rather than the author. After all, publishers try to sell books! Aside from the Introduction and the Conclusion, where Ehrman talks of his personal views and history, this is a fairly straightforward, scholarly book about textual criticism, both in general and more specifically concerning the New Testament. I don’t think even conservative Christians would be too taken aback by anything in it, unless their doctrine involves the absolute inerrancy of Scripture.
Ehrman is very easy to read and likable as an author. He presents complex ideas simply and does not repeat himself too much. Of course, like every single author I have every read, he makes an occasional leap that I do not agree with based on the information he presents, but by and large his writing reads as if he has very little agenda except to seek the very best possible version of the earliest and best texts of the New Testament we can find.
He talks about the history of copying a lot. Remember, there were no printing presses. Every copy of every book was a handwritten copy, and every one is slightly (or not so slightly) different. Ehrman discusses the methodology used to figure out which manuscripts are better when dealing with those that disagree. If there are two different versions of a verse or verses and they are both represented in several of the oldest and best manuscripts, how does a critic decide which is closer to the original? It’s really super interesting, but I’m realizing that it would take several paragraphs to go through it all here. And luckily, Ehrman writes in a very easy to understand way so check out his book if you would like more information. I plowed through it in just a few days because it was so interesting.
Here are just a few interesting points in the book:
- There are over thousands of Greek manuscripts of the NT for scholars to work with, but there are less than 10 copies which contain the entire NT.
- Aside from some papyrus fragments dating to the second and third centuries, the earliest copies we have of most NT books are still hundreds of years after the original autographs. This is very common with any ancient text, of course. The New Testament is actually way better represented than most other ancient works. This can create its own problems, of course.
- Most of the errors (accidental or purposeful) in copying occurred in the earliest versions because these were done by the few Christians, in the first few centuries after Christ, who had the ability to copy. Later, a more professional scribal class emerged who did the copying.
- The story in John about the adulteress and “let he without sin cast the first stone” was almost certainly not in the original gospel.
- The author of Revelation calls down curses on anyone who would add or subtract anything to his book. This was to persuade copyists to do a good job!(less)
This is a brilliant book. The Dalai Lama's theme is that science's emphasis on non-personal, "third-person" study and religion's emphasis on "first pe...moreThis is a brilliant book. The Dalai Lama's theme is that science's emphasis on non-personal, "third-person" study and religion's emphasis on "first person" experience and awareness could be complementary.
If you have heard the Dalai Lama speak in his non-native tongue (English), he is a fantastic personality and he smiles a lot, but his communication is limited. It is a pleasure to read his ideas written first and then translated into English. This book reveals a mind that sparkles with wit, intelligence and an ability to pierce through to the heart of an issue.
He tells the story of his discovery and fascination with Western science. He writes of Buddhism's need to update some of its teaching methods and mythologies in the light of mankind's recent discoveries. He also writes of science's need to address issues of personal awareness and the need to be more open-minded concerning an attitude of total materialism. He also points out how akin Buddhism and science really are, as they have applied similar experimental methods to study awareness and the material world respectively.
Throughout, the Dalai Lama's logical process is a pleasure to read, and he comes across as always being open to new input, striving not to color it with preconceptions. This book is highly recommended to anyone interested in the relationship between science and religion.(less)
If you consider yourself a Christian you should check out this book. If you're not, you may want to read it in order to get a Christian view that is n...moreIf you consider yourself a Christian you should check out this book. If you're not, you may want to read it in order to get a Christian view that is not in the media nearly as much as the fundamentalist version. In fact, fundamentalists have defined the religion for so many people for way too long. I find it so odd that most who reject Christianity outright, whether atheists or agnostics, agree with the fundamentalists on what Christianity is! Why agree with that view?
Anyway, these guys believe in the resurrection, probably literally, but don't believe in Christ's unique divinity. They believe that God's grace will reach every person whether in this life or after death in eternity. They promote personal experience as being the ultimate authority (very Buddhist) and they draw extensively on scripture, though they reject inerrancy completely.
Weaknesses - these authors, both Quaker pastors, hammer their point home. Very repetitious. Certain passages are eloquent and wonderful. Others read like a broken record. One could also question how uniformly they apply their reason to all aspects of their faith. Why are they Christians? Why do they believe in God? and so forth. But I think their heart is in the right place. AND, I believe that there may be tremendous advantages in this life to believing that every single person will ultimately experience reconciliation and live in perfect love forever. I enjoyed the book very much.(less)
I reserve 5 stars for books that I have read and re-read. All time favorites in other words. I would give this book 4 1/2 stars if it were possible.
T...moreI reserve 5 stars for books that I have read and re-read. All time favorites in other words. I would give this book 4 1/2 stars if it were possible.
The subject of this book is conspiracy theories. The themes extend outward from there covering several ideas. Here are a few
Human beings' desperate desire to see patterns in everything The longing for that which we do not know The unsettling idea that anything that can be known is not mysterious or meaningful enough for us What is truth anyway?
Eco's mastery of history, literature, hermetic philosphy and conspiracy theories through the ages is dazzling. He is Beethoven's 5th to Dan Brown's "Pop Goes the Weasel." Actually I liked the Davinci Code as a great, easy, fun read, but if you've read this book and that one, you'll agree with my comparison.
I can't wait to read In The Name of the Rose.
Special thanks to my great friend Nathan for giving me this book. I then spent about 6 years not reading it. I am now redeemed.
If you enjoyed Ken Burns' Documentary on Baseball, then you will know this author as the likable, energetic lady remembering how important The Brookly...moreIf you enjoyed Ken Burns' Documentary on Baseball, then you will know this author as the likable, energetic lady remembering how important The Brooklyn Dodgers were to her childhood in the 50's. Her memoir of growing up in the 50's presents a fairly idyllic childhood, though not perfect, filled with neighborhood familes, friends and local shops where everyone knew each other. The sense of community is quite visceral throughout. I found her writing about growing up in the Catholic church to be quite interesting as well. Just when you think that this book is a little too perfect, and start longing for how things were in the 50's, things begin to change. Our protagonist becomes a teenager, The Brooklyn Dodgers move to LA, and you realize that this book is also about the inevitability of change. Life can be so sweet but so fragile. For some reason it just has to change, at times shattering our hearts, but also fostering such a potent sense of beauty that it takes the breath away. Anyone who has felt this combination of simultaneous joy and sadness will like this book I think. Cause that's life.
What a gorgeous book. Beautiful. It is a tale of survival on the open Pacific Ocean. It's a tale of survival on the Earth. It's a tale about the natur...moreWhat a gorgeous book. Beautiful. It is a tale of survival on the open Pacific Ocean. It's a tale of survival on the Earth. It's a tale about the nature of truth, religion and stories. It is absolutely heart-breaking, then your heart is healed, then it's broken again and you just want to let it stay that way.
Pi is obsessed with religion. He is a teenager who practices Hinduism, Christianity and Islam all at once. He becomes stranded in a life boat with a 450 pound Bengal tiger named Richard Parker. This story is so mystical, yet so factual, so detail oriented, yet so about the big picture which is actually small sometimes. It's so much about truth and awareness and the nature of existence. My words are failing me.......what a story!
OK, one more try. There are at least two different stories that describe how we get to the same end result of the book. I think life can consist of bouncing back and forth between these two versions of events. Sometimes we think "eh, this is how it is. oh well." then we think, "but wait a minute...."(less)
This is a fantastic description of basic economics. And don't worry! There's not even that many numbers. Economics is basically the science of why we...moreThis is a fantastic description of basic economics. And don't worry! There's not even that many numbers. Economics is basically the science of why we do what we do. And also cause and effect, I suppose. So many times intention turns into action and then action leads to an outcome completely unrelated the the original intent. Why? Ask an economist. or two. They're just as bad as doctors too; you can't pin them down half the time.
But this book is highly educational and entertaining. A must read, I think, if you're interested in policy, money, politics, or why things are the way they are.(less)
I won't say too much. This series means a LOT to me. It's right up there with....anything. Rowling is a genius. She has thrown so many crazy webs and...moreI won't say too much. This series means a LOT to me. It's right up there with....anything. Rowling is a genius. She has thrown so many crazy webs and twists in every direction within this completely different world and with the last installment she pulls her plots, characters and philosphies together into a satisfying close. "I open at the close."(less)
This book takes the concept of conspiracy theory to an entirely different plane of existence. It starts in t...moreI almost forgot this one. Thanks, Nathan!
This book takes the concept of conspiracy theory to an entirely different plane of existence. It starts in the present day, Council on Forein Relations, Bilderburgers, Trilateral Commission, etc. and goes back through time, all the way back to Mesopotamian culture and ideas of aliens.
I have to admit that I really had to process this one for a couple of days. It tripped me out a little bit, but it's an entertaining read and Jim Marrs is a likable author who doesn't hit you over the head with anything. No matter how seriously you take it, you will think about things from a different perspective.