Kennedy's Reviews > Good Book: The Bizarre, Hilarious, Disturbing, Marvelous, and Inspiring Things I Learned When I Read Every Single Word of the Bible

Good Book by David Plotz
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Apr 11, 10

bookshelves: non-fiction, religion, 2010, humorous, reviewed
Read from April 08 to 11, 2010

4.5 stars

I really enjoyed this book. The author is Jewish so it only covers the Old Testament.

In a fluke move, the author picks up a Bible and reads the story of Dinah and is horrified by it. This is not the warm fuzzy Bible he remembers from teachings when he was young. So, he decides to read the entire thing to see what's really in there.

And goodness, is it crazy. We quickly jump in to Noah's story, which gives an example of how we usually only know the cleaned-up easy version. You know the basics: God is punishing the wickedness in the world through the big flood. Noah takes the animals aboard the ark presumably to save them from the flood. However, as soon as he's back on land he makes an animal sacrifice. (I feel like a sacrificial altar should be included in kids' playsets of Noah and his ark.) And really, what were people doing that was so awful they deserved to be wiped off the face of the earth?

Many of the stories are awful. It's obvious to see the basis of the Crusades, hatred of homosexuals, and other follies: It's certainly acceptable, even expected to kill those who do not have the same beliefs. The innocent are regularly killed or harmed. Women are rarely seen, except for the prostitutes, and always treated as lesser individuals.

As the author says, "Why would I want any 'relationship' with such a jealous, erratic, brutal, unmerciful, unloving, unkind God?" I am really turned off to this image of God.

I've never read the Bible so one might argue I need to do that before I pass any judgments. And, in fact, the author does advocate reading the Bible. His suggestion makes a lot of sense as the Bible is so important in our culture. I am interested in reading some of the books myself. I don't think reading them directly for myself will change the impressions I have though.

At the end of the book, Plotz has a number of Bible lists. Bible's best pick-up lines, "heroes" you don't want to be named after (Aaron, Jacob, Sarah, and more), spectacular murders are a couple of my favorite.

All in all, even though I found the Old Testament so appalling, I really enjoyed this book. Plotz's commentary is humorous and thoughtful. I learned a lot about the Bible.
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