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Understanding The Bible

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  95 Ratings  ·  6 Reviews
This best-selling nonsectarian guide is designed for students undertaking their first systematic study of the Bible. It is the only single-volume introductory textbook that places each book of the Old Testament, Apocrypha, and the New Testament fully in its historical and cultural context. Understanding the Bible acquaints readers with the content as well as the major them ...more
Paperback, 640 pages
Published February 3rd 2006 by McGraw-Hill (first published 1985)
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Grant Robertson
Dec 23, 2012 rated it did not like it
I had to read this book in class. My professor told us that our presuppositions influence the way we read, so we had to take an 'unbiased' approach like the one in this text. To which I questioned:

"Stephen Harris is part of the Jesus Seminar right?"

"Yes", my professor responded.

"Doesn't the Jesus Seminar disbelieve miracles?"

"Yes", the professor responded again.

"Wouldn't that influence the way Harris reads the text?"
Erika RS
Dec 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
To get details about how the Bible came to be and the various academic debates about its origins and authors, you are going to need a textbook. The textbook I have read and am recommending is Harris's Understanding the Bible. However, I do not think that it is particularly special. I chose it because it covers both testaments in one volume, was well rated on Amazon, and was available at my local library. Any textbook that meets those criteria will probably meet the needs of a basic student of th ...more
Matthew
Feb 10, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
One of the required texts for a university course taken for humanities credit, I enjoyed this book for one reason and one reason only. While the information in it is well-documented (and indeed, largely well-known for even the most casual student of biblical criticism), I loved this book precisely because only a handful of people in the large, jam-packed, lecture-hall sized classroom were even casual students of biblical criticism. The reactions by students who were forced to read this book and ...more
Ben
Jul 14, 2008 marked it as to-read
Andrew (DJ King Pigeon) told me about this. Harris is a sort of revisionist scholar interested in separating truth from myth regarding the biblical documents and their origin & veracity. Apparently about half the epistles that are attributed to the apostle Paul are probably not really by him, and a bunch of stuff in the Apocrypha probably is. There's a fifth gospel, the gospel of "Doubting" Thomas, which the Harris camp regards as at least as worthy of consideration as the traditional four ( ...more
James
Apr 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A great companion reader for those who are interested in understanding the history of the bible from a non-religious point of view.
Susan
Mar 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
This book is written primarily as a textbook/commentary to accompany study of the Bible. It's very readable, and I highly recommend it as an accompaniment for any first-time Bible reader.
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