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Peculiar Treasures

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  411 ratings  ·  28 reviews
In this second book of his popular lexical trilogy, Frederick Buechner profiles more than 125 of the Bible's most holy and profane people -- and one whale. In his lively and witty prose, Buechner brings to life such moments from scripture as:

Adam's pangs of regret for a remembered Eden

Delilah's last glimpse of Samson as they dragged him away

Lazarus's first impressions upon
Paperback, 205 pages
Published September 30th 1993 by HarperOne (first published 1979)
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Derek Emerson
Dec 03, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Nobody claims there's a chuckle on every page, but laughter's what the whole Bible is really about. -- Frederick Buechner

As a Christian I'm as dismayed as many at the lack of joy we sometimes find in our own faith. As a Catholic living in a Reformed Church of America community, I'm fully aware of the sinfulness of all of us. I was raised in a Protestant church (Methodist) which was light on sin, but far too serious for a growing boy. As a Catholic I found joy in the Mass, but cannot deny it was
Luke Koskinen
Aug 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book and I enjoy Buechner! I will say one of the difficulties with this book is he mixes truth and metaphor so if you’re not well educated about bible characters, you could be a little confused what’s real and what’s poetic imagery.
J. Alfred
Apr 01, 2020 rated it liked it
If real creativity is being able to quicken familiar things that we thought we knew already-- and there are competent authorities who suggest exactly that-- Buechner is electric with creativity, bubbling and effervescing with it. This book is a new, startling, Biblically faithful, look at many of the characters from the Bible. Those of us who have read the Bible a few times, who have listened to sermons most of our lives, wouldn't have thought a project like this was possible. But here it is.

Keith Uffman
Jun 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Webster Goodreads Wine and Cheese Book Club will meet Sunday, July 16, 2017 at the home of the Uffman, 6:30-8:30 PM. If you do not have time to read the book, come anyway. The discussion is what makes a book club work anyway. We will have prepared a sheet with some thoughtful quotes that ought to trigger conversation.

Invite a friend. Those SBNRs (Spiritual But Not Religious) may not sit in the pews but the ones I know are spiritually quizzical!
Aaron W. Roberts
Jun 15, 2019 rated it liked it
Buechner tackles most of the major characters from the Bible, giving each about a page "bio". As a life long Christian, I was embarrassed at how many I knew little to nothing about. I appreciated the introduction and background in a simple to read format. However, would have much preferred that he kept things more serious--he tries to infuse comedy into many of the bios and more often than not it just felt misplaced. ...more
Feb 12, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: theology, aown-it
I have major problems with some of his descriptions. He glosses over rape several times. This is not acceptable. Many of the entries where the stories don't particularly deal with sexuality are lovely. So I'm torn and for now appreciating the parts I can appreciate. ...more
Stefan Grieve
Jul 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: theoligy
Progressive, poetic and often funny, this expands on the writer's earlier 'wishful thinking' (An theoligical A to Z) and adds mostly new content, give or take a few repeated people for the letters. Well, there's not many similar Biblical characters other then Zaccheus for Z, is there? ...more
Rocky Curtiss
Dec 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was a fun read, getting Mr. Beuchner's take on many of the bible characters from Abel to Zacchaeus. His fresh perspective encourages me to take deeper looks during my morning Bible reading. ...more
A light-hearted but insightful set of mini-biographies of biblical personages. Very enjoyable and a fun read.
Tim Hoiland
Jan 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: faith, 2020
A couple of duds in here but mostly it’s wonderful.
Dee Martin
May 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
One of my new favorite authors. Often a bible character profile will cause me to think about a scripture in a new way. Delightful book.
Charles Carter
Jan 30, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This book, like all books by Buechner, is worth reading, however this one is unique in that it can also (easily) serve as a go-to guide, a reference book, if you will. In fact, it gives snapshot biographies of key Bible characters, with some embellishment (ie, sanctified imagination). This book was useful to me as I taught through OT History books, particularly the characters: Saul, David, and Jonathan.
Oct 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing

I consider "Peculiar Treasures" one of Buechner's best works. It is an impressive and comprehensive list of Who's Who in the Bible. Arranged alphabetically from A-Z are the life stories of all the Biblical characters and one whale. I read a handful each night and dawdled over those I especially enjoy. Each life story is a sweet offering of spiritual insight.

The characters are recast imaginatively while the content remains faithful to Scripture. A few that are given a modern day spin and cleverl
Feb 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: faith
That may be one of the loveliest things I’ve ever read. And I’m not talking religious pie-in-the-sky happy-clappy because if you know me then you know that I can’t stand that stuff. This book was sarcastic and irreverent and funny and poignant and it hits my heart with truth so strong that it makes me laugh and cry, sometimes at the same time. Finally, a commentary of Biblical characters written with humor and a clear eye. Buechner refuses to paint these men and women as anything else but men an ...more
Ryan Greer
Sep 11, 2014 rated it it was ok
Buechner is one of my favorite authors ever, and Telling the Truth is one of my top books of all time, so understand that he's being held to a higher standard here.

With that said, I didn't hate Peculiar Treasures but was certainly expecting something different. I would highly recommend this book to someone who is unfamiliar with many of the characters and narratives found throughout the bible and who is interested in getting a more unique glimpse into their worlds, but after reading through the
Oct 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: faith-religion
These summary biographies aren’t always literally true, but figuratively they feel as true as if God Godself had spoken them.

Buechner’s conclusions never fail to leave us aware of both the human significance and the divine significance of each individual’s personal story. These bits (his concluding sentences) are often my favorite parts of the entries, but the entries as a whole also provide a uniquely expressed perspective on God’s character and induce self reflection.
Nov 17, 2011 rated it liked it
This was an enjoyable account of various people in the Bible. I felt it was an easy to read, informative, clever, humorous but not heretical description of well known and lesser known peoples in the Scriptures. By writing in an "up to date" style, the author does not diminish the messages contained in the Bible. ...more
Aug 06, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another alphabet book by Frederick Buechner, this one a run down of biblical figures, many familiar but some entirely unfamiliar. Typically for Buechner, he puts flesh on their bones, turning them into people easy to relate to, often with humor and a generous dose of empathy. Sometimes the humor seems a bit strained, but overall an enjoyable Bible story book for grown-ups.
Jan 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011
This book is such a fun look at some of the characters in the Bible....I read it quite quickly and laughed and just enjoyed a different glimpse into the Word. Will be writing a review for my book blog for My Friend Amy's Frederick Buechner week! ...more
Alex Stroshine
Oct 27, 2014 rated it liked it
Classic Buechner. Some theological provocation and irreverence but a lot of good stuff here, especially the Hosea entry. Buechner paints biblical characters in a contemporary light (though more contemporary to the 1960s and 1970s than the 2000s). A fun little read.
Sep 08, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: theology
A wonderful introduction to this most inventive and insightful Christian writer. It's also a great way to get a feel for the Bible through its memorable characters, if you're not up to tackling the "original" itself. ...more
Jun 11, 2013 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Those interested in Bible Stories - Teachers, Pastors or regular folk
Shelves: reference-books
Would be a fun book to use for changing up a Sunday School lesson on Bible Characters. Author's updated, sometimes silly descriptions made me laugh and think about how these Bible stories might play out today. ...more
Jun 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is great fun, and really let me seek out a bunch of the Old Testament characters I'm not familiar with. Buechner's other books I've such as Godric, focus on one person. These witty re-tells of Biblical stories are great.

Jul 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
Riotously humorous, many times serious. Just reading about these biblical characters helps bring their appearance in Bible stories to life...

Many of these could be used as the basis of a sermon/homily...these characters are not so very different than people we know (including ourselves).
Abigail Olsen
Apr 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
A delightful book that tells the story of characters of the Bible. A helpful and fun read for readers with any level of knowledge of the Biblical story.
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Frederick Buechner is a highly influential writer and theologian who has won awards for his poetry, short stories, novels and theological writings. His work pioneered the genre of spiritual memoir, laying the groundwork for writers such as Anne Lamott, Rob Bell and Lauren Winner.

His first book, A Long Day's Dying, was published to acclaim just two years after he graduated from Princeton. He entere

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