Understanding the Bible

Books that provide information on the Bible from an historical, factual perspective. These are not meant to be books to either affirm or demolish faith, but simply to provide readers with the historical background behind the development of the Bible.

This list is for biblical scholarship only, any books added should be the sorts of books one might include in a college class on biblical history. Any book whose goal is to "disprove Christianity" or "strengthen faith" does not fit the purpose of this list, and will be removed.
1

by
3.90 avg rating — 13,089 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
2

by
3.93 avg rating — 7,600 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
3

by
3.87 avg rating — 40,424 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
4

by
4.08 avg rating — 4,987 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
5

by
3.93 avg rating — 13,564 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
6

by
4.10 avg rating — 2,290 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
7

by
3.90 avg rating — 5,745 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
8

by
4.01 avg rating — 2,564 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
9

by
4.06 avg rating — 1,736 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
10

by
3.80 avg rating — 2,660 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
11

by
3.84 avg rating — 53,625 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
12

by
3.86 avg rating — 626 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
13

by
4.03 avg rating — 2,235 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
13

by
4.07 avg rating — 963 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
15

by
3.77 avg rating — 1,454 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
16

by
4.21 avg rating — 3,102 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
17

by
4.02 avg rating — 3,621 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
18

by
4.04 avg rating — 840 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
19

by
4.11 avg rating — 9,695 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
20

by
3.81 avg rating — 285 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
21

by
4.06 avg rating — 932 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
22

by
3.83 avg rating — 137 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
23

by
3.85 avg rating — 1,242 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
24

by
4.35 avg rating — 239 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
25

by
3.78 avg rating — 608 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
26

by
3.71 avg rating — 112 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
27

by
3.94 avg rating — 66 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
28

by
3.93 avg rating — 758 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
29

by
4.30 avg rating — 3,356 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
30

by
3.95 avg rating — 860 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
31

by
4.16 avg rating — 151 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
32

by
3.99 avg rating — 210 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
33

by
4.04 avg rating — 247 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
34

by
4.33 avg rating — 4,453 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
35

by
4.06 avg rating — 341 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
36

by
4.16 avg rating — 229 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
37

by
3.88 avg rating — 728 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
38

by
4.09 avg rating — 321 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
39

by
3.91 avg rating — 54 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
39

by
3.93 avg rating — 462 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
41

by
4.10 avg rating — 68 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
42

by
4.43 avg rating — 1,698 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
43

by
4.25 avg rating — 28 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
44

by
4.39 avg rating — 2,253 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
45

by
3.91 avg rating — 770 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
46

by
4.67 avg rating — 3 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
47

by
4.11 avg rating — 8,650 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
48

by
4.19 avg rating — 165 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
49

by
3.96 avg rating — 938 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
50

by
3.96 avg rating — 236 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
51

by
3.70 avg rating — 133 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
52

by
it was amazing 5.00 avg rating — 1 rating
Rate this book
Clear rating
52

by
4.42 avg rating — 4,355 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
54

by
4.47 avg rating — 833 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
55

by
liked it 3.00 avg rating — 16 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
55

by
4.29 avg rating — 817 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
57

by
3.95 avg rating — 239 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
58

by
3.91 avg rating — 55 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
59

by
3.36 avg rating — 514 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
59

by
3.83 avg rating — 6 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
59

by
3.92 avg rating — 131 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
62

by
4.08 avg rating — 1,425 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
62

by
4.75 avg rating — 4 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
62

by
really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 2,066 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
65

by
4.12 avg rating — 775 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
65

by
4.05 avg rating — 43 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
67

by
3.49 avg rating — 77 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
67

by
3.86 avg rating — 380 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
67

by
3.95 avg rating — 19 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
67

by
4.13 avg rating — 3,091 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
71

by
3.98 avg rating — 263 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
72

by
4.47 avg rating — 32 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
72

by
4.04 avg rating — 801 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
74

by
3.46 avg rating — 79 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
74

by
4.46 avg rating — 682 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
76

by
3.60 avg rating — 5 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
77

by
3.88 avg rating — 25 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
78

by
4.02 avg rating — 1,931 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
79

by
4.04 avg rating — 5,036 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
80

by
3.80 avg rating — 2,257 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
81

by
4.04 avg rating — 186 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
82

by
3.92 avg rating — 12 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
83

by
4.12 avg rating — 130 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
84

by
4.12 avg rating — 171 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
85

by
4.08 avg rating — 100 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
85

by
4.25 avg rating — 301 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
85

by
4.17 avg rating — 6 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
85

by
liked it 3.00 avg rating — 1 rating
Rate this book
Clear rating
85

by
3.81 avg rating — 166 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
85

by
4.28 avg rating — 137 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
85

by
4.55 avg rating — 11 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
85

by
4.50 avg rating — 8 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
85

by
3.20 avg rating — 5 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
85

by
4.16 avg rating — 1,019 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
85

by
2.50 avg rating — 4 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
85

by
4.38 avg rating — 13 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
85

by
4.10 avg rating — 10 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
85

by
4.50 avg rating — 2 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
85

by
3.50 avg rating — 14 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
85

by
4.36 avg rating — 1,442 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
flag this list (?)
269 books · 230 voters · list created May 4th, 2009 by Rod Hilton (votes) .
71 likes · 
Lists are re-scored approximately every 5 minutes.


Rod 1249 books
59 friends
William 337 books
40 friends
Jaclyn 1257 books
75 friends
Marilou 754 books
20 friends
Susanna - Censored by GoodReads 3119 books
817 friends
Alexandre 0 books
1 friend
Jesse 13 books
0 friends
Tom 190 books
56 friends

More voters…


Comments Showing 1-31 of 31 (31 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Raleighhunter (new)

Raleighhunter The best book to understand the Bible is the Bible. Read the Bible and ask God to explain it to you, even if you don't believe in God. He believes in you. ;) You're never going to understand it all because you are never going to be God, but read it and he'll show you what you need.

The 2 best books on understanding the Bible I've read are The Saving Life of Christ and the Mystery of Godliness by Ian Thomas and Birthright: Christian, Do You Know Who You Are? by David C. Needham


message 2: by Kyle (new)

Kyle Nicholas If you've actually read the bible, then you'd probably be an atheist. I did; I am, precisely because I read the bible.


message 3: by Lobstergirl (new)

Lobstergirl Despite the list description, a lot of the books on this list are really not from a purely historical, factual perspective, but are books intended to affirm faith.


message 4: by Rod (last edited Mar 13, 2015 01:48PM) (new)

Rod Hilton Lobstergirl wrote: "Despite the list description, a lot of the books on this list are really not from a purely historical, factual perspective, but are books intended to affirm faith."

I agree. I created this list and it's become completely warped in its purpose by people trying to affirm faith rather than understand a book. Unfortunately, Goodreads doesn't give me the ability to remove books from the list to keep it focused on the original goal, nor does it allow me to delete the list, nor does it even allow me to wash my hands of the list and disconnect myself from it entirely.

I thought the extremely clear description, specifying factual and historical writings, would have excluded books by authors like Lee Strobel, but apparently either people find books like that factual, or they simply don't care as long as they agree with the contents of the book. Very frustrating, I wish I could nuke this entire list.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads The list creator can't remove books, but GR librarians can, Rod. Lobstergirl and I are both librarians (probably not the only ones who've voted on this list, either) - what do you want removed?


message 6: by Lobstergirl (new)

Lobstergirl Rod, it's a problem on many lists. A lot of voters just don't read the list description. They stop after the title. Fortunately, it's a problem easily solved.


message 7: by Rod (new)

Rod Hilton Actually I'm a Librarian too, so I technically CAN remove books, but I thought it might be an abuse of power.

However, I got the go-ahead from goodreads staff, since I'm allowed to remove books that don't fit the description, and I'm the one who wrote the description. Culling commencing in 5...4...3...


message 8: by Paul (new)

Paul I've tried to add a few books that have been helpful to me as I've wrestled with the Bible and how we should read it. I think they're all pretty factual, if not necessarily objective.


message 9: by Melanti (new)

Melanti Removed The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ.

I doubt a fiction book counts as "biblical scholarship."


message 10: by Michele (new)

Michele #41 New Day, New You: 366 Devotions for Enjoying Everyday Life
by Joyce Meyer - not biblical scholarship...


message 11: by Lobstergirl (new)

Lobstergirl Michele wrote: "#41 New Day, New You: 366 Devotions for Enjoying Everyday Life
by Joyce Meyer - not biblical scholarship..."


Removed.


message 12: by Paul (new)

Paul I've got some suggestions for removal. I know this list is long, but these are books that were clearly (or almost clearly) not biblical scholarship – most of them are not even about the Bible at all except in some indirect way.

#35 A Heart's Thoughts: Love Walk Meditations Series, is Inspiration, not scholarship.

#45 Martin Luther is a biography, not biblical scholarship.

#58 Believing God is a devotional, not biblical scholarship.

#58 Convivencia: Jews, Muslims, and Christians in Medieval Spain is clearly not biblical scholarship

#61 A Vanished World: Muslims, Christians, and Jews in Medieval Spain, ditto.

#63 Peace Be upon You: The Story of Muslim, Christian, and Jewish Coexistence is history, not biblical scholarship.

#63 The Ornament of the World: How Muslims, Jews, and Christians Created a Culture of Tolerance in Medieval Spain ... I'm sensing a theme here.

#68 Pagans and Christians is post-biblical history

#77 Paradise Rediscovered: The Roots of Civilisation is history, not biblical scholarship (also #111 Paradise Rediscovered: The Roots of Civilisation, Vol 2 and #130 Paradise Rediscovered: The Roots of Civilisation, Vol 1)

#77 Reach Out: Daily Verses of Biblical Encouragement for the Whole Year is devotional, not biblical scholarship

#77 The Closing of the Western Mind: The Rise of Faith and the Fall of Reason is history, not biblical scholarship

#77 The Fragrance of Crushed Violets: Forgiving the Inexcusable is Christian living, not biblical scholarship

#77 Holy Bible: Best God Damned Version: The Books of Moses is categorized as humor, not biblical scholarship

#111 Night of the Transition is religious fiction.

#111 Papal Bull: An Ex-Catholic Calls Out the Catholic Church is historical and social critique, not biblical scholarship

#139 The Story of Q.: Inspired by Actual Events is fiction

#146 Cat's Cradle is fiction

#190 Witch Hunts in the Western World: Persecution and Punishment from the Inquisition Through the Salem Trials is history, not biblical scholarship

#209 Unknown Book 7208413 should probably be removed

#220 Tales of the Hasidim, Vols 1-2 is history/folklore, not biblical scholarship

#221 The Legend of the Baal-Shem is history, not biblical scholarship

Some less clear cases:

#35 The Gospel of the Rauschmonstrum, is about how Jesus was tricked into thinking he was the Son of God "by a shape-shifting monster." Somehow, I doubt that's based on biblical scholarship.

#77 Spontaneous Combustion: Enlightenment and the Cosmic Crucible is technically about the Bible but doesn't appear to be a work of scholarship or have a basis in facts.

#77 The Kingdom has zero ratings, zero cover, and its summary asks Bible-related questions but does not claim to be a work of fact-based scholarship.

#77 Satan's Guide to the Bible: 3 Noah's Flood: Worldwide Genocide ... from the God of Love seems more like a parody of the Bible and does not claim to be biblical scholarship (also
#111 Satan's Guide to the Bible: 2 Creation: Myth, Metaphor & Layers of Historical Allegory and #130 Satan's Guide to the Bible: 1 Satan, Hitch and Snikwad Face Their Demons)

#77 Faith According to Jesus Christ: How to Grow in the True Knowledge of Our Lord and Savior doesn't seem to be biblical scholarship

#77 God's Promises For You: Divine Promises and Affirmations For Your Success, All-round Prosperity and Total Well-being seems to be more devotional/Christian living than any kind of scholarship

#130 Excerpts To Exodus has no ratings, no cover image and does not make any claims to scholarship.


message 13: by Lobstergirl (last edited Dec 06, 2016 06:00PM) (new)

Lobstergirl Paul wrote: "I've got some suggestions for removal. I know this list is long, but these are books that were clearly (or almost clearly) not biblical scholarship – most of them are not even about the Bible at al..."

I think your distinction between "history" and "biblical scholarship" is problematic. A lot of the bible is history. If a book explains some part of history which is also contained in the bible, I think that aids in one's understanding of the bible. I believe that your scope of what you consider "biblical scholarship" is too narrow and from the list description I don't think the list creator is viewing it quite that narrowly.

For example, I put The Closing of the Western Mind: The Rise of Faith and the Fall of Reason on the list. No, it's not biblical exegesis. But it's a book that can help in understanding the bible, which is the title of the listopia. You can read my review here:

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

Particularly where I state in the review that "Jesus and Paul each get their own chapters. This book will be good background as I reread the New Testament. It's with Paul that we get the beginnings of the fall of reason..."

In fact since Paul is such a huge part of the New Testament, writing a good deal of it, I would argue that any book that helps us understand Paul belongs on the list.

I haven't looked at many of the other items on your list but I suspect I would disagree with the removal of at least some, perhaps even many, of them.


message 14: by Lobstergirl (new)

Lobstergirl I removed Cat's Cradle.


message 15: by Paul (new)

Paul I was basing my judgment on this sentence from the description: "This list is for biblical scholarship only, any books added should be the sorts of books one might include in a college class on biblical history."

Having taken college classes on biblical history, I tried to be as wide-ranging as possible based on the book descriptions. Not having read Closing of the Western Mind, I went off the description that read, "A radical and powerful reappraisal of the impact of Constantine’s adoption of Christianity on the later Roman world," which obviously sounds like a history of Christianity that begins well after the Bible was already written. I'm glad to hear that it actually extends beyond that and probably should be included.

I hope you will look at the other items on the list, since by my count three are about medieval Spain, three are fiction, one is an unknown book that has apparently been deleted from the system, and three or four appear to be parody/satire. Plus there's a book that begins with the Inquisition, one that's a biography of Martin Luther, one that is a compilation of medieval Jewish folklore and one is a "meditations series." I confess I'm mystified as to why you'd simply dismiss an effort to make the list, and therefore Goodreads as a site, better without actually looking at the suggestions.

I understand the notion of biblical scholarship is somewhat fuzzy and we can't be overly strict, but neither should every book be included that happens to mention the Bible. I tried to split the difference the best I could, given that the list to this point has been somewhat haphazardly maintained.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads The "unknown" book is probably not something that has been deleted from the system, but a refugee from the great "no more Amazon sourcing" frenzy about five years ago (GR's librarians, almost entirely volunteers, had one month to transfer as much info in the database from an Amazon source to something else, and we couldn't get everything - it's a large database).


message 17: by Lobstergirl (new)

Lobstergirl Paul wrote: "I confess I'm mystified as to why you'd simply dismiss an effort to make the list."

You misunderstand; I didn't dismiss your list. I only had time to read through it quickly, and I agreed with Cat's Cradle which I deleted, and I spotted a book I had voted on so I typed up a response to that specific book. It would take a long time to go through your list and decide the fate of each book. I'm not saying the effort to do that shouldn't be undertaken at some point.


message 18: by Michele (last edited Dec 08, 2016 02:54PM) (new)

Michele Actually, I interpreted your post, Lobstergirl, the same way Paul did, as being critical of his entire list. I suspect its due to how it was worded. Happy to see that cleared up. This list needs a serious clean-up, but one person doesn't have to do it, several GR Librarians can split Paul's list or it can be done over several days or weeks. I've left the list and come back, because its in such bad shape.

To help out, here is two more that should probably be removed:

#201 -Masada: Herod's Fortress and the Zealots' Last Stand
by Yigael Yadin - This is the account of Yadin's excavation of the hill fort of Masada and is not a history book. Additionally, Masada was not critical to the formation of the New Testament. At that time, no one was really interested in a bunch of zealots holed up in a mountain except the Romans who needed to finish the job of crushing the Jewish Revolt. The critical event for New Testament formation was the destruction of Jerusalem and its temple in 70CE.

#218- Fire in the Bones: William Tyndale – Martyr, Father of the English Bible by S. Michael Wilcox - Tyndale translated the Latin Vulgate bible into english, but he lived well after the formation of the New Testament. Additionally, Wilcox is a noted LDS author and several reviewers have noted "book is really meant to be a faith-promoting narrative for a Mormon audience. The experiences of William Tyndale are regularly compared to Joseph Smith." Since, this list is not meant to affirm or deny any faith, this book should probably be deleted from this list.

Happy Holidays everyone!


message 19: by Paul (new)

Paul Thanks, Michele! Glad I'm not going crazy. ;-) I agree, I know it would take some time, but I think it would be worth it, as this is the only list I know of that tries to provide a selection of books relating to biblical scholarship (as opposed to religious history or theology or Christian living, etc.), and it would be a shame if it misled folks who were looking for advice on what to read in this topic, or simply became useless through obvious miscategorization.


message 20: by Michele (new)

Michele I have a question. Why isn't the list creator allowed to take care of their own list? Like deleting off topic books and such?


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads GR's position, I believe, is that no one "owns" a list, including the creator. The only list creators who can delete off topic books, for example, are also GR Librarians. (If you start a list and find off topic books are added to it, the best I can recommend is to either ask for help in the comments section - a librarian may be following the list - or to request their removal at the Librarians' group. (That group is on the far right of the Groups page, with the other two "official" groups, GR Feedback and GR Author Feedback.)


message 22: by Paul (new)

Paul Under the theory that you should be the change you want to see in the world, I've been accepted as a GR librarian and will start slowly working on this list. I promise to start with only the slam-dunk cases from my list, and go back and double-check before removing anything, given that just a brief perusal can prove misleading, as we've seen; further, I'll keep track of any changes here for transparency's sake.

If someone wants to make a case for a borderline book or make sure I'm aware of a book that clearly doesn't belong, feel free to do so below. Thanks! :-)


message 23: by Paul (new)

Paul Starting slowly, I decided to start with books that are clearly not meant "to provide readers with the historical background behind the development of the Bible," as the description states.

With that in mind, I've deleted:

#61: Convivencia
#63: A Vanished World
#66: The Ornament of the World

All three are about interfaith relations in medieval Spain.

Also removed:

#38: A Heart's Thoughts, which according to the summary and reviews uses the Bible to answer questions about life and spirituality, and thus does not fit the description of this list.
#59: Believing God, likewise a devotional that references the Bible but is not about the Bible or its formation.
#38: The Gospel of the Rauschmonstrum, which bills itself as "an imaginative retelling" of the gospels, so obviously not intending to be scholarship.

That takes care most of the ones in the top 70 or so.

I'd like to get feedback on how to handle, say, the Martin Luther biography, which isn't biblical scholarship per se, but Luther was obviously a key figure in the evolution of the Bible and our interpretation of it.


message 24: by Michele (last edited Jan 15, 2017 06:57PM) (new)

Michele I think that depends on how far "biblical scholarship" should be stretched. Last time I took a "formation of the bible" class, it was limited to the just the bible and the who, what, were and when of each book in the bible. It included the historical era and archeology. Luther, while critical in the formation of Protestant Christianity and a certain understanding of the bible, had nothing to do with the formation of the bible itself.

I guess though, that the rule should be: When in doubt, leave it.


message 25: by Paul (new)

Paul Slowly but surely circling back around, I've removed:

#60: Peace Be upon You: The Story of Muslim, Christian, and Jewish Coexistence
#62: Pagans and Christians

Looking at both of these, they cover topics ancillary to the Bible, especially #60, but even #62, which covers the period leading up to and following Constantine's conversion, would only be about the use and interpretation of the Bible after its texts were already written.

I'm still not sold on #69 Paradise Rediscovered, which discusses the biblical flood, but more in the course of detailing a broader history of neolithic society, where he thinks the flood myth originated from. Not exactly a study of the Bible, per se. Nevertheless, I'm keeping it for now. If someone wants to advocate for it, please do so; otherwise, I'll remove it later on. In the meantime, I have removed the redundant single-volume editions of the main two-volume work that were further down the list.

#69: The Fragrance of Crushed Violets. I've removed it since it's a book about forgiveness, not about the Bible itself.
#69: Reach Out. A devotional.
#77: God's Promises for You. Likewise, a devotional/Christian living book that isn't about the history or development of the Bible, but about listing verses pertaining to a subject.
#111: Night of the Transformation. Fiction.

I decided not to remove Closing of the Western Mind, given Lobstergirl's advocacy of it, and The Holy Bible: Best God Damned Version, as it does seem to study the text of the Pentateuch, even if it's presented an irreverent, humorous way.


message 26: by Shane (new)

Shane Hill This list is appalling...every book is an attempted take down of Christ and Christianity....this is absolutely hilarious.....wow....


message 27: by Paul (new)

Paul That's a bit of a stretch. In fact, the rules of the list are clear that books written simply to "take down" Christian belief will be deleted, and while there are plenty of books that provide a more skeptical perspective (such as Ehrman's entire body of work), others are pretty straightforward scholarship, even if it's scholarship that might be uncomfortable for people with certain beliefs.

That said, the No. 1 and No. 3 books (Alexander Drake's The Invention of Christianity and ... Religion) are troubling. Superficially, they meet the requirements of the list, but they are also:

1) Short, self-published ebooks
2) Aren't written by a scholar in the field they discuss, and
3) Seem to have gotten to the top of the list on the strength of votes from people who only picked those two books.

There's a bit of a slippery slope here, because who gets to decide what really counts as a book that helps me understand the Bible, and when does that become simply advocacy for a certain viewpoint? The Alexander Drake books are about the Christianity specifically and religion generally, and propose a theory as to how they developed, so they're not really about the Bible per se, but the subject matter isn't really off course from several other books on the list.

But they're not books that you would find in any self-respecting religious studies or biblical texts class, even one that was hostile to traditional Jewish or Christian beliefs. Based on their own synopses and reviews from people who rated them highly, Drake's "books" are basically digital pamphlets summarizing other people's work by someone who is not an expert in the field. It's problematic to have such books at the top of a list purporting to rank "books that provide information on the Bible from an historical, factual perspective."

Curious to get others' thoughts on these.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads My opinion, based on a perusal of the voters (and their other listopia votes) - those books have been spammed on this list (as on other lists) by devoted fans. (At least it's not apparently an author ring.)

I, personally, am reluctant to remove them, as the books would seem to at least minimally qualify for the list. (This is not the clear-cut case of, say, fiction being added to non-fiction lists, or vice versa.)


message 29: by Paul (new)

Paul That's where I tend to come down as well, Susanna. But it's hard for me to reconcile those books in particular with the following sentences from the list description:

"Books that provide information on the Bible from an historical, factual perspective."

"This list is for biblical scholarship only, any books added should be the sorts of books one might include in a college class on biblical history."

Are they "biblical scholarship" that "provide information ... from an historical, factual perspective"? I'm skeptical. I might just have to splurge and buy them and find out for myself.

It sort of feels like trying to interpret the Constitution! Heavy-duty Supreme Court stuff going on here. ;-)


message 30: by Michele (new)

Michele If I may suggest something, Paul, maybe move on and continue to clear this list of stuff that more obviously doesn't belong on it and put these more hard to categorize ones to the side, for now.


message 31: by Michele (new)

Michele Here's an easy one for deletion

#133 - The Story of Q.: Inspired by Actual Events
by N.M. Freeman

is fiction, a novel based on Q.


back to top