Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Blogging the Bible

Most people haven't really read the whole Bible -- all the books, chapters, and verses. Most people know the big stories -- the flood, the ten commandments, the sacrifice of Isaac, the story of Joseph, etc. But few of them have read the text themselves.
They have read bits and pieces, or have had bits and pieces "explained" to them by clergy or one of the hundreds of 'how to read the bible' guides. They have things packaged and carefully filtered to teach a specific lesson, or they work through passages with someone else's interpretation to guide them. If you accept things without question, it's much easier, and not many people are interested in digging any deeper. This is a culturally iconic text, and for many centuries, detailed analysis was frowned upon.

So what happens when someone starts at the beginning and reads the whole thing, word by word, without bringing in those preconcieved ideas? Well, David Plotz, and author at Slate magazine, decided to do just that -- and carry everyone along with the process by blogging each book and chapter and his feelings.

It's not a slam on the bible, it doesn't appear to have any hidden agenda at all -- just the reactions of someone who has been a practicing religious person their whole life, but who hadn't ever tried to read the bible on their own. He compares what he reads to the lessons of his childhood and the misconceptions he had about things (for example, that the mark of Cain is actually a mark of favor, not of condemnation), and how some stories are very different than he was taught. It's been interesting to see his experience.

You can read the whole series (still in progress, I think) at Slate Magazine. The set of entries is called Blogging the Bible.

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