Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Bible's Cutting Room Floor

The Bible you usually read is not the complete story. Some holy writings were left out for political or theological reasons, others simply because of the physical restrictions of ancient bookmaking technology. At times, the compilers of the Bible skipped information that they assumed everyone knew. Some passages were even omitted by accident.

In The Bible’s Cutting Room Floor, acclaimed author and translator Dr. Joel M. Hoffman gives us the stories and other texts that didn’t make it into the Bible even though they offer penetrating insight into the Bible and its teachings.

The Book of Genesis tells us about Adam and Eve’s time in the Garden of Eden, but not their saga after they get kicked out or the lessons they have for us about good and evil. The Bible introduces us to Abraham, but it doesn’t include the troubling story of his early life, which explains how he came to reject idolatry to become the father of monotheism. And while there are only 150 Psalms in today’s Bible, there used to be many more.

Dr. Hoffman deftly brings these and other ancient scriptural texts to life, exploring how they offer new answers to some of the most fundamental and universal questions people ask about their lives. An impressive blend of history, linguistics, and religious scholarship, The Bible’s Cutting Room Floor reveals what’s missing from your Bible, who left it out, and why it is so important.

My Impressions:
This was an interesting read. I am always intrigued to see what people think was left out of the Bible that should have been included, or on the other hand what made it's way in that they feel should have been excluded. Hoffman, a Jewish scholar, covered a vast amount of topics that gave a pretty indepth overview for both the biblical scholar and the newbie alike.  Using history, religion, and language barriers Hoffman examines the stories and history that kept books out of Bible, such as the Book of Enoch, while allowing others to be included. This book did a nice job of explaining the political times of the Jewish people leading up to Jesus, which was fascinating. Politics play a dynamic role in everything we touch, so the importance of understanding the political issues at this time hold great value.

I was intrigued with the Hebrew language and how delicate it really is. The variations in how the text was translated by different people and small differences in placement of characters within the Hebrew language alter greatly the meaning. This book reminded me of another one  I read recently: The Bible's Yes to Same Sex Marriage; which goes deep into fragmation theory.

Due to some of the challenges of this book I can see why it could be difficult to accept some of what the author says, but at the same does it does what it is sets out to do-Challenge US! To think,, to discover and to research on our own for truth! Topics that are covered are:  


The Abridged Bible
An Eternal City in Conflict
The Dead Sea Scrolls 
How a Lost Goat Changed the World
The Septuagint 
How Seventy Scholars Took Seventy Days to Get It Wrong
The Only Man to Be a Fly on Every Wall
Adam and Eve 
Falling Down and Getting Back Up
Humans, Idols, and Gods
The Beginning of the End
The Big Picture
Finding the Unabridged Bible
Appendix; Suggestions for Further Reading; Index

It was a very intriguing read that made me stop and think about my views and how they are developed. This book is definitely worth the read, even if you do not agree with the premise.  You cannot argue against something if you do not know anything about it!


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