Item description for From Literal to Literary: The Essential Reference Book for Biblical Metaphors by James Rowe Adams...
Overview The newly updated second edition of this professional reference tool examines over 165 biblical metaphors - 15 of which are new - and includes an index to Hebrew and Greek words, an index of Bible citations, and a pronunciation guide for transliterated Hebrew and Greek words. Will be useful for sermon preparation and Christian education, especially adult Bible study groups.
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Reviews - What do customers think about From Literal to Literary: The Essential Reference Book for Biblical Metaphors?
Good Reference Material Oct 30, 2007
This isn't the kind of book that's meant to be read cover to cover, but that's exactly what I did, because I'm a freak. Basically, it's an encyclopedic reference of biblical terminology (terms like sin, kingdom, son of man, etc.). Each entry includes the original Greek and/or Hebrew words/phrases from which the English term is translated, several examples of the term being used in the bible, and an explanation of what the term originally meant. In many cases, it's drastically different than how we use the term today. For example, the terms we translate as "repent" really just mean "to change one's mind." And the term "born again" has a double meaning that would have been apparent to the original Greek-speaking audience but is completely lost in translation. The ward "again" in Greek is also the word for "above," (and it's used in both senses elsewhere in the scriptures) so "born again" also means "born above."
Because so much of the text involves explaining the Hebrew and Greek, Literal to Literary could have been rightly called The Essential Reference Book for Biblical Language. But the theme of metaphors features consistently throughout. In some cases, the metaphors are overt, like in Jesus' parables for example. In other cases, the authors present metaphorical interpretations of passages and themes that are presented literally. This approach seems to be aimed toward agnostics and non-fundamentalist Christians, who do not believe the bible is literally true or inerrant, but don't discount it outright either.
My only reservation about this book is that the authors interject too much of their own opinions and bias into the text. Although their biases are very much like my own, I prefer a reference book to be more neutral in tone, and I think the interjection of opinion will keep this work from being embraced by some of the people who would get the most out of it. On the whole though, I highly recommend From Literal to Literary to anyone interested in the bible, whether religiously or historically.