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What They Don't Tell You: A Survivor's Guide to Biblical Studies [Paperback]

By Michael Joseph Brown (Author)
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Item description for What They Don't Tell You: A Survivor's Guide to Biblical Studies by Michael Joseph Brown...

"Many people approach biblical studies as they would mathematics. That is, they believe that if you follow the method properly, only one 'right'answer is possible...The process of Biblical interpretation is not that easy, and it takes an astute reader to cross these waters without drowning." Michael Brown wants to help students understand the mind-set and presuppositons behind the academic discipline of biblical studies. He uses his experience as both a student and a teacher to offer wise advice about what to expect if you want to be an astute reader of the Bible. Brown provides basic information about the Bible and biblical criticism. He defines the jargon and presents the variety of perspectives students will encounter in the classroom. He also explains how to prepare for doing biblical studies, clarifies the difference between biblical studies and Bible study, gives a brief history of scholarship, and furnishes an overview of the methods of biblical interpretation.

Publishers Description
This introduction to biblical studies aims to help the reader deal with the tensions between faith and understanding that can arise at the start of an academic course of study. It guides the reader through the critical methods and approaches to biblical research with the aid of 28 rules of thumb for learning and practising biblical studies: rules for reading and interpreting biblical texts; rules for understanding biblical scholarship; and rules for surviving biblical scholarship.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Westminster John Knox Press
Pages   157
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.5" Width: 5.51" Height: 0.36"
Weight:   0.48 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Aug 5, 2009
ISBN  066422220X  
ISBN13  9780664222208  

Availability  0 units.

More About Michael Joseph Brown

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Michael Joseph Brown is a noted biblical scholar on the Gospel of Matthew and the Lord's Prayer. His work on prayer is at the core of his scholarship and devotional life. An ordained minister, Dr. Brown works to uncover what makes the Bible meaningful for people living in a changing and complicated world.

Michael Joseph Brown currently resides in Atlanta, in the state of Georgia.

Michael Joseph Brown has published or released items in the following series...
  1. African American Religious Thought and Life

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Bible Study > General
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > General
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > New Testament > Study
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Old Testament > Old Testament

Christian Product Categories
Books > Bible Study > General Studies > Exegesis & Hermeneutics

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Reviews - What do customers think about What They Don't Tell You: A Survivor's Guide to Biblical Studies?

Essential read for the novice and serious student of the Bible  Aug 12, 2005
Brown gives advice on studying the Bible in a clear and succinct maner. The book is easy to read, yet deep in its message. I would recommend it to both the novice and advanced student of the Bible.
A great little book  Jul 2, 2005
This book packs a lot of punch in 156 pages. It is very well written and a very enjoyable read. While it is intended for people of faith, I highly recommend it to anybody interested in reading the bible intelligently.
What Brown Does Tell You  Aug 15, 2002
Faith threatened by Bible study? Well, it depends on what kind of Bible study you're speaking of. In the academic arena, the student of Scripture had better be prepared for more than Sunday School. Such a student will find a worthy introduction and guide to the field of biblical studies in what Brown has to say. I should add, that this is an introduction to the field as is it today represented in the mainline seminaries and universities, and therefore needs to be balanced with several conservative works for a fuller representation of the field. This said, the student of the Scriptures will get a good idea of where the field is at today.

The author, Michael Joseph Brown is a professor at Candler School of Theology at Emory University, with a M.Div. and Ph.D from the University of Chicago. Thus, he is more than qualified to offer the would-be student of academic biblical studies an intro to this field.

In the first chapter he outlines the purpose and method of academic biblical studies as opposed to the devotional study of the Bible. In the following chapters, he gives 28 rules of thumb for reading and interpreting biblical texts, and for understanding and surviving biblical scholarship. I would say that most of the rules are very sound...though not all. As Brown himself would say, read everything with a critical eye. However, the rules of thumb for understanding biblical scholarship are particularly good and, well, honest.

He writes from a moderately critical perspective, and though his persuasion is always evident, he does not aggressively push his conclusions on the reader. He is evidently aware of the limits of all biblical study...even his own. Certainly frustrating to the conservative student will be the obvious skepticism for the historicity of the events recorded in in the Bible, but I would say read on. Don't look here for a proper understanding of what the Gospel is, but rather to understand the methods, assumptions, and rules of critical scholarship. Whether you like critical scholarship or not, if you dare enter the field of biblical studies, this is what you will contend with.

Much biblical scholarship today, including critical scholarship, is full of overstated cases, imbalance, and arrogance, but Professor Brown comes across as equitable, sincere, and with a real desire to help the student study the Bible academically without losing their faith in God. Although I do not endorse all of what Brown says, I think that students desirous of entering the field could read this and benefit greatly from it. At the very least, it will wake them up to realize that seminary isn't Sunday School, and to their likely surprise will greatly challenge their faith.


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