Item description for How to Read the Bible: History, Prophecy, Literature--Why Modern Readers Need to Know the Difference, and What It Means for Faith Today by Steven L. McKenzie...
Overview McKenzie argues that to comprehend the Bible one must recognize the genres to which these texts belong. The book of Jonah, for example, offers many clues that it is meant as a humorous satire, not a straight-faced historical account of a man swallowed by a fish, he says.
Publishers Description More people read the Bible than any other book. Indeed, many try to live their lives according to its words. The question is, do they understand what they're reading? As Steven McKenzie shows in this provocative book, quite often the answer is, "No." McKenzie argues that to comprehend the Bible we must grasp the intentions of the biblical authors themselves--what sort of texts they thought they were writing and how they would have been understood by their intended audience. In short, we must recognize the genres to which these texts belong. McKenzie examines several genres that are typically misunderstood, offering careful readings of specific texts to show how the confusion arises, and how knowing the genre produces a correct reading. The book of Jonah, for example, offers many clues that it is meant as a humorous satire, not a straight-faced historical account of a man who was swallowed by a fish. Likewise, McKenzie explains that the very names "Adam" and "Eve" tell us that these are not historical characters, but figures who symbolize human origins ("Adam" means man, "Eve" is related to the word for life). Similarly, the authors of apocalyptic texts--including the Book of Revelation--were writing allegories of events that were happening in their own time. Not for a moment could they imagine that centuries afterwards, readers would be poring over their works for clues to the date of the Second Coming of Christ, or when and how the world would end. For anyone who takes reading the Bible seriously and who wants to get it right, this book will be both heartening and enlightening.
Citations And Professional Reviews How to Read the Bible: History, Prophecy, Literature--Why Modern Readers Need to Know the Difference, and What It Means for Faith Today by Steven L. McKenzie has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
Library Journal - 08/15/2005
Library Journal - 08/01/2005 page 92
Ingram Advance - 10/01/2005 page 164
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Studio: Oxford University Press, USA
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9.48" Width: 6.36" Height: 0.89" Weight: 1.06 lbs.
Release Date Sep 15, 2005
Publisher Oxford University Press
ISBN 0195161491 ISBN13 9780195161496
Availability 0 units.
More About Steven L. McKenzie
Steven L. McKenzie is Professor of Hebrew Bible at Rhodes College. He is the author of many books on Bible Studies, including The Hebrew Bible Today and All God's Children: A Biblical Critique of Racism. He lives in Memphis.
Steven L. McKenzie currently resides in Memphis, in the state of Tennessee. Steven L. McKenzie was born in 1953 and has an academic affiliation as follows - Rhodes College.
Steven L. McKenzie has published or released items in the following series...
Reviews - What do customers think about How to Read the Bible: History, Prophecy, Literature--Why Modern Readers Need to Know the Difference, and What It Means for Faith Today?
biblereader Feb 5, 2007
this is awful, angry, elitist, and boring. readers are better served by Brettler's book on reading the Bible. Mackenzie tries to be provocative, but it comes across as angry and condescending.
Terrible Book Jul 6, 2006
Of all of the christian books I've read this one is the worst. If you are like me and know that the Bible is the inerrant word of God then you will laugh at this book. Not only does it say that Adam and Eve are just literary devices and dont exsist, it uses books not even in the canon of the Bible to prove nonsensical points. If you are a Christian don't waste your time reading the lies in this book. You could just save the trouble and read the ficticious Da Vinci Code.
Reading for context, not just words May 14, 2006
Throughout history there has been no shortage of ways that people have read the bible: as literal truth, as an allegory, as history, as prophecy or as a guidebook. Professor McKenzie takes the bible as an important book, but one that needs to be read in context. The Bible was not written as a single book at a single time by a single author. Rather it is written by many, in many different ages for many purposes. Understanding the context that an author (or authors) prepared a book is important, or even crucial, to understanding the point the author is trying to get across. The prophets were not necessarily trying to tell what the future holds, but rather to point out what is going on in the world then, but in veiled ways to put their point across. We are reading the bible with hindsight, so we sometimes take the histories as accurate reporting, instead of stories with political or religious purpose, to create lines of events and people. The Gospels feature multiple traces of the lineage of Jesus, but each one differs, depending upon what the author wanted to emphasize, such as proving the unbroken link between Jesus and King David. The apocalyptic literature of Daniel, and the Book of Revelation can be shown to refer in context not to times yet to come, but the world situation when the author wrote the book - apocalypse meaning revelation in Greek. So instead of awaiting the end times, McKenzie shows how the books can be seen as a reflection of current political repression suffered by the Jews and early Christians.
Overall the book gives an interesting way to read and interpret the Bible - to make it a living book but in the proper context. Will this book convince the literalists and "end timers" a new interpretation of readings? Probably not. But for those who come in with an open mind, you may find something to make you think, or a new way of reading one fo the most important books in history.