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Old 01-02-2001, 11:20 AM   #1
Bill Snedden
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Post Bible Study help

Greetings all and sundry! Happy New Year! Happy New Millenium!

My tenure as a more-or-less regular participant here has made me realize the somewhat spotty state of my biblical scholarship. Therefore, as a new year's resolution (that I intend to keep, for a change!) I am going to try to form a small, private, bible study group out of my home in the hopes of rectifying this deficiency.

It is not my intention to adhere to any particular presupposition or "agenda" in this study; I specifically want to build a curriculum that includes differing viewpoints (liberal, evangelical, skeptical, etc.).

As I currently see it, I need to have at least one good study bible (with translation notes, cross-references, etc.) and a "sufficient" number of commentaries, concordances, and additional references to allow the group to research and discuss the various topics we will encounter. I would also like to have at least one book on exegetical/hermeneutical techniques. At this point, the only reference work that I know I would like to use is Asimov's Guide to the Bible (specifically as an historical/archaeological reference and because I already possess a copy ).

For that purpose, I would be most obliged to receive suggestions on materials to be used in the study. I am most interested in works that represent a scholarly, rather than popular, approach, although one or two popular books could be helpful as well. Website recommendations would also be appreciated.

I realize that there are probably several hundred books that could be used, but I will have to choose only a few and would like to represent as many viewpoints as possible. Suggestions from both theists and non-theists are welcome. Thanks for any assistance you can render!

Regards,

Bill Snedden
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Old 01-02-2001, 03:09 PM   #2
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Cyrus Gordon, The Bible and the Ancient Near East.

This book is perfect for Old Testament study. The author is an expert on the culture, language and religions of the ancient near east and gives a brilliant scholarly unbiased description of the influences involved in forming the Old Testament. He briefly covers nearly everything mentioned in the Old Testament and gives incredible insights that I never received in my many years of evangelical Biblical training.

I am currently trying to track down a good book for the New Testament of this same caliber and style.

I am aware that other religious ideas may have influenced the stories and theology of the New Testament but I have not found a good scholarly, relatively unbiased, calm, and thorough investigation of these ideas by an expert.

Anybody have any suggestions?
 
Old 01-02-2001, 04:30 PM   #3
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Egypt, Canaan & Israel in Ancient Times- Donald Redford, Canaanite Myth & Hebrew Epic -Frank Cross, Myths from Mesopotamia-Stepany Dalley,& for some lite pop fun; Genesis Revisited -Zechariah Sitchin, The Grail Kings- Sir Laurence Gardner.
 
Old 01-02-2001, 07:52 PM   #4
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Hi Bill,

I have a copy of the Torah where the first line of Genesis says "In the beginning of God's creating the Heavens and the Earth."

The salesman at the Jewish bookshop suggested that it meant creation was an ongoing process and he believed in evolution at a cosmic/biological level.

There is a literal translation of the entire bible, I think it's called Young's or Darby's Literal Translation which has the exact same thing in Genesis.

Just a thought.....it might be worthwhile getting one of these literal editions.
 
Old 01-02-2001, 08:43 PM   #5
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For Bible study commentaries from probably the greatest NT scholar of our era, use Raymond Brown's Introduction to the New Testament

For OT authorship go with WHO WROTE THE BIBLE? By: Richard Elliott Friedman

Reviews can be found on Amazon.com, but the prices are quite a bit cheaper on Christianbook.com, and they even take money from atheists.

Good luck on your studies.

Nomad

[This message has been edited by Nomad (edited January 02, 2001).]
 
Old 01-03-2001, 02:05 AM   #6
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Bill,

Most scholars use the Revised Standard Version of the Bible. Make sure you have the full (Catholic!) version.

Ignore Asimov. He is certainly populist and peddles a lot of myths as well as being out of date.

I'd second Nomad's suggestions and also recommend the Harper (liberal) and IVP (conservative) bible commentaries. Finally the Oxford Companion to the Bible is a first class general reference.

Yours

Bede

Bede's Library - reasonable apologetics
 
Old 01-17-2001, 09:06 PM   #7
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If you are interested in learning about systematic theology from the Reformed Christian perspective, then I would recommend John Calvin's "Institutes of the Christian Religion" (the translation by Battles is by far the most readable) and Dr. Van Til's "An Introduction to Systematic Theology" (a more inexpensive option).

Salutations,
Jim Mitchell
 
Old 01-17-2001, 10:56 PM   #8
Bill Snedden
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I'm posting this to bring the thread back up to the top (in case anyone else wants to put in their oar) and also to say thanks to those who contributed suggestions.

PhysicsGuy: the Cyrus Gordon book looks so far like a good bet.

marduck: The Redford book sounds interesting, but I'm not sure how I would fit some of those others into the curriculum.

Auntie Bill: It's Young's Literal Translation and it and Darby's are available at Gospelnet.com (searchable!).

Nomad: I've actually been trying to get a copy of the Friedman from my local B&N for some time now. I may just give up and order from Amazon. The Raymond Brown looks good as well.

Bede: I own RSV and KJV bibles (both Protestant!). I may use an NIV as well. Is there any reason other than the apocrypha that I should use the vulgate? I both agree and disagree about Asimov. It's certainly somewhat out of date, but I find that his sources are sound and he seems to label his opinions as such (so they can be taken or left). At any rate, I wouldn't be using him as a primary source. I think that the Oxford companion is a good bet as well.

Jim: To be honest, I have little sympathy for Calvinist theology or apologetics, but I will check out the Van Til book. Thanks!

Again, thanks to all that contributed!

Regards,

Bill Snedden
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Old 01-18-2001, 12:54 AM   #9
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For a nonCalvinist, highly LOGICAL approach to Scripture, I'd recommend Charles Finney's "Systematic Theology" and the web site "http://www.revivaltheology.com/index.html" They boast "Christianity that makes sense" and even have a discussion list on egroups that you can ask questions of.
(Finney is a little heavy reading, so perhaps its best to see the web site first.)

Fred
 
 

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