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Displaying 1 - 30 of 8,112 reviews
Profile Image for J.G. Keely.
546 reviews10.2k followers
June 2, 2007
I usually like historical fiction, but this particular example has been so mitigated by the poorly-hidden didactic tautology of its too-many-cooks legion of anonymous authors and editors that it was rather difficult to enjoy. It also fell into a similar trap to the somewhat similar 'Da Vinci Code', in that it utilized a lot of poorly-researched materials and claimed them as fact.

A lot of the data matched up poorly with other historical accounts, especially when it came to numerical data. It seems that the authors of this book had a need for an epic beyond epics, and several bodycounts beyond the capability of a pre-modern war.

There was also a problem with the moral and ethical position presented by the book. Normally, I'm not one to nit-pick about such things, since the exploration of ethicism is an important and interesting philosophical task; but, again, this book went in so many different directions with it that it was difficult to keep up. Though the intermittent noir-ish first-person narrative made a lot of moral claims about peace and justice and acceptance, the actual actions depicted by the self-same 'protagonist' were often in complete contrast, such as when he killed all the people in the world except one family.

In fact, the entire book seemed to be filled with sensationalist violence, sex, and incest. It's surprising that I haven't heard more crimes blamed on this book, which often orders the reader to kill people by throwing stones at them (I've heard the sequel, the Qur'an, is even worse).

Eventually, I began to suspect that the book was some sort of in-joke. I think that when all of the editors and writers saw what the other ones were writing, they decided to take their names off the book. Eventually, I guess they just decided to pull a sort of ultimate 'Alan Smithee'; but of course, once all culpability is gone, I think a lot of the authors lost their will to make this into a good book, and so it just got published 'as is'.

I know there are a lot of fans of this book, which makes sense, I guess, since it is really a lot like that Da Vinci Code book, which was also a bestseller. It is pretty fantastical and has a lot of really strong characters, like Jesus (though he's a bit of a Mary-Sue, isn't he?) and Onan. One of the main reasons I read it was because there's this really awesome Fanfic this guy Milton wrote about it, and apparently a lot of other authors were inspired by it, but I have to admit, this is one case where the Fanfic is a lot better than the original.

I guess it's like how sometimes, the first example of a genre ends up not really fitting because it feels so unsophisticated and erratic. I know that it can take a long time to try to get these ideas down pat. Maybe someone will rewrite it someday and try to get it to make some sense. Then again, it wasn't that great in the first place.

There was some really great writing in the book, though. Some of the poetic statements were really cool, like 'do unto others' or 'through a glass darkly', but I heard that those parts were stolen from Shakespeare, who stole them from Kyd, so I'm not really sure what to believe.

I think this is one of those cases where the controversy surrounding the book really trumps the book itself, like 'The Catcher in the Rye' or 'Gigli'. In fact, the Bible is a lot like Gigli.
Profile Image for Jessica.
182 reviews
December 4, 2013
The Holy, Inspired and inerrant word of God! I can say no more than READ IT!

I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds; God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God; begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made.

Who, for us men for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary, and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; He suffered and was buried; and the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures; and ascended into heaven, and sits on the right hand of the Father; and He shall come again, with glory, to judge the quick and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end.

And I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of Life; who proceeds from the Father and the Son; who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; who spoke by the prophets.

And I believe one holy catholic and apostolic Church. I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins; and I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen. -The Nicene Creed
Profile Image for Max.
53 reviews23 followers
December 26, 2007
As a work of fiction it's laughably bad and poorly conceived. Giant logical fallacies, poor character development, and all the plots are scuttled by a magical, invisible entity that's petty, cruel, tyrannical, and amoral. There is no central narrative that is worthwhile (or even believable), and each of the chapters seem written by committee rather than a singular voice. Clearly the book was so bad to begin with a team of editors had to step in and make major changes - which means no part of this book is even meritorious or reflects an author's vision. Frankly, I don't see this book having much of an impact.
Profile Image for Dennis.
22 reviews111 followers
December 4, 2013
Badly edited, poor continuity and internal consistency. Authors seem to change between books. Plot is cliched and thin, with virtually no character development save for Judas Iscariot. The main characters of Jesus and Moses are entirely one dimensional messianic figures. The novel opens with Adam and Eve, and then ignores them for the next thousand pages or so. The built-in bookmark was a nice touch, but a little pretentious.

Oddly, it wasn't shelved with the other fiction books.
Profile Image for Wesson Renick.
Author 4 books16 followers
May 11, 2008
Certainly not life changing or anything. The plot was hard to follow and the editing was horrible. The characters were painfully one-dimensional and this Jesus guy delivered some of the worst dialogue I've ever read. All in all I found it too long and it took itself way too seriously. The fact that it sells so well is beyond me and the way people hold it up you'd think God himself had written the damn thing.
1 review4 followers
July 9, 2020
If you're a fan of Greek mythology, this one's for you. A penchant for fiery places, gnashing of teeth, the number 666, miracle-working zombies, and utter disdain for homosexuals and feminism are helpful, but not required.

**Spoiler alert**
He dies in the end.
7 reviews9 followers
May 12, 2008
"by Anonymous"

i wouldn't want to take credit for this either.
1 review3 followers
July 7, 2020
wasn't worth the childhood damage :/
Profile Image for T.R. Preston.
Author 4 books126 followers
April 19, 2023
Not enough Lucifer. He's easily the most interesting character.

P.S. King James was Bisexual; which is, without a doubt, the greatest example of irony in the history of the human species.
Profile Image for Jeff Menter.
31 reviews30 followers
April 9, 2008
God's first foray into the world of literature has made quite a splash. People the world over are talking about this book (or series of books if you want to get pedantic) and for good reason; It makes some grandiose claims, it purports to be the complete authority on almost all areas of human endeavor (aside from how to choose an internet service provider), and even makes threats to the reader.

Of course, English is not God's native tongue and this book has been translated from the original aramaic and hebrew. It was then further translated to greek and didn't even have a proper English translation until the late 1600s. I have to say, either something was lost in the translation or the translator was going for a heavily stylized prose. There's lots of "thy," "thou," and "begat"s throughout the book.

As for the story itself, I was absolutely riveted. From the auspicious beginnings ("let there be light" -- what a clever way to get the ball rolling) to the exciting ending with the horses and the destruction the story is full of violence, incest, adultery, begetting, and flaming bushes. It never lets up.

It does get a little preachy at times and I must admit to being quite bewildered at what God's *real* message is. There are contradictions in the rules handed down (gay sex is bad but love your brother, shrimp was not OK but now it is, etc.) and unraveling the books mysteries is going to be a not insignificant task for any reader.

Taken as a whole, it's really hard to look past its faults. I really wanted to like it and gave an honest attempt to understand its teachings. But it seems to me that, if you're going to claim to be the source of all truth in the universe, you'd have to do a lot better than this book does.

One star.
Profile Image for John Egbert.
189 reviews164 followers
April 4, 2011
This book is really annoying, sexist, homophobic, and a lot of other awful things too. Honestly, if a character isn't getting raped then they're being burned alive for being gay. It's horrible. Also, it's wayyy too long. No offense to anyone that liked it, but it simply bores me. The first chapter is okay I guess, but everyone is way too stupid. Who kills their brother over something that dumb? It's annoying, frankly. This is a book that I'd never read twice.

I'm not trying to be witty or anything, but I can't see what's so amazing about this book enough to worship it. Jesus is such a Mary Sue. Also, God is pretty awful to everyone else. Geez, dude, you think you could be a bit nicer to the people who are worshiping you all the time?

I haven't read the Qu'ran yet, but I hope it isn't as boring and dumb.
5 reviews4 followers
January 29, 2014
For anyone looking for a more realistic plot, there is Greek Mythology.
Profile Image for George.
70 reviews
April 29, 2008
What to say about this one?

Firstly, it is much longer than it needs to be to get the point across. I mean, do we really need a few thousand pages to basically communicate the ten commandments and how God is scary, and a few thousand more to communicate that Jesus is good? I think the problem here is that there wasn't enough editing over the years. Editing was only performed by popes and kings to rewrite history the way they wanted it to go. Today a publisher would scoff at any author wanting to publish a book that long. Its just not economically feasible. And who would read the entire thing?

Secondly, its confusing. So many characters and towns. I think the addition of family trees and maps would greatly enhance the readability. 100 years of solitude has a family tree in the beginning, and its a much shorter book with far fewer characters. The Hobbit has a map, and Middle Earth is much smaller than the Middle East.

Thirdly, historical fiction is not my favorite genre. I admit I find Asia Minor more interesting than Victorian England, but this one just drags on. And for historical fiction, it misses the mark in a key category - feasibility.

In closing, I just don't think that it lives up to the hype.
Profile Image for RB.
185 reviews162 followers
December 18, 2014
The word of God? Unlikely.
Inventive and full of interesting stories? Most definitely yes.
But alas, I believe in Science, not fiction.

Also let's not forget about all the condoning of rape, murder and pillaging that this book is full of - especially in the Old Testament. It's disgusting to think that people call this "The Good Book" and hold it sacred.

By popular demand, here are just a few (obvious) references - did my best to find the English names & translations online (, as my bible is in Danish and will do little good in an international forum.

Let's start with a good ol' classic tale of infanticide:
Exodus 12:29-30
At midnight the LORD struck down all the firstborn in Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh, who sat on the throne, to the firstborn of the prisoner, who was in the dungeon, and the firstborn of all the livestock as well. Pharaoh and all his officials and all the Egyptians got up during the night, and there was loud wailing in Egypt, for there was not a house without someone dead.

A classic about marriage, sexually active women, rape and the treatment of rape victims:
Deuteronomy 22:13-30
If a man takes a wife and, after lying with her, dislikes her and slanders her and gives her a bad name, saying, "I married this woman, but when I approached her, I did not find proof of her virginity," then the girl's father and mother shall bring proof that she was a virgin to the town elders at the gate. The girl's father will say to the elders, "I gave my daughter in marriage to this man, but he dislikes her. Now he has slandered her and said, 'I did not find your daughter to be a virgin.' But here is the proof of my daughter's virginity." Then her parents shall display the cloth before the elders of the town, and the elders shall take the man and punish him. They shall fine him a hundred shekels of silver and give them to the girl's father, because this man has given an Israelite virgin a bad name. She shall continue to be his wife; he must not divorce her as long as he lives. If, however, the charge is true and no proof of the girl's virginity can be found, she shall be brought to the door of her father's house and there the men of her town shall stone her to death. [So, if you're not a proven virgin: you die.] She has done a disgraceful thing in Israel by being promiscuous while still in her father's house. You must purge the evil from among you. If a man is found sleeping with another man's wife, both the man who slept with her and the woman must die. [adultery is punishable by death, and guess what: both the woman and the man get to die - at least there's no discrimination there :P] You must purge the evil from Israel. If a man happens to meet in a town a virgin pledged to be married and he sleeps with her, you shall take both of them to the gate of that town and stone them to death--the girl because she was in a town and did not scream for help [apparently gagging was unheard of back then? Solution: kill the victim.] , and the man because he violated another man's wife. You must purge the evil from among you. But if out in the country a man happens to meet a girl pledged to be married and rapes her, only the man who has done this shall die. [So the rape victim is forced to marry her assailant or else he dies?] Do nothing to the girl; she has committed no sin deserving death. [That's something at least, but wait... Marry the rapist? Seriously?] This case is like that of someone who attacks and murders his neighbor, for the man found the girl out in the country, and though the betrothed girl screamed, there was no one to rescue her. If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered, he shall pay the girl's father fifty shekels of silver. He must marry the girl, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives. [Divorce was actually allowed back then, (but marrying a divorced woman was adultery, so...) so forcing the rapist to support the woman for as long as she lived I guess was a form of punishment to him. But again - would a father back then give his child, the rape victim to the rapist? I'm not so sure. And if he did, what would her life expectancy be, I wonder?] A man is not to marry his father's wife; he must not dishonor his father's bed.

The place of women Timothy 2:11-12
A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet.
---> Which was again enforced by Paul in:
Corinthians 14:34-35
Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.

And let's finish of for now with more rape and murder: Isaiah 13:15-18
Whoever is captured will be thrust through; all who are caught will fall by the sword. Their infants will be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses will be looted and their wives ravished. See, I will stir up against them the Medes, who do not care for silver and have no delight in gold. Their bows will strike down the young men; they will have no mercy on infants nor will they look with compassion on children.

And finally, remember: all evil must be purged from Israel.

Update 21/08/2013:
I came across this little funny movie on Youtube today - have to share it! :)
Profile Image for Manny.
Author 30 books14k followers
September 23, 2014
I've already done a review of the New Testament, so this one will focus on the first part of the book. Looking at other reviews, most of them seem to fall into a small number of categories. First, there are the people who are telling me that this is the word of God, and the greatest book ever written. Second, there are the ones reacting to the first group and telling me that it's worthless. Third (probably the largest contingent), we have the wise guys making flippant remarks. And fourth, we have a few purists recommending or disapproving of particular translations.

I don't really find any of these approaches very satisfying. I can't accept the statement that this is the word of God, and all literally true; to pick one of the standard examples, Joshua's making the sun stand still appears wildly far-fetched. I'm sorry if that offends the Christians in the audience. If it makes you feel any better, I'll offend the Scientologists too, and say that I don't believe that, 75 million years ago, Xenu, the dictator of the Galactic Confederacy, brought billions of his people to Earth in DC-8-like spacecraft, stacked them around volcanoes, and killed them using hydrogen bombs.

OK, I'll admit that I also like making flippant remarks. But let's try and be serious for a moment, and apply normal critical standards to this work. That involves comparing it other, similar, books. What's similar to the Old Testament? It's a tricky question. To start off with, what genre does it belong to? It was written so long ago that modern categories don't apply. If you attempt to fit it into one of those categories, you find it's a bunch of things: an epic poem, a religious allegory, a history, and a work of science. Now, we think of those as being different. But when the Old Testament was written, they were all mixed up together. In particular, it's easy to forget that "Science", as a concept, is a very modern invention. As recently as the early eighteenth century, they called it Natural Philosophy.

Considered as an epic poem based on a religious allegory, the Old Testament is often brilliant. This is uncontroversial; even Richard Dawkins is happy to agree, and quotes numerous examples in the relevant chapter of The God Delusion. Obvious comparison points are Homer, Dante and Milton. (The only modern author I can think of is Tolkien). All of those are arguably better taken as a whole - in particular, they are more coherent - but, at least in my opinion, the best passages in the Old Testament are better than the best passages in the other books. If you disagree, just, off the top of your head, quote me a passage from The Iliad, The Divine Comedy, Paradise Lost or The Silmarillion which you consider superior to the Twenty-Third Psalm. ("The Lord is my shepherd", if you're no good with numbers). Maybe you can come up with something; I'm curious to see what it is. To me, though, the serious competitor is the New Testament. It's by no means inferior as poetry, and Jesus is a more complex and interesting character than Jehovah. The Old Testament position on moral and ethical issues now seems rather dated, and Jehovah, like Zeus and Odin, often comes across as not much more than a wise tribal chieftain with unusually powerful technology. Jesus, on the other hand, seems entirely relevant even today, and his bold and unconventional ideas still have the capacity to shock and amaze.

Given the popularity of Creationism, I guess I have to say something about the Bible as a work of science. I'm inspired here to follow Feynman's treatment of Newton in QED, which I read last week. Feynman is very respectful towards Newton, and says what a great man he was; but he also points out where Newton got it wrong. We just know more now. Well: put in its historical context, I think that the Old Testament was way ahead of its time. Quite apart from the fact that it's great poetry, Genesis is a remarkably sophisticated creation myth. Consider the first few verses.
In the beginning, God created the Heaven and the Earth.

And the Earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved on the face of the waters.

And God said, Let there be light; and there was light.
People who know about modern cosmology may want to nitpick this. On the other hand, if you had to describe the first few minutes of the Universe to a bronze-age nomad, I'd like to see you do better. You aren't going to be able to explain inflation and nucleosynthesis to them; you'll have to improvise a bit, and take the odd liberty. But, later on, there are definite mistakes. For example, God makes the Earth before He makes the stars. That's just incorrect, and there's no reason why it couldn't have been presented in the opposite order. The author of Genesis hadn't got a telescope, and it was hard to figure this stuff out from first principles.

To sum up: considering that it was written well over two thousand years ago, the Old Testament is a startlingly good book that's still well worth reading today. Before you knock it too hard, consider how few other books there are from that period that can make similar claims. And, oh yes, I was planning to say something about translations. I think some are better than others, but the point I wanted to make has already been made so much more elegantly by Richard Curtis in his Skinhead Hamlet sketch. I'll hand over now, and let him conclude by giving you his scholarly opinions on the New English Bible.

6 reviews20 followers
May 30, 2007
This is the only book you need for life. This is life's instruction manual. It will give you history, answers for EVERY issue of life, comfort in times of sorrow, encouragment, prophecy (only book with prophecies that all came true) and best of all the TRUTH of why we are here. This book is actually made of 66 books written by 40 authors over 1500 years!! It has stood the test of time. I encourage anyone to give it a try. Please do not knock it till you try it. And you dont have to start in the beginning. Try the book of John it is a great place to start.
11 reviews16 followers
November 7, 2009
I offer a a logical review for you:

Okay let's be realistic here, people who give this book one star are simply biased and blind to the beauty contained in this book. Whether you believe the theology behind this book or not you cannot deny the power and brilliance it contains. The whole idea of living is centered around the idea of love. A book with the phrase "Love you enemy" is a book unlike any before it. The poetry and proverbs are inspiring and show depth. Each book has a clearly different writing style yet they all tie together in a cohesive whole. The Bible is a literary masterpiece. It tells us to live selflessly and not store up wealth, give to the needy and do good to those that hate you. Does this sound evil? The Old Testament speaks of what the Hebrew people were to do in situations of evil done, yet are these not just indicators of evil deserving punishment? Later it tells man not to take vengeance into their own hands, for it is not man's place. This book has given purpose and meaning to billions, transforming lives and inspiring the hopeless. It is the #1 best seller of all time. It is geographically and scientifically sound, giving birth to science itself. An incredible and riveting read that spans thousands of years. Still culturally relevant today. Tell me what is not to like?
Profile Image for Nicole Bravo.
16 reviews
June 28, 2020
Wasn't a fan. Put me in therapy.

1/5 for strong fan base, though--gotta give it to the authors for persuasive writing.
Profile Image for Kim.
403 reviews180 followers
March 29, 2012
What can you say about one of the most boring books of all time, yet still tops the charts for best-selling fiction. Firstly the writing style is atrocious. It's like twenty guys were only given part of the story and told to make it up and make it all fit. The inconsistencies are everywhere. They really needed a better editor.

And with so many different cooks the styles are everywhere. From dry accountant listing everything person and every thing in exacting detail, to a fantasy nut who introduces magical staffs and mythical beings who communicate through burning botany.

What happened to the plot? For the first section there is this evil overlord controlling every aspect of his minions life. What they can eat, what they can wear, who they must kill and subjugate next. I kept waiting for a big rebellion and maybe a lightsaber battle but they kept praising this guy. Can't they see they are just his puppets? And it goes on and on and on and on and on and... you get the drift. But thankfully it isn't all just lists, and doom and gloom and wait yes it is. There's some comedy pieces like this guy Noah who forgot all the dinosaurs and left them to die instead of taking them on his super arc. Must have been a cold-hearted guy and let them drown like the chick in Titanic did to Leo. So did Noah paint the dinosaurs like one of his "French girls"?

But then in the second half (or sequel I'm not quite sure. Maybe there was some writers strike between them) he just changes and it's as if he isn't even there anymore. Anti-climactic or what. Now his son is here to make the world a better place. I think the writers owe George Lucas some money for stealing his idea. This guy possesses all these superpowers but never comes up with a cool costume or superhero name. He just walks around, talking and occasionally doing little magic tricks. He could have headlined in Vegas! But no, he just tours the Middle East and forgets about the rest of the world. So in retaliation for not doing a gig in the Coliseum the Romans decide he has to die. And, lo and behold, he does! On a massive cross which must have hurt. But wait! He still has a magic trick up his sleeve (or robe or toga or whatever). He was only faking it. They take his "body" and put it in a cave and he does his Houdini trick and poof, he's gone. I'm thinking he was like the invisible man and ran off and married some little Arabian hottie. And story over.

So some minor magical fantasy pieces surrounded by the dullest of historical fantasy. At over 1000 pages, mostly with pretty small print, this tome makes for one hell of a paperweight and not much else. No wonder it's always left behind in hotels because people get 5 pages in and fall asleep. Do yourself a favour and go read some much better written historical fantasy. Or maybe Harry Potter. Hell maybe even Twilight. No scratch that, Twilight is still worse. Just.
Profile Image for Jo Walton.
Author 77 books2,880 followers
November 20, 2018
Technically a re-read, but I hadn't read most of it since I was a kid reading it in dull bits of church, and I think I must have skipped some, because I don't remember all of it.

Going to review the books separately. I read the New Testament first because it was research, then went back to the beginning.

Matthew: Nothing would cure me of any impulse towards Christianity more than reading this. Meaning, of course, that the pre-Reformation church was right to tell people to look at the pretty pictures and go to mass but not read it.

Mark: This was the original, and there was also Q. Oh dear. So obviously not what the Church made of him later, in terms of being incarnate God, so obviously a confused person wandering about a backwater province of Rome feeling his way. And John so obviously important in ways that are not what was made of the story later. Fascinating to see this as a building block for such a teetering edifice.

Luke: How could anyone start off with this Bible and come up with the concept of biblical inerrancy? It would seem more plausible to me if they'd come up with Lacan or Foucault based on having four contradictory accounts of the same events. These things can not all be true if they contradict each other! If they did the Flight into Egypt, then they couldn't have had the Presentation in the Temple. And yet, I have stood in front of paintings of both done by pious people who aren't seeing the problem.

John: I like this one best. Entirely contradictory, but poetic.

Acts of the Apostles: I've read this one relatively recently. I like it. It's an account of some ordinary people wandering around the eastern Med in the early Roman Empire trying to organize a cult. Clearly a real account. Perversely, I wish there were three contradictory versions of it. Why didn't they start a religion where there are necessarily four contradictory versions of everything? Why wasn't that a standard of truth? That would have been really neat.

Epistles: What? St. Paul says they can stop with the food rules as long as they don't eat blood. I -- what? They ate blood all the time! Christian Europe in the middle ages ate blood sausage and blood puddings and meat with blood, and they still do. I never even heard this! Do people read their own Bible? Christians totally eat blood, right now! This is worse than "God hates shrimp", this is supposed to be the new dispensation, and the new dispensation is you can eat shrimp and bacon but not blood. Guys! Do your own religion right! Pay attention.

Generally reading the epistles is great, I love letters, and these aren't very different from reading the Patristic stuff I've been reading, except that they're supposed to be canonical and holy in a different way -- people would be OK with St Basil being wrong but not these, they knot themselves into pretzels to make these right, except when they ignore them. Interesting to compare.

Revelation: I can't help thinking about Slactivist's takedown of Left Behind all the time.

And having finished, back to the beginning.

Genesis: People say the Bible is like mythology, but it isn't. It's like listening to old people tell long meandering stories where they leave bits out -- oh, actually, she was his half-sister, so it wasn't a lie -- and motivations get left out. Also, how did Rebecca's dad know about Abram and Sarai's name change? Did they send him a name change card? "Abram and Sarai would like you to know that from now on, they want to be known as Abraham and Sarah. (Pronouns remain the same.) Thanks for remembering!" And why did Lot stay in the wilderness? There were all those other cities he could have gone to. Weird, weird, book.

Exodus: Orson Scott Card wrote a series of books where God is a broken computer. It seems obvious to me reading this that God in this book is a stranded alien with very specific needs and very limited powers that mostly don't help much. Seen in this way, he's the most sympathetic character. He needs an ark to be carried in, and he needs to get back to the mother ship in Israel before it leaves. He's degenerating all the time. This makes so much sense I'm surprised it isn't a) an SF book and b) a loopy Velikovsky theory.

Leviticus: More staggering around with the poor confused alien. The Children of Israel sure did like to stop worshipping God and worship idols. And the food rules.

Numbers: More numbers than I could possibly have imagined. Wow. Where did this come from? What purpose could it possibly serve? This is even worse than the list of ships. Am I supposed to remember all these names? They're all so weird... except for the occasional one that sounds like an American.

Deuteronomy: And more? Really?

Joshua: You know what's weird? Being in the POV of barbarians. "And then we came to the cities of civilization and we trashed them because we don't know about cities." Barbarians do not normally write chronicles, and so that feels odd to me. This should be cited more by historians.

Judges: OK, so this is a chronicle. Fine.

Ruth: Odd little episode. It's odd generally to see how much space the "bible stories" have in the bible. I don't understand why this incident survived and was important.

4 Books of Kings: These are more actual historical chronicles and therefore quite interesting. I now have a theory that following the rules is hard, and worshipping Baal and having bacon was very tempting. If the alternatives are other monotheisms, then it's not so tempting, not like falling away into paganism, which they did at the drop of a graven image.

2 Books of Chronicles: Oh, I was supposed to be memorizing all these kings ready to get more information about them? When it said there was more information there really was? Who collated this?

Ezra: This is great.

Nehemiah: Oh, first person, and events, not just ranting! This is also great. But I'm trying to fit it together with actual history. The Babylonians conquered them, and then the Persians conquered them, and then (after this) Alexander conquered them, and then they were Hellenistic and then Romans. (NB to God -- next time, consider giving your chosen people an island. or possibly Switzerland. Somewhere more defensible and less in the way? Cyprus, maybe?) And this excellent story about rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem happened after the Persian conquest? I could probably find a concordance. but it would probably be annoyingly religious.

Wait -- I should get Tobit and Judith next, but King James left them out? Gah. I'll have to find another translation and come back to them at the end. I hate it when translators do this kind of thing.

Esther: The Purim story. Reads like actual history, coherent and makes sense and everything. Shushan is Susa. Remarkably little God in this one, just some Jews coping with persecution in the Persian Empire.

Job: Good heavens, philosophy and theology! Just when I'd given up expecting any. But I'm back to "how the heck did anyone come up with the concept of Biblical inerrancy starting from THIS Bible". I liked Job. But it does not fit with either a) Christianity as it is OR b) the rest of the Bible. Nor is God's behaviour either ethical or consistent. I could take a system based in Job, or I could take a system without it, but saying it's totally canonical then utterly ignoring it and its theological and philosophical implications is bizarre. (Judaism is easier to fit Job into, where Satan is a job. But even then, what's with this annual meetup of God and the sons of God and Satan? Again, I could retrofit the universe, but it would be hard work.)

I'm back to thinking that the pre-Reformation position that reading the Bible was dangerous and confusing and best left to experts had a great deal to be said for it, at least if you want people to follow the religion. But I've been told that while actually reading the Bible is a Protestant thing to do, even Catholics are encouraged to do it now. I have no idea how this works. It must take a miracle.

Yay, Psalms next.

Psalms. Lots of poetry, some of it intimately familiar, some of it completely off the wall strange. Beautiful language. Very very long. Took forever to read. And now, a whole book of proverbs. Well, you can't say it's boring, you never know what's coming next.

Again, a weird mixture of the very familiar and the utterly off the wall. Most of it went in one ear and out the other.

Beautiful, philosophical, kind of grumpy, kind of Stoic. I don't understand how it fits with the rest of it. The discussions on what to put in, what was canonical for the Jewish bible must have been epic. I only know about the Christian arguments, and they pretty much took these as accepted. I expect it's too early for there to be good records the way there are for Church councils. But I expect there was a lot of debate on this one.

The Song of Solomon
Excellent poetry about love and sex, some from the female point of view. I hear it's supposed to be an analogy for Christ and the Church. Risible. Obviously not. Really good though. My pleasure in reading the bible has had an uptick with Ecclesiastes and this.

You know that passage about the virgin having a baby and calling his name Emmanuel? Of course you do. Did you know the next line starts AND, and goes on to say he'll eat butter and honey to know good from evil early because before he naturally knows good from evil the king of Syria will die? Of course you don't. It's hard to see this kind of picking and choosing from sources as being anything other than mendacity. But people read this. Christians read it. Do they read it with their eyes half closed, to stop reading at Emmanuel and not see the AND? Even if modern Christians do this, what about the early Church? What about St Paul? What about Jerome? Surely St Jerome had more integrity than to do that? I'm horrified.

Some good ranting, but this is clearly in the genre of "prophecy written after the event" like the Ohs of Merlin.

Jeremiah -- now this is how prophets ought to be. Personal, accurate, specific, and the bit where he got thrown into prison during the siege was unexpectedly exciting. Much less obviously fake than Isaiah, because of the details like the king burning the scroll and the crusts of bread. This works as a fantasy story about an actual prophet. This is the only part of the Bible so far that works as fantasy. Exodus etc. sort of work as SF.

Lamentations. -- I thought that didn't sound very cheerful, but it turned out to be short and very poetic, and I guess people are entitled to lament after they've correctly predicted everything awful that was coming and nobody listened and then it has all happened.

Ezekial -- so far, so whiplash. Woah, where did this come from? Visions, and not God telling you that if you don't quit with the idol worship the king of Babylon will trash your city but super specific fantasy images of weird flying animals. I have seen Raphael's painting of this, but even so it was a surprise.

And it goes on, weird imagery, overly specific measurements, odd prophecies, and then suddenly bang, "shall these bones live" that I know both from Eliot and from the song, both of them undoubtedly coming from this one chapter of Ezekial, and on both sides of it acres of stuff that nobody has ever heard. How did they -- I mean did they throw a dart at the pages and decide what was going to be used? It's so weird.

Now on to Daniel, which I remember from Sunday school, Lion's den, furnace, Shadrach and Abednego. Let's see how much is really there.

Daniel: Very short, and indeed, has the furnace and the lions den, and also some deeply weird prophetic stuff. Trying to reconcile dates of Darius/Cyrus etc probably not a good plan.

Hosea: Lots of whoredom, and not so disapproving as usual.

Joel: Short, vivid, and a surprising amount of it familiar though I wouldn't have known where it was from.

Amos: Savonarola's favourite prophet, so I've re-read this recently.

Obadiah: In one ear and out the other.

Jonah: That great city, Ninevah. Also, it's a fish not a whale. It's so odd that everyone knows this one. If I went out into the street and stopped a random person even if they were a Buddhist they'd know this, but not a word of Obadiah or Micah.

Micah: More propheting. Doom, doom.

Nahum: And more, some specific.

Habakkak: Again, the conference where they decided what to put in must have been fun.

Zephanaiah: More Christian picking and choosing relevant bits.

Haggai: More propheting, less dire than some.

Zecchariah: More propheting

Malachi: Done done done done done!

Well, that was... interesting, and boring, and took a lot of persistence. So glad I'm done!

If I'd started at the beginning, going on to the New Testament now, and stories of actual people doing actual things would be a real relief. As it is, zero desire to re-read those bits.

I cannot recommend reading this book this way to any sane person.

I cannot recommend reading it if you are a Christian and you'd like to stay one, because it would need so much doublethink that it couldn't be good for you.

I do, however, recommend it heartily to any atheist or agnostic who likes Christian art and Latin masses and would sort of like to believe in Christianity, or anyone thinking about Pascal's wager, or anyone in doubt from that direction, because there is NOTHING going to dispel any doubts or "wouldn't it be nice if it were true" or "what if God had gone to all that trouble to save me and I was ungratefully ignoring it" better than reading this with an open mind because it is so very very obviously not an inerrant revelation, or even a coherent basis for a religion, and you'd have to be feeling super charitable to even think it was a glass darkly. It's a mix of history and poetry and ranting and very occasional scraps of philosophy and theology and it doesn't fit together at all, and it reveals the selectivity of its readers. And I don't think I should say any more, because it would be unkind.
Profile Image for Danaesdrama.
29 reviews11 followers
February 3, 2021
Poca representación lgbt. Muy denso de leer. Final predecible. El protagonista se muere lo que está bien pero después lo reviven.
6 reviews3 followers
August 28, 2007
inconsistent narrative; main character seems fickle. interminably long passages about wandering, followed by some pearls of wisdom, songs, lots of war, and plenty of stonings. passages can be interpreted or misinterpreted as mysogynistic, racist, and homophobic, if the reader tries real hard. apparently, every sperm is, in fact, "sacred". evolution and genetics called into question without convincing arguments or statistical data. last chapter seems to be written under the influence of psychoactive chemicals. overall, self-indulgent hodge-podge with snippets of good story-telling; marxist bent in latter third, with a nice buddhistic/shared society twist.
Profile Image for Michael.
718 reviews12 followers
February 27, 2008
I guess it's pretty cheeky to give the Bible a bad review, but why not?

It's boring, self-contradictory, petty, and mean.

I only read it out of some kind of weird obligation to understand how the other 98% lives.

I did learn a lot, however.

If guests come by and want to rape my angel, I will let them rape my daughter.

So say we all!
Profile Image for Ryan.
3 reviews1 follower
November 20, 2008
Hard to follow, serious plot inconsistencies, characters not believable. Pretty lousy writing. Needs an editor.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Jonny.
13 reviews3 followers
April 26, 2007
If it wasn't for the fact that some people actually took it seriously, this book would be a fantastic read. It's action packed, full of death and destruction, as well as advocating murder, vengeance, wars, sacrifice and rape, and even the stoning of adulterers and homosexuals - it's definetly a thrilling (if somewhat disturbing) read!

However, if you wish to read the original stories, then you may want to refer to Mithraic holy scripts, which predate the Bible by several thousand years, yet amazingly contain many of the same stories. Mithras, for example, was the son of God, born on the 25th December of a virgin in a grotto, where he was attended to by shepherds with gifts. He was, according to Mithraic holy texts, sent to Earth to live as a man, and die to redeem the sins of mankind. He requested people drink of his blood and eat of his flesh (which Mithraic followers did symbolically in Communion) and had a meal with his 12 followers the night before his death. However, do not be concerned, for he was resurrected shortly after, and followers were also baptised so that they too could be resurrected after death. I smell plagiarism here...
Profile Image for Mads Knight.
18 reviews6 followers
September 10, 2021
Hello lesbians. Not sure if ur aware but not only does this banger contain the Book of Ruth, aka book of milf, story of star crossed yearning lesbian luvrs, but also the Song of Solomon, an 8 chapter poem which is actually just butch/femme erotica. David and Jonathan are also lesbians. Hope this helps
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