“The Good Book: Writers Reflect on Favorite Bible Passages” edited by Andrew Blauner— How Writers See the Bible

Blauner, Andrew (editor). “The Good Book: Writers Reflect on Favorite Bible Passages”, Simon and Schuster, 2017.

How Writers See the Bible

Amos Lassen

What a fascinating idea—- letting us see how thirty-two of today’s most prominent writers reflect on Bible and the passages that are most meaningful to them. While the contributors are not primarily known as religious thinkers, they write intelligently and movingly about specific passages in the Bible that influence the way they live, think about past experiences, and see society today. There are a variety of the biblical readings— some are about specific passages and some are anecdotes from everyday life depending how the writer interprets his favorite, they can inspire, provoke, or illuminate.

We are also not confined to one Bible; we have passages from both the Hebrew and Christian bibles and we from Genesis through Revelation. This is a wonderful book for both secular and religious people.

This is the kind that can be used for reference and/or pleasure and it brings out the richness and diversity of biblical texts and we see how these texts apply to how we live. Those that we read here include “literary fiction writers (Colm Tóibín, Edwidge Danticat, Tobias Wolff, Rick Moody); bestselling nonfiction writers (A.J. Jacobs, Ian Frazier, Thomas Lynch); notable figures in the media (Charles McGrath, Cokie Roberts, Steven V. Roberts); and social activists (Al Sharpton, Kerry Kennedy)”.

The contributors demonstrate that the bible is not only “a source of spiritual guidance, a work of literature or history or an anchor for memory”, we immediately see that what is written within is “both inexhaustible and infinitely challenging.”

Editor Blauner who is an anthropologist has selected wonderful commentators who give mainly insightful and often very personal thoughts about their favorite Biblical passages. I was enjoying every word until Al Sharpton once again plays up the racial aspect of the bible and he throws a blanked over what could otherwise have been in which every page could be fascination. Sharpton, it is really time to give it a rest. His selection and commentary almost ruined the entire read.


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