Dispatches from The Good Book.

Regular readers of Maphead's Book Blog, (once again, if there are any), know I tend to read a lot of books on comparative religion, theology, biblical criticism, etc. Therefore, you knew it would be just a matter of time before I blogged a book or two about the Bible. Well, here we are. Not one, but two books on that Book of Books.
    First up would be Charles Merrill Smith and James W. Bennett's How the Bible Was Built. I found a copy a few weeks ago at the public library and I had to have it. Their rather
short 2008 book can be thought of as a brief introduction to the
Bible's creation, including addressing the fact that the individual
biblical books were not considered "scripture" overnight. I think for the most part, I thought this was an incredibly readable book and took a nice approach to the subject matter, (being neither sectarian or atheistic/agnostic).  Sadly, this book is missing a bibliography and
surely could use one. It is however a great introduction. Start with
this book, but don't end with it
    I first head of the other book, God's Problem: How the Bible Fails to Answer Our Most Important Question-Why We Suffer, from an interview with the book's author Bart Ehrman on NPR's Fresh Air. Ehrman has been a favorite of mine ever since I read his Lost Christianities a few years back. He is also author of the best-selling Misquoting Jesus:The Story of Who Changed the Bible and Why. So when I had a chance to buy his book through Quality Paperback Club, I jumped at it.
     In his latest book, Ehrman looks at how suffering has been portrayed in
the Bible and, more importantly why people suffer. I found his book
straightforward and readable with numerous examples that were
text-based, historical and anecdotal. This is an excellent book
written not necessarily for Bible scholars but those who wonder how a
God, infinite in power, wisdom and compassion can allow evil and
suffering to exist in our world. I highly recommend this book.

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