Good Book: The Bizarre, Hilarious, Disturbing, Marvelous, and Inspiring Things I Learned When I Read Every Single Word of the Bible, by David Plotz is an interesting book on one man’s perception after reading the Bible.
Plotz read the Bible beginning as a child in Hebrew class. He read snippets throughout the years. While at a Bat Mitzvah, he began reading passages of the Torah. This fueled the fire that began his journey to read the entire Bible.
He found the Bible to be weird, especially the language and how it is not always cohesive and/or easy to understand. He was astonished at some of the stories in the Bible that verge on the bizarre with some of their eccentric and archaic content, such as vengeance, murder, stoning, plagues, slavery, and other forms of physical punishment, etc., and especially regarding the nature of G-d.
Plotz’s train of thought is that scholars and religious leaders have made the interpretation and translation of the Bible difficult and hard to understand, and almost an arduous task to do so. He feels that most religious leaders (of all faiths) have selected certain sections, chapters, quotations, and etc., from specific books of the Bible to fit what they deem is necessary to hold their congregation in tow.
He also feels that every person should read the Bible, because it holds a wealth of knowledge, and also gives Jews food for thought to argue over. Where Christian faiths hold Jesus as their savior, Jews have had to argue the facets of the Bible with each other, throughout the centuries, not necessarily accepting the words at face value. Argument is a Jewish tradition. This has made them stronger, and has given them the freedom to doubt, to believe, and has bound them, historically, as a separate group of individuals.
When Plotz began reading the Bible, he was an agnostic, and wasn’t overly involved in it. When he finished reading the Bible, his mindset had changed. In order to find out how, read Good Book yourself. You will come away with a deepening sense regarding how other Jews perceive the Bible.
Good Book, by David Plotz is much more than an interesting look at the Bible through one man’s eyes. It is a journey of faith, understanding, insight and extreme questioning. His interpretations, feelings and thoughts about his journey are frank, filled with harshness and often with extreme humor. The reader often finds him amused, awed, disgusted, appalled, yet with the desire to continue forward with his reading. At times he found the stories difficult to understand, and difficult to read due to their horrific content, yet he found much of the Bible fascinating.
This is my second reading of this book, and reread it, once more, for a book discussion.
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