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How the Bible Became Holy

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  • Posted July 6, 2014

    This is a groundbreaking work of modern biblical exegesis. Micha

    This is a groundbreaking work of modern biblical exegesis. Michael Satlow takes us along for the journey as he traces the path through time and geography of the Hebrew Bible's trip from orally transmitted traditions and a sparse collection of texts in the ninth century BCE to the 3rd. and 4th century CE when it and the Christian Canon achieved their current status as Holy Books. Professor Satlow emphasizes the all too human forces sans divine intervention which directed the Bible's path to "holiness"; he writes with muted ironic humor, relaxed assurance and confident authority. What a piece of work!

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  • Posted June 18, 2014

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    Interesting and Intellectual In "How the Bible Became Holy

    Interesting and Intellectual

    In "How the Bible Became Holy", author and religious studies professor Michael Satlow answers what he feels are important questions regarding the Bible. Since recently finished Abraham in History and Tradition, it was a welcome change to discuss how the Bible came to be regarded as an authoritative text follows by millions, rather than analyzing how and why the various stories in the Bible were compiled.

    This book is not for those interested in light reading, but for those who want to delve into an in-depth examination of how ancient people and communities made the Bible what it is today. Satlow takes readers from 9th century BCE to 3rd century CE and follows how the religious texts that both Jews and Christians regard as holy started out as collections of writing by and for scholarly scribes (not intended to be historical records) and evolved with the spread of knowledge and the desire for intellectual prestige.

    A particularly interesting tidbit is Satlow's assertion that Jesus himself was unfamiliar with scripture, as were most of his disciples. He claims that the people of the time understood his message, but not his connections to scripture and that this only came about later. (interesting... right?)

    As a professor of religious studies, Satlow explains in his introduction that his primary sources in writing this book were literary and archaeological, but admits that he has never read the Bible from cover to cover because the "engaging stories come to a screeching halt." It might have added weight to his findings had he taken the time to actually read the Bible, regardless of how extensive the rest of his research was.

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