The Bible Now

( 2 )

Overview

For millennia, people have used the Bible as a touchstone on important social and political questions, and rightly so. But many use the Bible simply as a weapon to wield against opponents in a variety of debates?without knowing what the Bible actually says about the issue in question.
In The Bible Now, two respected biblical scholars, Richard Elliott Friedman and Shawna Dolansky, tell us carefully what the Hebrew Bible says or does not say about a wide range of issues?including ...

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The Bible Now

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Overview

For millennia, people have used the Bible as a touchstone on important social and political questions, and rightly so. But many use the Bible simply as a weapon to wield against opponents in a variety of debates—without knowing what the Bible actually says about the issue in question.
In The Bible Now, two respected biblical scholars, Richard Elliott Friedman and Shawna Dolansky, tell us carefully what the Hebrew Bible says or does not say about a wide range of issues—including homosexuality, abortion, women's status, capital punishment, and the environment. In fascinating passages that shed new light on some of today's most passionate disputes, the authors reveal how the Bible is frequently misunderstood, misquoted, mistranslated, and misused. For instance, those who quote the Bible in condemning homosexuality often cite the story of Sodom, and those who favor homosexuality point to David's lament over the death of Jonathan. But as the authors show, neither passage is clearly about homosexuality, and these texts do not offer solid footing on which to make an argument. Readers learn that female homosexuality is not prohibited—only male homosexuality. And on the subject of abortion, the Bible is practically silent, with one extraordinary exception.
The Bible has inspired people to do great good but has also been used by people to do great harm, so it is vitally important for us to pay attention to it—and to get it right. The Bible Now shows us how we can—and cannot—use this ancient source of wisdom to address our most current and pressing issues.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
What the Bible has to say for people today wrestling with issues of homosexuality, abortion, women, the death penalty, and the Earth is the focus of this collaboration by senior scholar Friedman (Who Wrote the Bible?), who holds endowed chairs in Judaism at the universities of Georgia and California, and Dolansky (Now You See It, Now You Don't), assistant professor of religious studies at Northeastern University. They distinguish their focus on the "now" from other efforts to understand literary characteristics and historical context (the "then"). This would seem to suggest that they'll dispense with all that slippery scholarship and cut to the chase—the Bible's thumbs up/thumbs down conclusions for believers today. Not so, and the book is better for it. Without taking and arguing a particular side, this is a lucid discussion, informed by strong scholarship, of the biblical texts at issue for the issues. Some readers may wish for "the answers"; the rest of us will be relieved at their absence. (June)
From the Publisher
"Without taking and arguing a particular side, this is a lucid discussion, informed by strong scholarship, of the biblical texts at issue for the issues. Some readers may wish for 'the answers'; the rest of us will be relieved at their absence."—Publishers Weekly

"A refreshingly honest look at what the ancient Bible teaches us about contemporary controversies, as explained by biblical scholars who can write for lay readers. You will be surprised at their novel interpretations of texts that have been misused to justify both right and left wing positions on homosexuality, abortion and capital punishment."
- Alan Dershowitz, Genesis of Justice and The Trials of Zion

"Friedman and Dolansky offer fascinating observations and, with lucidity, passion, and humor, they help all readers across the religious spectrum to ask the right questions."
— Amy-Jill Levine, University Professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies, Vanderbilt University

"This is a timely book. Friedman and Dolansky look at several hot-button issues and give a dispassionate, scholarly presentation of the biblical evidence. That evidence is seldom if ever clear cut, and does not provide the kind of absolute authority that ideologues often claim. This is an excellent study in the problems of applying the Bible to modern issues."
— John J. Collins, Holmes Professor of Old Testament, Yale University

"Friedman and Dolansky are accomplished and respected scholars who bring their knowledge to bear on all of the contemporary issues under discussion in The Bible Now . . . [C]apable of addressing a lay readership with perfect clarity and explaining even the most abstruse concepts in plain English. That is what makes The Bible Now not only an important book but a useable one." —Jewish Journal

"[Friedman and Dolansky] skillfully employ an impressive array of scholarly tools and insights, including literary criticism, archaeology, anthropology, and ancient languages . . . A fine example of careful scholarship, even if one may disagree with some of the authors' specific conclusions." —Library Journal

"The Bible Now is an honorable book." —Tablet

"...should be required reading for all who use the good book to further their causes." —olumbus Post Dispatch

"This is a thoughtful, well-researched, and well-written analysis of modern issues and how the ancient texts can give us wisdom and guidance in making decisions." — ewish Book World

"...well worth a read...."—CHOICE

"In fascinating passages that shed new light on some of today's most passionate disputes, the authors reveal how the Bible is frequently misunderstood, misquoted, mistranslated, and misused...The Bible Now shows us how we can—and cannot—use this ancient source of wisdom to address our most current and pressing issues."—Jewish Media Review

"[The book's] thoroughness and new interpretations make it a valuable resource for teachers, pastors, and laity wishing to have a more solid understanding about this ancient text's back-story and how it can, or cannot, be applied to today's moral debates."—Interpretation

Library Journal
Friedman (Jewish studies, Univ. of Georgia; Who Wrote the Bible?) and Dolansky (religious studies, Northeastern Univ.; Now You See It, Now You Don't) bring the Bible to bear upon five contentious issues: homosexuality, abortion, the status of women, capital punishment, and environmentalism. They argue that understanding what the Bible says about such issues is important for believers and nonbelievers alike, but everyone must be sensitive to the literary, social, and historical contexts of the text. The authors restrict their interpretations to the Old Testament. Even so, they skillfully employ an impressive array of scholarly tools and insights, including literary criticism, archaeology, anthropology, and ancient languages. VERDICT This book will be readily accessible both to undergraduates and to general readers interested in either the current issues above or in biblical criticism. A fine example of careful scholarship, even if one may disagree with some of the authors' specific conclusions.—James M. Wetherbee, Wingate Univ. Lib., NC
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195311631
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 7/1/2011
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 1,021,741
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard Elliott Friedman is the Davis Professor of Jewish Studies at the University of Georgia and Katzin Professor of Jewish Civilization Emeritus of the University of California, San Diego. A nationally recognized biblical scholar, Friedman is the author of the bestselling Who Wrote the Bible? as well as The Disappearance of God, The Hidden Book in the Bible, Commentary on the Torah, The Bible with Sources Revealed, and The Exile and Biblical Narrative.
Shawna Dolansky is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Northeastern University. She is the author of Now You See It, Now You Don't: The Relationship Between Magic and Religion in the Hebrew Bible and the editor of Sacred History, Sacred Literature.

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Table of Contents

Introduction

Chapter 1: Homosexuality

Chapter 2: Abortion

Chapter 3: Women's Status

Chapter 4: Capital Punishment

Chapter 5: The Earth

Epilogue

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Customer Reviews

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