The Good Book: A Humanist Bible

The Good Book: A Humanist Bible

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by A. C. Grayling
     
 

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Few, if any, thinkers and writers today would have the imagination, the breadth of knowledge, the literary skill, and—yes—the audacity to conceive of a powerful, secular alternative to the Bible. But that is exactly what A.C. Grayling has done by creating a non-religious Bible, drawn from the wealth of secular literature and philosophy in both Western

Overview

Few, if any, thinkers and writers today would have the imagination, the breadth of knowledge, the literary skill, and—yes—the audacity to conceive of a powerful, secular alternative to the Bible. But that is exactly what A.C. Grayling has done by creating a non-religious Bible, drawn from the wealth of secular literature and philosophy in both Western and Eastern traditions, using the same techniques of editing, redaction, and adaptation that produced the holy books of the Judaeo-Christian and Islamic religions. The Good Book consciously takes its design and presentation from the Bible, in its beauty of language and arrangement into short chapters and verses for ease of reading and quotability, offering to the non-religious seeker all the wisdom, insight, solace, inspiration, and perspective of secular humanist traditions that are older, far richer and more various than Christianity. Organized in 12 main sections——Genesis, Histories, Widsom, The Sages, Parables, Consolations, Lamentations, Proverbs, Songs, Epistles, Acts, and the Good——The Good Book opens with meditations on the origin and progress of the world and human life in it, then devotes attention to the question of how life should be lived, how we relate to one another, and how vicissitudes are to be faced and joys appreciated. Incorporating the writing of Herodotus and Lucretius, Confucius and Mencius, Seneca and Cicero, Montaigne, Bacon, and so many others, The Good Book will fulfill its audacious purpose in every way.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Grayling (philosophy, Birkbeck Coll., Univ. of London; Ideas That Matter) has risen to controversial eminence as a public intellectual. This book, which his publisher rightly describes as "audacious," continues his humanist explorations with his creation of an entire scripture for atheists and agnostics. Grayling's "Genesis" has Isaac Newton's apple, rather than Eve's; the wars of Persia against Greece take the place of the rise of Davidic Israel; the lives of Lycurgus, Pericles, and Cicero stand for the wanderings of Jesus's disciples. Grayling's cagey "Epistle to the Reader" does not suggest why his humanist replacements, e.g., the defeat of Persia—in which no one emerges with much credit—have more power than, say, the death of Absalom. Throughout are faint echoes of Chinese poets, Seneca the Younger, Herodotus, Thucydides, and the Bible itself, which will simply leave many hungry for the originals. VERDICT This reasonable, rationalistic, and dull "scripture" is likely to make informed readers long for the spiky, idiosyncratic poems, histories, essays, and narratives Grayling's work at once springs from and criticizes. Some convinced humanists may enjoy this, and it may appeal to nontheistic denominations and congregations in search of a worship resource. Not likely to be of interest to the general reader.—Graham Christian, Pelham, MA

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780802717375
Publisher:
Walker & Company
Publication date:
03/29/2011
Pages:
608
Sales rank:
1,246,815
Product dimensions:
9.24(w) x 6.38(h) x 1.92(d)

Meet the Author

A.C. Grayling is professor of philosophy at Birkbeck College, University of London. He is the author of the acclaimed Among the Dead Cities: The History and Moral Legacy of the WWII Bombing of Civilians in Germany and Japan, Descartes: The Life and Times of a Genius, and Toward the Light of Liberty: The Struggles for Freedom and Rights That Made the Modern Western World. A fellow of the World Economic Forum and past chairman of the human rights organization June Fourth, he contributes frequently to the Times, Financial Times, Economist, New Statesman, and Prospect. Grayling's play "Grace," co-written with Mick Gordon, has played to full houses in London and New York, starring Lynn Redgrave; its central debate over the virtue of religion gives Grayling a strong platform for The Good Book. He lives in London.

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The Good Book: A Humanist Bible 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Finally, someone has written a book that I would actually allow my children to read. This book is truly remarkable. This book transcends all religuous beliefs. I'd also recommend that you buy "When God Stopped Keeping Score," an intimate look at the power of forgiveness. It too is an amazing book, with a timely and powerful message.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great read.
nlbress More than 1 year ago
May be a tough read for the everyday person, but it's full of life and meaning... a great one to read again and again.
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