Good Book: The Bizarre, Hilarious, Disturbing, Marvelous, and Inspiring Things I Learned When I Read Every Single Word of the Bible [NOOK Book]

Overview

Like many Jews and Christians, David Plotz long assumed he knew what was in the Bible. He read parts of it as a child in Hebrew school, then at-tended a Christian high school where he studied the Old and New Testaments. Many of the highlights stuck with him—Adam and Eve, Cain versus Abel, Jacob versus Esau, Jonah versus whale, forty days and nights, ten plagues and commandments, twelve tribes and apostles, Red Sea walked under, Galilee walked on, bush into fire, rock into water, water into wine. And, of course, ...

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Good Book: The Bizarre, Hilarious, Disturbing, Marvelous, and Inspiring Things I Learned When I Read Every Single Word of the Bible

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Overview

Like many Jews and Christians, David Plotz long assumed he knew what was in the Bible. He read parts of it as a child in Hebrew school, then at-tended a Christian high school where he studied the Old and New Testaments. Many of the highlights stuck with him—Adam and Eve, Cain versus Abel, Jacob versus Esau, Jonah versus whale, forty days and nights, ten plagues and commandments, twelve tribes and apostles, Red Sea walked under, Galilee walked on, bush into fire, rock into water, water into wine. And, of course, he absorbed from all around him other bits of the Bible—from stories he heard in churches and synagogues, in movies and on television, from his parents and teachers. But it wasn't until he picked up a Bible at a cousin's bat mitzvah—and became engrossed and horrified by a lesser-known story in Genesis—that he couldn't put it down.

At a time when wars are fought over scriptural interpretation, when the influence of religion on American politics has never been greater, when many Americans still believe in the Bible's literal truth, it has never been more important to get to know the Bible. Good Book is what happens when a regular guy—an average Job—actually reads the book on which his religion, his culture, and his world are based. Along the way, he grapples with the most profound theological questions: How many commandments do we actually need? Does God prefer obedience or good deeds? And the most unexpected ones: Why are so many women in the Bible prostitutes? Why does God love bald men so much? Is Samson really that stupid?

Good Book is an irreverent, enthralling journey through the world's most important work of literature.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
"Like many lax but well-educated Jews (and Christians), I have long assumed I knew what was in the Bible-more in less." When David Plotz realized that he was wrong, he embarked on a simple project: He would read every word in the Old Testament, not as a scholar, but "unmediated by teachers, rabbis, or parents." What he learned in this momentous amateur adventure is certain to surprise you, whether you think of yourself as a committed Christian or Jew, an agnostic, or an atheist. An engaging read that lives up to every single one of its subtitle claims.
Rich Cohen
It's CliffsNotes for Scripture—screenplay by Plotz, story by God—which is by turns entertaining, serious, shallow, profound, literal-minded, cute, ingratiating, hilarious.
—The New York Times
Time Out New York
“Irreverent. . . . Plotz’s hilarious exegeses will have you laughing out loud. Who knew the Bible was such a riot?”
The Jerusalem Post
“Highly entertaining.”
The Minneapolis Star Tribune
“A bloody good book. . . . Very funny. . . . Priceless for those of all traditions who see value in posing unanswerable questions to each other, and to God himself.”
A. J. Jacobs
“Like the Bible itself, Good Book contains multitudes—it is by turns thought-provoking, funny, enlightening and moving. In short, David Plotz’s book easily lives up to its name. Trust me, Thou shalt enjoy.”
Andy Borowitz
“Thanks to David Plotz’s amazing book, I will never have to read The Bible. When can he do this for Madame Bovary?”
Franklin Foer
“Plotz is a genius writer. He can mine Genesis for new insights—and play the book of Job for laughs. He’s the perfect companion for a romp through the Bible: charmingly confessional, a deeply penetrating reader, and at complete ease relating ancient (often obscure) narratives to our modern condition.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061972881
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/6/2009
  • Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 160,501
  • File size: 629 KB

Meet the Author

David Plotz is the editor of Slate. He has written for The New York Times Magazine, Harper's, Rolling Stone, The New Republic, The Washington Post, and GQ, and is the author of The Genius Factory: The Curious History of the Nobel Prize Sperm Bank. He won the National Press Club's Hume Award for political journalism and has been a National Magazine Award finalist. He lives with his wife, the journalist Hanna Rosin, and their children in Washington, D.C.

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Read an Excerpt

Good Book

Chapter One

You'd think God would know exactly what He's doing at the Creation. But He doesn't. He's a tinkerer. He tries something out: What happens if I move all the water around so there's room for dry land? He checks it out. Yes, "this was good." Then He moves on to His next experiment: How about plants? I'll try plants.

Creation is haphazard, like any do-it-yourself building project. For example, God tackles the major geological and astronomical features during the first two days...light, sky, water, earth. But day three is a curious interruption...the creation of plants...that is followed by a return to massive universe-shaping efforts on day four with the formation of the sun, moon, and stars. The plant venture is a tangent, like installing the refrigerator before you've put a roof on the house.

Does the Lord love insects best? They're so nice He makes them twice. On day five, He makes "the living creatures of every kind that creep." A day later, He makes "all kinds of creeping things of the earth." "Creeping" is all over Creation, in fact. When God tells His newly made man and woman that they rule over the Earth's creatures, He specifies that their subjects include "every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth." What a phrase, perfect for bugs and babies.

Good Book. Copyright © by David Plotz. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Table of Contents

Introduction: In the Beginning 1

1 The Book of Genesis: God's First Try 7

2 The Book of Exodus: Let My Complaining, Whining, No-Goodnik People Go! 35

3 The Book of Leviticus: Lovers and Lepers 55

4 The Book of Numbers: The Source of All Jewish Comedy 69

5 The Book of Deuteronomy: The Bible's Fifth Beatle 85

6 The Book of Joshua: Why So Many Bible Hookers? 99

7 The Book of Judges: The Meathead and the Left-Handed Assassin 109

8 The Book of 1 Samuel: The Bible's Bill Clinton 123

9 The Book of 2 Samuel: God's Favorite King 139

10 The Book of 1 Kings: Kings of Pain 151

11 The Book of 2 Kings: The End of Israel 167

12 Digging the Bible 177

13 The Book of Isaiah: The Jesus Preview 189

14 The Book of Jeremiah: The Prophet and the Lustful She-Camel 201

15 The Book of Ezekiel: God's Whole-Grain Hippie Prophet 209

16 The Minor Prophets: All Those Books You've Never Heard Of, Plus Jonah and the Whale 219

17 The Book of Psalms: 150 Short Poems about God 229

18 The Book of Proverbs: Chicken Soup for the Hebrew Soul 241

19 The Book of Job: God's Bad Bet 247

20 The Song of Songs: Hot and Holy 259

21 The Book of Ruth: My Favorite Bible Story 265

22 The Books of Lamentations and Ecclesiastes: Bible Books for Rock Stars 269

23 The Book of Esther: The First Miss Universe Pageant 275

24 The Book of Daniel: Nice Pussycat! 283

25 The Books of Ezra and Nehemiah: Coming Home 289

26 The Books of 1 and 2 Chronicles: Return of the Kings 295

27 Should You Read the Bible? 299

Appendix Useful (and Not So Useful) Bible Lists 307

Acknowledgements 321

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 16 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 15 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2009

    Hysterical

    I laughed out loud more times than I could count. Plotz is a very good writer with a very quick wit. I have never read the old testament, consider myself a tangential Jew, and I appreciated his summarizing, satirizing and political commentary. I doubt that I will ever read the tanach, but at least I now understand why not!

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 11, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Funny, Sad and Insightful

    Having earned a Master's Degree in religious studies, I considered myself to be (fairly) knowledgeable about the Hebrew Testament. I didn't realize just how much I had forgotten, or never learned in the first place, until I picked up Plotz' The Good Book. The Hebrew Testament is filled with heroes, villains, true love, deceit, betrayal, grace ... and on and on. I love how Plotz engages with the text: he is alternately angry, inspired and saddened. And he is filled with questions. A wonderfully human response to such a complex text. Highly recommended to anyone interested in Judaism, literary studies, or religious studies in general.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2009

    Amazing analysis of the Old Testament

    It gives one a whole new understanding of the Old Testament. I had no idea I was so ignorant of even the most common stories. He eliminates the pages and pages of tedious material and gets right to the most meaningful text. Your understaning of the Bible will never be the same again.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 6, 2009

    False advertising!

    "it has never been more important to get to know the Bible." Well, David Plotz did not "get to know" the whole BIBLE as one is lead to believe. He only read the old testament, which most christians think is antiquated and yes even bizarre! So Why doesn't David continue his quest and read the New Testament as well and give us his all knowing insights?

    3 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 7, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    This is a book about the Old Testament of the Bible written by a

    This is a book about the Old Testament of the Bible written by a young agnostic Jewish man. He really read the book for the first time, paying close attention to detail. He points out the inconsistencies, and contradictions, oddities and ideas that conflict with our modern ideas of ethics. Many Christian and Jewish readers will find the God presented in the Old Testament to be disturbing, even in conflict with their conception of God. This factual and easy to read analysis of each chapter makes clear that though there are many truths in the Bible, there is also much that cannot be true of a loving sane God.
    Michael Travis Jasper, Author of the Novel “To Be Chosen”

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2013

    Awesome!

    Hilarious! I would give it 20 stars!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 30, 2012

    It is VERY seldom I have laughed so hard and so often outside of

    It is VERY seldom I have laughed so hard and so often outside of watching America's Funniest Videos! Highly entertaining, more than delightfully well-written and full marks for some of THE most clever turns of phrase I have read. A+ for keeping a very balanced political view. A must for all to keep a little levity in such an overwhelming and emotionally charged subject...religion. If you don't get at least a dozen chuckles and one belly laugh reading the sample pages....lay down, you're dead.

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  • Posted October 19, 2011

    Good book

    I recommend it to friends

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 25, 2011

    terriblr

    just Wfulll stunky

    0 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 27, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    He is to be pitied

    I do not recommend this book to anyone. I pray that sometime in the future he will see a valuable lesson in the Real Book, (Holy Bible.)
    Of course there is freedom of speech.

    0 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted May 16, 2010

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    Posted May 6, 2009

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    Posted April 18, 2009

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    Posted December 20, 2009

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    Posted May 6, 2009

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