Thursday, November 23, 2006

Books

It's not every day a website loaded with male/male photos reviews three books about Christianity, but here it is. I'm actually not a Christian, but I am very intrigued by religion and have read as much as I could about it. Here's a couple ideas. If you're a non-Christian who wants to know more about the faith than 99% of its adherents, or if you're a Christian looking for a deeper understanding of your own beliefs, check these out...

* <-----------> ** <-----------> *** <-----------> **** <----------> *****
Easy - - Pretty Easy - - Moderate - - Pretty Challenging - - Challenging

God's Secretaries: The Making of the King James Bible, by Adam Nicolson
$13.95 at Bn.com ISBN: 0060838736
*** (moderate)
All English Bibles are based on the King James version, first completed in 1611. But who was King James, and what were the motivations of the translators? As it turns out, there's a lot more to this story than you'd think. A classic example is the word "tyrant", which never appears once in the King James version, is used in the Geneva Bible (an English translation from the same period) over 800 times! Learn the story of the scholars who put the Bible in the language of the common man: exactly the way the establishment told them to. Especially interesting are some of the comparisons with other translations. Nicolson uses the Bible's own classic beginning "In the Beginning, God created the heavens and the Earth" and many other familiar passages as illustrations.

The Closing of the Western Mind, by Charles Freeman
$16.95 at Bn.com ISBN: 1400033802
**** (pretty challenging)
This book is really just an outline of the church's history until the time of Thomas Aquinas. The author takes a sometimes supportive, sometimes critical, view of the church. He proposes that the rise of Christianity contributed to the slowing of technological advancement and philosophy during the Middle Ages. Whether you agree with him or not, you'll learn a lot from this somewhat editorializing version of a fascinating and important story.

The Faith, by Brian Moynahan
$22.95 ISBN: 0385491158
**** (pretty challenging)
An incredibly enjoyable read, challenging only because it's over 800 pages long. This is also the history of the church, only told by someone a bit more sympathetic. Moynahan sure knows how to tell a story. You'll get everything from Jesus and his disciples to Pope John Paul II. There's lots of neat stuff in between, especially during the Middle Ages when things got a little crazy. An essential for anyone claiming to be "a serious Christian". Know the facts! Learn your heritage! It's a thrilling read, full of religious and secular history.

1 comment:

iain said...

And you neglect to point out that King James was famously homosexual.
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