Reviews of the Bible

Amazon allows readers to post reviews of their books. Jerry Coyne has made a nice compilation of some of the reviews of the Bible by people who treat is as a work of fiction. It’s pretty funny. Here’s a sample:

There is little plot to this book, save for in the second half, much of which revolves around God’s son, Jesus, an interesting fellow. Definitely, the story has finally hit a stride, so the New Testament reads like a novella. Everywhere this Jesus guy goes, he travels with his posse of “Apostles,” who aren’t your standard yes men. Although they all sing his praises when the going’s good, one gives a great “I don’t know about no Jesus” performance (Peter) worthy of a scruffy rat like Steve Buscemi. Another (Judas) sells out Jesus for a bunch of dead presidents, like Sean Penn did in “Carlito’s Way.” Unfortunately, Jesus gets rubbed out by an Italian gang, “The Romans,” who torture him and nail him to a cross in revenge for representing on their turf. Lots of high drama here. “Revelations” was pretty weird, sort of like watching “Fantasia” while doing mushrooms, only a lot scarier. Altogether, an excellent read.


  1. Ray Horton says

    I would argue, though, that the reduction of the Bible to a “work of fiction” is anachronistic, at best. While this review is rather humorous, the rhetoric employed by the “fiction” vs. “empirical, scientifically observed fact” dichotomy simply perpetuates the same Modernist paradigm that gave birth to contemporary fundamentalism. A more sophisticated and nuanced understanding of the Bible would reject both sides of this duality outright, because the Biblical text and canon is an amalgamation of numerous genres, and its meaning and interpretation--as well as its cultural significance and the meaning / value it has created across generations--have evolved through the centuries in so many remarkable, fascinating ways. Unfortunately, few are willing to look closely enough at the Biblical text--as well as its many historical and cultural contexts--and the result has been a century or so of mudslinging from one camp that thinks the earth is 6,000 years old because “the Bible says so” and another camp that treats the Bible as a useless set of fairy tales promulgated by an oligarchic clergy to keep the masses subservient. Unfortunately, both of these views come wide of the mark, missing the incredibly rich history of the Bible and of the Christian religious tradition(s) in general.

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