Outlook Issue 22 Winter 2016
News and Views from St. Mary's Woodbridge
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The Bible for grown-ups
Whether you believe that he was the Son of God or not, Jesus the man was a great storyteller. He told stories and performed miracles to illustrate the points he wanted to get across, whether he was talking about the humility of the tax collector or the sheer delight of sitting down with a great crowd of people and sharing lunch. The Bible, you could argue, works on the same principle. It contains lots of good stories to deal with a whole raft of human emotions and activities. Like a good novel, it offers you truth without all literally being true. In his excellent and original book, The Bible for Grown-Ups: A New Look at the Good Book, Simon Loveday seems to be making just this point. Don’t take the Bible literally, he writes in the book’s foreword, but try to understand a bit more of its context – what it’s trying to do and whether certain bits really did happen or not. The book delivers this in droves, whether it is weighing up the truth of the Exodus or St Paul’s animosity towards St Peter. The point is that The Bible for Grown-Ups neither requires nor rejects belief. Read it out of curiosity and you will get a better idea of why the Gospels differ from each other, or indeed the importance of the Old Testament – and you will be entertained in the process. An academic and literary critic, Simon Loveday took nearly ten years to write TBfGU. The resulting lightness of touch and pacey narrative highlight why the Good Book was so widely relevant. After all, it asks: ‘Why did non-Christian Steinbeck use a phrase from Revelation for his great book about the failure of the American Dream, The Grapes of Wrath?’ 'Why did Bob Dylan sing about the Gates of Eden?’ ‘Why do we have rock bands called Black Sabbath and Genesis?’ Try this fascinating book and you will get another slant on the facts behind the stories which make the Bible what it is. NC