31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Alternative Bible
A. C. Grayling is one of the present day's great philosophers. He is also an atheist. His "Good Book" is the result of 30 years of gathering together from over one thousand texts by several hundred of the great thinkers of the past. From these Grayling has selected, redacted, paraphrased,interpolated and arranged into a book that provides inspiration, wisdom, consolation,...
Published on 30 Jun 2011 by Charles
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A disappointment
I heard of this book at a humanist funeral and bought it. It was quite different from what I expected. The format is similar to that of the Bible, with books and verses. In place of parables there are tales from classical literature. I had not expected this mirroring of the format and, to me, it makes in difficult to find passages which might be relevant to issues one...
Published 7 months ago by Richard Skipp
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15 of 38 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Just Awful! Set's Rationalists and Non-Believers Back to a Pre-Enlightenment Era.,
The LAST thing non-believers needed when defending their corner and holding off the recent criticism that Atheism is a religion was scripture. Not to mention this book is just awful.
It makes very little sense for the most part and it is really just a rip-off of what Thomas Jefferson did Centuries ago removing the miracles of the Bible and keeping the moral teachings. This book was unnecessary and is not even useful.
I would not buy this book if I could turn the clocks back and I most certainly will not read it again.
18 of 47 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars vanitas vanitatis,
I used to have faith in Dr Grayling's judgement and wisdom. This is why I am so sad to see him having succumbed to his vanity, i.e. the temptation of styling himself NOT as compiler, adaptor and co-author but - of all things - MAKER of this King James Bible pastiche. How could he believe for a moment that even his friends - let alone his critics - would or could take his endeavour seriously if he linked it so prominently with his own brand rather than putting himself behind or at least just in line with the many sages and philosophers he indirectly quotes?
The editors of the real bible were anxious to substantiate their authority with countless annotations and references. How could he not reference the many indirect quotations in this text? Has he forgotten his sources, was it too much work or did he hope that we will take his words as gospel?
I have given back my copy and I recommend you do the same. His authority with me - even on Radio4 - has suffered greatly with this revelation but I will consider picking up the good book again if he should bring to humble himself a little in future editions.
0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars PREFER HIS OTHER BOOKS,
THIS TOO MUCH RESEMBLES THE BIBLE IN FORMAT SO THERE ARE MOMENTS OF INERTIA AND RATHER DEADLY PROSE WHICH I HAVE TO SAY IS NOTHING LIKE AS FASCINATING, THOUGHT PROVOKING OR CHALLENGING AS HIS OTHER BOOKS WHICH I LOVE
5 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The most pretentious book ever written?,
This review is from: The Good Book (Kindle Edition)
This was a great opportunity to curate an anthology of secular writing, drawing on centuries of knowledge to create a comparative reader of wisdom, knowledge and opinon. Grayling begins well by identifying key human concerns but rather overplays his hand right from the start by co-opting faux biblical headings (Genesis, Lamentations etc.) which pitches him straight into the arena of taking on the Judeo / Christian bible head on. This reduces his initial claim of collating the best of histories secular thought and learning and reduces it to a silly "bible alternative for atheists". However, his worst literary crime is writing the whole thing in a terrible cod-King James versification. He simply does not have the writing skills to begin to remotely pull this conceit off. All it delivers is an unreadable, deeply, deeply tedious and clunky childish sneer of a parody. I'm sure he is so much more capable than this but you have to wonder at his skills of self editing; this silly attempt at lampooning the Bible is a wasted opportunity and waste of time.
5 of 19 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars bit of a lt down,
I was hoping that the Good Book would be a secular font of wordly wisdom but the realioty is that it is a cheap imitation of the bible. Set out in the same format as the bible, it has a serious amount of totally useless ramblings which seem to be more about fitting in with the bible than issuing readable information that wouod be of benefit to the reader. Honestly I found myself skipping forward so much that eventually i just gave up. I was so disappointed as this iead could have been so much more.
7 of 26 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Hubris in Excelsis !,
Well there is perhaps some wisdom in this book. A page in the book states that the ideas in the book are taken from many philosophers from many cultures and world religions, listing them. However, what I find objectionable about this book there are no annotated references to particular philosophers - one cannot tell where AC Grayling is writing and where he has pinched a bit from Ancient Philosophers - which makes me wonder. For this reason: ONE STAR ONLY. If this was a scientific paper (as its written in this bland mechanistic-scientific-materialistic-deterministic tone) it would have references to other scientific papers !
I was aware this was a book written by a Humanist style-philosopher and it is true there would be little to offend any atheist, scientist or secular un-philosophizing or un-spiritual jo bloggs on the street - it does contain some metaphysical food for thought. However, Grayling seems to completely brush over and ignore some of the greatest minds in history - for example in one paragraph he states 'mythology is pure fantasy' or something along those lines - being totally ignorant of the works of Carl Jung for example. Sure its a fine book if you are into Dawkins or scientifico-analyst style view on life, but if you hold spiritual beliefs of any sort what-so-ever you will find it bland and uninspiring. I'd say that this book deeply lacks wisdom and deeply lacks any awareness or understanding of any personal inner spiritual experience other than saying 'oo look those flowers are nice'... At times it tries to draw upon Greek and Mesopotamian myth or legend - and even those comes across bland, dry, uninspiring and misinformed (from two very 'spiritual cultures' - gee even Socrates believed in the Gods...so perhaps thats the need not to directly reference him !
One commentator noted 'A Bible without a God in it is a bit like non-alcoholic beer' - rather pointless I'd say.
I actually think genuine people of faith, new agers and spiritual people will find this book arrogant and laughable. If a secular society were to accept a book such as this (which is no doubt the authors goal), I doubt very much the solace or comfort that it could provide to those seeking something more than the daily drudge. And no I do not believe all experience is just due to chemical states in the brain...
But if you want something to reinforce your materialist views or Humanist views with a bit of niceness thrown it - its for you. But I would in no way call it 'Secular' it simply does not contain enough spiritual diversity to be so.
5 of 24 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Pretentious doesn't even begin to describe it,
Even the thought of someone even thinking of single-handedly writing anything even remotely comparable to the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament put together is pitiful and laughable - no matter who the author is or how good the book is. Many if not most readers of this work probably have just browsed the Bible a while ago, didn't get it or didn't like what they got, and now are delighted to find something bit less taxing and more to their liking. Good for them!
5 of 25 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The Good Book,
A terrible terrible book - so banal my friend and I laughed outloud. Grayling had signed it so we couldn't even get our money back! Patience Strong, eat your heart out...
4 of 23 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Unconvincing (sorry!),
The author, saintly representation of the Atheist Church is unconvincing with his `not even clever' comparison with the Bible. The lack of references, only something A. C. Grayling can get away with and still be praised. It is more of a secular supermarket than a secular Bible, but, hey, there are many good things on the shelves. Beautiful texts in their own merit, sheltered in a `look-how-clever-I-am-with-this-title' house.
3 of 22 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Bland,
Tepid, bland, weak. And very, very long.
How this is supposed to be comparable in any way to the KJV is beyond me.
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The Good Book: A Secular Bible by Professor A. C. Grayling (Hardcover - 14 Mar 2013)