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Bible's Cutting Room Floor, The Hardcover – Abridged, 22 Sep 2014

4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books; abridged edition edition (22 Sept. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 125004796X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1250047960
  • Product Dimensions: 14.7 x 2.6 x 21.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,504,740 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Praise for The Bible's Cutting Room Floor A wonderful book to confirm the beliefs of the faithful, to strengthen those whose faith begs for more information and to enlighten those who reject the stories of the Bible as mere fiction. --Kirkus Reviews An engrossing gift for amateur bible students. --Booklist Praise for And God Said A lively tour of the difficulties besetting the Bible's translators, their successes and (more frequent) failures.--Jewish Ideas Daily Deeply welcome as a valuable tool for teaching well-worth acquiring. Jewish Book World [Hoffman] unites biblical scholarship and translation theory, embracing modern science and modern linguistics, to help us understand what the prophets and our forebears were doing and how they wrote. He retrieves what the Bible really was and what it can be for us now. The Very Reverend James A. Kowalski, The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine A wise and important book, and a lot of fun to read. Rabbi Harold Kushner, author of When Bad Things Happen to Good People Hoffman is wise and gentle as he exhibits the issue of distortion by way of translation. Short of all readers learning Hebrew, Hoffman's work is the best gift for a careful reader of a text that defies easy contemporary rendering. Walter Brueggemann, author of The Prophetic Imagination Praise for In the Beginning Hoffman has a flair for explaining how languages work. The Times Literary Supplement (London) Written in an energetic style with a commitment to exploring the evolution of Hebrew from ancient times to the present in ways that a broad audience can comprehend. --Various

About the Author

JOEL M. HOFFMAN, Ph.D., is the author of In the Beginning and And God Said. He is the chief translator for the series My People's Prayer Book (winner of the National Jewish Book Award) and for My People's Passover Haggadah. He is an occasional contributor to The Jerusalem Post and The Huffington Post and has held faculty appointments at Brandeis University and at Hebrew Union College--Jewish Institute of Religion. He lives in New York.


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Format: Hardcover
This title intrigued me, so I gave it a read... The Bible's Cutting Room Floor: The Holy Scriptures Missing From Your Bible by Joel M. Hoffman. It's an interesting look at some writings that aren't part of the "normal" Bible as many people know it. It adds some additional perspective to what and how we got here in our understanding of scripture and history.

Contents:
Introduction - The Abridged Bible; Jerusalem - An Eternal City in Conflict; The Dead Sea Scrolls - How a Lost Goat Changed the World; The Septuagint - How Seventy Scholars Took Seventy Days to Get It Wrong; Josephus - The Only Man to Be a Fly on Every Wall; Adam and Eve - Falling Down and Getting Back Up; Abraham - Humans, Idols, and Gods; Enoch - The Beginning of the End; The Big Picture - Finding the Unabridged Bible; Appendix - Suggestions for Further Reading; Index

Hoffman is a Jewish scholar who has focused on history and religion. He examines material and additional books (such as the Dead Sea Scrolls) with a bent towards examining their story and place in history. For most people (like myself), things like the Book of Enoch consists of strange stories that kept it from being included in the Old Testament. But when placed against the backdrop of the times, it starts to make a bit more sense. It's also interesting that there are references to Enoch and his prophesies in the New Testament. It's very likely that material was familiar and accepted at one point, and at some point further down the line, others decided it was less accepted. Our perceptions are shaped by those decisions. He also does a good job in discussing how the same words in the Hebrew texts ended up being translated completely different in various places, often by minute alterations or shaping of certain letters.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars 31 reviews
25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Makes you curious to re-read certain Bible parts 2 Sept. 2014
By Henk-Jan van der Klis - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
The Bible you usually read is not the complete story. Depending on your denomination you may have only so-called canonical books, deuterocanonical books, apocryphia and/or other books, letters and stories. Rather than using the fact that what we call ‘Bible’ is an outcome of (un)intentionally cut & paste to ‘proof’ the unreliability of the Bible, like Bart Ehrman c.s. do, Dr. Joel M. Hoffman shares in The Bible’s Cutting Room Floor first the backgrounds of bookmaking technology. With the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, Nag Hammadi writings, the Books of Enoch, Life of Adam and Eve, extensions to Esther and Daniel, and Josephus history and commentaries commentaries on the Scriptures, much more teachings and insights have become available.
Hoffman both takes his reader along the peculiar way the Dead Sea Scrolls were found, traded, researched and ultimately published. He elaborates in depth the way Josephus treats Old Testament texts, how the Septuagint, Vulgate and King James Version were created, and how difficult it is to translate Old Testament Hebrew and Aramaic. What do and don’t we know of the Essenes or Qumran Sect that hid the Dead Sea Scrolls. After that there’s room to you explore what you missed in the ‘modern’ Bibles. What happened to Adam and Eve after they were kicked out of the Garden of Eden? What was Abraham’s youth like? Do we know more of Enoch’s endless life? What’s the roles of the Tower of Babel? And do the different biblical positions on fundamental, universal questions like good versus evil, human suffering and afterlife, angels, and God’s holiness have support in these extra-biblical writings?
Hoffman’s teaching respectfully with an impressive mix of history, linguistics, and religious scholarship. It may bring believers and unbelievers together, confirming the faithful, both Jews and Christians, answering pregnant questions and challenge the ones currently rejecting the Bible as mere fiction. Hoffman makes you curious to re-read certain Bible parts and read his sources for yourself.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must have for the serious layman 3 Sept. 2014
By Michael T. Peterson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
Dr. Hoffman's book is not a scholarly effort and, in fact, seems to avoid such complexity. For example, there are no footnotes nor is there an appendix. And, apart from a recommended reading list, his book is a straightforward and well-written pew-sitter's guide to those who would know more about the Bible's historical and/or narrative context. For this, among other reasons, I would argue that the book well-deserves 5 stars. For more information, please read my in depth review at the following link:

http://learn-biblical-hebrew.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Book-Review-The-Cutting-Room-Floor-1.pdf

The book is easy to read, engaging, and will present the serious reader with more than a few "aha" moments. Your efforts will be well rewarded.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good exposition 7 Sept. 2014
By Michele DeJong Kaiser - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
If you have ever wondered, either casually or with a more scholarly bent why certain stories were included in the Bible and others weren’t, or why there seemed to be gaps in what we get out of the text compared to the ancients, this is the book for you. The Bible’s Cutting Room Floor by Joel Hoffman will hold your interest. Hoffman’s work assumes a knowledge of the Bible and the ancient world. However, by no means do you need to be an Old Testament or Rabbinic scholar to understand it. Each chapter follows the pattern of stating his thesis, supporting it, restating it, and finally the conclusion. The final chapter wraps it all up nicely.

The book clearly explains the political situation in Jerusalem leading up to the time of Jesus, and following. This is a real help since the Bible itself lacks a lot of material on this. Its is understood that the reader just knows this stuff. Kind of like we understand 20th century American history. The following chapters discuss the Dead Sea Scrolls and their impact on scholarship and what we know of the historicity of certain events, following is a good discussion of the Septuagint (Greek “Bible”). Added to the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Septuagint, and the Torah writings, we then add Josephus’ work.

Working through the earliest patriarch’s of the Torah which forms the Old Testament in our current Bibles and is the Jewish sacred book, Hoffman examines the lives of Adam and Eve, Abraham and Enoch. Here he references books of the Apocrypha and other Wisdom literature found in the early traditions. In an accessible fashion he points us to the story and meaning behind our Sunday School reading and teachings. These are the big questions of life: why is there evil? If God created the world, why did Adam and Even sin? What of angels? Free will? Illness and suffering?

If you have an interest in the development of the people of the Near East and or an interest in Biblical scholarship you will enjoy this book. It is always intriguing to learn what what excluded from such important texts and (possibly) why. There is an appendix pointing the reader to further study and resources. Because the Roman and Greeks worlds intersected with the Jewish community this information is helpful to those looking for a greater understanding of the world of the Roman Empire. I absolutely recommend this book.

This is an unbiased review in exchange for an ARC.
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9/6/14
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Adds color and background to the history of the Bible... 5 Dec. 2014
By Thomas Duff - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
This title intrigued me, so I gave it a read... The Bible's Cutting Room Floor: The Holy Scriptures Missing From Your Bible by Joel M. Hoffman. It's an interesting look at some writings that aren't part of the "normal" Bible as many people know it. It adds some additional perspective to what and how we got here in our understanding of scripture and history.

Contents:
Introduction - The Abridged Bible; Jerusalem - An Eternal City in Conflict; The Dead Sea Scrolls - How a Lost Goat Changed the World; The Septuagint - How Seventy Scholars Took Seventy Days to Get It Wrong; Josephus - The Only Man to Be a Fly on Every Wall; Adam and Eve - Falling Down and Getting Back Up; Abraham - Humans, Idols, and Gods; Enoch - The Beginning of the End; The Big Picture - Finding the Unabridged Bible; Appendix - Suggestions for Further Reading; Index

Hoffman is a Jewish scholar who has focused on history and religion. He examines material and additional books (such as the Dead Sea Scrolls) with a bent towards examining their story and place in history. For most people (like myself), things like the Book of Enoch consists of strange stories that kept it from being included in the Old Testament. But when placed against the backdrop of the times, it starts to make a bit more sense. It's also interesting that there are references to Enoch and his prophesies in the New Testament. It's very likely that material was familiar and accepted at one point, and at some point further down the line, others decided it was less accepted. Our perceptions are shaped by those decisions. He also does a good job in discussing how the same words in the Hebrew texts ended up being translated completely different in various places, often by minute alterations or shaping of certain letters.

I can see how some people would have a hard time reading this, as it forces you to challenge some of the conventional wisdom that's been handed down over centuries. But it also adds depth and color where it's lacking. If this is a topic of interest, it's worth reading.

Disclosure:
Obtained From: Library
Payment: Borrowed
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The title of the book, and its opening pages ... 18 May 2015
By D. Patrick - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
The title of the book, and its opening pages, led me to think it would explain why some holy writings were omitted from the Old Testament collection. . The author says that this was done for political or theological reason, or simply for lack of space. This seems to beg the obvious question: Did the rabbis of round about the first century make a clear distinction between the canonical OT books and the non-canonical books? Did they use reasonable criteria? I would say they did, judging by the sample of apocryphal writings surveyed in the rest of the book, covering the history of Adam and Eve, Abraham, and Enoch. These writings seem fanciful and quirky in comparison with the canonical books. Dr. Hoffman seems not to see a difference in the quality of these writings. The "cutting room floor" analogy leaves the impression that the decision to include some books and leave out others was arbitrary.
Dr. Hoffman writes that the apocryphal writings were "never meant" to be excluded from the Bible. Never meant by whom? God? Rabbis? The dictates of literary anthologies? I just don't think I understand where the author is coming from, or why it matters that these books are not as widely known as the canonical OT. Nevertheless, it was a fascinating read, and I thank Dr. Hoffman for his publication.
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