The Unauthorized Version: Truth and Fiction in the Bible Hardcover – 1 Jan 1992
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Top Customer Reviews
There are no world changing theories put forward in this book, but it is a very insightful account into the culture and history of the early tribes of Israel and the forces and events that shaped the creation of two major religions. This subject matter is fairly complex and often in need of very thorough explanations. This makes the book somewhat strenuous to read, but to do the subject proper justice it is in my opinion a necessity.Read more ›
Lane Fox is not a biblical expert, but rather has used his expertise in the common currency of the historian, source criticism. Nonetheless he relies mainly on the work of others, and when he expresses preferences between possible variant conclusions, he (at least appears) to inform you of the alternatives.
Particularly interesting is the evidence that extensive parts of the bible have been compiled and edited from earlier by various early authors, and then later recompiled and re-edited, etc. We can infer the particular obsessions and agendas of the principal editors. The existence of the Dead Sea Scrolls, giving many variant texts, provides further evidence that old testament texts had a tendency towards revision in the light of political expediency.
The new testment is also examined. Unfortunately a clear conclusion is not available on whether the letters attributed to St Paul have a single author. It also examines whether there is more than one John (gospel vs revelations).
The book is a hard read. The problem with a genre such as this is that an author can get away with crankiness and only experts would notice. The book does not appear to be an attempt at sensationalism, nor does the author have an obvious axe to grind, but he is nonetheless aiming at the wider historical market. I have given it 4 stars because it appears that he has apparently made accessible an important area of work that others prefer to obscure. That makes it an important book on my bookshelf.
The text of the Bible
For the author, `we have scriptures in plenty, but the original scripture has been lost forever. By the time of Jesus nobody read the scriptures correctly, because nobody knew what they were.'
The text of the Bible is a result of padding and reinterpretation. The Christian scriptures were `a battlefield for rewriting and textual alterations.'
The truth of the Bible
There is absolutely no coherence to support a theory of biblical truth, a correspondence with what really happened, with the facts.
A few examples. The Bible contains blatant contradictories in its story of the Creation and the Flood. The 4 Christian Gospels do not give us one single truth. Jesus' birth date and age are false. Outside the Bible, there is no evidence that Moses, David, Solomon or Joshua ever lived.
The sanctity of the Bible and its consequences
What have the prophets of the Old Testament predicted about Jesus Christ or Christianity? Nothing.
Moreover, the belief that as God's word, the scriptures never err, has been prominent in evangelical Christianity with important consequences for the uses of the scriptures in Christian missions throughout the world.
For Robin Lane Fox, `the theology of a single, jealous God, who required total love from his chosen people, had clear, earthly consequences. Yahweh ordered genocide against the unbelieving neighbors. Within Israel, those who broke the rules of behavior were to be killed by communal punishments.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Lane Fox appears to have two aims in writing this book: firstly, to cast doubt on practically all the historical material in the Bible, secondly, to persuade his readers that the... Read morePublished 15 months ago by Mr. J. Hastings
People say Charles Dickens books gives us a picture of the life and times of society during his life, like reading Sherlock Holmes stories where the goose was the Christmas bird... Read morePublished 19 months ago by Tai
An unbiased and wonderfully researched work by Mr Fox.
This is a book for those who aren't afraid of the truth
It will make everyone who has read the Bible, and... Read more
If you want to know about the Bible and it's origins, this is probably the best overview. It details the chronology and origin of the Old Testament books and how the New Testament... Read morePublished 23 months ago by Mike Butler
This book is extremely interesting. It contains a wealth of information for anyone interested in the biblical text or that era of history. Read morePublished on 24 Aug. 2014 by Varian Beauregard
I wish I had been able to read this when being brought up as an evangelical Christian by my Salvation Army Officer parents. Read morePublished on 11 Mar. 2014 by Sam Merry
Hmmm - I think I have a problem with RLF's writing style (I had the same issue with his Into to the Classical World) he is an erudite and well well respected academic yet this book... Read morePublished on 5 Aug. 2013 by Jo Brookes