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on 27 November 2012
I have read a couple of Manly Hall's works and they have never disappointed. His books cannot be rushed through; they yield their treasures from careful reading and contemplation. I have had an interest in Bible interpretation for a long time, particularly seen in the light of comparative religion, which is what Hall does so well.Hall is rarely dogmatic, in his introduction he emphasises that the interpretations in the book are not final or infallible, but serve as a vehicle for further consideration. Hall covers the broad sweep of the Jewish scriptures in a readable and digestable way, he makes note of many Jewish legends that add depth to familiar Bible stories. The point is after all, that the "Old Testament" is first and foremost specifically Jewish scripture,so must be approached as such. Hall also refers to the Kabbalah often, which is the mystical strand of Jewish thought.Some, not accustomed to Hall's work, or prefer a more traditional commentary, may find some of his statements jarring or controversial. This is not a book to purchase if you want to hear about the superiority of the Bible over all other religions, although Hall treats the Scriptures with reverance and respect. To some also, the book may seem out of date,when many other books on these subjects are available, yet,in my opinion, his books stand the test of time. When Hall wrote or put together many of his lectures, there was very little literature on comparative religion, which in some circles was considered "heathenism". His language also at times betrays the time it was written in, but I personally enjoy the way he writes. I read the book through quickly when it first arrived,but I have got the most out of it from dipping in from time to time and reflecting on what has been said. It certainly has enhanced my reading of Scripture, which is what I had hoped for. If I have any criticism, it is that the illustrations above the chapter headings resembled bad photocopies, I would have preffered them to be clearer. However, the value of the written content of the book outweighs this. Definately a book for open minded Christians, or those interested in comparative religion and Kaballah.
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