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Customer Review

on 31 January 2010
The book acts as a discussion on what the bible is and how it has been historically understood - bar the 20/21st century and the fundamentalist/literalist movements.

The book starts by suggesting that the bible was inspired by god, in that people who considered god wrote what they thought about him and how they could interact with him accordingly. It then goes onto discuss how this historical interaction occurred in the Old Testament and how metaphor was central to understanding god. Metaphor itself being neither certain nor distinctive, capable of one central meaning.

It then goes on to suggest that the bible acts as a historical narrative showing how the understanding of who god is continued to develop until it arrived at the New Testament and the loving example set by Christ. It discusses what Christ would have intended to do with his ministry and how biblically he was unique in the message he gave - which shows how the bible is a developing understanding of what and who god is.

Finally the book concludes by saying that the bible cannot be taken as word for word revelation. Historically it is a developed narrative on how god is understood and to fail to consider it this way means that contradictions occur, i.e. god cannot be angry and merciful. It also looks at how these contractions are sometimes used by fundamentalists to explain that god will punish sinners for all eternity, but he does love you - a contradiction in itself.

The author concludes that the bible should be used and understood to be the revelation of Christ, who was the ultimate inspiration on who god is. It suggests that all those who came before were helping to push the understanding of who god is and what he is like forward, nothing more. It finally suggests that a definitive reading of any biblical text should be avoided as the bible itself is not conclusive enough to support such readings. This means that all readings should be put in the context of the overall message and put into dialogue with readings offered by other parties to see who is more faithful to the biblical message - i.e. god is love, and he loves you.

Overall, a decent book. Not very long and distinctly aimed at fundamentalists and those who have no idea on what the bible is or how it should be used. The book itself was easy to read, not complex in language and short enough to hold ones interest without seeming incomplete.
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