"The study of the Bible is the soul of theology."

-Pope Leo XIII


"The one biblical theology, going from a single root and maintaining itself in unbroken continuity, is wish-fulfillment and fantasy."



"Only dogmatic prejudice can assert that the canonical writings have an exclusive claim to apostolic origin and thus to historical priority."

- Helmut Koester

Ancient Christian Gospels


"We see nearly all men parade their own ideas as God's Word, their chief aim being to compel others to think as they do, while using religion as a pretext. We see, I say, that the chief concern of theologians on the whole has been to extort from Holy Scripture their own arbitrarily invented ideas, from which they claim divine authority. In no other field do they display less scruple....than in the interpretation of Scripture...."



"The Bible has been the Magna Carta of the poor and oppressed. The human race is not in a position to dispense with it."

-Thomas Huxley


"The Bible is worth all other books which have ever been printed."

-Patrick Henry


"My custom is to read four or five chapters of the Bible every morning immediately after rising....It seems to me the most suitable manner of beginning the day.....It is an invaluable and inexhaustible mine of knowledge and virtue."

-John Quincy Adams


"Let's teach our children from a very young age about the story of the universe and its incredible richness and beauty. It is already so much more glorious and awesome-and even comforting-than anything offered by any scripture or God concept I know."

-Carolyn Porco (Senior research scientist at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Co.)


"The Bible shows the way to go to heaven, not the way the heavens go."

-Galileo Galilei (1564-1642)


"I had the intention of becoming a theologian....but now I see how God is, by my endeavors, also glorified in astronomy, for 'the heavens declare the glory of God.' I am a Christian.....I believe....only and alone in the service of Jesus Christ.....In Him is all refuge, all solace."

-Johannes Kepler (1571-1630)


"You are not educated if you don't know the Bible. You can't read Shakespeare or Milton without it.....And with the schools now, they don't even teach it as a document. They stay out of the whole thing to avoid controversy. So kids can't quote the King James Bible. That's terrible."

-Christopher Hitchens


"The study of the Bible is a post-graduate course in the richest library of human experience."

-Herbert Hoover


"A thorough knowledge of the Bible is worth more than a college education."

-Theodore Roosevelt


"Within the covers of the Bible are all the answers for all the problems men face."

-Ronald Reagan


"If what Spinoza affirms were true one might very well say, that the Bible is a Wax-Nose, which may be turned and shaped at one's will; a Glass thro' which every Body may exactly see what pleases his fancy; a Fool's Cap, which may be turned and fitted at one's pleasure a hundred several ways."

-Johannes Colerus (1647-1707)


"The New Testament is the very best book that ever was or ever will be known in the world."

-Charles Dickens


"The New Testament usurpation of the Hebrew Bible constituted a kind of trauma that prevails among Jewry."

-Harold Bloom

Jesus and Yahweh


  "Yahweh is the protagonist of the Tanakh, which is distinctly not identical with the Old Testament. Jesus Christ is the protagonist of the New, or Belated, Testament, which revokes the Covenant between Yahweh and Israel. Politicians and religious figures (are they still separate characters?) speak of the Judeo-Christian tradition, but that is a social myth. It would make about as much sense if they spoke of a Christian-Islamic tradition."

-Harold Bloom

Jesus and Yahweh


"What the Christian tradition had done was to take over the Jewish Scriptures as its own, so that Justin could say to Trypho that the passages about Christ "are contained in your Scriptures, or rather not yours, but ours." As a matter of fact, some of the passages were contained only in "ours," that is, in the Christian Old Testament. So assured were Christian theologians in their possession of the Scriptures that they could accuse the Jews not merely of misunderstanding and misinterpreting them, but even of falsifying scriptural texts. When they were aware of differences between the Hebrew text of the Old Testament and the Septuagint, they capitalized on these to prove their accusation.....The growing ease with which appropriations and accusations alike could be made was in proportion to the completeness of the Christian victory over Jewish thought. Yet that victory was achieved largely by default. Not the superior force of Christian exegesis or learning or logic but the movement of Jewish history seems to have been largely responsible for it."

-Jaroslav Pelikan



   "For the more I studied, the more I saw that reading a text necessarily involves interpreting a text. I suppose when I started my studies I had a rather unsophisticated view of reading: that the point of reading a text is simply to let the text "speak for itself," to uncover the meaning inherent in its words. The reality, I came to see, is that meaning is not inherent and texts do not speak for themselves. If texts could speak for themselves, then everyone honestly and openly reading a text would agree on what the text says. But interpretations of texts abound, and people in fact do not agree on what the text means. This is obviously true of the texts of scripture: simply look at the hundreds, or even thousands, of ways people interpret the book of Revelation, or consider all the different Christian denominations, filled with intelligent and well-meaning people who base their views of how the church should be organized and function on the Bible, yet all of them coming to radically different conclusions (Baptists, Pentecostals, Presbyterians, Roman Catholics, Appalachian snake-handlers, Greek Orthodox, and on and on).

Bart D. Ehrman

Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why


"These difficulties (of reconciling the teachings of the Bible to reason) are probably felt by every mind that ever reflects on the subject; and they are unexplained, unmitigated, and unremoved. I confess, for one, that I feel them, and feel them more sensibly and powerfully the more I look at them, and the longer I live. I do not understand them, and I make no advance toward understanding them. I do not know that I have a ray of light upon this subject which I had not when the subject first flashed across my soul. I have read what wise and good men have written upon the subject; I have looked at their theories and explanations; I have endeavored to weigh their arguments,-for my whole soul pants for light and relief on these questions: but I get neither; and, in the anguish and distress of my soul, I confess I get no light whatever. I see not one ray to disclose to the reason why sin came into the world, why the earth is strewn with the dying and the dead, and why man must suffer to all eternity. I have never seen a particle of light thrown on these subjects that has given a moment's ease to my tortured mind....I trust that other men.....have not the anguish of spirit which I have. But I confess, when I look on a world of sinners and sufferers, upon death-beds and graveyards, and upon a world of woe filled with hosts to suffer for ever; and when I see my friends, my parents, my family, my people, my fellow citizens-when I look upon a whole race-all involved in this sin and danger; and when I see the great mass of them wholly unconcerned; and when I feel that God only can save them, and yet he does not do it,-I am struck dumb. It is all dark-dark-dark to my soul, and I cannot disguise it."

Practical Sermons by Albert Barnes


"The Vision of Christ that thou dost see
Is my Vision's Greatest Enemy. . . . .
Yours loves the same world that mine hates,
Thy heaven doors are my Hell Gates. . .
Both read the Bible day & night,
But thou read'st black where I read white."


"Oh mercy. If it catches you in the wrong frame of mind, the King James bible can make you want to drink poison in no uncertain terms."

            Barbara Kingsolver
         The Poisonwood Bible


"In most parts of the Bible, everything is implicitly or explicitly introduced with "Thus saith the Lord.'; It is....not merely a sacred book but a book so remorselessly and continuously sacred that it does not invite-it excludes or repels-the merely aesthetic approach. You can read it as literature only by a tour de force.....It demands incessantly to be taken on its own terms: it will not continue to give literary delight very long, except to those who go to it for something quite different. I predict that it will in the future be read, as it always has been read, almost exclusively by Christians."

-C.S. Lewis



"People in general do not know what wickedness there is in this pretended word of God. Brought up in habits of superstition, they take it for granted that the Bible is true, and that it is good; they permit themselves not to doubt of it, and they carry the ideas they form of the benevolence of the Almighty to the book which they have been taught to believe was written by his authority. Good heavens! It is quite another thing; it is a book of lies, wickedness, and blasphemy; for what can be greater blasphemy than to ascribe the wickedness of man to the orders of the Almighty."

-Thomas Paine



"The giving up of witchcraft is in effect giving up the Bible."

-John Wesley


"The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies; probably because they are generally the same people."

-G.K. Chesterton


"I grew up in a world in which the Protestants, who had just proved that Rome did not believe the Bible, were excitedly discovering that they did not believe the Bible themselves."

-G.K. Chesterton


  In 1485, the Archbishop of Mainz issued an edict punishing unauthorized Bible-reading with excommunication, confiscation of books, and heavy fines. The great Renaissance theologian Desiderus Erasmus challenged the Archbishop by publishing, in 1516, the first printed edition of the Greek New Testament. He address the anti-Bible mentality in his preface with these words:

   I vehemently dissent from those who would not have private persons read the Holy Scriptures nor have them translated into the vulgar tongues, as though either Christ taught such difficult doctrines that they can only be understood by a few theologians, or the safety of the Christian religion lay in ignorance of it. I should like all women to read the Gospel and the Epistles of Paul. Would that they were translated into all languages so that not only the Scotch and Irish, but Turks and Saracens might be able to read and know them. "

F. Tupper Saussy

Rulers of Evil


"Fundamentalism fossilizes the Bible into an unquestionable authority."

-Juirgen Moltmann


"The Bible, it seems, was the work of sand-strewn men and women who thought the earth was flat and for whom a wheelbarrow would have been a breathtaking example of emerging technology."

-Sam Harris

The End Of Faith


"Do you tell me that the Bible is against our rights? Then I say that our claims do not rest upon a book written no one knows when, or by whom.....(B) ooks and opinions, no matter from whom they came, if they are in opposition to human rights, are nothing but dead letters...."

-Ernestine L. Rose during a debate over the Bible at an 1856 women's rights convention


""When I see throughout the greater part of this book scarcely anything but a history of grossest vices and a collection of the most paltry and contemptible tales, I cannot dishonor my Creator by calling it by his name."

-Thomas Paine


"The Bible wears black cloth. It comes with a certain official claim against which the mind revolts."

-Emerson 1839


   "We decide what is good in the Good Book. We read the Golden Rule and judge it to be a brilliant distillation of many of our ethical impulses. And then we come across another of God's teachings on morality: if a man discovers on his wedding night that his bride is not a virgin, he must stone her to death on her father's doorstep (Deuteronomy) 22:13-21), If we are civilized, we will reject this as the vilest lunacy imaginable. Doing so requires that we exercise our own moral intuitions. The belief that the Bible is the word of God is of no help to us whatsoever."

-Sam Harris

Letter to a Christian Nation


"I look at the authority of the Scriptures as one who has been both nurtured by and then disillusioned with the literal Bible. My devotion to the Bible was so intense that it led me into a study that finally obliterated any possibility that the Bible could be related to on a literal basis....A literal bible presents me with far more problems that assets. It offers me a God I cannot respect, much less worship....Those who insist on biblical literalism thus become unwitting accomplices in bringing about the death of the Christianity they so deeply love."

-John Shelby Spong


"What, To Me, makes the Bible such an inviting resource is the vigor with which the rulers of evil have suppressed its unlicensed reading. It's been my experience that as predictably as such rulers play with truth, the Bible forthrightly tells it."

-F. Tupper Saucy

Rulers of Evil



"It is impossible to enslave mentally or socially a Bible-reading people. The principles of the Bible are the groundwork of human freedom."

-Horace Greeley


"The Hebrew Bible, of which the Book of J is the origin, ought not to be confused with the Christian Bible, which is founded upon it, but which amounts to a very severe revision of the Bible of the Jews. The Jews call their Holy Scriptures Tanakh, an acronym for the three parts of the Bible: Torah (the Teaching or Law, also known as the Five Books of Moses, or Pentateuch); Nevi'im (the Prophets); and Kethuvim (the Writings). Christians call the Hebrew Bible the Old Testament, or Covenant, in order to supersede it with their New Testament, a work that remains altogether unacceptable to Jews, who do not regard their Covenant as Old and therefore superseded. Since Christians are obliged to go on calling Tanakh the Old Testament, I myself suggest that Jewish critics and readers might speak of their Scriptures as the Original Testament, and the Christian work as the Belated Testament, for that, after all, is what it is, a reversionary work that attempts to replace a book, Torah, with a man, Jesus of Nazareth, proclaimed as the Messiah of the House of David by Christian believers."

-Harold Bloom

The Book of J



"...Galileo was arrested and spent his last years under house arrest for defending the Copernican system and for his belief that if people weren't allowed to question and interpret the meaning of scripture for themselves, "why would God have given them a mind?"

-Joseph Eger

Einstein's Violin


"We must be on guard against giving interpretations of scripture that are far-fetched or opposed to science, and so exposing the word of God to the ridicule of unbelievers."

-St. Augustine


"So wisdom drapes her truth with symbolism, and covers her insight with allegory. Creeds, rituals, poems are parables and symbols. The ignorant take them literally and build for themselves prison-houses of words....Through the shadow shines ever the Perfect Light."

-Manly P. Hall


"It is book, no history in the world were so full of contradictions, and therein the name of God so often and shameful misused: Since all the persons who are cited here as men of God, their sum total, give sheer offense, annoyance and aversion to a soul which loves honor and virtue. In the whole series of this history one finds neither patriarchs, judges and kings, nor priests and prophets, whose real and earnest purpose has been to disseminate a true knowledge of God, virtue and piety among men; to say nothing of the fact that one could encounter in it one single great, noble act useful to all. It consists of a weaving of sheer stupidities, shameful deeds, deceptions, and horrors, for which clearly selfishness and lust for power were the stimuli." 

-Reimarus   1760


"There are more sure marks of authenticity in the Bible than in any profane history."

-Sir Isaac Newton


"....The Bible creates more confusion that clarity. Sometimes it seems to be a cacophony of different voices. But I find its variegated nature healthy and a source of inspiration. Many different stories can be told about God. God is good but sometimes also strict; merciful and gracious but sometimes also just. The Bible does not put us in a position to arrive at a balanced judgment. Life is not like that, and the God of Israel is not like that either. He is different from what we think. He is more majestic than we can imagine and loves human beings more than we could believe in our wildest dreams. He does not always correspond to our norms and takes ways which amaze and surprise us. Life with the God of Israel does not go along well-trodden ways, but constantly seems to an uncertain adventure."

-C.J. Den Heyer

Jesus and the Doctrine of The Atonement



"....Bill Wilson, the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous and the Twelve Step tradition underlying so many of today's therapeutic systems. Wilson was acutely aware that we do not contain the resources within ourselves needed to overcome profound personal distress. The only way to overcome serious inner division is essentially spiritual in nature, requiring us to develop a sense of what Wilson called "God-consciousness." Yet Bill W. (as he is called within the Alcoholics Anonymous movement) was wary of organized religion. He was particularly critical of the judgmental moralism associated with biblical religion. In his experience more alcoholics had been harmed than helped by institutional religion. He rejected traditional religious dogma and confessed that "in all probability, the churches will not supply the answers for a good many of us"

-Robert C. Fuller

Religious Revolutionaries: The Rebels Who Reshaped American Religion


"My favorite book? You're going to laugh-It's the Bible."

-Bertolt Brecht


"The Bible is one of the most genocidal books in history. The first thing (governments should) do is ban the Old Testament. There's nothing like it in the literary canon that exalts genocide, to that extent. And it's not a joke, either. Like where I live, New England, the people who liberated it from the native scourge were religious fundamentalist lunatics, who came waving the holy book, declaring themselves to the the children of Israel who are killing the Amalekites, like God told them."

Noam Chomsky


"I find that the Bible,-the corner stone of your belief-cannot be measured by the square and compass of reason, nor be weighed in the balance of truth and love....I can worship my creator with as sincere and heartfelt a devotion, as you can-, with all your faith-and your systems of theology-for I kneel at a shrine-not made with hands, not fashioned by human iniquity, while you bow at an alter, "so crossly indented, and whimsically dove-tailed,' that it appears, what in truth it is, the museum of absurdities of every nation, sect and age."

George T. Bigelow  (1833)


"The Christian message cannot be a direct proclamation of religious truths as they are given in the Bible and in tradition, for the situation of modern persons is precisely one of doubt about all this and about the church itself....It cannot be required of persons today that they first accept theological truths, even though (these truths concern) God and Christ. Wherever the church in its message makes this a primary demand, it does not take seriously the situation of the person of today and has no effective defense against the challenge of many thoughtful people of our day who reject the message of the church as of no concern for them."

-Paul Tillich (1866-1965)


"We have invented scholarship in order to evade doing God's will. This much we certainly do understand-that face to face with God and his obviously understood will to say "This I will not do"-this no one dares to do. We do not dare do it that way, so we protect ourselves by making it seem as if it were very difficult to understand and therefore we-he must indeed be flattered by this and regard it as praiseworthy in us-study and investigate etc. that is, we protect ourselves by hiding behind big books."



"If the Bible has anything to say to the realities of our own time, if the interpretation of Scripture must by critical necessity be orientated around one central is this: Jesus did not come primarily and solely to the religious."



"What man of sense will agree with the statement that the first, second and third days in which the evening is named and the morning, were without sun, moon, and stars, and the first day without a heaven? What man is found such an idiot as to suppose that God planted trees in Paradise, in Eden, like a husbandman, and planted therein the tree of life, perceptible to the eyes and senses, which gave life to the eater thereof a knowledge of good and evil? I believe that every man must hold these things for images, under which the hidden sense lies concealed."

-Origen   Origeniana


   "Historically, fundamentalism is a recent development, an early twentieth-century phenomenon that at least had the virtue of taking the Bible's words seriously. But the literalism that so often came hand in hand with it had no virtue whatsoever when it was made the only way to read the Bible. In fact, however, the literal approach to Scripture predates fundamentalism by some three hundred years. The thinkers who first set the stage for it were rationalists of the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries who objected to the Bible's miracles because they couldn't see them as literal facts of history. But during the nineteenth century, the response of many believers to such skepticism was simply to stamp their feet and say, "They really are literal facts of history, and we're going to believe every one of them, no matter what you say. So there!"

    Needless to say, that was the beginning of the much-touted war between science and religion, and it was a disaster for everybody. Literalists and anti-literalists alike went forth conquering and to conquer. "Truth itself is one the line," they said, "and we're willing to die for it!" But as it turned out, they didn't  die for the truth of Scripture (which went grandly on being whatever kind of truth it pleased); they died in the trenches of their own narrowness-and they were buried in the common ditch of literalism. That's what happens when you let your enemy choose the field of battle: even if you think you're winning, you're losing. 

Luckily, though, for the sixteen centuries before that war, almost no Christians let themselves fall into that ditch. If a "literal history" view of some portion of the Bible gave them problems, they felt quite free to assign other senses to it: a moral sense, perhaps; or a spiritual, mystical, of anagogical one. Still, since that approach too had its limitations and excesses, I feel just as free to urge my Bible as-film approach upon you."

Robert Farrar Capon

Genesis: The Movie        *(Ed note: I find this the most refreshing & interesting book on the Bible.)


"Is it possible that men can be guilty of greater idolatry, than to esteem and hold the Scriptures as the only rule of faith and practice, by which they place them in the very seat of God and worship them as God?"

-Elias Hicks  1820


"God, to instruct the church, not merely uses mute teachers but also opens his own most hallowed lips. Not only does he teach the elect to look upon a god, but also shows himself as the God upon whom they are to look....God, the Artificer of the universe, is made manifest to us in Scripture.....The highest proof of Scripture derives in general from the fact that God in person speaks in it.....Above human judgment we affirm with utter certainty....That (Scripture) has flowed to us from the very mouth of God by the ministry of men."



"There is much to the Bible against which every instinct of my being rebels, so much that I regret the necessity which has compelled me to read it through from beginning to end."

-Helen Keller


"I am certain that the constant contact of the Bible with my childish mind was a great mental stimulant as it certainly was the cause of a singular and vague pleasure. The wild poetic parts of the prophecies, with their bold figures, vivid exclamations, and strange Oriental names and images, filled me with a quaint and solemn delight.

   Just as a child, brought up under the shadow of the great cathedrals of the Old World, wandering into them daily, at morning or eventide, beholding the many colored windows flamboyant with strange legends of saints and angels, and neither understanding the legends nor comprehending the architecture, is yet stilled and impressed, till the old minister grows into his growth and fashions his nature, so this wonderful old cathedral book insensibly wrought a sort of mystical poetry into the otherwise hard and sterile life of New England.

   Its passionate Oriental phrases, its quaint pathetic stories, its wild, transcendent bursts of imagery, fixed and indelible mark in my imagination....I think no New Englander brought up under the regime established by the Puritans could really estimate how much of himself had actually been formed by this constant face-to-face intimacy with Hebrew literature."

-Harriet Beecher Stowe



"....obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and torturous executions, and unrelenting vindictiveness with which more than half the Bible is filled."

Thomas Paine


"Our ultimate purpose in reading the Bible is to make us better men and women."

-Immanuel Kant


"Every time that you find in our books a tale the reality of which seems impossible, a story which is repugnant to both reason and common sense, then be sure that the tale contains a profound allegory veiling a deeply mysterious truth; and the greater the absurdity of the letter, the deeper the wisdom of the spirit."

Moses Maimonedes (1135-1205 A.D.)



"If therefore a man claims to know and speak of God and carries you backward to the phraseology of some old mouldered nation in another country, in another world, believe him not."

Ralph Waldo Emerson


"We must read the Bible through the eyes of shipwrecked people for whom everything has gone overboard."

-Karl Barth


"A thorough knowledge of the Bible is worth more than a college education."

-Theodore Roosevelt


"No matter how many say the Bible should be taught in full, I am not going to do it. Men like Bernard Shaw, Arnold Bennett and  H. G. Wells all turned against the Church through wrongful teaching, when they could have been a powerful force to us....

   "It takes a man of considerable intelligence to understand the whole of the Bible. Some of the stories are helpful, interesting and lovely, but quite often they deal with rape, murder, lies and brutality, exaggerated nationalism and war. What purpose is to be served by teaching all these unpleasant stories to the young? If they are intelligent they will get the strangest ideas of God.

   "I believe the Christian religion is in a state of decline partly because so many people cannot make head or tail of it. Unfortunately the whole Christian Church is against me. I am the odd man out over this question."

Canon T .P. Stevens, Vicar of St. Paul's Church, Wimbledon


   "Barclay points out that the Bible we now have was produced by a process of selection on a basis of spiritual discernment subsequent to the writing of the various books. How did it come about, he asks, that we have this particular selection of canonical books rather than a different selection, or these particular renderings of Greek and Hebrew texts rather than others, except for the spiritual insight of those who made the selection? What is there in the Epistle of James, for instance, to indicate that it is authentic? Does it not contradict Paul on the primacy of faith? Nowhere in the Scriptures is it declared that the canon is complete. It is not a new gospel we plead for, says Barclay, but a new revelation of the old gospel. As for the Scriptures being a filled canon, I see no necessity in believing it. Samuel Fisher wrote several hundred pages to show that all versions of the Bible were corrupt and uncertain. Such a critical view of the scriptures is common today, but it was a bold innovation in the seventeenth century."

Howard H. Brinton

Friends for 350 years


"...It is not possible that the Gospels can be either more or fewer in number than they are. For, since there are four zones of the world in which we live, and four principal winds, while the Church is catered throughout the world, and the pillar and ground of the Church is the is fitting that she should have four pillars...."

Irenaeus  Against Heresies


"The Bible is the Book of the Emancipation of Man. The emancipation of man means his deliverance from sorrow and sickness, from poverty, struggle, and uncertainty, from ignorance and limitation, and finally from death itself. This may appear to be what the euphuistic colloquialism of the day would call "a tall order," but nevertheless it is impossible to read the Bible with a mind unwarped by antecedent conceptions derived from traditional interpretation without seeing that this is exactly what it promises, and that it professes to contain the secret whereby this happy condition of perfect liberty may be attained."

Judge Thomas Troward

Bible Mystery and Bible Meaning


"Can you prove that Zeus does not exist? Of course not....And yet, just imagine if we lived in a society where people spent tens of billions of dollars proclaiming the gods of Mount Olympus, where the government spent billions more in tax subsidies for pagan temples, where elected officials did their best to impede medical research out of deference to The Iliad and The Odyssey. This would be a horrific misappropriation of our material, moral and intellectual resources. And yet that is exactly the society we are living in."

-Sam Harris

Letter to a Christian Nation


"Solomon made a book of proverbs, but a book of proverbs never made a Solomon."



"There is, in a word, nothing comfortable about the Bible-until we manage to get so used to it that we make it comfortable for ourselves.....Have we ceased to question the book and be questioned by it? Have we ceased to fight it? Then perhaps our reading is no longer serious. 

   For most people, the understanding of the Bible is, and should be, a struggle: not merely to find meanings that can be looked up in books of reference, but to come to terms personally with the stark scandal and contradiction in the Bible itself....

   Let us not be too sure we know the Bible just because we have learned not to be astonished at it, just because we have learned not to have problems with it."

Thomas Merton

-Opening the Bible


"The Bible is not the only means to furnish a mind, but without a book of similar gravity, read with the gravity of the potential believer, it will remain unfurnished."

Allan Bloom


"Either this is not the Gospel, or we are not Christians."

-Thomas Linacre (1460-1524)  (upon reading the gospels late in life for the first time)


"We seem to be on the threshold of another dark age....The first thing ought to be to get rid of a good deal of the Old Testament. "

Dean Inge (on his 90th birthday) Reported in The New Zealand Herald 8-6-50


"This is the very season and age of the Bible. Bible dictionaries, Bible tales, Bible stories, Bibles plain or paraphrased-so wide is the crater of public appetite at this time."

Parson Weems (in a letter to his publisher 1800)


   "The Bible-in 286 different languages-can be found on bookshelves all around the globe. The Japanese alone, though fewer than 1 percent of them are professing Christians, have bought more than 150 million Bibles in the past few years. In West Germany the bible, as a category in itself, is outsold only by atlases and cookbooks. The ordinary consumer seems to get a lot more use out of the latter, however; out of every hundred Bible owners only fifteen are actually Bible readers. The Good Book seems rapidly to be achieving the status of a piece of bookshelf bric-a-brac, or at least an attractive bookend.

   Still, a copy of the Bible is not hard to come by in most ordinary, worldly contexts. You can pick one up at the supermarket. You can slip one from your hotel-room drawer into your luggage without suffering any particular pangs of guilt. The spoken Word is widely available on records and cassettes; some cornflakes boxes in America are adorned with scriptural texts; and in one Black Forest spa you can put a five-mark piece in a vending-machine slot and wait for the machine to disgorge your vacationer's pocket Gospel. All this does not change the essential fact that though virtually no other book has been as widely disseminated as the Bible, it remains a book that comparatively few readers seem to be willing to crack-in short, a best-seller that no one reads."

Manfred Barthel

What the Bible Really Says: Casting New Light on the Book of Books (1983)


"The Bible is a book, that once you put it down-it is hard to pick it back up."

Mark Twain (?)


"...The Bible is a divine comedy in both the high and the low sense of the word comedy. The enthronement of the Lamb is truly both sublime and ridiculous. Yield to it in the right way, with just the right music playing, and you will be swept away. Catch it at a slightly crooked angle, with the sound system off, and you will laugh out loud."

Jack Miles

Christ: A Crisis in the Life of God


"If we hold to the letter and must understand what stands written in the law after the manner of the Jews and common people, then I should blush to confess aloud that it is God, who has given these laws; then the laws of men appear most excellent and reasonable."



"...The changing of the mind of God is the great subject, the epic argument, of the Christian Bible."

Jack Miles

(*or see Marcion) ed


"To the true scholar and mystic, the Old Testament is an endless source of inspiration. To the intellectualist, it is a cause of ceaseless wrangling, and he argues over dates and places, overlooking entirely the sublime truths concealed under the crude allegories of scripture.

            Manly P. Hall
            The Secret Teachings of all the Ages


"It is a world of magic and mystery, of deep darkness and flickering starlight. It is a world where terrible things happen and wonderful things too. It is a world where goodness is pitted against evil, love against hate, order against chaos, in a great struggle where often it is hard to be sure who belongs to which side because appearances are endlessly deceptive. Yet for all its confusion and wildness, it is a world where the battle goes ultimately to the good, who live happily ever after, and where in the long run everybody, good and evil alike, becomes known by his true name....That is the fairy tale of the Gospel with, of course, once crucial difference from all other fairy tales, which is that the claim made for it is that it is true, that it not only happened once upon a time but has kept on happening ever since and is happening still."

Frederick Buechner

Telling the Truth: The Gospel as Tragedy, Comedy and Fairy Tale


"It will be hard for many people to accept, but if we take what the Bible says at face value, then the creator figure, whom the Western world calls simply ‘God’ started out as a humble genie living on his wits in the mountains of north-east Africa and south-west Asia."

            Christopher Knight & Robert Lomas
            The Hiram Key


   "Not one Christian in ten thousand, however, Catholic or Protestant, has read or even seen the Books of Enoch, the Book of Jubilees, the Psalms of Solomon (quoted by Jesus in Gethsemane: "My soul is exceeding sorrowful into death" (Mark:14;34) or the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs (quoted in the Sermon on the Mount). They are studied only by a few scholarly clergymen and small groups of professors and students in theological seminaries. They are as inaccessible to the general public as the whole Bible was in the early Middle Ages. Yet these practically unknown compositions  had more influence on the writers of the New Testament than did the books of the Old Testament. Informed scholars regard a knowledge of the pseudepigrapha as indispensable and essential to an understanding of the New Testament and Christianity itself."

Dr. Charles F. Potter

Did Jesus Write This Book?


   "A true understanding of Jesus requires a knowledge of the literature that gave him his inspiration and much of his message. A knowledge of the Old Testament cannot adequately explain Jesus and early Christianity; so old-time theologians had to postulate a miracle. The New Testament assumes new dimensions after one reads and ponders the books Jesus read and pondered. The Old Testament has bulked larger in the thought of the Christian Church than it did in the thought of Jesus, while these pseudepigraphic books which he admired have been strangely neglected."

Dr. Charles F. Potter

Did Jesus Write This Book?


"I am practically certain that only Jewish and Christian revelation (Scripture) is radically contrary to religion (as defined by Ellul, the institutional church and its worldview, as in civil religion or the American religion). That is, every time one returns to the written word of that revelation (the Bible), to its always new Good News, one finds a challenge issues to all religious institutions, to all churches and religious philosophies, to all religious moralities, dogmas, and interpretations-Christian or otherwise. When we relearn how to take this revelation (Scripture) seriously and reacquire the habit of listening in silence, then a kind of earthquake occurs that brings on the collapse of all religion traditions and myths and structures. This the great divide between all other revelations and the revelation of the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Jesus Christ."

-Jacques Ellul

(*apparently ignorant of the Koran) ed



"To The Editor: New York Times Jan 27,2008

   Having just read "Reading the Koran" by Tariq Ramadan (Jan 6) I am awed by its spiritual power. The most amazing aspect of the essay is that you could replace the word "Koran" with the word "Bible" and have an astonishingly accurate, devoutly spiritual interpretation of the basis of Scripture in Christianity."

The Rev. John Wiley Nelson

Provincetown, Mass


"While the religion of the early Israelites has been adversely criticized, its disparagers have failed to give consideration to the time and environment of which it was a natural and consistent product. It is impossible to judge one civilization by comparing it with another widely separated from it in point of time. The modern world looks on many ancient practices as cruel and barbarous, but is guilty every day of offenses which would have proved equally revolting to the sensibilities of ancient peoples! at no time has the world been composed of a majority of thinking people"

            Manly P. Hall


..."Even Luther knowingly inserted some words and dropped others in order to strengthen the support for his own theological views.

   Though Luther made a great many such changes in  the text of printed Scripture, the most notable of them involves a single word-"alone." Rendering Rom. 3:28, he deliberately lengthened the phrase, "man is justified by faith" to make it read "man is justified by faith alone." This modification, trifling in terms of size, had monumental impact. Luther and his followers held justification by faith as one of their main tenants. This was a shorthand way of asserting that man is made just or holy not by his own effort, but by the redemptive work of Jesus Christ.

   Challenged about his treatment of Holy Writ-which came very close to outright tampering-Luther was quick to defend himself. "We do not have to inquire of the literal Latin, how we are to speak German," he retorted. "Rather we must inquire about this of the mother in the home, the children in the street, and the common man in the marketplace so that they will read with understanding."

Webb Garrison   (ed italics added)

Strange Facts About the Bible


"The most widely quoted 'proof text' of Trinitarianism is I John 5:7, 'For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost; and these are one.' In theological terms, Unitarianism owes much to Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536), who discovered that this verse does not appear in the oldest and most reliable manuscripts of the New Testament, and is almost certainly a late interpolation to give scriptural support to the doctrine of the Trinity."

David V. Barrett

The New believers



"To interpret the Bible literally has led to the bloody doctrines of infant damnation, of a hell of fire and brimstone, and of the thought that the saint in heaven would be so much sublimated that he will enjoy the burning of the sinner in hell!"

            Horace Williams


"Not that I am (I think) in much danger of ceasing to believe in God. The real danger is of coming to believe such dreadful things about Him. The conclusion I dread is not 'So there's no God after all,' but "So this what God's really like. Deceive yourself no longer.'"

C.S. Lewis (Journal following his wife's death)


"The secret of my success? It is simple. It is found in the Bible, "In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths."

(George Washington Carver  in a letter to Rev. Carl A. Blackman Dec 16,1941)


In the Book of Job, Jahve or Jehovah is challenged by Lucifer as to the very possibility of freedom. Man, so claims the prince of darkness, is loyal to God only because he seeks rewards and fears punishment. Put him to the test, and he will curse his creator and renounce the divine gift of life. . Even Jahve cannot disregard this challenge, for if Lucifer were right, God' s master plan of bringing into existence a free being would be based on error. Though by no means the only example in the Bible, the Book of Job is one of its most intriguing, in that it assigns to Jahweh the part of the defendant , and to man that of judge and jury. Job , though subjected to suffering he has not deserved, and deprived of all accepted incentives for loyalty, acquits his creator by refusing to curse him and to renounce life. His faith in the law of just retribution shattered, his attitude toward God and destiny no longer determined by hope for reward or by Fear of punishment, he nevertheless refuses to renounce God. Thus, as representative of the human race, he affirms man' s potential for freedom and consents willingly to the aim of creation."

            Franz E. Winkler
            For Freedom Destined


"The question today is whether the Bible in its stories is talking about the past at all."

Thomas L. Thompson

The Mythic Past


"The Bible is an Anti-Semitic book."



  "The historical difficulty is precisely that we cannot get out of this theological context in which the Bible tells its story. We cannot speak of the tradition as historical at all. The Bible isn't interested in telling us anything about the past...."

Thomas L. Thompson

The Mythic Past



"The Old Testament mythos reads as a report--limited, well ordered ....a god who has no adversary builds the world like a house, he tends the earth like a garden. Its center is God, not the world. It explains the order of the world by telling ' how it was made by God" "

            Von Weizacker


"To the Bible ,God is the God who divides good from Evil. The good is his work - the evil is not his work; it is rejected by him. Yet the evil is real. Man goes on doing the Evil . This is the true picture of the world."

            C. F. von Weizsacker
            The Relevance of Science


Compare Yahweh with Zeus who had to yield to implacable fate.
" Yahweh" is the quintessence of arbitrariness."

            Amaury de Reincourt


"An idea becomes close to you only when you are aware of it it has already occurred to you, that you know it and are simply recalling it. That's how it was when I read the Gospels. In the Gospels I discovered a new world: I had not supposed that there was such a depth of thought in them. Yet it all seemed so familiar; it seemed that I had known it all long ago, that I had only forgotten it."

            Bulgakov' s diary,
            18 April 1910


"We whose language is English may rejoice that in our Authorized Version we have a translation of incomparable artistry and luminosity; but in whatever language or version, it is the words of the Gospels as they have come down to us, with all their textual imperfections and historical and theological ambiguities, which have inspired many of the noblest lives and much of the greatest art and literature and music and architecture of our civilization. In the truest and most absolute sense, therefore, they may be called Holy Words, and without blasphemy attributed to God Himself. It is on behalf of these words that majestic buildings like Chartres Cathedral have been constructed, and that created saints like St. Francis of Assisi who have so joyously and wholeheartedly dedicated their lives to the service of God and their fellows men. To the greater glory of these words Bach composed ,El Greco painted, St. Augustine labored at his City of God and Pascal at his Pensees; in them a Bunyan found his inspiration in describing a Pilgrim's journey through the wilderness of this world, and a Sir Thomas More comfort on his way to the scaffold. In our own time, they enabled a Dietrich Bonhoeffer to go serenely to his death, and a Simone Weil to derive solace and enlightenment from the affliction that was her lot. To what these words have brought us, and bring us, there is truly no end; if they have survived their commentators-especially their latter-day ones."

            Malcolm Muggeridge
            Jesus The Man who Lives


   "Whoever it was who translated the Bible into excellent French prose is chiefly responsible for the collapse of Christianity in France. Contrariwise, the men who put the Bible into archaic, sonorous and often un-intelligible English gave Christianity a new lease of life wherever English is spoken. They did their work at a time of great theological blather and turmoil, when men of all sorts, even the least intelligent, were beginning to take a vast and unhealthy interest in exegetics and apologetics. They were far too shrewd to feed this disconcerting thirst for ideas with a Bible in plain English; the language they used was deliberately artificial even when it was new. They thus dispersed the mob by appealing to its emotions, as a mother quiets a baby by crooning to it. The Bible that they produced was so beautiful that the great majority of men, in the face of it, could not fix their minds upon the ideas in it. To this day it has enchanted the English-speaking peoples so effectively that, in the main, they remain Christians, at least sentimentally. Paine has assaulted them, Darwin and Huxley have assaulted them, and a multitude of other merchants of facts have assaulted them, but they still remember the  twenty-third Psalm when the doctor begins to shake his head, they are still moved beyond compare (though not, alas, to acts!) by the Sermon on the Mount, and they still turn once a year from their sordid and degrading labors to immerse themselves unashamed in the story of the manger. It is not much, but it is something. I do not admire the general run of American Bible-searchers-Methodists, United Brethren, Baptists, and such vermin. But try to imagine what the average low-browed Methodist would be if he were not a Methodist but an atheist!"

H.L. Mencken

Holy Writ (from the Smart Set, Oct 1923)


"The King James Bible was based on corrupted and inferior manuscripts that in many cases do not accurately represent the meaning of the original text."

-Bart D. Ehrman

Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why


"The fact is that biblical translators often consciously depart from the most probable original meaning. Such departures often serve to maintain the illusion that the Bible remains relevant to and harmonious with out changing views...."

-Hector Avalos

See: "Fighting Words: The Origins of Religious Violence


"....various mistranslation to hide or suppress some of the starker discontinuities between what the original scriptures say that Jesus taught and what current version of Christianity want their adherents to think that Jesus meant."

Hector Avalos


"Through Luther, although Calvin seems to have been the first to announce Monobiblicism clearly, the Bible became the arm of the Protestant revolt. A dumb and difficult book was substituted for the living voice of the Church, in order that each one should be able to make for himself a religion which suited his feelings. And the Bible, open before every literate man and woman to interpret for themselves, was the attractive bait used to win adherents. Not the solid rock of truth but the shifting sand of private judgment is the foundation upon which Protestantism was built."

(a popular Roman Catholic commentary)


   "Brother, continue to listen. You say that you are sent to instruct us how to worship the Great Spirit agreeably to His mind; and, if we do not take hold of the religion which you white people teach, we shall be unhappy hereafter. You say that you are right and we are lost. How do we know this to be true? We understand that your religion is written in a book. If it was intended for us, as well as you, why has not the Great Spirit given to us, and not only to us, but why did He not give to our forefathers the knowledge of that book, with the means of rightly understanding it? We only know what you tell us about it, and having been so often deceived by the white people, how shall we believe what they say?

   Brother, you say there is but one way to worship and serve the Great Spirit. If there is but one religion, why do you white people differ so much about it? Why not all agree, as you can all read the book?

Red Jacket (1805)


   "Despite the ubiquity of the Good Book, it is increasingly clear that the rate of biblical literacy has gone down rather than up. A recent American poll conducted by the Barna Research Group discovered that 10 percent of the sample of more than one thousand persons polled said that Joan of Arc was Noah's wife, 16 percent were convinced that the New Testament contained a book by the Apostle Thomas, and 38 percent were of the view that both the Old and New Testaments were written a few years after Jesus' death. These replies are worthy of the old Sunday school howler in which the epistles are defined as the wives of the apostles. The president of the polling firm commented, "Clearly, most people don't know what to make of the Bible. Adults constantly gave us answers which contradicted or conflicted with previous replies. It is not that people lie about their knowledge of the Bible; it is that they often feel that in order to maintain their moral credibility they must reply in the affirmative when questioned by pollsters, since most believe that they ought to read it. Many of these modern Christians are much like the Emperor Charlemagne who, it is said, slept with a copy of Saint Augustine's magnum opus, The City of God, under his pillow in the hope that this passive proximity to a great but difficult work might be of some benefit to him."

Peter J. Gomes

The Good Book: Reading the Bible With Mind and Heart


"The Bible is good enough for me, just the old book under which I was brought up. I do not want notes or criticisms or explanations about authorship or origins or even cross-references. I do not need them or understand them, and they confuse me."

-Grover Cleveland (former President of the U.S.A)


"In the seventeenth century, the great figure was the mystic Jacob Boehme, the shoemaker , who asked what it would profit a man to know the Bible by heart if he knew not the spirit which had inspired them."

            Roland H . Bainton


"The Bible is not God, nor is it a substitute for God, and to treat it as if it were God or a surrogate of God is to treat it in the very way that it itself condemns over and over again. This first danger, giving to the Bible what belongs to God, while an understandable temptation on the part of the faithful, is nevertheless profoundly dangerous. In the name of God, and in the pursuit of good this danger will cause many to do much harm. We will see just how much harm in the other dangers and temptations associated with the interpretation of scripture: literalism and culturism."

Peter J. Gomes

The Good Book


"Perhaps it is more difficult to recognize the biblical archetypes for what they are because the Bible apparently offers us tales of men rather than gods, and if we are too caught by the dictum ' the gods are archetypes ' our insight may be blocked. Perhaps, too, writers have shied away from a probing psychological 'Auseinandersetzung' with the biblical imagery because these archetypal patterns are in fact closer than the classical to our consciousness, more " blatantly a part of the texture of our lives - and confronting them would cut closer to the bone, would be a far More painful descent into the background out of which we operate. But whether we consciously acknowledge them or not, the archetypes given form in the Old Testament root of our common heritage remain vital and of crucial significance. A young boy; a latter-day Isaac, knowingly sacrificed on the altar of his father's convictions; the Jacob-Esau dichotomy lived out in contemporary families, replete with paternal blindness and matriarchal manipulation in favor of one sibling over another; the remaining militance of a Deborah and the castrating seductiveness of a Delilah; the stubborn recalcitrance of a Jonah desperately bent on avoiding his destiny; the bewildered fall from grace of a Saul and the swift rise of a new anointed one - now achingly familiar they all are, with that natural and persistent frequency we encounter them in life as well as in art."

           Psychological Perspectives
            C G. Jung Institute, L.A.




"First, it may be well to say something about Swedenborg's general teachings respecting the Bible. He regards it in the strictest sense as a Divine revelation, but he tells us that the early chapters of Genesis are purely allegorical in character and do not describe the creation of the universe and the history of the first human pair, as commonly supposed. The Bible is truly the "Word of God," though in its outward form it appears like a human book. Within the historical narratives of individuals and nations, however, and in the gospels, prophecies, and poetical books, is enshrined an interior spiritual sense; or, rather, a series of spiritual meanings, one within the other, like the various enfolding of a flower. In its ultimate sense, the Word is natural; in the interior sense, spiritual; and in its inmost , celestial; and it is Divine in every sense. (Doctrine of the Sacred Scripture,No.6.) It is indeed, the Divine Truth taking form as it descended from God through the heavens to the earth. In its first origin the Word is purely Divine; when this passed through the Heavens of the Lord's Celestial Kingdom it was Divine Celestial, and when it passed through the Heavens of the Lord's Spiritual Kingdom it was Divine Spiritual, and when it came to man it became Divine Natural; hence it is that the natural sense of the Word contains within it the Spiritual sense, and this the celestial sense, and both a sense purely Divine, which is not open to any man, nor even to any angel.

          Swedenborg  (Apocalypse Revealed,      (No. 959)


The spiritual sense can be comprehended by men in some degree, but the celestial sense can scarcely be unfolded, for it does not fall so much into the thought of the understanding, as into the affection of the will. (Doctrine of Sacred Scripture, No. 19)

It is adapted to the perception of the celestial angels, with whom the Divine law is received "in their inward parts," and written "in their hearts."

In thus attributing a heavenly meaning to the Scriptures, Swedenborg does not detract from the vale of the literal sense indeed, he raises it to a much higher degree of esteem than is bestowed upon it even by fundamentalists; for he teaches that of God, inexhaustible by the highest angels, but adapted, also, to the comprehension of the simplest minds. Everything needful for salvation, he tells us is contained in the literal sense, and from the literal sense the doctrine of the Church should be derived and confirmed. In the literal sense indeed, "the Word is in its fullness, its holiness, and its power." What need, then, to supplement this with a spiritual sense? Because the natural sense is written according to appearances, and is often obscure and misleading; and because the spiritual meaning amplifies and emphasizes the truth of the letter while it explains the mysteries and apparent contradictions of the same. In no part of the Bible is a knowledge of the spiritual sense more helpful than in dealing with the early chapters of Genesis. It is objected by skeptics that these contain false science and imaginary history, while they present and unworthy idea of God as an unjust, resentful, and arbitrary Being. In the spiritual,..,., however, all these difficulties disappear, and criticism is disarmed. As Bishop Colenso remarked: "Let it be once freely admitted that these stories of the first chapters of Genesis,  and whatever lessons may be drawn from them by a devout mind, are in their present form and structure mythical descriptions, where their narrative is an imaginative clothing for ideas, and so are not to be regarded as teaching unquestionable matters of historical fact which occurred in primitive times; and then such a comparison as we must now make, between the statements of the Bible and well-known facts of science, would be superfluous and uncalled for." (The Pentateuch, etc. Part Iv, p.85.)


            George Trobridge
       Swedenborg Life & Teachings     ( P138-9)


"It is impossible, the author continued, whilst the mind abides in the literal sense only, to see that it is full of such spiritual contents. Thus, in these first chapters of Genesis, nothing is discoverable from the literal sense, but that they treat of the creation of the world, and of the garden of Eden which is called Paradise, and also of Adam as the first-created man; and scarcely a single person supposes them to relate to anything besides. But that they contain arcana which were never heretofore revealed, will sufficiently appear from the following pages; where it will be seen that the first chapter of Genesis, in its internal sense, treats of the New CREATION of man, or of his REGENERATION, in general and specifically of the most ancient church; and this in such a manner, that there is not a single syllable which does not represent, signify, and involve something spiritual. "


            Preface to Swedenborg' s
          Arcana Celestial 1748


"Thus the Bible is portrayed as one vast glorious parable. All the way one may read in it lessons of life and its phases- its first innocence, its youthful waywardness, its saving conversion, and its incalculable possibilities of service and joy, it is a complete circle from paradise to paradise-"the circle of the earth, upon which sitteth the Lord forever, "The limited language and imperfect modes of thought of days long gone by are only the body of a heavenly message that declares God to be always with us, imparting new and higher gifts and capabilities."

            Helen Keller
            My Religion pp79-82 -


"For a fact, if you take a faith thought out of the Bible each day and drive it deep into you mind and dwell on it and nurture yourself on it, gradually you will become an indomitable individual. The sin and weakness and tensions of the world will no longer overwhelm you. "

Norman Vincent Peale




"The Old Testament God is the first example in History of a complete emancipation from the Mythopoeic thought process- the biblical account is but one long process of progressive emancipation from the shackles of Mythology. "

            Amaury de Riencourt


"I have no sympathy with those who look on the Bible as an outworn book and the Church as an institution whose symbols are empty of meaning. It is a good thing that, somewhere in "our social order or disorder, the Mother whose child has no father save God should be regarded as an object of worship. It would be as well to maintain the symbol of that worship until we have really incorporated it into our hearts and are prepared in our daily life to worship the Mother whose child has no known father save God. "

            Havelock Ellis


"if we assume the Bible is a book like any other, then we can hardly object to scholarly efforts that so trivialize the text. Maybe the ancient authors really did have uppermost in their minds such unelevating matters as treaty law and water rights! But if we hope the Bible is something greater, then we must look below the surface."

David Klinghoffer

God: The Discovery of Abraham and the birth of Monotheism


These words have echoed through mans consciousness, shaping the course of history, and every soul in Christendom ought to repeat them in sincerity and truth. They hold the dignity of Christianity."



"There was a time not so long ago, when it was no laughing matter to get new ideas out of the bible. Many a man has been burned alive for that very thing-for daring to open the Bible and finding something in it that was not being officially taught. When the Pilgrim Fathers came to this country to escape from that very thing, one of the first things they did was to hang three Quakers on Boston Common. The Pilgrims came here for an open Bible themselves, but if anyone else opened it he was hanged-just to 'learn him' , as the schoolboy says. "

            Emmet Fox
            The Ten Commandments


"I'm the only one who really takes the Bible seriously and that' s why I'm here. "

            Charles Manson (according to Tim Leary)


"Most people are bothered by those passages in scripture which they cannot understand; but as for me I always noticed that the passages in scripture which trouble me most are those which I do understand."

-Mark Twain


"Actually, a Reformation for the purpose of abolishing the Bible now would have a good deal more validity than Luther’s abolition of the Pope.

This thing about the Bible has developed religiosity in scholarly and legalistic circles, but merely as entertainment. A sort of "learning" in that field has gradually seeped down to the lowest classes, and no one any longer reads the Bible merely as an individual human beings.

But this way of reading it causes irreparable harm; it then becomes to be a stronghold for apologies and evasions etc. in relation to 'living' ; for there is constantly some reference one must look up, and always this sham that one must make sure the doctrine is in perfect shape before one can begin to live in accordance with it-which means that one never gets around to it.

The Bible societies, this insipid caricature of the Mission, a company which, just like any other business-company works with money, and is busy distributing the Bible in just as worldly a way as any other enterprises their wares; the Bible Societies have done irreparable harm. Christianity has long been in need of a religious hero who; in fear and trembling before God, had the courage to forbid people to read the Bible. This is something just as necessary as the necessity of preaching 'against' Christianity."

            Soren Kierkegaard 1848


"It has been the practice of all Christian commentators on the Bible and of all Christian priests and preachers, to impose the Bible on the world as a mass of truth and as the word of God; they have disputed and wrangled, and anathematized each other about the supposed meaning of particular parts and passages therein; one has said and insisted that such a passage meant such a thing; another that it meant directly the contrary; and a third, that it meant neither one nor the other, but something different from both; and this they have called understanding the Bible."

            Tom Paine


"But the belief of a God is so weakened by being mixed with the strange fable of the Christian creed, and with the wild adventures related in the Bible, and with the obscurity and obscene nonsense of the Testament, that the mind of man is bewildered as in a fog. Viewing all these things in a confused mass , he confounds fact with fable; as he cannot believe all, he feels a disposition to reject all. But the belief of a God is a belief distinct from all other things, and ought not to be confounded with any other. The notion of a Trinity of Gods, has enfeebled the belief of one God. A multiplication of belief acts as a division of belief; and in proportion as anything is divided it is weakened."

            Tom Paine


"If a report of the prophet Ezekiel were to be taken literally, we would have to admit that God is a bigamist. There were two sisters, the Lord told Ezekiel, whose names were Aholah the elder and Aholiah her sister. In the King James Version the text continues "and they were mine, and they bare sons and daughters" (Ezek.23;4) J.M.P. Smith translated this passage "they became my wives" and Ronald Knox renders it "both I espoused."

            Webb Garrison
       Strange Facts About the Bible


Within that awful volume lies

The mystery of mysteries!

Happiest they of human race,

To whom God has granted grace

To read, to fear, to hope, to pray,

To lift the hatch, and force the way,

And better had they ne’er been born

Who read to doubt, or read to scorn.

            Sir Walter Scott


"Contrary to long-established opinion, the Bible nowhere says that man is divinely ordained to earn his living by the sweat of his brow. In fact, this precise phrase does not appear in Holy Writ. Gen,3;19 is the probable origin; there Adam is told that "in the sweat of thy face thou shalt eat bread, till thou return unto the ground."


"It is not necessary that a man should earn his living by the sweat of his brow, unless he sweats easier than I do."



"The letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life"

(2 Cor. iii,6)


"When the Qumran Scrolls are finally published in their entirety, I believe, the church of Rome will crumble into conflicted autonomous factions much like the independent states of the former Soviet Union."

                                          Paul William Roberts

                                          In Search of the Birth of Jesus


"In bite-sized selections, the New Testament seems to be a wise book. Read from Matthew to Revelation, however, it makes about as much sense as Mandean theology. Most astounding is that the world's largest and most influential religion is based on material that wouldn't even compel a handful of acid-heads to form some minor cult if it were published today."

                           Paul William Roberts

              In Search of the Birth of Jesus


   "What troubled Quimby most about the Protestant theology of his day was its emphasis upon sin-a belief that he traced to a good deal of the nervousness and illness found in his patients. Quimby therefore devoted a fair amount of time to showing his patients how their religious beliefs stood in the way of their ability to live a God-filled life. It was necessary, he thought, for him "to destroy the false opinion in order to relieve the patient. In Quimby's view the Bible offered only a distorted view of the true Wisdom called God. Quimby believed that as much as half of all the diseases he treated stemmed from the fear of death caused by the Bible. To dissolve these fears, Quimby was forced to show his patients just how crude and misleading the Bible could be. For their own highest good he was forced to show his patients "that they have been made to believe a wrong construction. My arguments change their minds and the cure comes. This is my excuse for what I have said upon the scriptures."

-Robert C. Fuller

Religious Revolutionaries: The Rebels Who Reshaped American Religion



"...If you take any isolated phrase you choose, without reference to the rest of the Book, there is no nonsense you cannot make out of the Bible. You would not be allowed to do that sort of thing in a Court of Law..."

Judge Thomas Troward

The Law and the Word



"These difficulties (of reconciling the teachings of the Bible to reason) are probably felt by every mind that ever reflects on the subject; and they are unexplained, unmitigated, and unremoved. I confess, for one, that I feel them, and feel them more sensibly and powerfully the more I look at them, and the longer I live. I do not understand them, and I make no advance towards understanding them. I do not know that I have a ray of light upon this subject which I had not when the subject first flashed across my soul. I have read what wise and good men have written upon this subject; I have looked at their theories and explanations; I have endeavored to weigh their arguments,-for my whole soul pants for light  and relief on these questions: but I get neither; and, in the anguish and distress of my soul, I confess I get no light whatever. I see not one ray to disclose to me the reason why sin came into the world, why the earth is strewn with the dying and the dead, and why man must suffer to all eternity. I have never seen a particle of light thrown on these subjects that has given a moment's ease to my tortured mind....I trust that other men....have not the anguish of spirit which I have. But I confess, when I look on a world of sinners and sufferers, upon death-beds and graveyards, as upon a world of woe filled with hosts to suffer for ever; and when I see my friends, my parents, my family, my people, my fellow citizens-when I look upon a whole race-all involved in sin and danger; and when I see the great mass of them wholly unconcerned; and when I feel that God only can save them, and yet he does not do it,-I am struck dumb. It is all dark-dark--dark to my soul; and I cannot disguise it."

Albert Barnes   (an early celebrated theologian & preacher)


"I believe things in the Bible because they are absurd. I believe them because they are impossible."

St. Augustine


"The theologist John Alegro (1923-1988) was known for controversial theorist which led him to be known as the "Liberace of Biblical Scholarship." Allegro was a brilliant undergraduate. After a period studying Hebrew dialects at Magdalen College, Oxford he was invited in 1953 to join an international body of distinguished scholars working on the Dead Sea Scrolls in Jerusalem. He authored a series of best-selling books on the subject, combining his writing career with his role as a widely respected lecturer in Comparative Semitics and the Old Testament studies at Manchester University. In the 1960s his work took off in an unexpected direction when he declared Christianity to be "a phallic, drug-taking mystery cult we none of us would want anything to do with. They had visions. They went on a trip" It was around this time he began to refer to the Bible as "these tales of this rabbi, Jesus and his mum and dad". Allegro's academic reputation was not further enhanced when he became obsessed with "magic" mushrooms. In 1970 he published The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross, in which he sought to establish that most of the leading characters in the Bible, including Moses and Jesus, were in fact walking mushrooms, and that Christ's final utterance on the Cross was " paean of praise to the god of the mushroom". This book, wrote a critic, "gave mushrooms a bad name" . Allegro effectively ended his academic career with the follow-up, the similarly mushroom-influenced and prophetically titled The End of the Road, then in 1971 The Chosen People, which asserted that Moses and his followers were all high on hallucinogenic fungi, and Lost Gods, which asserted that the God of the Old Testament was "a might penis in the heavens,", who "in the thunderous climax of the storm, ejaculated semen upon the furrows of Mother Earth". The latter book prompted the Sunday Telegraph to note that it had "all the freshness and coherence of the conversation of a very tired man in a crowded pub rather late at night:. When asked, Allegro maintained that he never consumed mushrooms himself, adding. " I wouldn't be so bloody stupid."      

                                   The Mammoth Book of Oddballs and Eccentrics


"Since the story of Adam and Eve is the history of humankind, that history must inevitably consist of the search for the means to regain Paradise. After God casts the pair out, he places an entity wielding a flaming sword at the gates of Eden-as if Adam and Eve are liable to attempt to force their way back in. The paradise was a partnership: what lay beyond its gates was a patriarchy that would attempt to subject the female, to present the tomb, not the womb, as life's reality. Worship of the Goddess is always termed a "fertility cult," its image of a pregnant woman ridiculed. By the same token, however, and using its own central symbolic image, Christianity could justifiably be called "a death cult". Except when Madonna sits behind the altar, like Isis with her child."

                           Paul William Roberts

                       In Search of the Birth of Jesus   


"Among the documents identified as being edited out of our modern Bible are these books:

Barnabas                       Mary

I Clement                      Magnesians

II Clement                    Nicodemus

Christ and Abgarus     Paul & Seneca

The Apostle's Creed   Paul & Thecla

I Hermas-Commands  Philedelphians

III Hermas-Similitudes  Polycarp

Ephesians                      Romans

I Infancy                         Trallians

II Infancy                        Letters of Herod and Pilate

Below is a partial summary of supporting texts removed during the fourth-century edits. These texts have typically been reserved for scholars.

The First Book of Adam and Eve         Simeon

The Second Book of Adam and Eve     Levi

The Secrets of Enoch                            Judah

The Psalms of Solomon                          Issachar

The Odes of Solomon                            Zebulum

The Fourth Book of Maccabees            Dan

The Story of Ahikar                               Naphtali

The Testament of Reuben                      Gad

Asher                                                     Benjamin



Gregg Braden

The Isaiah Effect


   "We have in the Bible some of the most beautiful poetry; pious, lyrical and erotic, and also some of the angriest. We have narratives of epic proportions, etiologies and folktales that are at times stunningly profound and evocative, romances and adventure stories, some of them are ideologically tendentious or moralistic. There is patent racism and sexism, and some of the world's earliest condemnations of each. One of the things the Bible almost never is, however, is intentionally historical: that is an interest of ours that it rarely shares. Here and there, the Bible uses data gleaned from ancient texts or records. It often refers to great figures and events of the least as they are known to popular tradition. But it cites such "historical facts' only where they may serve as grist for one of its various literary mills. The Bible knows nothing or nearly nothing of most of the great, transforming events of Palestine's history. Of historical causes, it knows only one: Palestine's ancient deity Yahweh. It knows nearly nothing of the great droughts that changed the course of Palestine's' world for centuries, and it is equally ignorant of the region's great historical battles at Megiddo, Kadesh and Lachish. The Bible tells us nothing directly of four hundred years of Egyptian presence. Nor can it take on the role of teaching us anything about the wasteful competition for the Jezreel in the early Iron Age, or about the forced sedentarization of nomads along Palestine's southern flank.

   The reason for this is simple. The Bible's language is not an historical language. It is a language of high literature, of story, of sermon and of song. It is a tool of philosophy and moral instruction. To argue that the Bible has it wrong is like alleging that Herman Melville has got his whale wrong! Literarily, one might quibble about whether Jonah has it right with his big fish, but not because the story could or could not have happened. On the story's own terms, the rescue of Jonah is but a journeyman's device as far as plot resolutions go. But no false note is sounded in Jonah's fig tree, in Yahweh's speech from the whirlwind in the Book of Job, or in Isaiah 40's song of comfort."

Thomas L. Thompson

The Mythic Past


"I find the Gospels most unpleasant reading for the most part. The mysterious parables with their lurking & menacing threats, the emphasis placed by Christ on himself & his uniqueness & on a "me or else" attitude, the displaying of miracles as irrefutable stunts & the pervading sense of delusion about the end of the world-those are things for intellectual ingenuity to explain away, & the fact that they're there recurrently comes to me out of the delicate tissue of rationalization. The Christian Church with all its manias had started to form when the Gospels were written, & one can see it at work smoothing thing away & making it possible for Christianity to be kidnapped by a deformed & neurotic society. I wonder how long & how far one can dodge or resist the suggestion that the editorial shaping of Scripture is a fundamentally dishonest process."

-Northurp Frye


"....In like manner we are morally compelled to conclude-yes, every principle of reasoning and common sense impels us to the conclusion-that God has made a serious blunder in attempting to give forth a perfect revelation to the world, if (as it seems) he has left it so ambiguous, so unintelligible, and so contradictory in its doctrines and teachings, that six hundred churches have risen up, and are now disputing about what its doctrines and teachings are. These six hundred churches comprise a hundred and fifty millions of guessing Christians, all guessing their way to heaven, with ninety thousand chances against their ever reaching the heavenly kingdom. To "the angel host" looking down, observing this infinite diversity, demoralization, and conflict among the disciples of the Christian faith, it must be regarded as a species of religious monomania; for we may assumed that no intelligent mind, which is not blinded by religious superstition, could be drawn into such a delusion as to conclude that such a book or such a religion or revelation is from an all-wise and all-powerful God, or that it is necessary to believe it, or that it is possible to believe it in any rational sense, or that it can have the remotest connection with our salvation. It makes God a fool, man a lunatic, religion a farce, and the Bible superlative nonsense. Revelation is defined to "the act of making known." But what is made known by a book whose language is so contradictory and so ambiguous that no two persons in a million agree with respect to all it teaches? Every preacher and teacher simply makes known his ignorance whenever he assumes to know what the Bible teaches; and yet it is called "a perfect revelation of God's will." It is an assumption that makes God an ignoramus and a tyrant to suppose he would give forth a perfect revelation to the world, and require us to accept it as such on pain of endless damnation, and yet leave it in such a jumbled, bungling, and unintelligent condition that it is impossible to understand it. Such an assumption certainly borders on blasphemy......

Kersey Graves

Bible of Bibles


   "At present, an editorial committee must have in mind about five thousand documents or parts of documents. Of these, seventy-six are fragments written on papyrus and preserved by the Egyptian climate. The oldest, a tiny fragment of John's Gospel dates from the first half of the second century. The Chester Beatty papyri includes almost an entire third-century codex (book) of Paul's authentic letters-eighty-six pages. From the fourth century there survive three almost complete Greek texts on vellum, and hundreds more date from later centuries. All of these "witnesses," as they are called, contain errors: copyist's mistakes, deliberate "corrections," inclusions as text of what were marginal comments by a previous scribe, and so on. But beyond these kind of problems there is the peculiarity that as far back as textual scholars can now go, they never come to a single "textual tradition." This is to say that these manuscripts all seem to derive from at least three different "types", which in some cases-the book of Acts, especially-can be startling different In addition to the Greek witnesses, there survive parts of extremely old translations into Syriac, Old Latin, and Coptic when represent underlying Greek texts that may be authoritative. As this wealth of variant material has appeared, especially the great finds of the nineteenth century it has gradually dawned on scholars that because of the number of significant, differing manuscripts, the text of the New Testament will always be in flux. That does not imply, however that it cannot be constantly improved and better understood."

Paul Q. Beeching

Awkward Reverence


   "In both the Iliad and the books of the Old Testament, there is a power and a force that is not to be trifled with. Homer understood tentatively and imperfectly what the Old Testament teaches directly and clearly: that wrath is as much a quality of the divine as love or mercy. Of course Homer lacking direct revelation, could not conceive of the sacred holiness of Yahweh's wrath nor of the righteous anger that impelled Christ to drive the moneychangers from the temple courts, but he did understand that wrath is part of the fabric that weaves together the intersecting worlds of morality and immorality."

-Louis Markos

From Achilles to Christ: Why Christians should read the Pagan Classics



"....However brilliantly the biblical critics may reconstruct the "historical" Jesus, what they come up with is not history but postulation. For my money, the only historical Jesus there is, for better or worse, is the Jesus the Holy Spirit has disclosed to us on the pages of the New Testament-every word of which, one way or another, represents something the Spirit thought supremely worth mentioning about Jesus. If that view gives us problems, and difficulties, and even contradictions) and it does in many places), it simply enjoins upon us the labor of interpretation that all historical documents call for."

Robert Farrar Capon

The Romance of the Word


"The most interesting creative, and demanding scholarship in the field of biblical interpretation since the translations of the Bible into English has been generated in the last twenty-five years by what may be called the feminist initiative."

Peter J. Gomes   (Preacher to Harvard University)

The Good Book 


   "The reconstructed Q source also preserves for us a short but significant sample of John's preaching, where he tells the people, "He who has two coats, let him share with him who has none; and he who has food, let him do likewise" (Luke 3:11). Such a saying has become so characteristically associated with Jesus' teaching that few seem to notice that it originates with John. In the Q source Jesus' followers once asked him to "teach us to pray as John taught his disciples" and Jesus repeats to them the prayer that he had learned from his teacher John:

Father, let your name be holy,

Let your kingdom come!

Give us bread of the morrow

And forgive us our sins

As we forgive those who sin against us.

And bring us not to the hour of trial. (Luke 11:3-4)

Christians of course know by heart "The Lord's Prayer," in an expanded version that Matthew gives. But this one from Luke's Q source is the shorter, more original version that likely came to Jesus from his teacher John."

James D. Tabor

The Jesus Dynasty



   "You can be a non-believer, however, and still be amazed at how even the believers are ready to let the Bible go. In England, the most lethal attack on the scriptures has been mounted by the established Church itself. The King James Bible is a prose masterpiece compiled at a time when even a committee could write English. The modern version done in the name of comprehension, add up to an assault on readability. Eliot said that the Revised Standard Version was the work of men who did not realize they were atheists. The New English Bible was worse than that: Dwight, Macdonald (his hilarious review is collect in his fine book Against the American Grain) had to give up looking for traces of majesty and start looking for traces of literacy. Those responsible for the NEB probably did realize they were atheists: otherwise they could scarcely have been so determined to leave not one stone standing upon another. For those of us unable to accept that the Bible is God's living word, but one who believe that the living word is God, the successful reduction of once-vital language to a compendium of banalities was bound to look like blasphemy, and the perpetrators like vandals."

Clive James

Cultural Amnesia: Necessary Memories From History and the Arts


   "Missionaries have many enemies. In Latin America Protestant fundamentalists are rejected by an educated minority, under attack by an entrenched Catholic Church, and at the mercy of suspicious if venal governments. The 'Dual Identity' which helped to establish the SIL as uncontested leaders, with 3,500 missionaries in the evangelical field, was the invention of William Cameron Townsend, founder of the Wycliffe Bible Translators of Arkansas; formerly a Bible salesman in Guatemala. To advance his missionary work and to defend it from enemies and competitors alike, Townsend devised a pseudo-scientific shield behind which it could take cover, and in due course his missionary groups were legally incorporated under the title, the Summer Institute of Linguistics.

   For the purposes of his supporters back in the Bible Belt at home, Wycliffe Bible Translators remained the zealous proselytizers of old, concerned only with carry the Gospel to the heathen. Once overseas, missionaries were at least nominally transformed into linguistic investigators, wholly absorbed in scientific studies of language. To some of his followers, there was a disquieting element of deception this double posture, maintained even when entering into contracts with foreign governments. In soothing troubled consciences Townsend went so far as to quote divine subterfuge as a precedent. The US anthropologist David Stoll, in Is God An American?, describes Townsend's argument that '1. God led us into the policy. 2. Businessmen do the same. 3. SIL's host government thinks it's fine and 4. There is a Biblical precedent for it. Namely, just as Jesus came out of Nazareth disguised very effectively as a carpenter, Wycliffe Missionaries go into the field as linguists. Asks Townsend: Was it honest for the son of God to come down to earth and live among men without revealing who he was.?"

Norman Lewis

The Missionaries: God Against the Indians


   "Jesus and Paul-and the New Testament in general-have the nasty but natural habit of talking out of both sides of their mouths on most important subjects. Jesus himself is sometimes easygoing, sometimes as hard as nails. Paul, when he speaks to responsible heirs of the Jewish tradition, is full of grace, freedom, and forgiveness; but when he writes to Greeks whose sexual mores, for example , make his pharisaic flesh creep, he sounds exactly like an Old Testament Jewish uncle. No one can read any long document (other than a lease or a will) without having to decide which of its insistences or stipulations he or she thinks central and which peripheral. And therefore no careful readers of Scripture-not even those (such as myself) who hold it to be the Word of God-can dispense themselves from the necessity of putting the arm on the peripheral in favor of the central."

Robert Farrar Capon

The Romance of the Word


   "Certain followers of Paul, concerned to make Paul's message equally accessible, and finding some statements in his first letter to the Corinthians, for example, too extreme, decided that he could not have meant what he said there, much less what enthusiastically ascetic Christians took him to mean. Thus some of Paul's followers proceeded to compose, in Paul's name, letters of their own designed to correct what they believed were dangerous misinterpretations of Paul's teaching. Several of these anonymous admirers of Paul, a generation or two after his death, forged letters, filling them with personal details of Paul's life and greetings to his friends, hoping to make them appear authentic. Many people-then and now-have assumed that these letters are genuine, and five of them were in fact incorporated into the New Testament as "letters of Paul." Even today, scholars dispute which are authentic and which are not. Most scholars, however, agree that Paul actually wrote only eight of the thirteen "Pauline" letters now included in the New Testament collection: Romans, 1 and 2 Timothy or Titus-letters written in a style different from Paul's and reflecting situations and viewpoints very different from those in Paul's own letters. About the authorship of Ephesians, Colossians, and 2 Thessalonians, debate continues; but the majority of scholars include these, too, among the "deutero-Pauline" -literally, secondarily Pauline-letters."

Elaine Pagels

Adam, Eve, And the Serpent


"Most of the famed leaders of the new "Bible-based" American political alliances share a conviction that their causes and agendas are approved of, and directly inspired, by no less a being than God. This enviable conviction is less enviably arrived at by accepting on faith, hence as "higher-than-fact," than the Christian Bible pared won into American TV English is God's "word" to humankind, that this same Bible is His only word to humankind, and that the politicized apocalyptic fundamentalist's unprecedentedly selective slant on this Bible is the one true slant.

   The position is remarkably self-insulating. Possessing little knowledge of or regard for the world's wealth of religious, literary, spiritual, and cultural traditions, fundamentalist leaders allow themselves no concept of love-or compassion, but their own. They can therefore honestly even cheerfully say that it is out of "Christian compassion" and a sort of "tough love" for others that they seek to impose on all others their tendentiously liberalized God, Bible, and slant. But how tough can love be before it ceases to be love at all? Well-known variations on the theme include the various Inquisitions' murderously rough love for "heretics' who for centuries were defined as merely defiant of the Inquisition itself; the European Catholic and American Puritan tough love for "witches' who for centuries were defined as virtually any sexually active or humanitarian or unusually skilled single woman, whose healing herbs or independence from men defied a male church hierarchy's claim to be the source of all healing; the Conquistadors genocidally tough love for the Inca, Aztecs, and Maya whose gold they stole for the "glory" of a church meant to honor the perfect poverty of a life begun in a manger and ended on a cross; the missionaries" and US cavalry's genocidally tough love for land-rich indigenous peoples whose crime was merely to exist; and, today, the Bush team's murderously tough love for an oil-rich Muslim world as likely to convert to Texas neocon values as Bush himself is likely to convert to Islam."

-David James Duncan

-God Laughs and Plays


"If we would destroy the Christian religion, we must first of all destroy man's belief in the Bible."



"Ever since the advent of the printing press, there have been readers who slip from enthusiasm for a favorite text into the belief that the words in that text embody truth; do not just symbolize it, but literally embody it. Not till the past century, though, has an American alliance of self-styled "conservative Christians" declared that this slip is in fact the true Christian religion, that a single book full of words is Absolute Truth, and that this Truth should become the sole basis of the nation's political, legal, and cultural life. The growing clout of this faction does not change the theological aberrance of its stance: fundamentalism's deification of the written words of the Bible-in light of every scripture-based Wisdom tradition in the world including Christianity's two-thousand-year old own-is not just naiveté: it is idolatry."

-David James Duncan

God Laughs & Plays


"We (Christians) are building an iron cage, and we're inside of it, and we're closing the door. And the handle is on the outside."

-Max Weber


"Christians, Jews, and Muslims are known as the People of the Book. Pagans, however, have always realized that one book is never enough. Pagans are not the people of the book; Pagans are the people of the library."

Steven Posch


   "In the Quran, Jews and Christians are often treated as one people, related to each other but distinct from the new community of Muslims. Together, Jews and Christians were called the abl al-kitab the People of the "Book" Is the Bible. The Quran is ambivalent about the People of the Book, and the verses that discuss them alternate between respect and scorn. On the one hand, the People of the Book, like the Muslims, had been chosen by Allah to receive his message. That entitled them to recognition and honor. According to Quran 28:63, "Those to whom we gave the Book before this believe in it, and when it is recited to them, they say, 'We believe in it; surely it is the truth from our Lord. Indeed even before we had surrendered.' These shall be given their wage twice over for what they patiently endured." Or 29;46 "Dispute not with the People of the Book, save in the fairer manner....and say, 'We believe in what has been sent down to us, and what has been sent down to you; our God and your God is One, and to him we have surrendered.' "These are two of many passages where Muslims are ordered to treat Christians and Jews with the utmost respect, because they answered God's call earlier and stayed true to their faith.

   But other passages adopt a different tone and criticize the People of the Book for losing their way. "We sent Noah, and Abraham, and We appointed the Prophecy and the Book to be among their seed; and some of them are guided, and many of them are ungodly. Then we sent, following in their footsteps, Our Messengers; and We sent, following Jesus son of Mary, and gave unto him the Gospel. And we set in the hearts of those who followed him tenderness and mercy....but many of them are ungodly" (57;26-27), Other passages drip with antagonism. "The Jews say 'Ezra is the son of God'; the Christians say, 'The Messiah is the Son of God.' That is the utterance of their mouths, conforming with the unbelievers before them. God assail them. How they are perverted!" (9;30)

Zachary Karabell

Peace Be Upon You: The Story of Muslim, Christian, and Jewish Coexistence


"To the illumined one who hath known the Indweller all the Sacred books are as useless as a reservoir in time of flood."



"Make you own Bible. Select and collect all the words and sentences that in your reading have been like the blast of triumph out of Shakespeare, Seneca, Moses, John and Paul."

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Portable Emerson by Carl Bode


"I have never been able to understand how it is possible for a reasonable mind to regard the Jehovah of the Bible and the Father who is invoked in the Gospel as one and the same Being."



"What do Jews and Christians gain by refusing to see that the reversionary desperation of the New Testament has made it permanently impossible to identify the Hebrew Bible with the Christian Old Testament ? Doubtless there are social and political benefits in idealizations of "dialogue," but there is nothing more. It is not a contribution to the life of the spirit or the intellect to tell lies to one another or to oneself in order to bring about more affection or cooperation between Christians and Jews."

-Harold Bloom

Jesus and yahweh



Book: "God's Bestseller: William Tyndale, Thomas More, and the Writing of the English Bible-A story of Martyrdom and Betrayal" by Brian Moynahan

Book: "God & Empire" by John Dominic Crossan

Book: "The Oxford History of the Biblical World" ed by Michael D. Coogan

Book: "The Oxford Companion to the Bible" ed by Bruce M. Metzger

Book: "God's Secretaries: The Making of the King James Bible." by Adam Nicolson

Book: "According to the Scriptures: The Origins of the Gospel and the Church's Old Testament" by Paul M. Van Buren

Book: "Whose Bible Is It?: A History of the Scriptures Through the Ages" by Jaroslav Pelikan

Book: "The Good Book: Reading The Bible with Mind and Heart" by Peter J. Gomes (Preacher to Harvard University)

Book: "The Authentic Gospel of Jesus" by Geza Vermes

Book: "The Book: A History of the Bible" by Christopher de Hamel

Book: "The God of Old: Inside the Lost World of the Bible" by James L. Kugel

Book: "The Bible as it was" by James L. Kugel

Book: "Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why" by Bart D. Ehrman

Book: "Lost Christianities" by Bart D. Ehrman

Book: "The Oxford Guide To Ideas & Issue of The Bible" Ed. by B.M. Metzger & M.D. Coogan

Book: : "God: a biography"…by Jack Miles

Book: " Christ-a crisis in the Life of God" by Jack Miles

Book: "Out of the Flames: The Remarkable Story of a Fearless Scholar, a Fatal Heresy, and One of the Rarest Books in the World" by Lawrence & Nancy Goldstone

Book: THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS BIBLE; The Oldest Known Bible Translated for the First Time Into English" by Martin Abegg Jr. et al

Book: "Awkward Reverence" by Paul Q. Beeching….Reading the New Testament Today

Book: "The Word According to Eve"…by Culleen Murphy

Book" In Search of the Birth of Paul William Roberts

                   Book: "Myths of the Bible" by Gary Greenberg

                   Book: "Who wrote the Bible?" by Richard Elliot Friedman

                   Book: "The Moses Mystery: The African Origins of the Jewish People"

                    by Gary Greenberg

    Book: "The Mythic Past" by Thomas L. Thompson

   Book: "Holy Bible: From the Ancient Eastern Text" George M. Lamsa's translation

Book: "The Discovery of God: Abraham and the Birth of 

 Book: "The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible: The oldest known Bible Translated for the first  time into English" by Martin Abegg

Book: "Intertwined Worlds: Medieval Islam and Bible Criticism" by Lazarus-Yafeh,Hava

Book: "the Canon of the New Testament: Its Origin, Development, and Significance" by Metzger

Book: "Jesus in the Qur'an" by Geoffrey Parrinder

Book: The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration" by Metzger

                     Book: "The Book: A History of the Bible" by Christopher Hamel

                   Book: "The Real Jesus" by Luke Timothy Johnson

Book: "The Missionaries: God Against the Indians" by Norman Lewis

Book: "Deceptions and Myths of the Bible" by Lloyd M. Graham

Book: "The Harlot by the Side of the Road: Forbidden Tales of the Bible" by Jonathan Kirsch

Book: "The Born Again Skeptic's Guide to the Bible" by Ruth Green

Book: "The Good Book" by Peter J. Gomes

Book: "What the Bible Really Says: Casting New Light on the Book of Books" by Manfred Barthel

Book: "The Bible in Modern Culture: Baruch Spinoza to Brevard Childs" by Roy A. Harrisville & Walter Sundberg

Book: "The New Oxford Annotated Biblical Reference Library" by Bruce M. Metzger ed & Roland E. Murphy & Michael David Coogan

Book: "The Gnostic Bible" Ed by Willis Barnstone & Marvin Meyer

Book: "Biblical Games: Game Theory and the Hebrew Bible" by Steven J. Brams


© 2007




Back to Chrestomathy            Next Page