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The Lowdown on Why I Study the Bible

In my previous post I began responding to the question of why I would study a book that I don’t “believe in.” In that response I gave more or less the “official” line as found in my just-now published introductory textbook on the Bible. Here I’ll say something a bit more casual and personal about it. I get asked the question a lot, sometimes by agnostics/atheists who have no time for religion and don’t understand why I would waste my time with it, and more often by hard-core believers who think the Bible is *their* book and don’t appreciate me encroaching on their turf. I understand both objections and am somewhat sympathetic with them, although at the end of the day I have deep and heart-felt objections to them. First, my agnostic/atheist friends. I think it is very strange indeed to think that one should not become intimately familiar with what one opposes. If I’m a capitalist who thinks socialism or communism is heinous, I really should know a lot about them before attacking them. [...]

At the Beach (3): Thinking Yet More of Books

As with a lot of scholars, books seem to make up my life. Books I’ve read, books I’ve studied, books I’ve revered, books I’ve scorned (my favorite professor in graduate school used to say: “Any fool can write a big book. And many have!”). There are also the books I’ve written and books I’ve edited; books my relations have written and edited (e.g., my brother, a Latin scholar at Kent State University; and Sarah, whose books are amazing for their erudition); books my friends have written and edited. Nearly all my friends are scholars. And all of them have written books. (My one really close friend who is not a scholar is Robert Miller – and he is my editor for Oxford University Press! He happens to live in Chapel Hill, and we have been close for many years; his wife Silvia is an editor as well –at Routledge Press in NYC when I first met her, and now at UNC Press in Chapel Hill). To access the rest of this post, log in as [...]

2020-04-03T19:41:47-04:00May 29th, 2012|Reflections and Ruminations|
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