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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Book Review: Talking Back to the Bible A Historian's Guide

Talking Back to the Bible is not your typical read.   In this book, historian Edward G. Simmons takes his readers on a tour of his life from Fundamental Baptist to atheist and then back to a moderate Presbyterian.


Talking Back to the Bible is really not so much a book as a collection of articles that could stand by themselves.  Each article does not necessarily need the articles previously presented to provide context for them to be understood. 


We would suggest that anyone who is not completely grounded in their faith, or lack thereof, not read this book. The author isn’t really certain of his faith.  However, he does try to present the material in a balanced way to not influence the faith of his readers.


If one were to choose to read Talking Back to the Bible, one should do so one chapter at a time with a good study Bible nearby as well as a good college dictionary and maybe a copy of Josephus as well.


This book is written on the graduate level.  The author does not use academic citations, but does use words found on the graduate level of reading. This makes sense since the author is a Ph.D. and is most likely used to writing on that level.


The author presents historical data, data found by archeologists, and other information alongside Biblical writings to try to compare and contrast the information. This is done so that the reader can understand the context.


We will not discuss the merits of the information presented in Talking Back to the Bible; that is for the reader to decide. We will tell you that we were sent a copy of this book and asked to read it and review it on our blogs.  Our blogs are Christian-based.  We are very devout, fundamental Christians with Holiness persuasion.


We cannot agree with much of the information presented in Talking Back to the Bible.  We cannot agree with the author’s belief stated early in the book that implies it is ridiculous to say, “The Bible says.”  This really is a matter of semantics more than anything else.


We feel that we are to trust in God and come to Him with the faith of a child.  We also believe that we should lean not on our own understanding.  If one begins to question parts of the Bible and discount them, then how does one decide which parts to believe and which parts not to believe? 


Judging this book purely on its readability and on the information presented, we would rate it a four out of five stars.  We do not agree with much of what is presented in the book.  However, the whole idea behind the book is to provide the information so that the reader can decide what to believe. 




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